Assassination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Kavya Weaver '20, News Editor

On October 26th, US forces raided a small compound outside of the village of Barisha in northern Syria, prompting the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to kill himself and two of his children by igniting the suicide vest he was wearing. Al-Baghdadi’s death marks a major blow to the terrorist organization that once gripped the Middle East in a reign of terror and continues to victimize innocent civilians. This assassination, which occurred eight months after American forces officially took back the last remains of ISIS controlled territory in Syria, signifies the fading power of the Islamic State in the Arab world. 

 

The following morning, President Trump triumphantly announced the death of the Islamic State leader. ISIS has since named a new leader and confirmed al-Baghdadi’s death. The terrorist organization also has warned the US to “not be happy” in an audio recording uploaded on the Telegram app. 

 

Although al-Baghdadi’s assassination is heralded as a victory against terrorism, Trump’s decision in October to withdraw American support of Kurdish fighters in Northern Syria may enable an ISIS resurgence in the area, reversing the progress made. The Kurds were one of the most influential and effective forces in fighting the Islamic State, and Trump’s move to abandon them has been widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans. The president’s decision was likely prompted by the encouragement of Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish government is strongly resistant to the Kurdish independence movement, and the withdrawal of American troops has enabled Turkish forces to invade Kurdish territory and displace thousands of people from their homes. 

 

It is important for us to use our voice and influence as American citizens to pressure our government and leaders to make wise and informed decisions when handling foreign affairs, especially concerning decisions that have a human impact. 

 

Sources Cited: 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/28/visual-guide-to-the-raid-that-killed-isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/world/middleeast/isis-al-baghdadi-dead.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/18/middleeast/iraq-spy-chief-isis-rebuilding/index.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/former-u-s-officials-criticize-trump-s-decision-abandon-kurds-n1084156