"Many of his people were killed. We lost nobody. Think of that. It’s incredible..."
(LZ410)-- In every story there is a plot, part of the plot is the climax. Leading up to that high point in the story are several complications that may or may not indicate where and when the ending will take place. Today marks the climax of one of the longest running stories in America's fight against terrorism, the ISIS terrorist leader al-Baghdadi has been liquidated.
"The Pentagon said Monday it does not endorse a Turkish operation in northern Syria, and that U.S. troops would not support or be involved in such an operation, reported by Shawn Snow in the Military Times on October 7;
The statement from the Pentagon follows Sunday’s White House announcement that U.S. troops would withdraw from northeastern Syrian ahead of a potential Turkish military incursion to rout out Kurdish militants." (Military Times)
Little did anyone suspect. Following a blitzkrieg campaign across the border in which the YPG was sent packing out of two key strongholds, the operation was suddenly placed on hold, a "cease fire" was put into place with a deadline. Kathy Gilsinan reports for The Atlantic on October 23rd;
"That is, in the very narrow sense of stopping the worst of the Turkish onslaught against the Syrian Kurds for a time. Now there’s a different kind of order in place of the fighting: Syrian Kurdish forces have withdrawn from a chunk of territory near Syria’s border with Turkey; Russia has vowed to help Turkey push them from an area twice as large. The new status quo, as Trump’s Syria envoy testified, “has scrambled the entire northeast, undercut our efforts against [the Islamic State], and brought in the Russians and the Syrian-regime forces in a way that is really tragic for everybody involved.” (The Atlantic)
Was the ISIS leader taking the bait? With the Americans out of the picture and a cease-fire in place, al-Baghdadi could come out of his tunnel and dance in the streets of Idlib. Back in the USA, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasn't buying the troop pullout and was heated up about it, as noted by Cummings and Jackson in USA Today;
"WASHINGTON – Calling it a "stain on America's honor," Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday denounced President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria as Turkey prepares a military assault against Kurdish fighters who helped the U.S. battle the Islamic State." (Greenville News)
What happened next would make Senator McCain himself rise from the grave, Kenneth Walsh reports in US News;
"After talking with President Donald Trump last weekend, Graham said, "I am increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years if we play our cards right." Graham's conversation with Trump provided considerable insight into the president's thinking. Trump apparently is ready to use U.S. air power to protect a demilitarized zone occupied by international forces." (US News)
The stage was set for one of the most masterful ruses devised since the great WMD scandal of the Gulf War. To make the plan even more effective, all of the players came onto the stage. The Russians met with the Turks in Sochi;
"3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and [Ras al-Ain] with a depth of 32km (20 miles) will be preserved.
4. Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances." (Al Jazeera)
"A video by the Kurdish news agency showed a convoy of armored vehicles driving through the northeastern city of Qamishli. People in the street hurled potatoes at the vehicles, shouting, “No America,” and “America liar,” in English. “Like rats, America is running away,” one man shouted in Arabic. Another shouted obscenities and talked of babies in Kurdish-held who have died in the Turkish offensive." (Time)
The coast was clear, the ISIS kingpin would beat a hasty path to his hideaway in which the news agencies reported he was there only a day before the Delta Force swooped down on him in its well-rehearsed role; Reuters reports that the leader had arrived at the ambush site two days before;
"ANKARA (Reuters) - Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi arrived at the location in Syria where he was reportedly killed early on Sunday in a U.S. raid some 48 hours before the operation, a senior Turkish official said. The Turkish army had advance knowledge of the U.S. operation in Syria’s Idlib, the official said, adding that Turkey would continue to coordinate its actions on the ground with the “relevant parties”. (Reuters)
Although this aspect of the story has yet to be confirmed, it is safe to say that intel probably was tracking the target for quite some time as the pieces of the puzzle became more clear. To what degree the compound was under surveillance all along is yet to be made clear.
"“I was told right before I came on,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” Swalwell added that nobody in the Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was informed of the raid, Andrew O'Reilly reports for Fox News;
"“I was told right before I came on,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” Swalwell added that nobody in the Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was informed of the raid." (Fox)
Everybody else knew about it. Russia, Iraq, Turkey, even the YPG rebels appear to have contributed in part to the success of the mission.
Does everybody get killed in the end? Negative, only the killer ISIS leader and some of his family. The Americans emerged without a scratch;
“They were greeted with a lot of fire power,” he said of Baghdadi’s entourage. “Many of his people were killed. We lost nobody. Think of that. It’s incredible.” (The Daily Beast)
Cummings & Jackson, https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2019/10/07/lindsey-graham-angry-president-trumps-us-troop-pullout-syria-kurds/3897064002/
Al Jazeera, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/full-text-turkey-russia-agreement-northeast-syria-191022180033274.html
Ackerman, Quinn, Nadeau, https://www.thedailybeast.com/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-killed-in-us-syria-raid-trump
Chuck Norris in "Delta Force," (1988) https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/28648/deltaforce2.html
Lee Marvin in "Delta Force," (1988) https://www.scoopnest.com/user/Elreynetwork/996087753820528640-chuck-norris-a-the-delta-force-come-to-the-rescue-tonight-8p-et-on-chucknorris-deltaforce-le
Steve James, Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris in "Delta Force," (1988) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090927/mediaviewer/rm2818312704
Chuck Norris in "Delta Force," (1988) https://www.ign.com/articles/2016/04/26/igns-top-25-cheesy-action-movies