May 20, 2019
After his death was announced by ISIS in 2016, the name Abu Omar al-Shishani has largely faded from news reports regarding Iraq and Syria. However, at one time, one of the top commanders of ISIS was known throughout the geopolitical community. In 2015, the US State Department even offered $5 million as a reward for information leading to his capture.
However, for all the alleged desire to capture or kill Shishani on the part of the United States, it was the United States who trained him as a matter of record when he was fighting against the Russians in Chechnya and again during the Georgian war.
In an article from September, 2015 entitled, “One of ISIS' top commanders was a 'star pupil' of US-special forces training in the country of Georgia,” Jeremy Bender wrote for Business Insider,
Aside from ISIS' 'caliph' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Georgian ex-commando Omar al-Shishani might be the most recognizable and popular of the powerful militant group's leaders.
Sporting a recognizable red beard and happy to pose for photos, Shishani has acted as a very public face for some of ISIS' most notorious successes.
It was Shishani who posed with the stolen US Humvees that ISIS had seized from Mosul and brought back into Syria.