He is said to be mentally alert and able to issue orders, but his physical injuries are now prompting the so-called Islamic State’s governing Shura Council to make a final decision on a temporary stand-in leader who can move back and forth between front-lines in Syria and Iraq and is able to handle day-to-day leadership in the self-declared caliphate.
That leader will be, in effect, under al-Baghdadi, a super deputy to the caliph — in Arabic, na’ib al-malik, or viceroy. According to Islamic State defectors debriefed by opposition activists in neighboring Turkey, the election will pit two Iraqis and a Syrian against each other — all well-known figures within the terror army’s top leadership.
These sources say nine doctors to treat the infirm al-Baghdadi were also taken to Raqqa, including a senior physician from Mosul’s general hospital, but the entire al-Baghdadi caravan of attending medics, aides and body guards was split into separate convoys to avoid attracting attention from U.S. satellite surveillance and inviting a coalition airstrike or drone attack. At least one doctor didn’t know who his patient was when he arrived in Raqqa and was ordered brusquely to stop asking questions about the man’s identity.