How did al-Baghdadi’s wife become the most powerful woman in ISIS?

In 2019, US President Donald Trump announced the death of the leader of the terrorist organization ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a military operation carried out by US forces in northwest Syria. However, what many do not know is that al-Baghdadi’s wife, who was arrested months earlier, played a crucial role in revealing his whereabouts and plans.

Al-Baghdadi’s wife, named Asmaa Fawzi al-Qubaisi, disclosed details about her life with the leader of ISIS, how she became one of the strongest women in the organization, and the reasons that led her to cooperate with Turkish and American intelligence services.

Who is Asmaa Fawzi al-Qubaisi

Asmaa Fawzi al-Qubaisi is al-Baghdadi’s cousin and his second wife out of four. She was born in Iraq in 1985 and graduated from the College of Engineering at the University of Baghdad. In 2008, she married al-Baghdadi, who was then the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and moved with him to Syria after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011.

According to al-Qubaisi, her marriage to al-Baghdadi was not based on love but on familial and religious loyalty. She stated, “I respected him as a religious and political leader, and I believed in his vision to establish the Islamic caliphate. But there was no emotion or romance between us. He treated me as a submissive wife, and we had no real communication or dialogue.”

What was her role in ISIS?

Despite the absence of love between them, al-Qubaisi participated in decision-making and supervising military and administrative operations for ISIS alongside al-Baghdadi. She was nicknamed “Mother of the Caliphate” and wielded significant authority and influence within the organization, actively recruiting, training, and inciting women to join ISIS.

Al-Qubaisi stated, “I knew every detail of my husband’s life and plans, and I communicated with him through encrypted means. I assisted him in executing some important operations, such as kidnapping and killing foreign journalists, bombing mosques and churches, and organizing suicide attacks. I also taught women religious rulings, Sharia, and jihad, and prepared them for marriage to fighters, encouraging them to sacrifice themselves and their children for the sake of God.”

How was she arrested, and what did she tell investigators?

In June 2019, al-Qubaisi was arrested in the Turkish city of Hatay after entering Turkey with a forged passport. She was transferred to Ankara, where she was interrogated by Turkish and American intelligence. According to al-Qubayisi, she decided to cooperate with the investigators and provide valuable information about ISIS and its members and locations.

Al-Qubaisi stated, “I felt regret, fear, and hatred. I regretted everything I did and witnessed in terms of crimes, massacres, and injustice. I feared for my life and the lives of my children, whom I left in Syria. And I hated my husband, who betrayed me and betrayed Islam and Muslims. I decided to save myself and save the world from his evil. Therefore, I told the investigators everything I knew about al-Baghdadi and ISIS.”

Among the information provided by al-Qubaisi was details about al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts in the village of Barisha in northwest Syria and his communication methods with his aides and associates. This information aided US forces in identifying his identity and location, leading to the operation that resulted in his death in October 2019.

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