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By the rivers of Babylon

Our new Iraq-watcher describes how Sunni extremists chose a new "caliph." And a rash of Iraqi jailbreaks may have hastened Saddam's execution

By Nibras Kazimi   February 2007

The man who would be caliph

Many global jihadis talk about restoring the Islamic (read: Sunni) caliphate, but little has been done to pick a caliph—until recently. In October the world was introduced to the candidate as the head of the “Islamic state of Iraq”—otherwise known as the Sunni triangle. Then a month later, the new chief of “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (called Abu Ayyub al-Masri by US intelligence) declared his allegiance to the newly founded “state” and its leader.

We have no photo of the new champion, nor a real name: just a voice and…

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