In June 2014, a group of armed militants and extremists made their dramatic journey across the Syrian border into Iraq, quickly capturing Mosul and Baiji and almost reaching the capital Baghdad.
The group possessed convoys of identical Toyota trucks and the kind of arsenal some countries in the region would be envious of. The media was flooded with footage of drive-by shootings, large-scale death marches, mass executions and mass graves. Any Iraqi soldier captured was executed.
That incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq was part of a planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by various states.
The jihadists at some point appropriated entire truckloads of American humvees; they acquired helicopters, tanks, and artillery. They photographed and filmed themselves, openly broadcasting what they were doing all over social media. In spite of this, no attempt was made by the US or anyone else to stop them – not until after the group had already taken over entire cities or towns and begun its bloody crusade.
The “Islamic State” was declared; a ‘caliphate’ established by brutal jihadism, its expressed goal to establish a Salafist form of government over the region of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Southern Turkey.
The group’s leader, the elusive Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was declared “caliph” and – I quote – “leader for Muslims everywhere.” It was an insane claim, but it was disseminated far and wide.
All of this seemed to have happened in the relative blink of an eye.
For months and years that followed, while parts of Iraq and Syria were having to deal with these brutal medievalists in their countries, Western media was filled with the ‘ISIS’ Horror Show, with the fear-porn going into overdrive, with daily stories of barbarity, beheadings, destruction of antiquities, and more.
Without doubt, much of it was real: but much of it was also of questionable authenticity. Either way, the entire nightmare played out over time like an endless movie.
‘ISIS’ seemed like the epitome of modern evil – and things seemed startlingly apocalyptic. Aside from its physical and psychological subjugation or devastation of communities in the Middle East, it also had substantial effects on the socio-political climate in Europe, America and the West – effects that are still playing out today.
Fast forward four-and-a-half years to the present. The final remnant of the ‘Islamic State’ caliphate – in territorial terms – is slipping away and the once ‘unstoppable’ ISIS fighters are scrambling like headless chickens, bitter or disillusioned that their perverted, twisted dream has crumbled to dust around them.
It just gets more and more pathetic, the longer it goes on. All of it.
But the one thing I’ve been watching for is any word on the fate of the caliphate’s engimatic ‘leader’, the elusive Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Because I, for reasons I’ve laid out before (and will revisit again here), have never believed the ‘caliph’ Baghdadi was a real person. And the thing is, once you come to the conclusion that the ‘caliph’ was never a real person, your perspective on the entire affair is fundamentally altered forever.
So here’s a bit of what I’ve come across in the recent news, as the ‘end’ of the ‘caliphate’ is being covered.
Take this, for example: ‘As the once-powerful Islamic State (ISIS) crumbles, and its desperate fighters make a last stand in its final enclave surrounded by U.S.-backed coalition forces, its ideological leader is nowhere to be found…’
It continues; ‘ISIS militants who have surrendered to coalition forces believe that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has abandoned the struggle when his leadership is needed most.’
There’s this from The Times: ‘Isis fighters are furious that their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, appears to have melted into the desert rather than take part in their last stand for the caliphate… As advancing forces close in on the last sliver of Isis territory, surrendering fighters have spoken of their anger with the absent Isis leader…’
The article further highlights that interviews with IS fighters and local leaders display deep ‘disenchantment with the so-called caliph, which has resulted in schisms within the jihadist group.’
One Canadian ISIS fighter is quoted as saying “He’s hiding somewhere, people were angry…”
Said another fighter, ‘O, Where Are Thou, Caliph? Why Hast Thou Foraken Us?’
Okay, I made that one up – but this is all so pathetic and absurd that someone might as well have said that.
The picture painted is of disillusioned ISIS fighters wondering where the hell their mythical leader is. Maybe some of them feel not only abandoned, but betrayed. The better word would be ‘duped’ – though most of them are probably too stupid to have worked that out yet.
Because, as I’ve explored here in at least two older articles (one from 2015, one from 2017), the overwhelming likelihood is that the great ‘caliph’, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, DOESN’T EXIST – and never did. At least not as the ‘leader’ of the so-called Islamic State.
The best evidence suggests Baghdadi was a fictional ‘caliph’ – a key part of the psy-op being run in the Middle East. A psy-op that scores and scores of Kool-Aid guzzling teenagers, both in Iraq and Syria and from various countries all over the world, fell for. I almost – almost – feel sorry for some of those idiots who gave up everything to fight for the ‘caliphate’ and to follow the ‘caliph’.
I’ve been waiting for three or four years now to see whether this ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ would become more real or substantial somehow: and also waiting to see how the Western media/political narrative would deal with the fact that the big, bad bogeyman it has been talking about since 2014 actually was a carefully-constructed psy-op illusion (a ‘phantom menace’, as I called him previously).
Well, these articles we’re seeing now are pretty ridiculous: they’re still trying to make out that Baghdadi was a real ‘leader’ of the Islamic State, but they’re just presenting it as a mystery or anomaly that he is nowhere to be found as the ‘caliphate’ crumbles into dust and scores of ISIS fighters are scratching their stupid heads, wondering where their ‘leader’ (the man they all swore a personal oath of allegience to) has disappeared to.
That, by the way, is really important to note: ISIS recruits didn’t swear allegience to the ‘Islamic State’ – they swore a personal oath of allegience to the person of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Let’s go back to a few extracts from the article here in 2015; and then we can come back to the present day reports.
Back then, I was trying to understand why the mysterious figure named ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ was being declared “the leader of all Muslims everywhere” by Islamic State propagandists and their vast media enterprises.
It was one of the most disturbing things I had heard in a while. Because, as far as I understood, there was only one figure in Islamic tradition that could make that claim of themselves and this is a figure rooted in Islamic prophecy concerning the End of the World and the end-times struggle against the ‘Anti Christ’.
And yet, suddenly, here was this previously unknown figure being declared ‘caliph’ and “leader of all Muslims” (an extraordinary claim) and here was this sudden onslaught of mass media coverage of barbaric jihadists brutally establishing their ‘Islamic State’ and terrifying people the world over with fears of this ‘death cult’ and their insane agenda.
But when you stripped away all the horror stories and movie-like production, you quickly found that the vague figure at the heart of this twisted saga was more like a ghost than a leader.
I wrote then; ‘Baghdadi is a figure who is so elusive that there are only two known photographs and one video recording of him in existence. The fact is that, in essence, we know practically nothing about him; leading security experts had declared at the time, “They know physically who this guy is, but his backstory is just myth”…’
According to a Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, a chief American military spokesman of the Iraq campaign, Baghdadi never existed and was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor (taking us beyond The Phantom Menace and into Ben Kingsley’s character in Iron Man 3).
This was partly laid out in a New York Times piece a long time ago.
As I noted then, ‘…all the more disturbing to me was that you could see footage, for example in the Vice News film inside The Islamic State, of young, practically infant, boys in towns or cities invaded by ISIS/ISIL, and they were forced to attend indoctrination lectures and pledging their allegiance to ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’; not to an ideal or ideology or even to an organisation, but literally to the person of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi…’
And of course ‘Baghdadi’ himself isn’t present in the film, but remained as elusive as ever. But just think about that for a moment: about all these young kids being forced to swear an oath to this individual – and then think about the fact that ‘Baghdadi’ might not actually exist.
It is beyond perverse. It is the consummate, ultimate psy-op.
But Baghdadi appears to have been designed as a cult of personality – both to fulfil perceived religious/cult prophecy and to be a replacement (and more extreme version) of Osama bin Laden as the iconic figure around which all jihadists or extremists could gather.
And it wasn’t just about those parts of Iraq, Syria or Libya. Or even the scores of radicalised kids from Western countries who swallowed the Kool-Aid and went over to join the party. Even Western based indoctrinators were playing the game; Anjem Choudary (who is credited with helping send as many as 800 young UK citizens to the caliphate) declared Baghdadi as “the caliph of all Muslims and the prince of the believers“.
One of the extraordinary things that also happened with Baghdadi and ‘ISIS’ was that various jihadist/extremist groups around the world decided to pledge allegiance to the cult-figure of Baghdadi himself and to the ‘Islamic State’ brand – which is something that had never happened before and certainly hadn’t happened with Bin Laden or Al-Qaeda.
Suddenly, instead of various, disparate terror groups with their own agendas or geographical/local concerns, we were suddenly being told that all such terror groups, from Africa to the Philipines, were swearing allegience to a centralised Super Villain… who might not even have existed.
Even if you take the vague, mainstream version of Baghdadi (and assume he is/was a real person), the narrative is curious: because – according to the scattered ‘official’ narrative – Baghdadi, along with apparently several senior ‘leaders’ in the Islamic State, all did time in the same Camp Bucca prison during the US invasion of Iraq, where it was reported a great deal of radicalisation was going on. And given that this prison was under US control, even this version of events raises questions (as I asked here) about whether certain individuals were being conditioned to fulfil future roles.
But that, as I said, is assuming Baghdadi is real.
There really doesn’t appear to be much evidence that he is.
So let’s come back to the present moment.
We’re told in one news piece that ‘Although Baghdadi remains far from the battlefield, he has continued to urge his loyal and ardent followers to carry on the fight. His most recent call to arms was in a series of audio clips released in August 2018...’
Prior to that, Baghdadi had not been heard from in nearly a year.
In another article, we’re told that ‘Based on multiple interviews with detained ISIS members in Iraq since 2014, Baghdadi remained – even at high echelons – something of a mythical figure and the message portrayed to members was that seeing him in the flesh “would be dangerous”… Nobody really knew him, how he operated or much about his demeanor…’
Yep, the dude never existed.
And the joke is on all of his ‘followers’. This whole thing has been a massive psy-op – albeit one that has resulted in the deaths or brutal murders of countless people, the brainwashing of countless more, the devastatoin of huge parts of at least three different countries, and massive social and cultural trauma that will probably last a generation.
At times, Baghdadi has been like a mythical hero: we were told on so many occasions over the last five years that Baghdadi has been killed in this airstrike or that airstrike, or that he had been sighted in this Iraqi town or that Syrian town or even in Sirte in Libya.
But then, magically, the illusion of the ‘caliph’ would be maintained – as if this divinely-protected man was immune from assassination. But the act was maintained, not just by the Islamic State gatekeepers themsleves, but by Western propagandists: like Hillary Clinton, who would continue to talk – during her election campaign – about “going after Baghdadi” (much like Bush would do the “going after Bin Laden” meme over and over again).
From another news piece; ‘On several occasions, Baghdadi has been reported to have been killed or gravely injured, only to later emerge in an audio recording to offer a proof-of-life and convey authority to his dwindling team of foot soldiers and ideological followers…’
The extraordinary thing is that a fictional character could’ve held such sway over so many people. Did no ISIS fighter ever wonder about him? How much of even the ‘ISIS’ leadership was aware of the reality? One would have to assume that the very highest level of leadership in the group – whoever those people are – were knowingly maintaining an illusion.
But the question is, aside from Baghdadi, who ARE the ‘leaders’ of ISIS supposed to have been? As far as I can tell, the only specific name ever thrown about in the media was Baghdadi himself. It isn’t like in the Al-Qaeda/Bin-Laden days, where high-level names, leaders or targets were always being referred to.
Virtually anyone could’ve been ‘running’ the Islamic State from the shadows.
There were a lot of claims, from about four years ago, that ‘Baghdadi’ was in fact a Mossad agent named ‘Shimon Elliot’. I’ve never really seen anything that validates that claim and I assume it’s not true.
But it does highlight the fact that the question of who was really running the Islamic State game at the high levels has never really been answered. In fact, it’s hardly ever even been ASKED in the media, with all the focus instead being on low-level followers, rank-and-file fighters, or just the general existence of ISIS as a group.
This whole ridiculous, blood-soaked, horrible saga is just extraordinary though: from beginning to end.
I wonder if ‘Baghdadi’ is ever going to be retired. I mean, could he just be announced as being dead at some point – or will ‘he’ be kept around for longer to serve further purposes? How do you kill someone who might not exist?
Is this the end of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ group, as far as any territorial ambitions or functioning ‘caliphate’ are concerned?
Certainly it appears to be, as far as Syria and Iraq are concerned: but that might not be a long-term state of affairs. The group could re-emerge all over again, given the right conditions. And if ‘ISIS’ does permanently lose its most important territory in Iraq and Syria, the danger is that the group might simply seek to make problems elsewhere.
What we have is an extraordinarly effective Geo-political tool: moveable, mobile chess-board terrorists who can be shifted from place to place, who respect no national boundaries or conventions, who have no regard for human life, and who have been incredibly well-funded.
That being said, the reported level of disenfranchisement and disillusion among the rank-and-file of Islamic State fighters and adherents might make it very unlikely the group, brand or project will ever be able recapture that kind of momentum again that it had in 2014.
With the collapse of every major stronghold, the failure to overthrow the Assad regime, the failure to successfuly ride the momentum to truly overturn ‘Sykes-Picot’ and create their medieval ‘caliphate’, and now the evaporation of their great ‘caliph’ Baghdadi back into the mist, the level of demoralisation might be enough to kill this thing dead.
Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
Read more: ‘ISIS & the Fear-Porn Psy-Op: Reaching Critical Mass‘, ‘Does Torture Create Terrorists Through Trauma-Based Conditioning…?‘, ‘The ISIS ‘Bride’ and How Teenagers are Scapegoats for Britain’s Role in the Islamic State‘, ‘From London to Orlando: The False-Flag Terror Psy-Opera‘, ‘Captagon, ISIS, the Nazis & the Middle East Bloodbath‘…