Rise to Peace blog

Who is the New Leader of ISIS?

In a prerecorded voice clip posted online, ISIS declared Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi as its new head. This announcement was made weeks after the death of Abu-Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi, back in March. Despite the fact that they have similar sounding names, they are not thought to be connected. The moniker “Al-Qurayshi” originated from the Quraish, the clan of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, and is used as a component of an IS leader’s nom de guerre. The interim leader of ISIS is the brother of the deceased former caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as announced via two Iraqi police sources and one Western security source.

The new leader’s background is shrouded in mystery, but he comes from a small group of secretive, combative Iraqi jihadists who surfaced amid the US invasion in 2003. So, despite the fact that little is known about him, one thing is certain, he knows the narrative and the roots of all roots. As a result, he risks becoming as vicious as his brother, Al-Baghdadi, who was unafraid to carry out assaults as part of a worldwide terrorism network. He may, however, be a strategic one, with responsibilities such as ISIS recruitment planning and strengthening.

According to Iraqi security personnel, the new leader’s real name is Juma Awad al-Badri. Badri is an extremist who embraced Salafi jihadist groups in 2003 and is believed to have preceded Baghdadi as a close associate and Islamic law consultant. According to the report by Iraqi officials, Badri has been the director of the Islamic State’s Central Committee for a significant period of time.  This leadership group directs strategy and determines inheritance when a leader is captured or killed. It simply signifies that, after lurking in the shadows for years, he is still capable of authorizing and assuredly leading a pack. On the other hand, Iraqi security authorities and analysts have stated that, even if Badri does not have the customary strong personality, he may still carry out assaults in the most likely manner.

The Cost of Decapitation

Terrorist organizations may be forced to reallocate resources away from operational planning and more towards support and safety as a result of decapitation. Leaders being killed and captured can increase anxiety among remaining or new terrorist organization leaders, as can deliberate efforts to uncover moles inside the organization and civilian informants, because they rely on complicated intelligence. The new leader will also need to take time to study the bureaucracy and hierarchy of the organization. Aside from that, their presence will fade away in a few moments as they must rely on their new leader’s new approach. Due to their constant shifts and augments, milder attacks may occur, such as direct assaults rather than explosions. Terrorists’ target choices may be shifted towards civilians or other innocent bystanders.

Thus, according to a study on the influence and efficiency of targeted killings and decapitation attacks, as well as the ISIS terrorist attack data examined in this context, Al-Qurayshi’s death may have limited short-term effects on ISIS’s functionality and victimization, but it is highly improbable to have long-term detrimental impacts.

Furthermore, ISIS’s ability to adapt is on par with its use of technology and social media. This gives the group more clout in recruiting new members and increasing its financial capabilities. Ultimately, the more a terrorist organization performs like a bureaucrat, the less likely it is to resist management changes and have smooth transitions. To summarize, it is preferable to be more inquisitive about this new leader and to regard him as a hard-threat rather than a soft-threat because, at the end of the day, he is and always will be competent at leading a team.


Kristian N. Rivera, Counter-Terrorism Research Fellow

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