Abu Luqman

Syrian national Ali Musa al-Shawakh, a.k.a. Abu Luqman, was a U.S.-, EU-, and U.N.-designated terrorist and ISIS’s former governor of Raqqa, Syria.“QDi.384Ali Musa al-Shawakh,” United Nations Security Council, February 29, 2016, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/ali-musa-al-shawakh;
“Counter Terrorism Designations,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 29, 2015, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20150929.aspx.
Abu Luqman held a variety of positions in the group. In 2014, he served as the ISIS-appointed governor of Aleppo, as well as the senior security official for Syria. In these roles, he reportedly helped to appoint ISIS leadership and oversee the detention of foreign hostages.“QDi.384Ali Musa al-Shawakh,” United Nations Security Council, February 29, 2016, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/ali-musa-al-shawakh;
“Treasury Sanctions Major Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Leaders, Financial Figures, Facilitators, and Supporters,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 29, 2015, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0188.aspx;
“COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2016/307,” EUR-Lex, March 3, 2016, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32016R0307.
In early 2015, Abu Luqman reportedly served as a member of ISIS’s governance council, chaired by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and was appointed governor of Raqqa that summer.“QDi.384Ali Musa al-Shawakh,” United Nations Security Council, February 29, 2016, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/ali-musa-al-shawakh. In early March 2017, Abu Luqman was reportedly promoted to wali (director) of emni (security and intelligence services) in Syria and Iraq.Asaad H. Almohammad and Anne Speckhard, “Abu Luqman – Father of the ISIS Emni: Its Organizational Structure, Current Leadership and Clues to its Inner Workings in Syria & Iraq,” International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, April 12, 2017, http://www.icsve.org/research-reports/abu-luqman-father-of-the-isis-emni-its-organizational-structure-current-leadership-and-clues-to-its-inner-workings-in-syria-iraq/. Abu Luqman was reportedly killed in Syria by an Iraqi airstrike on April 23, 2018.Mohammed Ebraheem, “Iraqi Warplanes Kill Islamic State’s Second-in-Command in Syria,” Iraqi News, April 23, 2018, https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraqi-warplanes-kill-islamic-states-second-in-command-in-syria/; Natalie Goldberg, “Abu Luqman Al-Suri, ISIS Second In Command Killed In Airstrikes in Syria,” Strategic Intelligence Service, April 24, 2018, https://intelligencebriefs.com/abu-luqman-al-suri-isis-second-in-command-killed-in-airstrikes-in-syria/.

Abu Luqman was born in Sahl village in Raqqa province, Syria, in 1973. He was believed to hold a law degree. In 2002, Abu Luqman entered his mandatory military service as a first lieutenant in the Syrian Military Intelligence.Asaad H. Almohammad and Anne Speckhard, “Abu Luqman – Father of the ISIS Emni: Its Organizational Structure, Current Leadership and Clues to its Inner Workings in Syria & Iraq,” International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, April 12, 2017, http://www.icsve.org/research-reports/abu-luqman-father-of-the-isis-emni-its-organizational-structure-current-leadership-and-clues-to-its-inner-workings-in-syria-iraq/. In 2005, he returned to Sahl, Raqqa, to teach Arabic and slowly radicalized. In 2010, the Syrian regime arrested and detained Abu Luqman in the infamous Sednaya Prison on charges of sedition linked to his sympathy for al-Qaeda in Iraq.Asaad H. Almohammad and Anne Speckhard, “Abu Luqman – Father of the ISIS Emni: Its Organizational Structure, Current Leadership and Clues to its Inner Workings in Syria & Iraq,” International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, April 12, 2017, http://www.icsve.org/research-reports/abu-luqman-father-of-the-isis-emni-its-organizational-structure-current-leadership-and-clues-to-its-inner-workings-in-syria-iraq/. Abu Luqman was one of many jihadists released from prison as part of an amnesty program carried out by the Bashar al-Assad regime at the beginning of the Syrian rebellion.Charles Lister, “Islamic State Senior Leadership: Who’s Who,” Brookings Institute, October 20, 2014, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/en_whos_who.pdf;
Jamie Dettmer, “Has ISIS Lost Its Head? Power Struggle Erupts with Al-Baghdadi Seriously Wounded,” Daily Beast, May 10, 2015, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/10/has-isis-lost-its-head-power-struggle-erupts-with-al-baghdadi-partially-paralyzed.html;
Eric Schmitt, Rukmini Callimachi, and Anne Bernard, “Spokesman’s Death Will Have Islamic State Turning to Its ‘Deep Bench,’” New York Times, August 31, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/01/world/middleeast/syria-isis-adnani.html.
As a senior member of ISIS, Abu Luqman reportedly oversaw the group’s oil trade, deciding who receives the stolen fuel.Denoit Faucon and Ayla Albayrak, “Islamic State Funds Push Into Syria and Iraq With Labyrinthine Oil-Smuggling Operation,” Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2014, http://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-state-funds-push-into-syria-and-iraq-with-labyrinthine-oil-smuggling-operation-1410826325. According to ISIS defectors speaking in mid-2015, Abu Luqman was on the shortlist to become deputy to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.Jamie Detmer, “Has ISIS Lost its Head? Power Struggle Erupts with al-Baghdadi Seriously Wounded,” Daily Beast, May 5, 2015, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/10/has-isis-lost-its-head-power-struggle-erupts-with-al-baghdadi-partially-paralyzed.html. In August 2016, following ISIS’s announcement of the death of its spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, Western media suggested that Abu Luqman might become Adnani’s successor.Eric Schmitt, Rukmini Callimachi, and Anne Bernard, “Spokesman’s Death Will Have Islamic State Turning to Its ‘Deep Bench,’” New York Times, August 31, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/01/world/middleeast/syria-isis-adnani.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur&_r=1. Some jihadists on social media speculated that Abu Luqman had killed Adnani as part of a struggle to succeed Baghdadi.Roula Khalaf, “End of the ISIS old guard signals more danger ahead,” Financial Times, September 7, 2016, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1c781a38-743f-11e6-b60a-de4532d5ea35.html#axzz4K96THx5U. On September 12, 2016, however, the Pentagon confirmed that it had targeted and killed Adnani in an August 30 airstrike.“Statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Strike Against ISIL Senior Leader,” Department of Defense, September 12, 2016, http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/941733/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-strike-against-isil-senio.

Abu Luqman has been reported killed on several occasions, including in 2013 and 2015. In 2015, Syrian press agency ARA News reported that ISIS had executed Abu Luqman after he had participated in an attempted coup against the terror group in Raqqa. These reports were never officially confirmed.“Islamic State executes prominent members who planned coup,” ARA News, February 2, 2015, http://aranews.net/2015/02/islamic-state-executes-prominent-members-planned-coup/. Abu Luqman was believed to operate out of Raqqa before the city was captured by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on October 17, 2017.“QDi.384Ali Musa al-Shawakh,” United Nations Security Council, February 29, 2016, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/ali-musa-al-shawakh. On April 23, 2018, Abu Luqman was reportedly killed in Syria by an Iraqi airstrike, according to an Iraqi intelligence source.Mohammed Ebraheem, “Iraqi Warplanes Kill Islamic State’s Second-in-Command in Syria,” Iraqi News, April 23, 2018, https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraqi-warplanes-kill-islamic-states-second-in-command-in-syria/; Natalie Goldberg, “Abu Luqman Al-Suri, ISIS Second In Command Killed In Airstrikes in Syria,” Strategic Intelligence Service, April 24, 2018, https://intelligencebriefs.com/abu-luqman-al-suri-isis-second-in-command-killed-in-airstrikes-in-syria/.

 
United States

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated “Ali Musa al-Shawakh” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 on September 29, 2015.“Treasury Sanctions Major Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Leaders, Financial Figures, Facilitators, and Supporters,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 29, 2015, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0188.aspx.

United Nations

The U.N. Security Council designated “Ali Musa al-Shawakh” as “associated with al-Qaeda for ‘participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support’ of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)” on February 29, 2016.“QDi.384Ali Musa al-Shawakh,” United Nations Security Council, February 29, 2016, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/ali-musa-al-shawakh; “Counter Terrorism Designations,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 29, 2015, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20150929.aspx.

European Union

The European Union added “Ali Musa al-Shawakh” to “Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with the Al Qaida network” on March 3, 2016.“COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2016/307 of 3 March 2016,” Official Journal of the European Union, March 3, 2017, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32016R0307.

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