There's a $25 million bounty on the head of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, so he rarely shows his face.
Rumours of the death of the leader of Islamic State have circled for years, but a new recording proves he is still alive and still in control.
In a 55-minute speech delivered to followers last week, Baghdadi outlined new aims for the terror network — a necessary next step after crushing defeats that forced them out of strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
IS is no longer the force it once was, but Baghdadi hopes a shift in focus can return his army of hard line religious devotees turned murderous thugs to relevance.
Of course, Baghdadi still wants a caliphate — a state ruled by the successor to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad — but on a wishlist outlined last Wednesday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, he named lone-wolf attacks in the West his top priority.
"Carry out an attack that breaks their heart, and rip them apart," he said during his first appearance in 11 months.
"Either with gunfire, or a stab to their bodies, or a bombing in their countries … Do not forget about running people over on the roads."
He said the murder of a Westerner on their own soil is "worth a thousand" at home. He also tried to play down the loss of territory following massive defeats in de facto capitals Raqqa and Mosul.
"For the Mujahideen (holy warriors) the scale of victory or defeat is not dependant on a city or town being stolen or subject to that who has aerial superiority, intercontinental missiles or smart bombs. The scale of victory or defeat … is not tied to a city or village."
He said America had bragged about its "so-called victory in expelling the IS from the cities and countryside in Iraq and Syria, but the land of God is wide and the tides of war change".
So too do the needs and wants of a twisted terror group, it seems.
We asked the experts to weigh in on Baghdadi's message and how the group is changing.
'WE ARE WINNING A BATTLE, NOT A WAR'
Nick O'Brien is associate professor of counter terrorism at Charles Sturt University and was once in charge of counter terrorism at New Scotland Yard.
He said he expects to see five things from Islamic State in the coming months and years.
"I think that we will see innovation, such as the increasing use of drones, continued and skilled use of various media … exhortations to attack the West, including encouragement of lone wolf attacks, continued indoctrination of children (and) expansion of the organisation."
He said the Jihadists would move way from "the current theatre of fighting" and "continue their fight in another way".
"I think the group's aims have changed with the loss of territories — a realistic assessment by them that they have to continue their fight in another way and a determination to do so.
"We are winning a battle rather than the war. Sure, taking the land they had is a victory but IS see themselves in for the long haul and will continue this asymmetric fight away from the battlefield.
"While IS would like to regain the ground that they have lost, they probably realise that they now have to fight in a different way. Attacking the West 'at home' is going to garner far more publicity and probably support for IS than gaining a few hundred metres on the battlefield.
"To do this they need to get their message out to supporters and potential supporters."
ISLAMIC STATE 'KEEPING THE BRAND ALIVE'
Jacinta Carroll, director of national security policy at ANU, previously labelled material like the most recent recording of Baghdadi "pure propaganda".
"The first and most important thing to remember with any new video by IS or a similar group is that it's pure propaganda, and propaganda is the lifeblood of terrorists," she wrote for The Strategist.
"So we need to look beyond the propaganda and what IS wants us to see, to understand what they're trying to do and why."
Her position has not changed. In an interview with news.com.au, she said Baghdadi is trying to "keep the brand alive".
"The loss of territory in Iraq and Syria has dealt a significant blow," she said.
"It hasn't destroyed the group, as it's clear and simple propaganda message, and links to salafi-jihadi theology, are flexible. But it has fragmented the leadership and its message.
"This means that various secessionist and criminal groups, as well as Islamist extremist groups, may be carrying out activities in the name of ISIS, leading to mixed messages on what the group itself is doing and what it is stands for."
She said territory was Islamic State's greatest asset, and without it they lose legitimacy.
"Territory provided the group for a time with resources, supporters and an edge on legitimacy among the various salafi jihadi terrorist groups, most importantly al Qaeda.
"It now needs to keep its brand alive, and knows that the keys to success are having safe havens, appropriating local causes to its own, having resources and active propaganda."
Ms Carroll said Islamic State's fortunes have risen and fallen in recent years but its calling card — violent extremism — will remain for decades.
The group's message is tied to its success. Ms Carroll said Islamic State's propaganda will be shown as a "lie" as supporters and members face justice for their roles in war crimes and terror attacks.
BAGHDADI IS IN CRISIS MANAGEMENT MODE
An Iraqi security official, who has seen the enemy up close, said they will need to find "a new way of doing things, especially to recruit after heavy losses".
Those losses include swathes of land either side of the border between Syria and Iraq. Military defeats have dwindled away territories held by the extremists.
The official, who did not wish to be named, told AFP the heavy losses have forced a reshuffle of priorities.
"The change proves Daesh's weakness and the loss of much of its leadership," he said
"(It) shows its central command lacks confidence in its commanders in Iraq and that it is reducing their powers to one (central) leadership."
Tore Hamming, a jihadist specialist at the European University Institute, said it best when describing Baghdadi's speech.
He said it falls into the category of "crisis management".
The message comes at a time when the terror group is facing devastating losses at home and abroad. A soldier based in Hawaii who helped IS track US troops pleaded guilty this week to offering support to a terrorist organisation.
Sgt 1st Class Ikaika Kang, 35, admitted to a US magistrate that he provided unclassified and classified documents to Islamic State and provided a drone.
He became sympathetic to the group, swore loyalty in Arabic and English and kissed an Islamic State flag, AFP reported.
Kang was reportedly obsessed with online videos that he watched from his bedroom for hours each day. Among the videos were beheadings and suicide bombings.
He is expected to receive 25 years in prison as part of a plea agreement when he is sentenced in December.