The Lebanese army has detained one wife and daughter of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ten days ago, according to Arabic media. She was a hairdresser and she was using a false passport. The leader of the Islamic State’s wife, Sana al-Dulaimi, a woman from a quite powerful tribe in Iraq, was crossing from Syria about a week and a half ago. The detainment seems like a move to put pressure on the Islamist. The arrest was mostly to apply pressure in negotiations to secure the release of 27 members of the Lebanese security forces.
This type of negotiating strategy is clearly controversial, but I wonder how often other countries engage in the same type of gameplay? John Kerry dismissed this type of strategy altogether at a news conference in Brussels. However, rumors on the Lebanese street are that the arrest was between American intelligence services and the Lebanese army. The detainment is tantamount to kidnapping, but it could prove effective. It is an alarming development for the top leadership of ISIS, but the problem is that no one is certain as to when al-Dulaimi and Baghdadi married or whether she will even be useful in extracting information about ISIS.
Dulaimi was a part of the release of 150 women from a Syrian government jail last spring in a prison swap to release 13 nuns taken by Al-Qaeda. Iraqi intelligence is apparently behind the confirmation behind Dulaimi, and the Lebanese government obviously conspired with the Iraqi government to execute the operation. According to tribal sources in Iraq, Baghdadi has two Iraqi wives and one Syrian wife. Arabic media is reporting that Baghdadi had already divorced Dulaimi, but the status is unclear. In my opinion, Lebanon’s strategy is legitimate until it includes torture.