What sets Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi apart from all other would-be Caliphs, including Osama bin Laden and his successor as al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, is that he is supremely qualified, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe, of the current battle in Syria and Iraq. An excerpt of today’s column:
Half a dozen so-called Islamic states have been created out of countries in crisis in the last 20 years, and each new one is more brutal and bloodthirsty than the last.
The latest is the “caliphate” created by the messianic descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, soldier and Islamic scholar Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in the territory he and his followers control in the border region of Syria and Iraq.
Al-Baghdadi’s puritanical Muslim enclave may well be the most brutal of all the Islamic states that have flared and died since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in 1996 with the aid of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency after the departure of the invading Soviet Union.
The surge of al-Baghdadi’s fighters over the fellow Sunni Muslim homelands of central Iraq has been accompanied by the mass executions of rival Shiia Muslims, beheadings and the crucifixion of at least eight people … read more (subscription*)
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