Sadddam former army officer Abdullah Qadarsh is new chief of Islamic State
New Delhi, Oct 28: Donald Trump gave the world probably one of the most awaited news. He declared that Islamic State Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead in a US operation. He also said that Baghdadi had blown himself up during the raid.
The obvious question is who would now succeed Baghdadi? Baghdadi in the past few months had been out of sorts. In fact there were even reports that he had been paralysed.
The ISIS had already set a succession plan. Baghdadi had declared a few months back that he would be succeeded by Abdullah Qadarsh. He had in fact tasked Qadarsh with re-building the ISIS, which had faced considerable losses over a period of time.
Qardash, who is around 40 years old is a former officer in the army led by Saddam Hussein. When he was jailed in Basra by the US forces, he met with Baghdadi. Both were jailed in 2003 for their links with the Al-Qaeda. It was after their release that the ISIS was formed.
Qardash, also known as Professor was also close to Abu Alaa al-Afri, who was a deputy to Baghdadi before he was killed in a gun raid in 2016. Experts describe Qardash as ruthless and he rose in the ranks of the ISIS due to his policy making. Baghdadi believes that Professor has the right qualities to lead and most importantly re-build the ISIS.
Qardash, who currently handles logistics in the ISIS is also popular among the ISIS fighters and other cadres. The biggest challenge for Qardash would be to unite the ISIS, which is currently split three ways.
There are differences between the leaders of Iraq, Tunisia and Saudi, but they have been able to hold on because of Baghdadi. Professor would have his task cut out to unite the three factions in the event of Baghdadi's death.
Qardash, who has been in charge of logistics would look for precise attacks. Unlike in the past when ISIS operatives carried out large attacks, this time around they would look for more specific attacks, with louder messages. The message from Baghdadi where he calls for coordinated attacks is also a signal that the style of functioning would change.