Violent Jihad

ISIS #2 Reported Dead

A veteran of the Iraq war meets his end near Aleppo, according to ISIS's own martyr reporting.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | August 31, 2016

Taha Subhi Falaha, known mostly as Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, is reportedly dead from a Coalition airstrike near Aleppo.  The Islamic State (ISIS) reported his ‘martyrdom’ following the strike, which the Pentagon says represents a major blow if true.

In a statement, the ISIS propaganda agency Amaq said he was “martyred while surveying the operations to repel the military campaigns in Aleppo,” in Syria.

 The Pentagon is being cautious, or perhaps a little coy. A senior defense official said “coalition forces conducted an airstrike in al-Bab, Syria,” and the target was al-Adnani. Although it is “still assessing the results of the strike… Al-Adnani’s removal from the battlefield would mark another significant blow to” the terror franchise, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement this evening.

To understand why his death is significant, it must be recognized how long was his service in this war.  Adnani was a veteran of the Iraq War, old enough to have fought alongside Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.  Zarqawi came to Iraq to fight Americans, having led his own terrorist organization abroad before joining the Iraq War.  He brought with him a few hard core killers, including Adnani, when he arrived in 2002.  Zarqawi quickly managed to pull together a number of Sunni opposition forces into a group that he branded as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” seeking out the leadership of core al Qaeda to approve his campaign.  Zarqawi was killed in a similar airstrike ten years ago, one from which the guntape footage was released to the public.

By the time of Zarqawi’s death, Adnani was in American custody in Camp Bucca.  Due to an unfortunate error in judgment, the leadership at Bucca housed Islamist radicals in the same units as Saddam’s own former military professionals.  As a result, these groups were able to meet and talk in peace and safety.  The Ba’athists were mostly secular at the time of Saddam’s fall, although Saddam had been moving in an increasingly Islamist direction as a means of trying to keep control over the Sunni minority on which his rule depended.  Nevertheless, the Ba’athists and al Qaeda in Iraq had been enemies competing for Sunni tribal loyalty on the battlefield.  They could not sit down together and talk in the wild.  In the safety provided by American guards, however, they were able to get together and come to terms.  ISIS, far more dangerous than al Qaeda in Iraq ever was, is the product of this union of Islamist radicalism with military and intelligence professionalism.

Adnani was thus present at the creation of both al Qaeda in Iraq and also ISIS.  At the time of his death he was reportedly running ISIS’s operations throughout Syria.  His death represents a major loss of institutional knowledge for the organization, which should convince even those who doubt the effectiveness of killing insurgent leaders as a general mode of war.  Doubtless the organization has someone with a similar spirit and ruthlessness, but it cannot have many who were the living embodiment of knowledge stretching all the way back to the beginning.



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