Summary of The Man Who Could Have Stopped the Islamic State

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How did the arrest of al-Qaeda operative Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi in 2006 help the spread of Islamic State’s brand of jihad? In this compelling article, Facebook counterterrorism policy manager Brian Fishman charts Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi’s history with ISIS founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, explains how the split between al-Qaeda and its former ally developed, and explores the question of how Abd al-Hadi’s arrest may have helped to enable ISIS’s proliferation. getAbstract recommends this article to those with an interest in the roots of contemporary Middle Eastern politics.

About the Author

Brian Fishman is lead policy manager of counterterrorism at Facebook and the author of The Master Plan: ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Jihadi Strategy for Final Victory.



Acting on an anonymous tip, Turkish police arrested a man calling himself Muhammet Reza Reanjbar Rezaei on October 16, 2006. The man, whom the CIA knew as Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, was a former Iraqi soldier who helped shape Al-Qaeda’s military strategy in Iraq during the 1990s and served as “al-Qaeda’s commander for northern Afghanistan” after the attacks of September 11, 2001. When Turkish police stopped him, Abd al-Hadi was on his way to meet al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) leader – and “the Jordanian godfather of ISIS” – Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Abd al-Hadi and Zarqawi had a long ...

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