Al-Baghdadi is still on the loose…
So we keep hearing that he’d been nabbed, but it turns out that it’s not true. However, these recurrent stories indicate that the Americans and the Iraqis are closing in: it could be a case of releasing false information in order to discern a pattern in the digital communications, which may in turn give an indication as to where Abu Omar al-Baghdadi is hiding out. The reasoning is that the people who have a means of getting in touch with al-Baghdadi would panic upon hearing the news of the arrest and begin to make phone calls or use whatever channels to check if the news is true or not. Eventually the traffic would head to a phone number on al-Baghdadi’s person or near enough to him. Doing this later in the evening, when overall phone or internet communications usage is thinner, would be even more helpful; the latest arrest news was released late at night.
This is also what the jihadists think happened: someone posted something similar in reasoning on the al-Hisbeh jihadist forum, which also denied al-Baghdadi’s capture.
It a way, it’s a good thing that al-Baghdadi is still on the loose: he’s become such a controversial and antagonizing figure among the ranks of the jihadists who have been engaged in heavy fighters among each other recently. Keeping him out and about prolongs this feud that pits Al-Qaeda against all the other Sunni jihadist groups, and diminishes all.
Furthermore, an interesting question was raised yesterday: what happens to the pledge of allegiance if the 'Prince of the Faithful' is captured alive? For example, would those who have pledged allegiance put down their weapons if their captured leader orders them to?
But the real silver lining to yesterday’s drama is that al-Baghdadi finally got a mention in the New York Times; the editors of the paper of record can no longer ignore the guy who is credibly taking credit for the vast proportion of the violence in Iraq, or his links to Al-Qaeda.
Stroll down memory lane:
Al-Baghdadi’s first speech.
Al-Baghdadi’s second speech.