For President Trump, the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a signature achievement. But how many of us understand why?
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the Caliph of Islam. That means he was the chief Muslim civil and religious ruler. As such he was regarded as the successor of Muhammad.
ISIS may have been the self-proclaimed leadership of Islam. But that is also how many people around the world see them. The caliph ruled in Baghdad until 1258 and then in Egypt until the Ottoman conquest of 1517. The title was then held by the Ottoman sultans until it was abolished in 1924 by Atatürk. This is not a newly created title made up by ISIS.
The killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may help quell growing criticism from his own ranks. Politically the raid came at a good time. He has come under criticism from Republicans for an abrupt decision to pull U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria. That decision cleared the way for a Turkish invasion against America’s Kurdish allies in the area.
Domestic American Politics
Does this change domestic American politics? Who knows, but probably not. It should because this is a highly visible, very real and tangible blow against the hierarchy, cohesion and power of the Islamic State.
Trump is facing a fanatic impeachment attempt by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. They have so lost control of their reason and emotions that they have abandoned the rule of law, precedent, and the constitution. The impeachment has nothing to do with the Democrat talking points and every person in the country knows it.
Aware of the political capital suddenly at his disposal, Trump delivered the news on Sunday. He did so from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room standing before battle flags. The President offered vivid details about the raid and Baghdadi’s demise. With typical Trump bombast, he claimed the killing was “bigger” than that of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Given the status of Bin laden when he met justice, Trump may be correct.
Many were quick to point out that Baghdadi’s death does not put an end to Islamic State. Those same critics say Trump has no strategy for the region. They also called out the president for breaking with tradition by failing to brief Congressional leaders ahead of the raid.
Trump pointedly said on Sunday that he did not tell House about the plan because of concerns the information would leak and put American soldiers at risk. Trump is certainly right given the current proclivity to leak and the increasingly pro-Islam position of the opposition Party.
The Baghdadi takedown is unlikely to distract lawmakers from impeachment. The media is already in frenzy mode. There has been exactly zero information produced to date we the people can actually accept because the lynch mob is meeting in secret, the accused is given no due process rights and everything coming out is selective leaking. The leaker in chief is frankly full of Schiff.