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Abu Ali al-Anbari

Abu Ali al-Anbari
200px
Abu Ali al-Anbari[1]
Born Mosul, Nineveh Province,
Iraq[2][3]
Allegiance Template:Country data Iraq Baathist Iraq
(1990's-2003)
23x15px Ansar al-Islam
(2003-2004/05)
23x15px ISI
(Until April 2013)
23x15px ISIL
(April 2013-present)
Service/branch Iraqi Army (1990's-2003)
ISIL military (8 April 2013–present)
Rank Major General (up until 2003)
Deputy Leader of ISIL in Syria
(8 April 2013–present)
Battles/wars

Iraq

Syria

Military intervention against ISIL

Abu Ali al-Anbari is a nom de guerre for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) governor for territories held by the organization in Syria. Considered the ISIL second-in-command (along with his counterpart Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (KIA) who held a similar position in Iraq), he plays a political role of overseeing the local councils and acts as a kind of political envoy. His military role includes directing operations against both other Syrian rebels who oppose President Bashar al-Assad's government and the Syrian government itself.[4]

Biography

Early life and the Ba'ath regime

An ethnic Turkmen, al-Anbari is to be from the Iraqi city of Mosul in Nineveh province. He was said to be a former physics teacher and a Ba’ath party activist before 2003. He was also a former Iraqi Army officer under Saddam Hussein during the 1990s and attained the rank of Major General up until the regimes fall in 2003.[3][5][6]

After Invasion of Iraq

After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, he was briefly a member of Ansar al-Islam, a Sunni insurgent group, until he was ejected amid financial corruption allegations.[4] In 2004 or 2005, he eventually joined al-Qaeda in Iraq under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and rose through the ranks of the organisation.[7][4]

Rise of ISIL

Al-Anbari's role within ISIL became clear after a raid last year on the home of another ISIL figure, Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, al-Baghdadi's military chief of staff for Iraqi territory. Memory sticks found during the raid, in which al-Bilawi was killed, identified al-Anbari as the head of all ISIL military and non-military operations within Syria.[8]

According to one ex-member of The Islamic State, al-Anbari is also a member of the Shura Council. Another account puts him as head of the powerful Intelligence and Security Council. He appears to have appointed Abu Yahya al Iraqi, who is with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at all times, to act as a channel between them.[5]

Reportedly his knowledge of Shariah Islamic rules isn't considered as extensive as that of other senior leaders according to ISIL militants interviewed.[4]

"I describe Baghdadi as a shepherd, and his deputies are the dogs who herd the sheep [ISIS's members], the strength of the shepherd comes from his dogs." said Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst who had access to documents discovered which provided details on al-Anbari.[3]

Deputy 'Caliph' of ISIL

In March 2015, it was rumored that current leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had suffered injuries including spinal damage leaving him incapacitated.[9]

This has led to speculation that al-Anbari may ascend to the role of deputy of ISIL. That leader will be, in effect, under al-Baghdadi, a super deputy to the caliph—in Arabic, na’ib al-malik, or Viceroy. As a former Major-General, Head of the ISIL Security Council and leader of ISIL operations in Syria, this makes al-Anbari appear as a potential contender for the position. However, his previous experience in Saddam's military might make al-Anbari an unpopular choice among foreign fighters and more militant Salafists inside ISIL.[8] ISIL analyst Michael Weiss says, "It would be very unlikely that a known ex-Saddam military officer would be appointed caliph. Also, al-Anbari's role is better suited as kingmaker for the organization although he does have or had a prominent public presence."[8]

References

  1. ^ "Anatomy of ISIS". 2014. Retrieved January 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Islamic State" (PDF). Soufan Group. November 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Inside the leadership of Islamic State: how the new 'caliphate' is run". Telegraph. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Brutal Efficiency: The Secret to Islamic State's Success". Wall Street Journal. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "The Islamic State" (PDF). Soufan Group. November 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Abu Ali al-Anbari". Counter Extremism Project. 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Abu Ali al-Anbari". Counter Extremism Project. 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c "Who might lead ISIS if al-Baghdadi dies?". CNN. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Isis leader incapacitated with suspected spinal injuries after air strike". The Guardian. 2 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.