“Days are numbered?” Make that “Days have been counted.” Those devilish Russians may have cashed in on one of the world’s most expensive insurance policies. From Reuters via the Huffington Post:
Russia’s Military Says It May Have Killed ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
The airstrike targeted a meeting of ISIS leaders and was carried out on May 28.Reuters Dmitry Solovyov and Ahmed Rasheed
MOSCOW/BAGHDAD, June 16 (Reuters) – Moscow said on Friday its forces may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike in Syria last month, but Washington said it could not corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials were skeptical.
The secretive Islamic State leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since he declared a caliphate to rule over all Muslims from a mosque in Mosul in 2014, after leading his fighters on a sweep through northern Iraq.
If the report does prove true, it would be one of the biggest blows yet to Islamic State, which is trying to defend its shrinking territory against an array of forces backed by regional and global powers in both Syria and Iraq.
Yes, if the report does prove true, then somewhere there is an insurance underwriter standing on the window ledge of a tall building.
President Obama once called Daesh (ISIS) a JV team (junior varsity, second stringer). I have always agreed.
He got a lot of push back from that. So did I when I cast my vote for that sentiment. One person compared Daesh to the Viet Cong of 50 years ago. It was pointed out that we failed to defeat the VC. I begged to differ:
- The VC were effectively finished in 1968. We fought the NVA from that point on.
- The NVA was not a JV team. They had SAMs and jet fighters. North Vietnam was a client state of the Soviet Union. Even though, like Daesh, North Vietnam did not produce its own weapons of war, it received a steady supply, apparently gratis.
- To the contrary, Daesh does not have territory of its own. It currently occupies territory claimed by two well-armed nations, Syria and Iraq. One, Syria, is unable to combat Daesh effectively. The other, Iraq, appears unwilling.
- Additionally, Daesh, unlike North Vietnam, does not produce anything on its own. Everything must be imported.
If Daesh does not qualify as a JV team, who does?
And as I mentioned when I posted this a year and a half ago, the death of al-Baghdadi and his minions does not mean it is safe to go in the water again. There are points still in play:
- The idea—that modern, industrial, states dominate the world to the detriment of developing countries—tugs powerfully at the minds of a broad base for recruitment. Lack of a geographical base (Syria and Iraq) will not slacken this pull.
- Syria—Iraq is no long in play in this respect— will cease to be a base for training and arming of international combatants. The dirty work can continue without this base. In prior times recognized states, Libya for example, served this purpose. There is still Iran, no friend of the world elite and inclined to assert its presence in whatever means are available.
- Daesh is ideologically driven and in modern times can operate in the info-sphere. Militants who never meet can inspire, organize, motivate, direct. On any given day a thoroughly indoctrinated actor can leave his rundown apartment with blood on his brain and a weapon—gun, car keys—in his hand, with no plans for the following day.
The ultimate root of the matter is an institutional and cultural divide and not religion. As such it cannot pulled out without first addressing the divide. Doing that is above my pay grade. There will be more on this later. Keep reading.