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Syria, Al Quraishi is dead. What future for the Islamic State?

The “Caliph” of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi Al Quraishi, died in Idlib by blowing himself up with his family so as not to be captured by the USA

Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi Al Quraishi, “Caliph” of the Islamic State, has died. He lost his life in a US special forces raid in Idlib. It is not clear whether the supreme commander of the former ISIS, who had taken the place of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi (who also died in Idlib) was killed in a firefight or blew himself up so as not to be captured. It is certain, however, that 13 people died in the operation, including six children and four women, and that a very strong explosion was heard. It is therefore assumed that Quraishi (alias Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla) emulated the deeds of his predecessor, including with regard to the sacrifice of the family. Al Baghdadi, in fact, in order not to be caught activated a bomb, dying together with three of his children and two wives.

The former ISIS has suffered a very hard but not insurmountable blow. Especially after the revelations that Al Quraishi was a traitor

For the Islamic State, Quraishi’s death is a very hard blow, but not insurmountable. The “Caliph”, in fact, in recent years had lost much of his grip on the jihadists. Above all, after the revelations that in the past he sold his men to the United States to make a “career” within the former ISIS. Between January 3 and July 2, 2008, in fact, he cooperated knowingly with the “enemy”. Al-Mawla, providing crucial information that led to the capture and death of several of his comrades or superiors, and revealed the names of infiltrators in organizations such as the Red Crescent. The most striking case was the “intel” from which the operation in which Abu Qaswarah, the number two of the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) died (His role was taken by Al-Mawla).

The former ISIS today is a fluid galaxy, which has shifted its interest from the Middle East to Asia and above all to Africa. Local groups fight under a single flag, but are autonomous and independent

Moreover, today the Islamic State has become a galaxy as fluid as al Qaeda, made up of formations which fight under a single flag, but which maintain a strong independence and autonomy. Furthermore, the center of interest of the former ISIS from the Middle East has shifted to Asia and especially Africa. A distant territory with local groups which Al Quraishi knew little. Consequently, the leader had very limited if any general control and had to necessarily delegate to the local top management, limiting himself to providing only a sort of direction. Not surprisingly, in the years of his “Caliphate”, Al-Mawla spread very few messages to his followers and kept a low profile, avoiding appearing in public.

What will the future be for IS? Will the new “Caliph” be a figure closer to Africa? Meanwhile, the risks of revenge attacks are growing in the West

Quraishi’s death now requires the Islamic State to undergo a profound internal review. First of all, the former ISIS will have to appoint a new “Caliph” and reorganize itself according to his vision. It is not excluded, however, that the leader may for the first time be someone who has ties to both the Middle East and Africa. This is to take full advantage of the strong expansionary drive underway by the pro-IS regional groups (ISCAP, ISWAP and ISGS) on the Continent. This process, however, will not be immediate and, in the meantime, the formation will be weaker and more permeable to attacks. On the other hand, however, the dangers of terrorist attacks in the West for the purpose of revenge, including through lone wolves, will also increase. In this context, logically, the countries most at risk are the members of Inherent Resolve.

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