President Barack Obama and his administration have placed a $10 million bounty on the head of the alleged terrorist leader of an Islamist organization that is waging jihad in the Arab countries of Syria and Iraq, according to the U.S. State Department on Wednesday.
The State Department said that the United States will pay the reward for information on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a/k/a Abu Du’a, the top leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, sometimes called the Islamic State of the Levant, a group that has successfully invaded several cities and provinces in both Iraq and Syria.
The reward originally was offered for al-Baghdadi's in October 2011, when his group was still called al-Qaida in Iraq (AQII). However the State Department officials wanted to confirm that the reward for the terrorist leader remains active. The information the Obama administration is seeking should lead to al-Baghdadi's location and arrest, the department spokesperson said in response to an inquiry by the Examiner on Wednesday.
Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have been invading and holding major cities and strategic locations in northern and western Iraq since early June 2014. The ISIS declared on June 29 the establishment of an independent caliphate in areas that straddle the Syrian and Iraqi border region and al-Baghdadi now holds the title of caliph.
After declaring itself an independent Islamic nation the group changed its name to simply the "Islamic State," although so far the United Nations and individual countries have not "recognized" the occupied territories as a bona fide independent country.
In a video clip posted on the Internet on Saturday, al-Baghdadi is seen and heard appealing for aid and advice on his new caliphate.
"I became your leader, though I am not the best of you, so if you see me right, assist me," al-Baghdadi said on the videotape. "If you see me wrong, advise me and put me on the right path, and obey me as long as I obey God with you."
After all but abandoning Iraq, President Obama's Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been pushing for a more "inclusive " government in Baghdad since the Shi'ite Muslims have taken total control of the government which angered members of their rival Muslim sect, the Sunnis. The warring terrorists in both Iraq and Syria are Sunnis.