The public emergence of the ISIS leader has revived new fears. Now, an individual has risen that has come to re-organize this dismantled group that has been established based on symbolism, history and religion. By coming into the open Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has resolved al-Qaeda’s three-year long problem of finding a surrogate for Osama bin Laden, the killed symbolic leader of this organization.
Emerging in such a time and place raised many questions such as who is using this group, who is this group representing and who has been able to infiltrate into it. When the Assad regime was on the verge of being overthrown ISIS came out of nowhere from the ashes of the Syrian landscape. This emergence led to war against civil dissidents in Syria, frightened the international community of Assad being replaced by a terrorist entity and finally saved his regime.
The Syrian scenario is now being repeated in Iraq. Nouri Maliki, who is extremely close to Iran, is seeking a consensus of Shiite and Sunni Arab leaders on one hand, and Kurdish leaders on the other, and was on the brink of losing his right for a third premier term candidacy in Iraq.
However, ISIS suddenly came out of the blue and took control of Mosul, the second largest and militarily strongest city of Iraq, and came to Maliki’s rescue so he could depict himself as the necessary leader for this historical turning point in order to confront Sunni terrorism!
And now, instead of going to war against its supposed enemies, being Assad and Maliki, ISIS has gathered its forces in the northern Saudi border with Iraq and is following another war in the southern Saudi border with Yemen.
Bin Laden was killed, but al-Baghdadi is alive! To act like his predecessor and avoid actions that he used to avoid. In their religious propaganda Iran is always an overt enemy, while at the same time a covert ally.
From the 1990s after al-Qaeda fled from Afghanistan, Iran has been a safe haven for this group led by an Egyptian fundamentalist by the name of Seif al-Adl.
Osama bin Laden sent half of his children and one of his wives to Iran, and after the al-Qaeda leader was killed Tehran handed them over to Syria to have them sent to Saudi Arabia.
However, a number of Saudi al-Qaeda and Arab leaders and soldiers remain in Iran, a country that al-Qaeda – despite its extremely anti-Shiite tone – has never aggressed its interests! Al-Baghdadi is a copy of bin Laden.
He is an example of religious disillusionment in religious Sunni societies that have not been able to uproot the extremist culture and have been unable to find a cultural substitute for it.
Cartoon published in Al-Watan, Saudi Arabia, June 14, 2014:
Iranian regime: “We will not sit by with our hands folded in the face of the terrorism in the region”. The octopus tentacles are labeled: “Hizbullah, ISIS, Shi’ite militias, Al-Maliki, Al-Qaeda, IRGC, Al-Assad, the Shabiha, the Syrian army” (Al-Watan, Saudi Arabia, June 14, 2014)