Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi
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Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi
أبو إبراهيم الهاشمي القرشي
Al Qurashi in an American prison camp (Iraq) in 2004
|2nd Caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant|
|Assumed office |
31 October 2019
|Preceded by||Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi|
Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi
1 or 5 October 1976
Tal Afar, Iraq
|Rank||Officer (until 2003)|
Deputy leader (2014–2019)
|Battles/wars||International military intervention against ISIL|
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi (born October 1976, Arabic: أبو إبراهيم الهاشمي القرشي; alternative transliterations al-Qurayshi and al-Quraishi) is an Iraqi Islamist who is the second and current leader[note 1] of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. According to January 2020 press reports, his true identity is Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi (Arabic: أمير محمد عبد الرحمن المولى الصلبي). His appointment by a shura council was announced by ISIL media on 31 October 2019, less than a week after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The U.S. Rewards for Justice Program is offering up to $10 million in exchange for information leading to al-Qurashi's apprehension.
Speculations about identity
At the time he was announced as the successor of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, little was known about al-Hashimi, but his Arabic onomastic ("nisbah"), al-Qurashi, suggested that he, like Baghdadi, claimed a lineage to Muhammad's tribe of Quraysh, a position that offers legitimacy in some quarters. Al-Hashimi's name was believed to be a nom de guerre and his real name was unknown at the time.
The possibility that al-Hashimi was Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal Rahman al-Mawla was already raised on the day of al-Hashimi's coming to power, but this was uncertain at the time. Muhammad Ali Sajit, the brother-in-law and aide of Baghdadi caught in June 2019, also believed that "Hajji Abdullah", a top aide to al-Baghdadi, was al-Hashimi, the new leader.
Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, believed that it is unlikely that ISIL would "release any video speeches from this new leader or at least ones that show his face". Nonetheless, on 1 November 2019, United States president Donald Trump claimed on social media that the United States government had identified al-Hashimi's true identity. However, a report on 5 November 2019 by The National said that this "does not seem to be the case" and that "reports indicate that Iraqi, Kurdish and American officials say they don’t have much to go on". The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center correctly speculated on 5 November that al-Hashimi was of Iraqi nationality. The Small Wars Journal agreed with this assessment, stating that Iraqis constitute the majority of ISIL members and would not accept a non-Iraqi leader for the organization.
A report on 23 December by the Voice of America expressed doubt that al-Hashimi existed at all. It stated that ISIL was possibly caught off guard and announced a name as a holding move, to "create the impression it is on top of things".
Al-Hashimi was born on either 1 or 5 October 1976 as Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi in Tel Afar, Iraq. He was born into an Iraqi Turkmen family, and educated in Sharia law at the University of Mosul. After graduating, he served as an army officer in Ba'athist Iraq. After the end of Saddam's rule following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he joined Al-Qaeda and served as a religious commissary and a general Sharia jurist. In 2004, he was detained by US forces in Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq where he met Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He presumably re-joined Al-Qaeda after being released from prison at an unknown time.
In 2014, al-Hashimi officially left al-Qaeda, reaffirming his loyalty to ISIL (which had previously operated as al-Qaeda's Iraqi branch). He played a key part in ISIL's capture of Mosul in June 2014. He was one of the main ISIL leaders who orchestrated the genocidal mass killings of Yazidis during the Sinjar massacre in August of that year. By this point, he had risen to deputy of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
According to ISIL, al-Hashimi is a veteran in fighting against Western nations, being a religiously educated and experienced commander. He was described as "the scholar, the worker, the worshiper", a "prominent figure in jihad", and an "emir of war".
Rise to power
Less than a week after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al-Hashimi was elected by a shura council as the new caliph of ISIL, indicating that the group still considers itself a caliphate despite having lost all of its territory in Iraq and Syria. Al-Hashimi's appointment was supposedly done in accordance with the advice of Baghdadi, meaning the new emir was named as a successor by Baghdadi himself. Further evidence that al-Hashimi may have been appointed as successor by Baghdadi may be inferred from the relatively quick succession of Baghdadi. Al-Hashimi's coming to power followed several days of speculation and denial surrounding Baghdadi's death among ISIL supporters.
The general expectation was that al-Hashimi would become "the leader of a frayed organisation that has been reduced to scattered sleeper cells" and the ruler of a "caliphate of ashes". Some analysts believed that Baghdadi's death would likely cause ISIL to splinter, "leaving whoever emerges as its new leader with the task of pulling the group back together as a fighting force". However, other analysts believed that Baghdadi's death would not have much of an impact on ISIL "in terms of operational capacity" and that it was likely "not to result in the group’s demise, or really even bring about a decline".
Leader of ISIL
On 2–3 November, al-Hashimi's caliphacy was criticized as illegitimate by the al-Wafa’ Media Agency, an online media outlet previously aligned with ISIL before turning against it in March 2019. It was argued that "the Prophet decreed obedience to leaders who exist and who are known … not obedience to a nonentity or an unknown". Further, it was argued that the council which elected al-Hashimi did not qualify as a legitimate since it lacked three qualifications for the caliph's electors: justice, knowledge, and wisdom – which the council lacked, since it had sent Baghdadi to Idlib, which had earlier deemed by them a "land of unbelief", when he "would have been much safer hiding in the desert". Further disqualifying the council was the fact that the council had "shed innocent Muslim blood and embraced extremism in the practice of excommunication" (takfir). As a final note, the al-Wafa’ Media Agency stated that nothing was left for a would-be caliph to preside over – “You do not recognize that God has destroyed your state on account of your oppression.”
In 2019, al-Hashimi received pledges of allegiance from ISIL's Sinai province and Bangladeshi affiliates (2 November), Somali province (3 November), Pakistani province and Yemen province (4 November), Hauran province and Khorasan Province (5 November), Tunisia province (6 November), West Africa province, Levant Province – Homs, Levant Province – al-Khayr, Levant Province – Raqqa, East Asia Province and Central Africa Province (7 November), West Asia Province (8 November), West Africa Province – Mali and Burkina Faso and Levant Province - al-Barakah (9 November), Levant Province – Halab (12 November), Iraq Province – Baghdad (14 November), Libya Province (15 November), Iraq Province – Dijlah (16 November), Iraq Province – Diyala (17 November), Iraq Province – Salah al-Din (18 November), Iraq Province – Kirkuk (19 November), East Asia Province – Indonesia (22 November), Azerbaijani affiliates (29 November), and in 2020 from ISIL's Malian affiliates (31 January). These pledges of allegiance appeared to be intended to illustrate the legitimacy and unanimous acceptance of al-Hashimi, to counter criticism that he was unknown and illegitimate.
Following an attack on the Tajikistan–Uzbekistan border that killed 17 people on 7 November, the attackers declared allegiance to al-Hashimi prior to the attack, according to journalist Rukmini Callimachi.
On 23 December 2019, the Voice of America commented that al-Hashimi had "not provided visible leadership". In contrast, the United Nations Security Council judged in January 2020 that ISIL had undergone a resurgence in Iraq and Syria. Though these successes were partially attributed to al-Qurashi's leadership, he still remained a shadowy figure. The UN Security Council suggested that ISIL feared that al-Hashimi lacked some credentials that were usually necessary for a caliph, and kept him out of the spotlight as to not endanger his position.
On 20 May 2020, Iraqi Intelligence Agency identified a captured militant as al-Hashimi; however, the military clarified that this was actually Abdul Nasser Qardash, a potential successor to al-Baghdadi. Al-Hashimi, the leader of ISIL, was still outside Iraqi custody at the time.
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DOB: a) 5 Oct. 1976 b) 1 Oct. 1976
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The new spokesman, named Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, urged followers to pledge allegiance to the new Caliph
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DOB: a) 5 Oct. 1976 b) 1 Oct. 1976
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IS liet weinig los over de nieuwe leider, behalve dat hij zowel een religieus geleerde is als een ervaren commandant
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- Media related to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi at Wikimedia Commons