The Morning Dispatch: “The World Is Now a Much Safer Place”
Good morning, and happy Monday. We hope you had a better weekend than ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who blew himself up in a military compound in northwest Syria as U.S. troops moved in. If you are reading this newsletter, odds are you did. Unless, of course, you are a Bears fan.
“The World Is Now a Much Safer Place”
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the brutal and elusive leader of the Islamic State, died in an operation Saturday evening in Barisha, Syria, that included about 100 U.S. military personnel and took two hours, with U.S. troops suffering no casualties. President Donald Trump previewed the news in a tweet Saturday night and provided many details in lengthy press availability on Sunday.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said, adding that Baghdadi “died like a dog … died like a coward.”
The elimination of Baghdadi is a big deal. At one time, ISIS controlled nearly half of Syria and vast swaths of Iraq. The terrorist group has conducted and inspired attacks on several continents, killing thousands of people. Thomas Joscelyn of the Long War Journal, a leading expert on Islamic extremism, tells The Dispatch: “Baghdadi’s death is significant. He was the supposed caliph, to whom thousands of followers around the globe pledged their allegiance.” Now, the Islamic State’s “supposed caliphate controls little to no ground, and the self-declared caliph is dead.”