In a new audio message, the leader of the Islamic State said that the U.S. is “stumbling in failure” because it is “unable to send ground forces to fight” ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was thought to be wounded or even killed in a recent U.S. airstrike. But, an audio recording has surfaced in which he references recent events such as President Obama’s decision to send and addition 1,500 military advisors to Iraq. This seems to point to him being alive, at the very least.
Multiple times throughout the speech, al-Baghdadi references the “failure” of the U.S. and coalition mission to destroy the marauding terrorist army. While directly referencing President Obama, al-Baghdadi claimed that due to the early failure of the mission, Obama would be forced to send ground troops.
“Soon, the Jews and the Crusaders will be forced to come down to the ground and send their ground forces to their deaths,” al-Baghdadi said.
The message also contained an announcement of groups of jihadists from other nations who have supposedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi himself.
“We give you good news by announcing the expansion of the Islamic State to new lands… Yemen, to Egypt, Libya, and Algeria.”
In a continuation of the edict set out when the Islamic State was established, al-Baghdadi declared the “nullification” of all other jihadist groups in the areas he claims the Islamic State is operating. Thomas Joscelyn of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies thinks this may rile tensions amongst the jihadist community, even as AP reports ISIS and Al-Qaeda may have reached an accord in Syria:
Regardless of what further action the United States takes in fighting ISIS, al-Baghdadi claims that his fighters will “never abandon fighting, even if only one soldier of them remained.” The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey estimated that it would take upwards of 80,000 ground troops to retake ISIS held territory in Iraq, alone.