Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the leader of a terrorist organization called the Islamic State. The group was responsible for many attacks around the world, and several countries have come together to fight them. This past weekend, al-Baghdadi died in a raid on his compound in Syria.
The History of ISIS
The Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is a terrorist group that began in 1999 as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad. The group pledged loyalty to the much more established and better-known terror group, the Taliban, and fought with them against western forces when we invaded Iraq in 2003. Still, they weren’t very well known at the time. Practically every American knew of the Taliban, thanks to their attacks on September 11, 2001. But ISIS became big news on the world stage in 2014 when it pushed the Iraqi military out of Western Iraq and took over.
The United Nations (U.N.) named ISIS a terrorist organization, meaning they use violence, usually against civilians, to control people through fear. ISIS is well known for capturing and killing people – often journalists, aid workers, and people on vacation – and recording it on video to share with the world.
The United States and several other nations across the world have been fighting ISIS since 2014. This coalition dropped bombs on ISIS compounds and gave training, weapons, and supplies to the enemies of ISIS, Iraq and Syria.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi began his career as a teacher of Koranic recitation. His discontent seems to come from the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. He was imprisoned at a detention center in southern Iraq called Camp Bucca. After his release, the small jihadist group he led joined ISIS.
In 2010, the leader of ISIS was killed in an airstrike, and al-Baghdadi became the chief. He took the name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Qurashi, which was supposed to show his descent from the Quraysh tribe, which allegedly was the tribe of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. His real name is believed to be Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri, but very little is known about his life before ISIS.
In 2014, al-Baghdadi announced his caliphate and promised to dissolve all boundaries in the Middle East. This means he has declared the entire Middle East to be one Islamic state with him as the caliph, or leader. He got his start in Iraq, and the wealth he captured by taking over oil producing areas helped fund his movement. He managed to grow the organization to tens of thousands of followers all over the world.
But once the U.S. got involved in the fight, things began to go badly for al-Baghdadi and his group. ISIS has lost a lot of territory in the fight, including their two biggest strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been on the run ever since. On October 26, 2019, U.S. led forces raided al-Baghdadi’s compound. Everyone inside was either killed or captured.
The End? Not Quite
While ISIS was already in decline, and al-Baghdadi’s death really hurt the organization, the remaining fighters are still holding on to what territory they have left. While it has been said that the caliphate is gone, ISIS is still a threat.