by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 48, No. 9, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1441)
Speaking from the White House, US President Donald Trump announced on October 27 that head of the ISIS terrorist outfit Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a military operation in northwest Syria. Born Ibrahim ‘Awwad al-Samara’i, the US-trained and promoted terrorist mastermind was killed in an operation in Idlib after he outlived his usefulness for the US. He blew himself up and three of his children using a suicide vest during a US Special Forces raid, Trump said.
Iran’s PressTV, a more reliable source than Trump or US media outlets, also reported that Iraqi state television had aired footage of what it said was a raid in Syria that reportedly killed al-Baghdadi. The military operation involving helicopters, warplanes, and a ground clash was carried out in the Syrian village of Barisha near the Turkish border.
While Trump has a reputation for making tall claims that often turn out to be false, this time the confirmation of al-Baghdadi’s death came from other, more reliable sources as well. Two Iraqi security sources and two Iranian officials told Reuters they had confirmation that al-Baghdadi was dead. In order to avoid any misunderstandings, the US military had already notified Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran of its planned operation.
One of the Iraqis speaking on condition of anonymity said the terrorist head was discovered after attempting to flee Syria. The Iraqi official further said, “Our sources from inside Syria have confirmed to the Iraqi intelligence team tasked with pursuing al-Baghdadi that he has been killed with his personal bodyguard in Idlib after his hiding place was discovered when he tried to get his family out of Idlib toward the Turkish border.” According to reports, at least nine people were killed among them two women and three children.
Iraq had reportedly handed Washington information about al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts in the Syrian desert two months ago. Iraqi state television also quoted an expert on terrorism as saying that Iraqi intelligence agencies had helped pinpoint al-Baghdadi’s location. A host of others have also claimed credit for the operation against al-Baghdadi. These include the Turkish military as well as their Kurdish rivals in Syria that they are targeting as part of their military operations.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said Turkish and US military authorities had exchanged and coordinated information ahead of the attack. “Prior to the US operation in Idlib Province of Syria… information exchange and coordination between the military authorities of both countries took place,” the Turkish defence ministry said on Twitter on October 27.
The Kurds also claimed credit for the operation. Mazloum Abdi, commander of the US-backed Kurdish YPG that Turkey considers a terrorist organization because of its links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), claimed his fighters played a role in the raid. They provided intelligence to US Special Forces that carried out the two-hour raid. “A historic, successful operation as a result of joint intelligence work with the United States of America,” Mazloum Abdi said on Twitter. Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan has demanded that the US hand over Mazloum Abdi to them to face terrorism charges. It is highly unlikely that Trump or his generals would agree since it would lead to Turkey obtaining intelligence from him after exerting appropriate “pressure” that would prove embarrassing to the US.
It is clear that al-Baghdadi’s days were numbered because he had outlived his usefulness to the US. Trump had already announced withdrawal of some of his forces from Syria’s border with Turkey under pressure from Ankara. On October 25, Trump boasted that US forces had “secured” Syria’s oil fields from Da‘ish terrorists as well as “others.” Who these “others” are is not difficult to guess. American forces are operating in Syria illegally. The Syrian government has not granted permission for the presence of US forces on its soil.
That part of the reason for US forces’ presence in northeast Syria, in addition to protecting the Zionist State of Israel, is to steal its oil. Russia confirmed this on October 26 when its defence ministry spokesman said that satellite imagery showed the US has been smuggling Syrian oil to other countries under the protection of its troops before and after the defeat of the Da‘ish takfiri terrorist group in the region.
Major General Igor Konashenkov said in Moscow, “the space intelligence images showed that oil was actively extracted and massively exported for processing outside Syria, under the reliable protection of US troops, before and after the defeat of the Da‘ish terrorists.” The Russian general further revealed that US private military companies and special operations forces guarded the convoys as they traveled from Syria into Turkey or Iraqi Kurdistan.
“Tank trucks guarded by US military servicemen and private military companies smuggle oil from fields in eastern Syria to other countries and in the event of any attack on such a convoy, US special operations forces and combat aviation are immediately used to protect it,” General Konashenkov said. He also revealed that Syrian oil was extracted by using equipment supplied by leading Western corporations bypassing all US sanctions.
It was money from the illegal extraction and sale of Syrian oil that the US financed its terrorist proxies fighting to overthrow the government in Syria. Most funds went into the bank accounts of private military contractors and intelligence agencies.
Al-Baghdadi was groomed in the US-run Bucca Camp where he was given freedom to move and mobilize people for America’s terrorist project. Bucca Camp was opened after Abu Ghraib torture camp in Baghdad could no longer be operated because it gained so much notoriety. He gained real prominence in 2014, when he announced the creation of a “caliphate” in areas of Iraq and Syria that the terrorist group had occupied, thanks to US help.
The group was christened the “Islamic State” and baptized in gore and blood in order to ensure Muslims would be repulsed by the very idea of an Islamic state. Al-Baghdadi and his henchmen carried out gruesome murders including beheadings of innocent people, especially well-publicized videos depicting beheadings of Western captives. These were meant to mobilize public opinion at home to ensure the US and its allies would have sufficient justification to carry out military operations in Syria whose real purpose was the overthrow of the government of Bashar al-Asad.
Now that the regime change conspiracy has been defeated in Syria, al-Baghdadi became dispensable and has been discarded. This should be a solitary lesson for all those who become willing tools of the US. Perhaps the Kurds should get wise from this, if they are at all capable of learning.