Joseph Klein explains President Trump’s clever Syria strategy:
U.S. president outsmarts Putin — leaves him with Syria headaches as U.S. withdraws.
According to conventional thinking, President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria opened the door to a resurgence of ISIS. “Make no mistake, President Trump ignores the national security threat posed by ISIS at our nation’s peril,” Senator Bob Menendez, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said last week. How foolish Senator Menendez and his fellow critics look now after President Trump announced on Sunday that a special operations raid, which he had approved and closely monitored, resulted in the cowardly death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” the president said in remarks from the White House, describing the operation in detail. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. He was the founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless and violent terror organization in the World. The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my Administration. U.S. Special Operations forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid into Northwestern Syria to accomplish this mission.”
Al-Baghdadi was cornered in a tunnel of a well-fortified compound in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a few miles from the Turkish border, where he was hiding. Following a firefight, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself along with three children the brutal jihadist leader had dragged with him into the tunnel.
“I got to watch much of it. No personnel were lost in the operation, while a large number of Baghdadi’s fighters and companions were killed with him. He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” President Trump said. “The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,” the president added. DNA tests were conducted, confirming the dead ISIS leader’s identity.
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