National Security

The Baghdadi Raid Almost Didn’t Happen

Written by SK Ashby

The most senior leader of the so-called Islamic State was killed in a raid carried out by American special forces over the weekend, but that raid almost didn't happen and military officials were forced to go through with it on short notice according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that plans for the raid had been in the works for months, but Trump's decision to unilaterally abandon our Kurdish allies and withdraw from Syria left them out of options.

Mr. Trump’s abrupt withdrawal order three weeks ago disrupted the meticulous planning underway and forced Pentagon officials to speed up the plan for the risky night raid before their ability to control troops, spies and reconnaissance aircraft disappeared with the pullout, the officials said.

Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death in the raid on Saturday, they said, occurred largely in spite of, and not because of, Mr. Trump’s actions.

It is unclear how much Mr. Trump considered the intelligence on Mr. al-Baghdadi’s location when he made the surprise decision to withdraw the American troops during a telephone call on Oct. 6 with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. What is clear, military officials said, is that it put commanders on the ground under even more pressure to carry out the complicated operation.

The Times also reports that our former Kurdish allies and other members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) provided the bulk of the intelligence we used to locate and target Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Trump's decision to abandon the Kurds looked bad enough as it were; knowing that he abandoned them while they were in the process of aiding our own plans is obviously salt on a wound that we're only just now learning about it.

For the Kurds, the betrayal was apparently already deeper than the rest of the world knew.