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Why Baghdadi’s successor Abdullah Qardash will be equally or more ruthless

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New Delhi, Sep 17: The frequency of the messages that Islamic State boss, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been releasing is an indicator that the outfit is down and reports of him being unwell are true.

Over the years there has been plenty of speculation that Baghdadi may have died. There was however no official confirmation of the same and later it was found that the news of his death was being intentionally spread to ensure that he escapes the heat. He used this news to move places and escape, following which he earned the title, "The invisible Sheikh.'

File photo of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

The latest message from Baghdadi is titled 'Do Deeds.' In the message he calls for coordinated attacks and even tells his followers about the active cells of the ISIS.

This is the first clip by Baghdadi in five months. The frequency of the clips have gone down drastically and this signals that his health has deteriorated drastically or the outfit has made some very heavy losses.

Have good faith in Islam, carry out coordinated strikes, Baghdadi says in latest clip

Analysts and officials tracking the Islamic State tell OneIndia that from what they can gather is that he is on his death bed. He was badly injured in a 2017 air strike. It was said that he was paralysed after the strike. He is also suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. Baghdadi is believed to be hiding in eastern Syria.

What has further speculation about his condition is the appointment of a new chief of the ISIS. Baghdadi chose Abdullah Qardash as his successor and tasked him with rebuilding the ISIS.

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.

Did Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi just die for the 7th time?

Apart from logistics, Baghdadi also nominated Qardash to take care of Muslim affairs. Several analysts have described him as cruel, authoritarian and an extremist. While in Saddam's army, he was trained in brutality and ruthlessness. Qardash and Baghdadi are from the same school and there is no doubt that he would carry on with the ruthlessness that Baghdadi believed in.

Further Qadarsh is also well-versed in Islamic history. He studied at the College of Imam al-Adham Abu Hanifa al-Noumani in Mosul. While many have described him as more ruthless than Baghdadi, there is also another important factor attached to him. His proclaimed family tree points to a direct dissent from Imam Hassan, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad. Baghdadi feels that this makes him eligible to become the next Caliph. This was a similar claim that Baghdadi had made five years ago. Further Qardash claims that he is originally from Quraysh and descends directly from the family of the Prophet.

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