Senior IS Leader Detained by Iraqi Forces

On October 11, 2021, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi claimed that Iraqi forces had captured Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi, a senior leader in the Islamic State and formerly a confidant of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It is unclear where this operation took place, although available information points to the capture taking place outside of sovereign Iraqi territory.

Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi

As previously mentioned, Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi is a senior leader of the Islamic State. During the height of the organizations power in 2015 and 2016, Sami oversaw the procurement and sale of illegal gas, oil, minerals, metals, and antiquities. As the US-led coalition began driving the Islamic States out of its positions in Syria and Iraq, Sami became a closely trusted confidant of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organizations leader. Following the death of Baghdadi, Jaburi has played a limited role in Islamic States operations throughout the Middle East.


Jaburi has been a major target of the United States, United Kingdom, and Iraq for over ten years. In August of 2016, at least one US Army Special Forces detachment (ODA) conducted a joint operation with Kurdish forces in the vicinity of Al-Qaim near the Iraqi-Syrian border in an attempt to capture of kill Jaburi. Although it was reported that Sami had been killed, it was soon clear that such reports were exaggerated.



Assessment

The capture of Muhammad al-Jaburi is a major victory in the fight against the Islamic State. Although IS still conducts attacks against Iraqi civilians and forces, there has been a noticeable decline in the amount of attacks across the country.


From a purely political perspective, the capture couldn't have come at a better time for Mustafa al-Kadhimi. On October 10, Iraq held its first elections since the resignation of Adel Abdul Mahdi. The electoral process, however, is the subject of significant scrutiny. Following the announcement that the election had seen the lowest turnout in Iraq’s history, Kadhimi has sought to draw attention to his government's successes in the security field.