Tags: America's Forum | Iran | ISIS/Islamic State | al-Baghdadi | ISIS | wife | Lebanon

Walid Phares: ISIS Leader's Wife Won't Have Much to Tell

By    |   Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:31 AM

The intelligence gleaned by the detention of a wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by the Lebanese army as the pair crossed from Syria more than a week ago may not be substantial, Middle East expert Walid Phares said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's "America’s Forum."

"It would be the case if it were the first lady in America or the first lady in France," Phares said. "It doesn't work like this for al-Baghdadi and the jihadists.

"Number one, she's a second wife. He may have up to four wives and maybe concubines. Number two, the possibility that she is, actually was, seeking medical attention is the highest," Phares said.

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"I've made phone calls into Lebanon, she was captured, arrested, at the Lebanese-Syrian border. We don't have real information about the motives yet, but to answer your questions . . . it will be a very important setback psychologically to many members of ISIS in terms of knowing they cannot cross many borders anymore, and that is true.

"See, the difference with bin Laden is that bin Laden was in hiding," he said. "This guy, Baghdadi, is not in hiding.

"So, most likely she will be interrogated, she's an Iraqi citizen, and the Lebanese army, I guess, will interrogate her and get as much information and share this information with the U.S."

Reports by Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the Iranian air force is bombing ISIS targets inside Iraqi territory is a cause for concern on a couple of fronts, according to Phares.

"In the beginning of the operation against ISIS, we were told here by our government and by European governments that Iran's air force should not intervene in Iraq, period, anywhere in Iraq," he said.

"Iranian intervention could take place if ISIS goes into Iraq. But air force, the Iranian air force, that would be very serious.

"Why? Because this would intimidate and create a frustration among our Arab allies. Remember, we have the Saudis, we have the UAE, we have Bahrain, we have Jordan, and we will have probably the Egyptians in the future — to allow Iranians to move in the air space, it would be dangerous.

"Second, if the Iranians have done it on their own, it means that we don't have the control over the coordination with the Iraqi government, because it would take the Iraqis to accept Iranian air force, air fighters, or bombers in this case to intervene.

"So this is a red flag. I would consider it very serious."

In other words, asked host J.D. Hayworth, Iranians using planes above Iraq implies Iraqi permission or an Iranian initiative?

"Number one, our Arab Sunni allies, the moderates, the ones who are helping us financing the operation against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, they are on the opposite side," Phares said. "This would mean to them that they may find themselves in the remote position from us. We may lose them, in other words. So that's one.

"Number two, the Sunni moderates ... we are seeking their alliance against ISIS. If they see the area bombed by the Iranians, they will not make the distinction between ISIS and Sunnis. So that would be negative.

Washington should tell the Iraqis to tell the Iranians not to use air force over Iraq.

But, I have a little concern I'm going to share on the air right now," Phares said. "It may be that we have known about these things, it may be that because of the general agreement between us and the Iranians on the nuclear process, this is something that some parts of our government may have known."

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The intelligence gleaned by the detention of a wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by the Lebanese army may not be too substantial, Middle East expert Walid Phares said Tuesday on "America's Forum."
al-Baghdadi, ISIS, wife, Lebanon
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:31 AM
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