On February 4, 2022, Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) aired an interview with captured senior ISIS commander Abdul Nasser Qaradash. In the interview, Qaradash discussed ISIS leader Abdullah Qaradash, a.k.a Ibrahim Al-Qurayshi, who was killed in a U.S. special forces raid on February 3, 2022. Qardash criticized the leader's ruling that Yazidis who converted to Islam and people who were promised safety by ISIS should be killed nonetheless, and he said that this was a violation of shari'a law. Abdul Nasser Qaradash also described previous attempts on the leader’s life and how he, Abdullah Qaradsah, and other senior ISIS leaders would keep suicide belts near them and would wear them when traveling around Syria in case American forces attacked them. Qaradash said that he does not know of anyone who is fit to become the leader of ISIS now that the previous leader is dead, with the possible exception of Abu Saad Al-Nu'eimi, who may also be dead. Qaradash elaborated that none of the senior ISIS members he knows are left, that the "first generation" of ISIS is over, and that Abdullah Qaradash’s death will have a serious impact on ISIS. In addition, Abdul Nasser Qardash explained that ISIS's Shura Council is typically responsible for nominating a new leader.
Abdul Nasser Qaradash: "[ISIS leader Abdullah Qaradash has ruled] that some people who had repented and had been given a promise of safety, should be killed nevertheless. This was his most famous ruling. Maybe the Yazidis too. It was he who ruled... I have heard testimonies that the Yazidis were offered to convert to Islam, and they all did, but then he ordered to kill the men and keep the women [captive]. These were his most significant rulings."
Interviewer: "So he had belonged to the first and extremist generation [of ISIS]."
Qaradash: "This is not extremism. I do not accept the concept of extremism. I call it a violation of the shari'a. If you gave a prisoner a promise of safety and offered him to convert to Islam, you have an obligation, especially with regard to people who were infidels. There is no dispute among the scholars that if an infidel converts to Islam, you cannot kill him. It is different with regard to apostates. Then it is up to you. [An apostate] cannot repent after he is defeated. Most scholars agree on this. You call this extremism, but it is, in fact, a violation of the shari'a.
"The first time he was targeted — not the strike in which he lost his leg — it made him take additional precautions."
Interviewer: "Where did this first strike take place?"
Qaradash: "In Mosul. The first strike was in Mosul, and the second strike was when Abu Mu'taz was killed. That was two or three days later. That was when he lost his leg. It made him take even more precautions. Even in his meetings with us... His movements were very limited. He could not walk a long distance, there were a lot of security precautions, and he would not let us know anything. By nature, I do not associate with people. I learned this in prison. Even with regard to the families — I did not know who was married to whom."
Interviewer: "Would he put on his explosive belt when meeting with you"
Qaradash: "No. When [ISIS controlled] Mosul, they would not wear their explosive belts, because they were far from the areas..."
Interviewer: "They were in control..."
Qaradash: "Exactly. Perhaps towards the end... He would take the explosive belt, and so did I, when moving around in Syria, because he feared [American] military landings. Ever since he moved to Syria, to Abu Kamal, they had the belts with them — maybe not on their person, but always with them."
Interviewer: "Now that Abdullah Qaradash has been killed, who do you think will be his successor? Does his killing spell the end of the first generation of ISIS?"
Qaradash: "I do not know any man who can become the leader. Of the people I know, the only one left who was close to [Qaradash and Abu Mu'taz] or to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is Abu Saad Al-Nu'eimi from Syria. He was from the Al-Raqqa region."
Interviewer: "There are reports that he was killed..."
Qaradash: "I do not know. That man..."
Interviewer: "If the reports that Al-Nu'eimi was killed are true, who will be the leader? Or is the first generation finished?"
Qaradash: "The first generation is over. None of the people I know are left."
Interviewer: "How will his killing affect ISIS?"
Qaradash: "It will have a great impact. This is what I believe, but I have been absent from this scene for 3—4 years now."
Interviewer: "What is the mechanism for electing a new leader for ISIS? Is it that Abdullah Qaradash named his successor, or there is no such process, where the Caliph is selected according to the will of his predecessor?"
Qaradash: "Usually the Shura Council selects the leader. The Shura Council which consists of the governors of Iraq, of Syria, and so on... They are the ones who should select [the leader]. If they cannot, the people who were close [to the leader] and his assistants should meet for that purpose. If [the slain leader] had named someone — if the Shura Council accepts him, he will be appointed [Caliph], but if they do not accept him, he will not be appointed. This recommendation usually depends on the acceptance [of the Shura Council]. This is like a nomination, but it is not obligatory."