Abu Azrael has managed to build up a persona of a fearless Shia fighter in Iraq. Versatile in media management of his image and muscle bound, (which adds to the media portrayal of a fearless warrior), Abu Azrael is also known as ‘Iraq’s Rambo’ and his real name is Ayyub Faleh al-Rubaie.
Abu Azrael is a commander of the Kataib al-Imam Ali Shia militant group which is connected to the Popular Mobilisation Forces which was put together to fight the threat of ISIS. The Popular Mobilisation Forces consist mainly of Shia fighters in Iraq.
Abu Azrael has become a popular figure through his manipulation of social media with video films of him driving in military vehicles are regularly posted on Facebook pages. He also has a huge social media following and was a former militia member in the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr.
The following pictures emerged in the last day of Abu Azrael slicing off parts of what is alleged to be an ISIS fighter whose bodies was burnt and who was hung upside down. The pictures seemingly show Abu Azrael with a large sword, which it is purported he carries with him and the pictures have drawn shock and revulsion in the Middle East, given the large, mainly Shia support for him.
The brutality of the war in Iraq and Syria continues to produce gruesome and shocking pictures on virtually a daily basis and also shows the on-line media management and manipulation that is taking place in the heart of combat zones in the region.