The Daily Telegraph reports: Documents seized from the house of a member of the Islamic State in a raid by the Iraqi military have revealed, for the first time and in remarkable detail, the leadership structure of this secretive organisation.
Whilst al-Baghdadi’s predecessors, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – who led the group when it was known as ISI – reportedly kept power very centralised, the new jihadist leader has assigned deputies to manage everything from military stores and roadside bomb attacks to the finances of the organisation.
“I describe Baghdadi as a shepherd, and his deputies are the dogs who heard the sheep [the Islamic State’s members],” said Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst who had access to the documents. “The strength of the shepherd comes from his dogs.”
The information, which was found on memory sticks taken from the home of Abu Abdul Rahman al-Bilawi, al-Baghdadi’s military chief of staff for Iraqi territory, who was killed in the military raid, identified two key deputies who are charged with managing terrain controlled by the Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq respectively.
Unlike al-Baghdadi both of these men formerly held senior roles in the Iraqi military and are seasoned in battle.
Abu Ali al-Anbari, who is charged with managing operations in the parts of Syria controlled by the Islamic State, was a major general in the Iraqi military under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, Mr Hashimi said. He’s said to hail from the northern Iraqi province of Mosul.
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani was a lieutenant colonel in the Iraqi military’s intelligence core under and also spent time as a special forces officer.
“These men the reasons behind the strength of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They are the key people who keep him in power,” said Mr Hashimi.
Mr Hashimi claimed that there are now 25,000 men in Iraqi who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
This figure was also, separately, quoted to the Telegraph by a senior ranking member of the Iraqi military, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mr Hashimi said: “Each of these men have a job within the organisation, a geographical area in which they must work, and a monthly salary.”
There are reportedly approximately 1000 medium and top level field commanders, who all have technical, military and security experience.
Salaries range from $300 to $2000 per month depending on the job post.