BAGHDAD - If the news of the death of the leader of the al-Qaeda organization, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is confirmed, he is likely to be succeeded by one of his top two aides, two former officers of Saddam Hussein's army.
Experts on Islamic groups do not see a clear candidate to replace Baghdadi, but they consider Ayad al-Obeidi and Ayad al-Jumaili the strongest candidates, although neither is likely to be called the "caliph."
The Russian Defense Ministry said last week that Baghdadi was probably killed in an air strike in Syria and Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian parliamentarian as saying on Friday the chances of his death were close to 100 percent.
But armed groups fighting in the area and US officials say there is no evidence of his death, and many officials in the region have questioned reports of his death.
Obeidi, in his 50s, is the war department of the organization, while Jumaili, who in the 1940s heads the agency responsible for security in the organization.
Iraqi state television reported in April that Jumaili had been killed but that had not yet been confirmed.
The two joined the Salafist insurgency in Iraq in 2003 following the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
The two became Baghdad's top aides since his deputy Abu Ali al-Anbari, Abu Omar al-Checheni, the former war minister, and Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the air strikes propaganda chief, were killed last year.
"Al-Jumaili recognizes the seniority of al-Ubaidi, but al-Baghdadi has no declared successor and therefore, according to the circumstances, it is possible that either of them will be," said Hisham al-Hashemi, an expert on armed groups.
Baghdadi himself declared a successor in 2014 and is unlikely to become a successor to the lack of religious status and because the organization lost much of the territory it controlled.
Hashemi said: "The caliph should have a land of empowerment governed by Islamic law," and if this is not available, his successor will be only a prince and not a successor. "
Al-Baghdadi, whose real name was Ibrahim Awad al-Samarrai, was born in 1971 and comes from a family that includes a preacher and studied Islamic law in Baghdad.
The choice of the new leader of the organization needs the approval of the eight-member Shura Council. The eight members are unlikely to meet for security reasons and will forward their views through Russell.
The Shura Council includes six Iraqis, one Jordanian and one Saudi, all of whom took part in the Salafi insurgency. A ninth member, a Bahraini, was killed in an air strike in late May.
In Washington, two US intelligence officials said they believed the organization was urging the transfer of most of its leaders to the fields in the Euphrates valley in Syria to the southeast of the stronghold of the besieged group in the city.
He added that among the operations transferred to the fields, located 80 kilometers west of the Iraqi border, the process of advertising via the Internet. Finished