Analysis: Why is ISIS’ Baghdadi targeting Saudi Arabia, Turkey?

Despite Baghdadi’s self-proclamations as the protector of the Sunnis, they were the majority of ISIS’s victims

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Riyadh – In a new audio recording, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on his ISIS followers to unleash attacks on Turkey and Saudi Arabia; the two countries considered to be the de-facto leaders for the Sunnis in the region.

Al-Baghdadi, who alleges that his militant group is the protector of Sunnis in Iraq, said: “Can’t you see Iraq is being cleansed of Sunnis. Sunnis have no option but the [ISIS] Caliphate State,” he said.

He also warned Iraqi Sunnis that Shiites are doing “everything possible” to take over Iraq.

However, despite Baghdadi’s self-proclamations as the protector of the Sunnis, Sunnis Muslims were the majority of ISIS’s victims since the establishment of his group’s so-called “Caliphate.”

ISIS, who never threatened Iran with a campaign of suicide attack, massacred about 1,000 members of Al-Shuaytat tribe in Syria’s mainly Sunni Deir al-Zor province. There are 1,800 Al- Shuaytat tribe’s members who are still unaccounted for.

ISIS militants committed crimes against several Sunni tribes in different Iraqi provinces: Nineveh, Salah el-Deen and Anbar. The last of which witnessed what could only be described as a mass cleansing.

ISIS violence has also forced more than a hundred thousand, including children and women, to flee their homes.

ISIS’s strengthened presence in Iraq has led to the formation of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU). PMU, which was initially launched as a volunteer militia force to aid the Iraqi Army against ISIS, is now a government-sanctions paramilitary units.

While the majority Shiite PMU is tactical and key in liberating Sunnis areas in Iraq, observers have criticized its formation and emergence, saying it would weaken the central command in Baghdad, also they described PMU as ideologically Shiite and not purely Iraqi national.

Baghdadi’s scathing criticism of Saudi Arabia and Turkey was aimed so, due to the fact that they are universally regarded as the major opponents to Iranian ambition and infiltration within the region.

*This article was originally published on AlArabiya.net.