Last summer, when I first heard that a mysterious figure named ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ was being declared “the leader of all Muslims everywhere” by ‘Islamic State’ propagandists, it was one of the most disturbing things I had heard in a while.
There was only one figure in Islamic tradition that could make that claim of themselves and this is a figure rooted in Islamic prophecy concerning the End of the World. But there’s an explosive claim that has been circulating for many months now: that ISIL’s ‘leader’ and ‘caliph’, the elusive Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, might in fact be an Israeli Mossad agent.
I had broadly refrained from mentioning that in my posts because I wasn’t entirely sure of the reliability of the sources (and I’m still not), but the alleged original source for this information was reputed to be Edward Snowden in the first instance. According to this ‘Mossad theory’ going around, Baghdadi, the so-called “Caliph” of the ‘Islamic State’, is allegedly in fact an actor named ‘Elliot Shimon’ and a Mossad-trained operative.
Some people’s immediate reaction to the idea of ISIL’s leader being an Israeli operative might be to laugh at it or say something to the effect of “there they are, blaming it on the Jews again”, but let’s consider the matter for a moment (and by the way, ‘Mossad’ doesn’t mean ‘the Jews’). Baghdadi is a figure who is so elusive that there are only two known photographs and one video recording of him in existence. The image depicting him above is from a Charlie Hebdo satire piece from last year. Curiously enough, I included an embedded link to that one known video of him speaking in this post last year, but have since discovered that You Tube has removed the video (I’m not sure why You Tube would remove a video of a man making a speech in a mosque and yet fail to remove videos of violent ISIL/ISIS crimes). The fact is that, in essence, we know practically nothing about him; leading security “experts” have declared “They know physically who this guy is, but his backstory is just myth.” He doesn’t make speeches or release propaganda videos like Osama bin Laden or the odious Ayman al-Zahwiri.
Essentially, once you peer beyond the fog of the shaky official narrative, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could literally be anyone.
The notion that the man declared “caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere” (not my words, but the claim made by ISIS/ISIL) might actually be an Israeli agent is beyond perverse; as schemes go, it would be utterly diabolical. But then let us also remember that Osama bin Laden and various senior and non-senior Al-Qaeda operatives were in fact CIA assets, which was no less perverse. This doesn’t mean Baghdadi is this mysterious ‘Shimon Elliot” either; I’ve tried for a while to identify the original source for this alleged leak and haven’t been able to ascertain it, although the idea has been periodically going viral, reproduced on countless websites and social-media streams. “It’s utter BS,” says Glenn Greenwald, the investigative journalist who helped break the Snowden/NSA story. “Snowden never said anything like that and no [NSA] documents suggest it.”
BS or not, al-Baghdadi is an extraordinarily elusive figure almost on a par with the ‘Phantom Menace’ of the Star Wars mythology; and there remains the highly curious fact that his ISIL/ISIS organisation has never appeared to show any interest in Israel, the standard vilification-target of angry or disenfranchised Muslims, but has instead shown an extraordinary amount of hatred of Shiites, Alawites (in Syria) and Christians. The fact that Israel has repeatedly violated both Syrian territory and international law during the course of the Syrian ‘Civil War’ is also telling and invites suspicions of a policy to help ISIL topple the Assad government. Israel also recently launched deadly strikes against Hezbollah targets inside of Syria, but shows no interest in attacking or undermining Islamic State militants or other jihadist groups engaged in Syria and Iraq; on the contrary, even Israeli journalists have openly admitted that extremist jihadist operatives have been treated medically in Israel and sent back into Syria on multiple occasions, as well as given arms.
Which brings us back to wondering about the elusive, Darth Sideous like phantom of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; whether he is or isn’t a Mossad operative in the same way that Osama bin Laden was an obvious CIA asset, it’s easy to see why so many people believe he is (this view, for example, is said to be pervasive in Lebanon now). It simply can be argued to fit the logical narrative of what appears to be going on in many instances.
The alleged agenda being serviced through all of this (if Baghdadi is Mossad) might have been essentially to penetrate into the hearts of all those nations deemed a threat to the Israel-centered ‘Zionist agenda’, with a longer-term plan to have the ‘Zionist state’ take over that entire region of the Middle East and establish the ‘Greater Israel’ or “Eretz Israel”; an expanded Zionist arena of control that would make the current illegal settlement building in Gaza seem like a minor business by comparison. To be clear, that’s not my theory but simply my interpretation of an existing theory that has become very popular very quickly; I would also add that ‘Zionist agenda’ doesn’t mean a purely Israeli-government agenda, but involves American Zionism and other Zionist agencies, and that ‘Zionist’ itself doesn’t mean ‘Jews’ but also refers to political Zionism, Right-Wing Christian Zionism and a generally unhealthy obsession with Biblical precedents and prophecy. And I am not saying this story is true; I am saying, however, that it is difficult to entirely dismiss.
At the very least, Syria has long been regarded as one of the greatest enemies of Israel, possibly the biggest enemy, and Syria has been one of the primary allies of the Palestinian cause. The idea that the kind of militant, hardline government they currently have in Israel would take measures to weaken, destabilise or outright destroy Syria doesn’t take much in the way of imagination (just listen to Netanyahu’s rhetoric concerning Iran, for example; yet still oh-so-silent on the matter of Iraq or ISIL). However, it is unlikely that the rise of ISIL was the purely Israeli agenda that too many websites or theorists are painting it as; the causes of ISIL are too broad for that, including the Iraq War, the NATO/Al-Qaeda destruction of Libya and the infiltration/invasion of Syria. *Assuming* that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi isn’t this ‘Elliot Shimon’ Mossad agent, the likelier scenario is that the hardline Israeli government simply saw what was unfolding in Syria and decided, opportunistically, to help the crisis along for its own self-interest (it also gave Israel the opportunity to attack Hezbollah in locations where its fighters were aiding the Syrian Army).
But if you think the ‘Baghdadi as Mossad agent’ story is outlandish, then get this: according to a Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, a chief American military spokesman of the Iraq campaign, Baghdadi never even existed and was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor (taking us beyond The Phantom Menace and into Sir Ben Kingsley’s character in Iron Man 3). This was partly laid out in a New York Times piece a long time ago. These lines of inquiry start to paint a picture highly reminiscent of the Osama bin Laden myth, in as much as Osama bin Laden was thought by many to have been dead long before the highly suspect Navy Seals assassination of May 2011 (which was in fact ‘carried out’ on that exact date simply to bury the news of Muammar Gaddafi’s three infant grandchildren having been murdered in a NATO bombing on the same day; curiously, members of the Navy Seal team that carried out the ‘hit’ on Bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan, were themselves killed in an accident some months later).
Even the mainstream, ‘official’ story of al-Baghdadi is rather telling.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been arrested by US Forces in early 2004 near Fallujah and been detained at the now infamous Camp Bucca detention center under his name Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry. Detained as a “civilian internee” from February until December 2004 (a number of newspapers instead state that al-Baghdadi was interned from 2005 to 2009), he was recommended for release by a Combined Review and Release Board and set free in December 2004 as a ‘low level prisoner’.
Camp Bucca, which channeled some 100,000 detainees through its barracks and closed months later, is now with hindsight seen by some to represent the beginning of the history of the Islamic State — many of ISIS/ISIL’s leaders, including ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’, were incarcerated and probably met there. According to former prison commanders, analysts and soldiers, Camp Bucca provided a unique setting for both prisoner radicalization and inmate collaboration and was a formative influence in today’s armed terrorists in the region. At least nine members of the Islamic State’s highest level of command are said to have done time at Camp Bucca, according to the terrorism research firm Soufan Group, which notes that ‘though it’s likely the men were extremists when they entered Bucca, it’s certain they were when they left.’
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in American prisons, not in Syrian prisons. So who created ISIS…?” Syria’s President Bashar Assad asked in a recent interview with a leading French newspaper. While the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq in general can be rightly cited as a major influence in the radicalisation of untold scores of people and can be cited as the main cause of Iraq’s and the region’s destabilisation, the controversial Camp Bucca might well have been a carefully stirred melting pot for radicalisation and for the propagation of future terrorism.
It brings to mind the late, great Muammar Gaddafi’s claims in 2011 that extremists sent back to Libya from America’s Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba were hugely involved in the bloody uprising against him. I had personally wondered for a long time why the US was keeping so many ‘terror suspects’ in Cuba (many of them without charge) for so long and, it turns out, subjecting them to torture in many instances; it seemed to serve little purpose other than to radicalise (or further inflame, in the case of those detainees who may have genuinely been terrorists) the detainees. By the same token, it was known that many of the armed rebels terrorising Syrian towns at the outset of the country’s ‘civil war’ were death-row inmates released from Saudi prisons. On the subject of Libya, however, it was also clear from multiple accounts that a number of the so-called ‘Libyan rebels’ were jihadists from the US Occupation of Iraq, quite possibly including Camp Bucca inmates (it is also an established fact that many of the jihadists fighting against Gaddafi in Libya were then channeled into Syria to fight the Syrian government forces and therefore likely that some of these were what we now call ‘ISIS/ISIL’).
It is entirely possible, given the evidence, that Guantanamo detainees were deliberately sent back to Libya with a mission to unleash chaos in that country and murder Gaddafi, and it is equally possible that Camp Bucca was used to ferment the sectarian conflict in Iraq, Syria and the Middle East for the purposes of everything that has since followed in the region.
As for the strangely elusive Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself, he remains a mystery; a phantom menace guiding the bloodiest of ‘holy wars’ and hovering above the so-called ‘Islamic State’ being established by the sword in stolen lands. What makes the ‘Mossad theory’ all the more disturbing is that you can see footage, for example in the Vice News film inside The Islamic State, of young, practically infant, boys in towns or cities invaded by ISIS/ISIL attending indoctrination lectures and pledging their allegiance to ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’; not to an ideal or ideology or even to an organisation, but literally to the person of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And of course ‘Baghdadi’ himself isn’t present in the film, but remains elusive as ever.
Another reason I was disturbed by the earliest declarations of al-Baghdadi as ‘caliph’ is that it was clearly intended to announce Baghdadi as ‘the Mahdi’ – the ‘Rightly Guided’ figure prophesied thousands of years ago to lead the ‘Muslim world’ in a final, ‘Armageddon’-like battle against the forces of the ‘Dajjal’ or ‘Anti-Christ’. This is also one of the reasons why so many young people from various countries have been seduced by the ISIL/ISIS brand: because all the prophetic associations are there in the prevailing narrative – the ideas of the ‘final battle’ between ‘the righteous’ and the ‘evildoers’, the divinely-guided ‘Mahdi’ and ‘final caliph’, etc, are all things taught to young Muslims as part of the ‘End Times’ mythology (though it comes from non-Koranic sources).
Now all of this language is of course silly nonsense to me, just like Biblical-based ‘End Times’ obsession is too; but the point is that it is a deeply romantic, idealized notion for many people, just as the murderous Christian Crusades were at the time they were being launched from Europe into the Middle East. The ISIS/ISIL propaganda plays to all of this deep-seated psychology and expectation, just as Zionist Israel plays to the Biblical/End-Times obsession of the most extremist Christians and Jews.
‘Islamic State’ and the Zionist State can be argued to be different sides of a similar coin, both being creations rooted in religious obsessions and longstanding prophetic traditions and both forcibly imposed onto lands that did not consent to their takeover.
What many non-Muslims don’t realise is that Islam has its ‘End-Times’ mythology just as Christianity does: indeed, the figure of Jesus Christ (and not the Prophet Muhammad) is absolutely central to Islam’s ‘end-times’ expectations, as in Islamic prophecy the ‘Second Coming’ of Jesus is meant to occur once the ‘Mahdi’ is leading Muslims in battle with the ‘Anti-Christ’ (the Muslim belief is that this returning Jesus will enter the conflict on the side of the Islamic ‘caliphate’). And where is this miraculous return prophesied to occur? Yes, you may have guessed it: in the beautiful and historic city of Damascus, the ancient capital of Syria – a city that ISIS/ISIL is fighting to seize from the Assad government as we speak.
Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe in any of these things, I’m simply shedding light on what *is* believed by a great many people and on how significant those beliefs and expectations are when trying to understand some of what is happening. Israel exists because groups of extremely powerful people and institutions think Biblical scripture is somehow a valid basis for modern nation-building and international Geo-politics. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant exists because extremely powerful people and institutions have supported and funded gang-members, criminals, mercenaries, jihadists and terrorists who think centuries-old Islamic prophecies (not even rooted in The Koran) are somehow a fair basis for mass murder, ‘caliphate’-building and sectarian warfare.
I somewhat covered this point in this post about the sectarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, but also partly about Geo-political Zionism; specifically how right-wing (and mostly American) Christian Zionism is obsessed with ‘End Times’ fever and ‘the Rapture’ (completely ignoring the fact that the Book of Revelations had nothing to do with events two-thousands years in the future, but was a commentary on contemporary 1st century affairs in the Jewish/Roman world). This obsession may have somewhat informed the Neo-Con obsession with Biblical ‘Babylon’ (modern Iraq), but is also one of the chief reasons Israel is regarded as inviolable and beyond reproach: not because it is ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ as we’re repeatedly told, but because it fulfills Jewish religious expectations and simultaneously plays into Christian end-times expectations too.
In a horrendously perverse way, the criminal, terrorist enterprise that is ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ may be argued to have about as much ‘legitimacy’ as the State of Israel does: bear in mind that we’re looking at Israel right now as an established nation that has existed for some 70 years or so, but if we look at some of the turmoil, outcry and ‘birth pains’ that surrounded the original imposition of the Israeli state in Palestine in the early twentieth century, I tend to wonder if 70 years from now the fake, misguided ‘state’ that the psychopathic jihadists are illegally carving out in Syria and Iraq will be an established, ‘protected’ state too; on future maps, right next to the imposed ‘Jewish homeland’ in former Palestine will we be looking at an imposed ‘Islamic homeland’ in what was formerly a multi-cultural Syria and Iraq?
With every fiber of my being, I would hope not. But if there’s one thing I know it’s that people are really stupid and that many of the people guiding and determining the Geo-political fabric of the world should be locked up in mental institutions along with their scriptures. As for the mysterious Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whether he is or isn’t a Mossad agent or whether he even *exists*, he is probably irrelevant by now anyway, as in the 10 months or so since his ‘caliphate’ was announced, the ‘brand’ and the reach of ISIS/ISIL has grown so much that it basically doesn’t need him in order to continue.