September 18, 2015 | Quote
One of ISIS’ Commanders Was a ‘Star Pupil’ of US-special Forces Training In the Country of Georgia
Aside from ISIS' 'caliph' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Georgian ex-commando Omar al-Shishani might be the most recognizable and popular of the powerful militant group's leaders.
Sporting a recognizable red beard and happy to pose for photos, Shishani has acted as a very public face for some of ISIS' most notorious successes.
It was Shishani who posed with the stolen US Humvees that ISIS had seized from Mosul and brought back into Syria.
And it was Shishani who had led successful ISIS military campaigns throughout Syria as well as a blitz through western Iraq that put the group within 100 miles of Baghdad.
Shishani ultimately fell out of favor with the Georgian military and was arrested for 15 months for illegally harboring weapons. In 2012, after serving his sentence, Shishani fled Georgia and went to Syria via Turkey.
However, his history of asymmetrical fighting against the Russians in the Caucasus, both before and after having received American training, has played a key role in defining Shishani's military and command style.
“Shishani is somewhat unique among ISIS’s commanders. Shishani is fighting like an insurgent,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Musings on Iraq. “He’s using a complex style in Anbar [province in western Iraq], relying on a very small force … Shishani’s forces emphasize speed and agility.”
“They’ll hit multiple targets on the same day, and engage in harassing attacks to try to draw out the enemy, the Iraqi Security Forces or the Sahwa [Sunni tribes aligned against ISIS in Iraq]. Then he loves trapping the people he’s able to draw out that are in pursuit of him.”
Read the full article here.