In sharp contrast to President Obama’s admission that “we don’t have a strategy yet to deal with the lightning progress and horrific brutality of the ISIS terrorist army, a new report published in the journal “Sentinel” by the Combatting Terrorism Center, claims ISIS’ remarkable recent advances embody the essence of deep strategic planning and well thought out execution.
The CTC report claims the brutal group’s gains are the result of a deliberate, highly systematic multi-year strategic approach designed to expand recruits, equipment, influence, funding, and power.
“ISIL did not suddenly become effective in June, 2014”, says the report, written by Middle East Scholar Michael Knight. “It has been steadily strengthening and actively shaping the future operating environment for four years.”
Following the 2010 collapse of al-Qeada in Iraq, the precursor terror group to ISIS, was a focused multi-year campaign designed largely by Abu Bakr himself centered on clearly understood, easy to monitor performance benchmarks, the first of which was the exploitation of identified weaknesses inside the US trained Iraqi army.
Knight’s heavily researched analysis credits nearly all of ISIS’ strategic successes to the disciplined vision and ruthless leadership of its elusive but highly motivated founder, known to the world by his nom de guerre, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Still, four years after his establishment of ISIS, remarkably little is known about the world’s most dangerous terrorist leader. Intelligence analysts claim they can authenticate only two photographs of him. About all anyone can confirm is that Abu Bakr was likely born Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, in the Iraqi city of Samara, probably in 1971, and that he was arrested by US forces in early 2004 and detained as a ‘civilian detainee’ at Camp Bucca until 2009, when he was freed following a combined military review and release board that recommended his “unconditional release.”
Abu Bakr claims to be a direct descendant of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which goes a long way toward understanding the value and resonance of his adopted name.
The CTC report affirms that Abu Bakr revived and repurposed the remnants of AQI by appealing to the reflected glory of the original Abu Bakr, who did more than anyone to enable the unprecedentedly rapid rise of Islam in the 2nd half of the 7th Century. Today’s Abu Bakr is building the new ISIS clearly fashioned in the image of his new namesake–Abu Bakr; the world’s first Muslim caliph.
During the life of its founder and prophet, Islam could only grow as fast as Muhammad was able to convince first his wife, then his other relatives, on the virtues and truths of his newly invented religion. After 10 years of fruitless effort trying to win converts among the wealthy and powerful members of the Quirash tribe in his home city of Mecca, Muhammad fled north to the trading city of Medina in 622 A.D hoping he could win converts among that town’s then thriving Jewish community. Their refusal enraged Muhammad, setting the stage for an entirely new approach to Muslim expansion that profoundly animates fundamentalist elements of Islam to this day, none more so than with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his ISIS movement.
Muhammad died in 632 AD and was succeeded by his friend and disciple Abu Bakr. It was Abu Bakr who set Islam on its lightning path to global dominance. Abu Bakr made his name promoting the faith not through argument and persuasion, but by the scythe of scimitar.
Desert tribe after desert tribe, country after country, succumbed to Abu Bakr’s onslaughts. Damascus fell in 635. Jerusalem three years later, in 638, Syria in 640 and his greatest of all conquests, Egypt surrendered to Abu Bakr, who proclaimed himself Islam’s first Caliph, in 642.
Thanks to Abu Bakr, by 700 A.D. the eastern half of the Byzantine Empire and nearly all of north Africa had fallen into Muslim hands. Three centuries later the descendants of Abu Bakr could correctly boast that they presided over the world’s leading civilization.
Of particular relevance to ISIS’s fanatic quest to rid its new realm of any and all infidels is Abu Bakr’s attempt to recreate the conditions that allowed for the rapid expansion of early Islam, paramount of which in Muslim lore was the signing in 637 of the Pact of Omar.
This treaty written and imposed by Abu Bakr upon the conquered Christian subjects of Syria and Palestine became the template by which Islam would regulate the behavior of conquered infidels, creating the new status of Dhimminitude now being reasserted in ISIS controlled realms.
While the Pact of Omar specifically mentions only Christians it clearly applied to Jews as well. In exchange for being allowed to remain in newly Islamized realms, The Pact of Omar banned Christians from displaying crosses on churches or in the streets, prohibited Christians and Jews from carrying any religious images in public; prevented either from speaking more loudly than a Muslim; wailing or weeping during funeral positions or at any time while out-of-doors. Upon pain of death, Jews and Christians were never permitted to strike any Muslim for any reason.
In an attempt to get non-believers to imitate true believers, Abu Bakr’s Pact of Omar prohibited all Christians and Jews from shaving the front of their beards, required them both to wear distinctive dress. For Muslims, conversion from Islam to either faith became an immediate capital crime. Attempts to convert Muslims by Christians or Jews resulted in mass execution and dispossession.
Churches and synagogues could be built no higher than the lowest house of their Muslim neighbors. Jews and Christians were required to stand up in deference whenever a Muslim entered into any of their assemblies, homes, businesses, or the like.
It was the original Abu Bakr’s Pact of Omar that created the infamous head tax that today’s Abu Bakr is attempting to reinstitute inside his newly created Islamic Caliphate.