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Middle East

Erdogan Outsmarted: Leads US To Baghdadi…Or Art Of The Deal II?

Screencap: YouTube

Out of the rubble in Barisha, Syria, two narratives have emerged. In one, the decision by President Donald Trump to pull out of Syria appears to have been strategic in more ways than initially thought. American withdrawal created a vacuum, and in the rush to fill it, Turkish military intelligence forces may have led the CIA and U.S. Special Forces to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In another, it was President Trump who bargained with Erdogan: we pull our troops out if you give us Baghdadi.

In either case, the news is good for Trump. Baghdadi is a trophy, proof that despite Islamist governments and terrorist militias taking pains to hide and give succor to our enemies, we can locate them in the most barren, desolate locations and kill them without loss of American life.

4-D Chess?

In the first scenario, Trump, who promised on the campaign trail to get out of “endless wars”, has a vested political interest in withdrawal. In order to have the last word against critics, Trump may have ordered intelligence agancies to monitor movements of Turkish forces after withdrawing in order to identify hidden assets, then coordinate with special ops. After all, it was a highly coordinated effort, as detailed by special-ops.org:

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the notorious Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL), was killed in Syria’s Idlib province on October 27, 2019, in a military raid carried out by the United States 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), also known as Delta Force. The Delta Force is considered as Tier 1 unit.
The operation was carried out after the CIA agents have acknowledged the al-Baghdadi’s possible whereabout. In coordination with Joint Special Operations Command, commonly known as JSOC, they have coordinated the raid which resulted in the death of al-Baghdadi. In addition to Delta Force, participating units under JSOC included the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)—also known as “Night Stalkers”—and operators from the CIA’s Special Activities Division, which recruits heavily from former JSOC Special Mission Units. The operation ended a nearly 5-year search for al-Baghdadi since he announced the Islamic State califate in Mosul’s great mosque in April 2014.

Or, A Legitimate Quid Pro Quo?

Another possibility is that the famous letter to Turkish President Erdogan was a smokescreen meant to distract the international media from the real story. In this case, the real negotiations involved Baghdadi’s location as a condition for troop withdrawal. From Zero Hedge:

As for Baghdadi who was “hiding” with the blessing of Turkey, it now appears that he was the bargaining chip in the negotiations between Trump and Erdogan, and the quid for the US president’s agreeing to pull out of Syria was the pro quo that Erdogan would hand Baghdadi to him on a silver platter (if true, expect a tidal wave of terrorism in Turkey in the coming weeks). Which in turn has led to today’s victory lap by the US president who will now – and for the foreseeable future – trumpet the biggest victory of the US administration in the war against terrorism since Obama’s killing of bin Laden in 2011.

Trump appears to have set up the ideal quid pro quo: for doing something he wanted to do (begin to get out of an endless war), he won the grisly party favor of Baghdadi’s head. Sounds like Art of the Deal Part II.

You might call it “win-winning.”

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1 comment

Avatar
rickey ricardo October 28, 2019 at 5:27 pm

I’m just taking a guess and with no disrespect to the President. It’s unrealistic to give him credit for out foxing Turkish intelligence into allowing CIA, or American intelligence to locate Baghdadi. The president wouldn’t be that involved in the day to day to realize the nuances necessary in that calculation.

If Baghdadi’s location was unintentionally revealed, the credit for that discovery would go solely to our intel operatives, their intensive, ongoing, 24/7 operation and the close, professional, in-house supervision that runs it. They have been tracking this SOB nine years now, night and day. There are always threads and leads. It’s non stop, churn.

Remember the other factors to be considered. There was a $25 million dollar bounty. The Turks, Syrians, Russians and Jordanians, Israelis, who doesn’t hate Baghdadi, ISIS in general. And more, while intel is always working, with the withdrawal they are especially keen for the slightest variation, or tell, Think of all the info they had about the compound. That alone suggests a long standing source in place. We can’t know and don’t want to know, but the President deserves credit for what he is doing, which is being president and making good sensible decisions and supporting the people who know what needs be done and how best to do it. That works for me, if anyone wants a definition of stable genius.

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