Friday, June 16, 2017

Russia Appears to Have Blown Up Caliph Baghdadi

The reporting (see Andrew Kramer's "Russian Military Says It Might Have Killed ISIS Leader") of the demise of ISIS potentate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has the ring of truth to it. At the end of May Baghdadi was powwowing with other Islamic State honchos and hundreds of fighters in the desert outside Raqqa when two Russian Sukhoi fighter jets blew them all to kingdom come.

Whether Russia knew ahead of time that Baghdadi would be present or whether a regular patrol combing the desert for concentrations of jihadists got lucky is unclear. I suspect the latter, and that over the last two weeks intelligence agencies of the major players have picked up chatter from the collapsing caliphate that its emir is no longer among the living.

Lavrov has been reticent to claim the public relations windfall, though there is an acknowledgement in the Western prestige press that Russia bagging Baghdadi pulls down the major rhetorical pillar erected by the Obama administration that the Russians weren't fighting ISIS but merely enabling a ruthless dictator. As Kramer explains,
Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015; it said at first that cargo planes flying to a Syrian air base carried only humanitarian aid, but later openly announced a military operation. The Kremlin’s stated goal was fighting the Islamic State, lest it gain a stronghold in Syria not far from restive, predominantly Muslim regions in southern Russia.
But the Obama administration said that the pattern of airstrikes showed that Russia’s real intention was to prop up the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally battling a range of opposition groups, including moderate rebels. The killing of the Islamic State’s leader, if confirmed, would help bolster Russia’s initial justification for its intervention — that its goal all along was to fight terrorism.
My feeling all along is that Baghdadi is merely a figurehead, that the operations and strategy of the Islamic State are determined by foreign intelligence agencies aligned with the United States. His death is nonetheless a significant event, another portent that the diabolical perversion of the Arab Spring by the United States and its allies is running out of steam.


  1. This is one of those points in history where reality bumps up with governmental storytelling. Baghdadi seems to have been recruited while he was in American custody. It's clear that the US created a fake uprising in order to overthrow Assad, in order to get that pipeline across Syria.

    Meanwhile, there's noise in the EU about the US imposing new sanctions on European companies to block Nord 2, this after getting the EU to go along with blocking the various iterations of South Stream (although that one was blocked because not enough EU countries were involved in the construction). At some point the EU will realize that sticking with the US is against their interests. The US' fascist creation, Ukraine, is treading water. While Lithuania is hyped for a war on Russia (it maybe provides an opportunity to cleanse ethnic Russians from its territory) that's not the same as a big NATO war with Russia.

    It's as if the "rollback" group that switched from the Republicans to the Dems during the Clinton Administration thinks that it must conquer Russia.

    This might be where the US empire ends.

  2. I noticed a MoveOn "Call Your Senators" e-blast about defending the Iran nuclear deal from the sanctions vote last week. It said Bernie voted no. But the account I had read said only Rand Paul and Mike Lee had voted no. I think the deal is that it was two different votes. There was a Wednesday vote expanding Russia sanctions in the form of an amendment to the Iran sanctions bill, which was then voted on Thursday and passed 98-2. Bernie didn't vote no on the amendment, but voted no on the entire bill.

    It seems like the U.S. is getting out in front of its EU vassals. Maybe Merkel will show some real spine after her re-election, but I doubt it.

    As for Lithuania beating the war drum, there this from the today's SitRep:

    "Suwalki is the new Fulda. NATO carried out its first exercise simulating a defense of the Suwalki Gap, the narrow strip of Polish and Lithuanian territory that planners believe Russia would to capture in order to cut off the Baltics from the rest of NATO territory in the event of war. Reuters reports that the exercise involved 1,500 troops from the U.S., U.K., Poland, Lithuania, and Croatia. Russia will likely follow up the exercises with a drill of its own in Belarus in the coming weeks."