The man running the resurgent ISIS from the chaos of Syria has killed himself rather than be taken by US special forces as Donald Trump's malignant narcissism manages to infect yet another historic American moment.
President Trump on Sunday announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive Islamic State leader, died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, a major breakthrough more than five years after the militant launched a self-proclaimed caliphate that inspired violence worldwide.
“Last night the United States brought the world’s Number One terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said in a televised announcement from the White House. “He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone.”
The president described what he called a “dangerous and daring” nighttime operation by U.S. Special Operations forces in northwestern Syria, which involved firefights and culminated in what he said was a retreat by Baghdadi into a tunnel. There, Baghdadi detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of the six children he was believed to have.
The high-risk operation brings a dramatic end to a years-long hunt for the man who spearheaded the Islamic State’s transformation from an underground insurgent band to a powerful quasi-state that straddled two countries and spawned copycat movements across several continents.
Trump said Baghdadi, a longtime militant who was once held in a U.S.-run prison in Iraq, had been tracked over the past two weeks to a compound in Syria’s Idlib province that was laid with tunnels. He said no U.S. personnel died during the operation but that other militants were killed.
The raid comes as the United States scrambles to adjust its posture in Syria in the wake of Trump’s decision to curtail the U.S. military mission there. Trump faced widespread criticism, including from members of his own party, when he declared earlier this month that he would pull out nearly all of the approximately 1,000 troops in Syria amid a Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish troops who have been the Pentagon’s main battlefield partner there. But evolving plans now call for a larger residual force that could mean a substantial ongoing campaign.
During his remarks, Trump thanked officials in other nations, including Russia and Turkey, and the Syrian Kurdish forces.
1) Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was a monstrous killer and now he is dead, and I won't lose a wink of sleep. Let's get that out of the way first.
2) Trump thanked Russia a lot during his speech Sunday. An awful lot, actually, and gave them top billing over US forces and intelligence agencies that made this possible. It was American military and intelligence that made this possible, right? I mean, this couldn't possibly be that Putin's boys gave up al-Baghdadi in order for Trump to pull out of Syria, you know?
3) He was golfing when the raid went down Saturday afternoon, supposedly. Trump lackey Dan Bongino tweeted out a "stern-faced generals in the War Room" picture with Trump and the Joint Chiefs and former Obama admin photographer Pete Souza called bullshit on it.
4) Not a single Democratic member of Congress was informed of the raid until hours after it happened. Not Pelosi, not Schiff, not Schumer. Petty, through and through, Trump told the Russians before Pelosi, and Mike Pence all but confirmed it on FOX News Sunday this morning that this is the new normal.
5) The reason al-Baghdadi had a resurgent ISIS to work with in Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan is because of Donald Trump. Oh, and let's remember that Russia said they killed the guy two years ago.
6) Donald Trump is still going to be impeached, even though we're going to hear all this week that the impeachment process has now "failed" with the death of al-Baghdadi and that Democrats should just "move on". Don't let him do that.
7) ISIS is still out there.