From guest blogger Corinne Reilly, Merced Sun-Star:
Short answer: Who knows?
But it's uncertain whether the man in custody is actually Baghdadi, and there are even questions over whether Baghdadi is real.
Iraqi officials have claimed to have captured or killed Baghdadi several times before, and they've been wrong every time. U.S. military officials have said in the past that they that think Baghdadi may be a fictional character meant to give a local face to a foreign-led terrorist organization.
So far this time, the Iraqis haven't backtracked. But they also have yet to provide any proof they have him, except for one grainy headshot broadcast on state television this week. It's anyone's guess as to how officials might prove Baghdadi is who they say he is, however.
American officials aren't offering any more answers. Maj. Gen. David Perkins, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, told reporters here Friday that the Americans have yet to see Baghdadi.
"We have not had any access to him," Perkins said. "We are in discussions with the Iraqis to determine how we can confirm or deny who he is."
Adding to doubts that the true head of al Qaida in Iraq is behind bars is the fact that Iraqi officials stand to gain by fibbing about his arrest. They may be using it to try to bolster confidence in Iraq's security forces ahead of an upcoming drawdown in U.S. troops here. There's widespread fear among Iraqis that violence will increase when Americans leave Iraqi cities at the end of June, a timeline mandated by the Iraqi government.
So for now, reporters and the public are waiting for more information, which Iraqi officials have promised to provide. No word on when it might come.