By some accounts, the British executioner referred to as “Jihadi John” may have left the Islamic State and joined another Islamist group. He has disappeared from IS videos for the last 6 months. Is he running? Or is this another propaganda tool?
‘Jihadi John’ is really Mohammed Emwazi, 26, a Kuwaiti born British subject. Some stories have reported that he may have fled ISIS because the leadership felt he was no longer of use to them and was planning to kill him as he has killed so many others.
An expendable asset?
Emwazi is a computer sciences graduate. He has not been seen in any Islamic State videos since the gruesome beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. He is believed to have disappeared in January, and some think he is on the run, possibly to another Islamist group in Syria.
Why would he be afraid of ISIS leadership turning on him? Because after his identity was revealed to the media, British and US forces have been hot on his trail. That extra attention is not desired. It makes him too “hot” to keep.
Jealousy is also a factor, as other jihadis may desire the fame that Emwazi managed to garner after a series of beheadings. They may have begun to plot against him.
US and British forces are planning to either capture him to “bring him to justice” or out and out kill him.
OR…something else is happening
Emwazi may not be on the run after all, as at least one expert feels that the claim that he is gone from ISIS may be a false one. The Daily Mail wrote,
Nick Kaderbhai, research fellow at the ICSR, questioned the alleged departure of Jihadi John from ISIS, commenting: ‘This isn’t the first of these stories to emerge; in the last few months he has said to have fled to Syria, Turkey and Libya.’
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Kaderbhai said it ‘does not make sense to think that they would ‘drop him like a stone’ – it’s not like he’s a captured Westerner who has lost propaganda value.
‘If anything, the less he is featured, the more impact he will have.’
Kaderbhai also said claims that Jihadi John feared for his life ‘doesn’t fit the profile of the committed salafi-jihadist.’
‘They tend to embrace their identity wholeheartedly and claim not to fear death,’ he said.
Regarding Jihadi John’s disappearance from the endless ISIS propaganda video, Mr Kaderbhai suggested it may indicate that ISIS have ‘nothing high profile to show off.’
Some of both may be correct: it is unlikely that ISIS leadership want the high profile killer around much longer, if indeed he has not fled. It is also true that murderers- especially serial ones- have a distinctly self- absorbed identity.
Either way, the man once known as Jihadi John may surface one day as a sack of bones with a missing head somewhere in the deserts of Syria, or a complete corpse riddled with bullet holes if American forces get to him first. When you murder people and seem to enjoy it, the consequences are severe.