So it’s official–they are dead
Al-Masri and al-Baghdadi are dead.
I think it speaks volumes that so many weren’t taking official or unofficial claims from the US or Iraq governments on face value until confirmation by ISI.
There is a real credibility problem with this type of reporting, caused not least by the proclivity of multiple governments to engage in premature chest beating. This is driven, I guess, in large part by the fact that showing audiences you’re winning is difficult–not only because of the nature of the conflict but also audience news fatigue. Of course there’s often a verification problem, but what seems to be more problematic is the fact many of these governments–including the US– tend to leak information like a bucket with no bottom and before said information has been confirmed, which returns us to the chest beating aspect of it all.
Thus we arrive at situations like this, when not many of us believe information relating to taking out top figures until we hear it from the other side. And so it comes to be that media outfits of terrorist groups are at times operating with more credibility than the governments they are fighting. Given the history of this problem throughout earlier counter terrorism campaigns it makes one wonder how much has really been learnt.
Anyway, little rant is over.
I notice the ISI’s Shariah judge made the announcement, which is how I thought this would play out. Beyond that I don’t have much else to add since I covered the implications in my earlier post. That no new leader was mentioned is interesting, but not suprising. They will not want to be attracting excess attention as they try to reconstitute command and control. But I’d wager for now that authority lies with the Shariah judge and council more generally.
And lastly, just my snide little comment about the two leaders being in the same place. What terrorist group worth their weight in salt has their two main leaders in the same place? Numpties. That’s extremely poor opsec. I don’t think OBL and AZ are in the same place but I’ll bet after seeing this they won’t be meeting up any time soon .
Ok back to the thesis for me.