In what looks to be an effort to end the speculation going on around death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Russian strike and to boost up the morale of its cadres and supporters, al-Furqan, the media wing of the world’s most dreaded terror outfit Islamic State (ISIS), has released an audio clip claiming to be Baghdadi’s latest message. Baghdadi’s last recorded message came in November last year when the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS was in initial stages.
And if we go by references made in the 46 minute long audio clip, it seems to be a recent one, especially with categorical mention of the North Korean nuclear issue. He can also be heard speaking about ISIS loss in Mosul. Iraqi forces won the ISIS stronghold in Iraq in July so we can say that the clip was recorded within the last three months.
It also counters the Russian claims that it killed Baghdadi in an air strike in May this year. The Russian claim came in July but was rejected by many including US Defence Secretary James Mattis who said Baghdadi was alive.
Also, according to Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, based on Baghdadi’s previous recordings, the voice in the latest ISIS release definitely sounds to be of him. The speech was titled “Sufficient Is Your Lord As A Guide And A Helper.”
Her Twitter thread on the purported audio clip says Baghdadi can be heard trying to “rally his supporters inside and outside of ISIS territory, demanding that lives in Mosul, Sirte, Raqqa, Ramadi and Hama not be lost in vain.” In an effort to boost up the morale of his fighters, he says that America, Europe and Russia and are living in constant fear of Mujahideen attacks.
He also says in the clip that American weakness has given Russia Syria’s control and America is “mired in huge debt and has become politically and militarily ineffective on the world stage.” A different report in The Telegraph quoted Baghdadi saying “the US was no longer the world’s only superpower and gave North Korea’s threats as evidence of American decline, as well as Russia’s domination of Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan.”
The Middle East Eye in its report on the audio clip said, “Baghdadi spent more than half of the clip discussing an ideological debate inside ISIS and pleaded with Syrian opposition groups to stop working with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, countries’ which have provided support to anti-Assad Islamist rebel groups.”
Baghdadi also threatened media outfits terming them disbelievers.