Abu Nabil al-Anbari
Abu Nabil al-Anbari
Of all Islamic State [IS] affiliates abroad, the Libyan 'provinces' are by far the most successful. Despite being driven out of the city of Derna in the eastern Cyrenaica region last year, IS has been able to consolidate control over the city of Sirte in the Tripolitania region further west along the Mediterranean coastline, setting up an administration akin to its bureaucracy in Syria and Iraq with its various government departments. For instance, Sirte has a fully functioning IS court, dealing with issues of ratifying transactions, marriage contracts and authorizing confiscations. In addition, the Diwan al-Da'wa wa al-Masajid (Da'wa and Mosques Department) organizes da'wa meetings to promote religious outreach to the local population and sets timings for the call to prayer at the mosques.
Concern has been raised that Libya is being used as a "fallback" option in case the IS project collapses in Iraq and Syria. I do not find this interpretation plausible, as IS had officially declared provinces in Libya back in November 2014 and had likely been building links well before then: that is, long before any major setbacks had occurred for IS in Iraq and Syria. In any case, it is clear that many personnel from Syria and Iraq have moved to Libya as part of the expansion efforts- exporting operatives being one of the functions in particular of the elite Jaysh al-Khilafa. One of the dispatched persons was the senior figure Abu Nabil al-Anbari, who was declared to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in November 2015. He was also known by other kunyas including Abu al-Mughira al-Qahtani. The eulogy for him here [H/T: Daniele Raineri & Kevin Jackson] confirms the fact of his death, which had been disputed at the time. The most notable point here is that he was apparently IS' provincial governor for Salah al-Din province in central-northern Iraq at one point (where the cities of Tikrit, Samarra and Baiji are located).
Words in eulogy to al-Nabil [the noble one]/Abu al-Mughira al-Qahtani
Whenever news reaches you of a special mujahid of the wars and deaths, then he has become a shackled prisoner, but then his steadfastness is stronger in firmness than the bonds of iron, then on being freed he has chosen the same path that he undertook the first time: attack and ferocity, as there are battles and the odour of death.
Then he fell silent, and abandoned to his sword the embellished story that is of no value but for the sprinkling of blood and chopping off heads.
Then is the [true] greatness of his impact
The bloodshed that he caused the Rafidites [Shi'a], apostates and Crusaders in Iraq did not suffice for him. He mounted the excellence of death that took him to the enemies of his Lord in Libya, where evil projects were competing with each other. There he planted the spear of the Caliphate on that fine land, and raised the banner of the Islamic State on high above the heaps of the corrupt projects.
Whenever you hear about all that, your reliance is here, for you are in the presence of the life of the amir Abu al-Mughira al-Qahtani.
That is the noble, brilliant, courageous and serious man, whom America and its allies refused to encounter on the ground through their agents. So they resorted to their usual strategy whenever they are fearful and cowardly: they bombed him from on high, so he died and is now on high [i.e. in Heaven].
That is Abu al-Mughira, or call him Abu Yazan al-Humairi if you like- this being the kunya that he used to support our state from Abu Ghraib prison. Yes, Abu Ghraib prison. For this bird of prey graduated from the Abu Ghraib school, and he experienced the joy of his liberation from it, for he was among those freed from it, despite the stranglehold that he experienced in Abu Ghraib, he nonetheless underwent all that suffering in the path of supporting our state.
He joined the jihad from the beginning of the American occupation, and he continued to fight the enemies of God until he was imprisoned in Baghdad in 2008. There he bared the chest of steadfastness in the face of the tides of affliction in his imprisonment, until God freed him after around a year and a half. Then he returned again to the fields of battle, love for which he gave his heart to drink.
But not much time passed before he was imprisoned again, for so it was between jihad, fighting and imprisonment until the matter was set upon him in Abu Ghraib- of evil renown: until the promised day came, the day of the breaking of the walls and freeing of the prisoners [July 2013: Abu Ghraib prison break by ISIS], but he was the unique one among those freed.
He got out as a visiting lion just as he entered, steadfastness and hide before the storms of serious damages, heading immediately to the field of conflict. The imprisonment only increased him in power, steadfastness and perseverance...then he was later appointed wali [provincial governor] of Salah al-Din, and before that he was a wali of one of the wilayas [IS provinces].
You showed the epic battles of Salah al-Din on the day of conquest, you showed the leader of the battle of Samarra [events in May-June 2014]. This is the same Abu al-Mughira, leader of those wars and exploits.
Then, after the Dawla [IS] considered expanding to Libya, it dispatched its knight and shining sword Abu al-Mughira, in order to establish the edifice of the Caliphate there, and the nucleus of the army of those to conquer Rome and Europe. He went there and placed the corners and foundations. Then he marched with his soldiers with all firmness and constancy to expand left and right, that the religion should be wholly of God.
That in short is Abu al-Mughira, jihad then imprisonment, then jihad, campaigns and imprisonment, then jihad, expansion, establishment and consolidation of foundations, then God endowed him with what he hoped for and was striving for: being killed in His path as we reckon it.
Come let us conclude here:
He participated in establishing the jihad in Bilad al-Rafidayn [Iraq], he participated in establishing the Islamic State, he participated in expanding the Islamic State, in establishing the Caliphate. And he led its expansion to North Africa.
May God have mercy on you, oh unique, noble one [NB: Arabic 'al-Nabil'], noble one who did not covet for yourself. You made noble land that you gave to drink from your blood, and al-Karim [God] has made you noble in that you should stand at the side of those who established the great epic battles and a Caliphate on the Prophetic Methodology. And so peace, my friend, upon your soul among those who abide eternally [in Heaven].
Written by Ibn al-Sadiqa.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum's Jihad Intel project.