ISIS has taken a number of blows recently, but the airstrike on Al-Adnani will have a major impact on the organization’s ability to execute on its strategy.
Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman and key strategist of ISIS, was targeted in the town of Al-Bab and killed by a US-led airstrike according to the Pentagon. The precision strike was delivered after they spent 8 hours circling with an aircraft above the region.
— الرقة تذبح بصمت (@Raqqa_SL) August 30, 2016
- Al-Adnani was one of ISIS’ founding members and had a large following.
- At the time of his death he had a $5M bounty on his head by the US government.
- As spokesman, he was the one who formally declared the creation of the caliphate in Syria and Iraq under Al-Baghdadi in June of 2014.
- Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Al-Adnani was the “principal architect of Isil’s external operations.”
- Al-Adnani was exactly that, since for the past two years he has been calling for lone wolf attacks against civilians across Europe and other Western democracies.
- His messages proved effective, and led to several attacks: this year during Ramadan, the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, and the suicide bombing in Baghdad.
- The Pentagon spokesman also said he had also “co-ordinated the movement of Isil fighters” and actively recruited new members.
The Pentagon is still “assessing the results of the strike,” but Al-Adnani’s death will be marked as a major blow to ISIS.
Al-Adnani, an extremely effective spokesperson, was the most important part of ISIS’ most powerful asset: their propaganda machine.
ISIS can easily replace him, but they won’t be able to replace his knowledge of military strategy and how to craft effective rhetoric.