Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dead

Delta Force’s A-Squadron kills ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

The Washington Examiner is reliably informed that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is confirmed to be killed by an operation of the A-Squadron of the Army’s Delta Force.

Newsweek first reported the operation to kill Baghdadi in a post on Saturday. Asked about the operation, a trusted source told the Washington Examiner, “It’s legitimate, A-Squadron, Delta.” According to Newsweek, Baghdadi detonated a suicide belt when confronted by Delta operators just north of Jisr al-Shughur in northwestern Syria.

The White House says President Trump will make an important announcement on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Again, I am told he will announce Baghdadi’s death.

What does this mean?

ISIS will remain a serious threat following Baghdadi’s death. The group rests on a hyperventilating Salafi-Jihadist understanding of ordained purpose. Its most fervent followers will continue the fight with vigor toward vengeance. A new leader will rise and ISIS operations officers in the Middle East, and also the West, will continue plotting an expansionist campaign.

Still, this is an important victory for the United States. Trump deserves credit for authorizing this risky operation in a stronghold area home to al Qaeda and other rebel forces, and close to the Russian and Syria air forces. Note Baghdadi’s decision to hide among his al Qaeda enemies. The U.S. intelligence team working on finding Baghdadi has been pursuing that effort for over four years now. Raise a glass to them.

Contacted with news of Baghdadi’s death, a well-placed source observed that when “the elements of national power unified between Joint Special Operations Command, our intelligence community, and our local integrated forces such as the Syrian Democratic Forces combine, eventually, we’ll always get our man.”

Unconfirmed reporting suggests the U.S. military carried out follow-up air strikes on targets in the area following the ground raid. Baghdadi was either killed while his small convoy was intercepted or while taking shelter in a building.

Again, however, it must be reemphasized that this is not the end of ISIS.

A new leader will rise. Trump must double down on his decision to retain some forces in eastern Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province in order to marginalize that leader’s power. Let’s be clear that controlling Deir ez-Zor’s oil fields is not a means to American greed, but a means to ensuring the Kurdish peoples and Sunni-Arab tribes local to that area, rather than ISIS, Russia, or Iran, get prosperity and peace from their lands. This is about using American economic power in place of military power and in a manner that liberates rather than penalizes. We can protect that oil to help its owners facilitate a counter-extremist peace effort, or we can let Iran, ISIS, and Russia ruin it.

It’s a good day. Brave Americans have honored their fallen comrades and brave men and women such as Kayla Mueller and James Foley. An evil man is dead, and another American enemy vanquished. But the struggle continues.


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