Wife and daughter of Islamic State chief detained in Lebanon

Islamic State forces have been fighting along the Lebanese-Syrian border in recent months and allowing the fighting to spill over into Lebanese territory.  Both civilians and members of Lebanon's military have been killed in these raids, which obviously hasn't sat well with what passes for a Lebanese government these days.

That's why the capture of the wife and daughter of Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi might be good news for the Lebanese.

Reuters:

The Lebanese army detained a wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as they crossed from Syria nine days ago, security officials said on Tuesday, in a setback to the group as it comes under increased military pressure.

The woman was identified as Saja al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi, by a Lebanese security official and a senior political source.

The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported she had been detained in coordination with "foreign intelligence".

The arrest is a blow to Baghdadi and could be used as a bargaining chip against his group, which has captured many foreign, Iraqi and Syrian prisoners and declared a caliphate in territory it has seized in Syria and Iraq.

A senior Lebanese security official said Baghdadi's wife had been traveling with one of their daughters, contradicting earlier reports that it was his son. DNA tests were conducted to verify it was Baghdadi's child, the official said.

They were detained in northern Lebanon. Investigators were questioning her at the Lebanese defense ministry. There was no immediate reaction from Islamic State websites.

Dulaimi was one of 150 women released from a Syrian government jail in March as part of a prisoner swap that led to the release of 13 nuns taken captive by al Qaeda-linked militants in Syria, according to media reports at the time.

A source with contacts with Iraqi intelligence said the captured woman was an Iraqi wife of Baghdadi’s, but could not confirm the name. There was cooperation between Iraqi and Lebanese authorities leading up to her capture, the source said.

Baghdadi has three wives, two Iraqis and one Syrian, according to tribal sources in Iraq.

We can only assume that the Iraqis had intel about Baghdadi's wife crossing into Lebanon and passed it on to Beirut.  Otherwise, it would have been difficult to single out a woman and her daughter from the hundreds who cross the Syrian border every day.

How will Lebanon use their prize hostages?  Beirut must be very careful, because their army is weak and disorganized and not very well-equipped.  They could not stand up to IS forces if Baghdadi seeks to punish Lebnanon for taking his wife and daughter.

Beyond that, Lebanon has other big problems, including a refugee crisis that threatens its stability.  My guess is, they will probably swap out the wife and daughter for some Lebanese prisoners being held by the Islamic State.  It's the best they can hope for, given the circumstances.

Islamic State forces have been fighting along the Lebanese-Syrian border in recent months and allowing the fighting to spill over into Lebanese territory.  Both civilians and members of Lebanon's military have been killed in these raids, which obviously hasn't sat well with what passes for a Lebanese government these days.

That's why the capture of the wife and daughter of Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi might be good news for the Lebanese.

Reuters:

The Lebanese army detained a wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as they crossed from Syria nine days ago, security officials said on Tuesday, in a setback to the group as it comes under increased military pressure.

The woman was identified as Saja al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi, by a Lebanese security official and a senior political source.

The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported she had been detained in coordination with "foreign intelligence".

The arrest is a blow to Baghdadi and could be used as a bargaining chip against his group, which has captured many foreign, Iraqi and Syrian prisoners and declared a caliphate in territory it has seized in Syria and Iraq.

A senior Lebanese security official said Baghdadi's wife had been traveling with one of their daughters, contradicting earlier reports that it was his son. DNA tests were conducted to verify it was Baghdadi's child, the official said.

They were detained in northern Lebanon. Investigators were questioning her at the Lebanese defense ministry. There was no immediate reaction from Islamic State websites.

Dulaimi was one of 150 women released from a Syrian government jail in March as part of a prisoner swap that led to the release of 13 nuns taken captive by al Qaeda-linked militants in Syria, according to media reports at the time.

A source with contacts with Iraqi intelligence said the captured woman was an Iraqi wife of Baghdadi’s, but could not confirm the name. There was cooperation between Iraqi and Lebanese authorities leading up to her capture, the source said.

Baghdadi has three wives, two Iraqis and one Syrian, according to tribal sources in Iraq.

We can only assume that the Iraqis had intel about Baghdadi's wife crossing into Lebanon and passed it on to Beirut.  Otherwise, it would have been difficult to single out a woman and her daughter from the hundreds who cross the Syrian border every day.

How will Lebanon use their prize hostages?  Beirut must be very careful, because their army is weak and disorganized and not very well-equipped.  They could not stand up to IS forces if Baghdadi seeks to punish Lebnanon for taking his wife and daughter.

Beyond that, Lebanon has other big problems, including a refugee crisis that threatens its stability.  My guess is, they will probably swap out the wife and daughter for some Lebanese prisoners being held by the Islamic State.  It's the best they can hope for, given the circumstances.