As has become ritual, every time an Islamic State (IS) leader has been killed there have been subsequent bayat campaigns by its various provinces and branches. This has been the case for Abu Ibrahim, Abu al-Hasan, and now again with Abu al-Husayn. These releases are also a great way of assessing each province’s and branch’s strength. Unlike earlier this year with Abu al-Hasan, but similar to Abu Ibrahim in 2019, IS official media released a photoset of IS’s branch in Tunisia.
IS-Tunis Bay’ah to Abu Ibrahim on November 6, 2019
IS-Tunis Bay’ah to Abu al-Husayn on December 7, 2022
As you can see, there’s a big difference between these two photosets even if the number of individuals in both are relatively small. One is outside in the field, with weapons, and much more boastful; the second is inside and much more dour looking. In 2019, IS-Tunis was already in a weak place. At the beginning of 2019, according to the United Nations, only thirty Islamic State insurgents remained in the mountainous region along the Tunisian border with Algeria. Since then, sixteen of those individuals have been killed and a number of others have been arrested. Thus, it is plausible that these four people shown in the latest bay’ah announcement could be the only remaining people in the organization at this point. Though there might be a few others, but not many more. It is important to remember that IS also has not claimed an attack in Tunisia since February 3, 2021, the longest stretch between attacks since the group began to officially operate in Tunisia in December 2014.