News / Middle East

    US Has $10M Bounty on ISIL Leader It Previously Held

    Image taken from recently released video shows man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIL's reclusive leader, making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the center of Iraq's second city, Mosul July 5, 2014.
    Image taken from recently released video shows man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIL's reclusive leader, making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the center of Iraq's second city, Mosul July 5, 2014.
    VOA News

    For nearly three years the United States has had a $10 million bounty on the man who has emerged as the leader of Islamic insurgents, even though American authorities had him in custody during the U.S. war in Iraq.

    U.S. military authorities captured the man known by his nom de guerre, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in 2005, and held him for four years at Camp Bucca, detention center the U.S. was operating in southern Iraq.

    But as the United States wound down combat operations in Iraq, former President George W. Bush signed an agreement turning over all detainees to the Iraqis, who released Baghdadi in 2010.

    That year Baghdadi assumed leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group that has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

    ISIL poses a great threat to the Baghdad government as the militants seek to impose a Sunni Islam caliphate across the Middle East.

    The U.S. officially designated Baghdadi a terrorist in 2011 and offered the $10 million reward for his capture or killing.

    Baghdadi's background

    Baghdadi is believed to have been born in Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971, with the name Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai.

    He obtained a doctoral degree in Islamic studies and history at an Islamist university in Baghdad, perhaps accounting for why several of his aliases include the title "Dr."

    Some news accounts say he was a cleric in a mosque at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and possibly already a militant jihadist during the rule of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader toppled by the U.S. and eventually executed.  The circumstances of Baghdadi's apprehension by the U.S. are not publicly known, but some analysts say he may have been radicalized while held by the U.S.

    He has rarely been seen in public, but a video was posted Saturday on radical Islamist websites purporting to show him giving a sermon Friday at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city captured last month by the ISIL insurgents.

    He appealed to his followers to help him if he is right, and put him "on the right path" if he is wrong.

    "It is a burden to accept this empowerment to be in charge of you. I am not better than you or more virtuous than you," Baghdadi said. "If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God."

    Baghdadi has declared an Islamic "caliphate" in northern Iraq and Syria, calling on the world's Muslims to emigrate there and take up arms.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: kenny from: chicago
    July 07, 2014 12:05 PM
    So Obama released another criminal. That is what they do in Chicago and Illinois. Obama Democrats let the killers out. I guess they get paid well. That is the Chicago Way.
    In Response

    by: EG
    July 07, 2014 4:49 PM
    Hey genius, did you read the part of the article where it said that George W Bush signed the the guy over to Iraq, and then they released him? Guessing not by the OP.

    by: Careless from: Moon
    July 07, 2014 7:38 AM
    So the US had this guy, then let him go, and now offers 10 million for his head. From were these 10 million coming from ? Hope not from taxpayers money
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    July 07, 2014 9:49 AM
    We are borrowing from china To pay for this idiot and pay for afghisstan

    by: al from: IRAN
    July 07, 2014 4:51 AM
    Oh Gee Wee, has good old uncle Sam been busy preparing another Ben Laden ?

    by: Johnny Beacham
    July 07, 2014 3:44 AM
    10 Million more dollars for nothing America has a military that is already funded you it.Eastern Syria an Iraq should be lite up like Japan was from Air an Sea no ground troops an hit from every direction while these terrorist are mainly in this area.Just think if we Bombed them 30 days straight it would be over why keep talking it gets you no were at all.Bombs draw respect something America has fail short on for nearly 6 years now.We must show strenght regardless the cost.

    by: Anonymous
    July 07, 2014 12:10 AM
    the american government does not have a good track record with paying on bounties.

    by: Mudabber from: Pakistan
    July 06, 2014 10:43 PM
    Ok fine. A similar bounty must also be put on the heads of genetic liars duo Bush's & Blair's for initiating all that mess after blaming Iraq for having WMD's those never exited?

    by: anolesman
    July 06, 2014 10:02 PM
    You never know what you have till you miss it. Oh well maybe next time around. Let us hope there is a next time.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 06, 2014 7:52 PM
    THE WISE MAN said it?.... You'd think that the US and Iraq Intelligence Services, would've had enough intelligence to know, that the easiest and safest way to defeat the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army, was to just destroy and bomb all the gas stations, fuel trucks, and bridges, in the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army territories they control, to cut off all the fuel supplies for all their pickup trucks, wouldn't you?....

    The al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army has captured thousands of square miles of Iraq and Syria, (and they need millions of gallons of gas), and if you cut the supply of gas to the (ISIL) army, would come to a complete stop, and the dreams of the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) Caliphate, will die and rust, in the sands of Iraq and Syria, and history...... It's guaranteed !!!

    PS;... The gas stations and fuel trucks are soft military targets, and very few Iraq troop lives would be lost, (and there isn't any need to attack and fight the (ISIL) army in combat), if you just deny them gasoline..... WHY can't the US and Iraq Intelligence Services (see) this?..... (Without gas, the (ISIL) army will stop when it's gas runs out).... won't it?

    by: Joe Assi from: America
    July 06, 2014 7:49 PM
    only way I will do it is if Barack Obama is at my house on Thursday I'm free on Thursday! Let him bring the Secret Service they are very familiar with my home! Let's see how bad you want Abu Bakher ! I'm free Friday also! If you want it bad enough you will make it happen!

    by: John from: Firefox
    July 06, 2014 7:47 PM
    Careful, If you help us capture him, we will let everyone know you helped us, and if they capture you your on your own, and you forfeit any reward just like we did Bin Ladens informant That guy is still locked up for helping us.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 06, 2014 9:20 PM
    Hey John, If an American helps a foreign government in the US without notifying the US government, you will be working with a foreign government and (committing espionage) against the USA... (LOOK IT UP).... That Pakistan doctor knew he was working for a foreign government, and (committing espionage) against his own government, (and he did it for the money, not for his own government), didn't he?

    IF, the Pakistan doctor had told his government what the US wanted him to do, the Pakistani police could've just knocked on the (1) door to the Bin Laden compound and arrested him, or Bin Laden would have committed suicide, isn't that true?

    AND the US would have saved billions of dollars... (if only), they'd notified the Pakistan police what the Pakistani doctor had discovered.... (then), the US wouldn't have had to send (30) Navy Seals in (2) armored stealth attack helicopters, (armed to the teeth with full body armor), with (2) more attack helicopters standing by, and a complete US navy aircraft carrier task force, with a full complement of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft standing by, and (2) stealth fighter planes, and (2) killer drones flying overhead.... to kill (1) old armed servant and his old "unarmed" wife... and then kill the "unarmed" (14 year old) teenage Bin Laden son, and then, finally killing that "unarmed" sick and dying old man Bin Laden...... (It's rumored, that Obama and Biden compared these (30) Navy Seal killings of the sick and dying old Bin Laden, with the (300) Spartan battle with a million Persians at Thermopylae)...
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora