Baghdadi Starts Issuing Passports, Tries to Unite Sunni Radicals under IS
Last week, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a taped speech calling on Muslims with military, medical and managerial skills to flock to his newly declared Islamic Caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.
“Those who can immigrate to the Islamic State should immigrate, as immigration to the House of Islam is a duty,” exhorted Baghdadi.
The self-anointed “Caliph Ibrahim” said his appeal was especially oriented for “judges and those who have military and managerial and service skills as doctors and engineers in all fields.”
Naturally, the commander of the force tearing through Iraq also expressed an interest in attracting new fighters: “Terrify the enemies of Allah and seek death in the places where you expect to find it,” he advised potential recruits. “Your brothers, on every piece of this earth, are waiting for you to rescue them.”
Not long after Baghdadi’s call, members and sympathizers of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, began circulating pictures of what purports to be the caliphate’s new passport.
The “State of the Islamic Caliphate” is inscribed at the top of the passport and the bottom reads: “If the holder of this passport is harmed we will deploy armies at his service.”
Caliph Ibrahim builds cabinet and ruling structure
The passport, which IS will reportedly issue to 11,000 people in its Iraq-Syria domain, is being printed at the Mosul “Identification and Passport Center” built in 2011 by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.
The facility is scheduled to begin issuing new identity cards next week to the subjects of the caliphate in the new domain designated by Baghdadi as spanning the area from Aleppo in northern Syria to the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.
The “caliph” has gone so far as to lay out the structure of his government, a development scarcely heeded by the Western media.
He has named as his deputy premier a comrade known only by the alias of Abu Muslim al-Turkemeni. His cabinet will have seven members, his War Office three, headed by Abu Shema. Six governors have been appointed to the provinces under his rule (see attached map).
Notwithstanding Baghdadi’s bombast and aggressive conquests, al-Maliki this week blamed the Kurds for Iraq’s troubles. On June 9, he accused the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of hosting the jihadists overrunning the country and besetting it with its worst crisis in years.
”Honestly, we cannot be silent over this and we cannot be silent over Irbil being a headquarters for ISIS and Baath and Al Qaeda and terrorist operations," Maliki said in his weekly televised address.
While the Iraqi prime minister is clearly out to settle scores with Kurdish president Masoud Barzani, who is pushing hard for an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, there is a kernel of fact in his allegation.
IS loses one, wins one
The jihadists are indeed present in the KRG, but also in most of northern, western, and central Iraq. The IS movement has won local affiliates in every Sunni city and tribe, where oaths of loyalty to Baghdadi may be heard daily.
DEBKA Weekly's counterterrorism and Iraq sources say Baghdadi’s call to arms and issue of passports are measures designed to tighten his grip on the many disparate Sunni militias in the area and inculcate a sense of belonging to a strong nation ruled by a firm central government. His chances at successfully uniting these groups are not great. But much depends on Caliph Ibrahim playing the Iraqi political game with the same skill as he displayed in the battlefield.
Our military sources rate his battlefield success rate this week as half and half.
IS armored columns, including tanks, failed in their attempt to take over the Speicher Air Base near Tikrit in northern Iraq, some 170 km north of Baghdad and 11 km west of the Tigris River.
In another audacious operation, Al Qaeda forces reached the Iraq-Saudi Arabia border where, according to the official Saudi version, two suspected militants blew themselves up after two days inside a government building in southern Saudi Arabia.
On July 4, three shells landed in northern Saudi Arabia. No casualties were reported. According to the Saudi Border Guards’ media spokesperson, the shells landed in a residential complex in Arar, near the border with Iraq, at 1:30 pm.
But DEBKA Weekly’s sources report that events went down rather differently. Al Qaeda forces bombarded the border post with at least 40 shells, burning it to the ground. At least six Saudis were killed in this, the caliphate’s first strike on Saudi Arabian soil.