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

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora