THE leader of ISIS rose to power through brutal campaigns of rape and slaughter, an expert on the jihadi death cult has said.
Amir Mohammed Said Abd al-Rahman al-Mawla – known as the “Destroyer” – replaced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was killed by US special forces in October last year.
A picture released by the US State Department of al-Mawla[/caption]
Experts say he may choose to revive the terror group, which once controlled a large swathe of territory[/caption]
The State Department has placed him on its “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” with a £7.8 million bounty on his head.
Jean-Pierre Filiu, a jihadism analyst at the Sciences Po university in Paris, says Mawla rose to the top through displaying his brutality, news.com.au reports.
He is probably best known for playing “a major role in the jihadist campaign of liquidation of the Yazidi minority (of Iraq) through massacres, expulsion and sexual slavery,” said Filiu.
The new ISIS leader was probably born 1976, in the town of Tal Afar, around 45 miles from Mosul.
He is a member of the Turkmen minority group making him one of the few non-Arabs to reach the senior ranks of ISIS.
He is also known by the nom de guerre Haji Abdullah, and in some circles as Abdullah Qardash.
Qardash was initially named as having taken over from al-Baghdadi although Iraqi intelligence officials suggest the latter was a separate ISIS figure who died two years ago.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed last year by US special forces [/caption]
His origins prompted the United Nations to predict in a January report that he might be a “temporary choice until the group finds a more legitimate ‘emir’, a direct descendant from the Quraysh Hashemite tribe who could therefore command the full support of the remote provinces.”
The jihadis once ruled a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria, territory gained in an advance of terrifying speed in 2014.
They were eventually beaten back into a final pocket of land in Syria 2019 by Kurdish forces with US backing.
Experts believe Mawla will now seek to prove he is his own man by attempting to reboot ISIS and may choose to act now that the US is withdrawing troops from Syria.
Hisham Al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based specialist on the extremist movement who was assassinated in Baghdad, recently said ISIS in Iraq makes £5.5 million revenue from investments and taxes it collects.
In a sign of what could lie ahead, ISIS fighters have carried out an attack every three days on average in Syria in recent months, according to the Washington-based Centre for Global Policy (CGP).
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“Despite its serious losses in territory and manpower, it remains financially solvent, creative, lethal, and once again confident enough to threaten those who violate its principles,” CGP analyst Abdullah Al-Ghadhawi wrote.
Baghdadi was killed when US forces swooped on his compound in northwestern Syria and he blew up self-up with a suicide vest after being cornered in a tunnel.
Donald Trump said the terror chief died “crying, whimpering and screaming and bringing three kids with him”.