This is a cross-post by Kyle Orton
Having presented the evidence that Saddam Hussein Islamized his foreign policy and thenIslamized his regime, above all with the Islamic Faith Campaign, beginning in June 1993 that tried to fuse Ba’athism with Salafism, encouraging (and keeping under surveillance) a religious revival in Iraq that redounded to the benefit of the regime’s legitimacy and support, I wanted to look at what this history means for Iraq and the wider region now.
I pointed out in October that the “military strength” of the Islamic State (ISIS) “comes from the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s military-intelligence apparatus and the Caucasus’ Salafi-jihadists.”
When ISIS began as al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia (AQM) it was led by a Jordanian, Abu Musab az-Zarqawi. After Zarqawi was killed in 2006, the organisation became the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and was formally led by an Iraqi, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, whose Egyptian deputy Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (a.k.a. Abu Ayyub al-Masri), was suspected to exercise most real control; both were killed in 2010.
When [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] took over the I.S. in 2010, it was a foreign-led organisation … Baghdadi undertook a vigorous campaign of “Iraqization,” which included “an assassination campaign against any of his commanders suspected of potential disloyalty” that placed the I.S.’s military command in the hands of men “Baghdadi knows and trusts intimately.”
Who were these trusted men? Captured documents have identified ISIS’ leaders.
Do read the rest of this post here.