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Tipsheet

Baghdadi: The Caliphate Has Expanded

It turns out Baghdadi isn’t dead after all. Rumors surfaced earlier this month that the leader of the Islamic State had been killed in an airstrike, but a newly released audio recording proves otherwise.

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In the 17-minute speech, Baghdadi belittled Obama’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, vowed to continue the fight, and announced plans to expand the caliphate beyond Iraq and Syria.

“Here is Obama, who has ordered the deployment of 1,500 additional soldiers under the claim that they are advisers because the crusaders’ airstrikes and constant bombardment — day and night — upon the position of the Islamic State have not prevented its advance, nor weakened its resolve,” Baghdadi said in the audiotape. “America and its allies are terrified, weak, and powerless.”

Baghdadi also vowed to expand the Islamic State into Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia after jihadists in those countries pledged their allegiance to him. But as The Long War Journal points out, many of those who did so aren’t exactly big players in the jihadist movement.

On Nov. 10, jihadists in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen swore allegiance to Baghdadi and the Islamic State's caliphate. In the newly-released audio recording, Baghdadi accepts their oaths of allegiance and praises the jihadists who made them. […]

The swearing of bayat (oath of allegiance) from jihadists in several countries on Nov. 10 was, therefore, intended to legitimize the Islamic State's right to rule over the jihadists' affairs within those nations. Long established jihadist groups operating in those countries, including al Qaeda's official branches, obviously do not agree, as they have not sworn allegiance to Baghdadi.

Indeed, in three of the five cases (Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen), the announcements of allegiance to Baghdadi came from unidentified jihadists who do not represent any well-known jihadist groups. In Algeria, the announcement came from a group of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) veterans who have broken away from their parent organization and are now known as Jund al Khilafa. The Algerian-based jihadists had already sworn allegiance to Baghdadi earlier this year.

The announcement from Egypt was made by an anonymous jihadist representing a faction of Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (ABM), or Ansar Jerusalem, in the Sinai.

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"O soldiers of the Islamic State, continue to harvest the soldiers," Baghdadi said in conclusion. "Erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere. Light the Earth with fire."

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