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Until the Sun Rises Column:US raid results in death of ISIS leader

by Copy Editor - Betul Duru
Tue, Nov 5th 2019 08:00 pm
ISIS RAID Donald Trump informing U.S. citizens about the death of an ISIS leader when he was cornered in a U.S. raid.
ISIS RAID Donald Trump informing U.S. citizens about the death of an ISIS leader when he was cornered in a U.S. raid.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, ISIS’s current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died by suicide from the use of explosives on himself and his three children up when they were cornered in a dead-end tunnel by the U.S. during a night time raid. President Donald Trump announced this news on live TV, as former President Barack Obama had announced Osama Bin Laden’s death years before. The main difference between these two announcements was the length and the professional level presented by the two very different leaders. 

While Obama made clear killing Bin Laden marked “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.” However, he didn’t forget to add “Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.” 

In contrast, Trump boasted al-Baghdadi’s death as if it was the most significant act of the century. Even claiming, “we obliterated his caliphate 100% in March this year.” 

During his speech, Trump answered many questions the journalists had, including details about the operation. 

“We knew something about the compound, we knew it had tunnels, the tunnels were dead-end for the most part there was one that we think that wasn’t but we had that covered just in case,” Trump said, according to CNN. 

Apart from this, he also mentioned the U.S., “had [al-Baghdadi] under surveillance for a couple of weeks we knew a little about where he was going where he was heading” and that a robot was used to go into the tunnel. 

According to NBC News, “a few of those colorful details were wrong. Many of the rest were either highly classified or tactically sensitive and their disclosure by the president made intelligence and military officials cringe, according to current and former U.S. officials.” 

Days after al-Baghdadi’s death, Trump tweeted “American troops have terminated ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s “likely” replacement.” 

“A U.S. official told CNN “the president was referring to ISIS spokesperson Abu Hasan al-Muhajir,” according to CNN politics. 

People who lived under ISIS rule do not feel the same resolution as Americans might have felt. 

“While many are happy that the man behind much suffering is dead, residents are questioning the details the U.S. has offered about Baghdadi’s demise and whether he died at all,” according to NPR. “Some even wonder whether he ever existed, suggesting how deep distrust of the U.S. government may run in this part of the world.” 

Mazloum Abdi, the general commander of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), also said Monday that al-Muhajir was killed in a coordinated operation between the U.S. military and SDF intelligence officers near Jarablus in northern Syria, according to CNN politics. 

ISIS mourned the death of its leader, al-Baghdadi and the death of its spokesman, al-Muhajir. 

“The audio recording was the first word from the Islamic State confirming the death of its leader,” according to The New York Times. 

According to CNN ISIS’s new spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qarshi said, “America, [is] not happy with the killing of Sheikh al-Baghdadi. Do you not realize that the State today is not only on the doorstep of Europe and in the center of Africa, it is staying and expanding from the east to the west.” 

However, the real question that needs to be asked is, will killing these so called leaders lead to anything significant and is it as positively impactful as the current administration trying to make it out to be? 

These men might have been the leaders of ISIS. However, ISIS has always been more of an idea than anything concrete. Killing an idea isn’t as easy as cutting flesh and veins. If you kill one of the leaders, someone else will take his place, and this will be an ongoing cycle. Killing their leader might even motivate its followers to rise up, and see al-Baghdadi’s death as a courageous last act rather than “as a coward running and crying” as Trump described it. 

Even if everyone that might be the potential leader of ISIS was killed, nothing would be accomplished until the ideology and the mindset of the followers is diminished. 

Even though Trump is boasting about making a positive change by killing a “vicious killer,” it might not be as ‘black and white’ as people would want to believe. 

Even if there might be a lull period until someone else takes his place, maybe even someone worse than al-Baghdadi was, it will be a waiting game more than something worth celebrating. 

Photo of the Week

Taken by Mathieu Starke, staff photographer

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