By Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission
Trump’s victory-lap movie version buries the embarrassing story of deploying tanks to ‘protect’ Syrian oilfields
“He died like a dog.” President Trump could not have scripted a better one-liner as he got ready for his Obama bin Laden close-up in front of the whole world.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, fake caliph, ISIS/Daesh leader, the most wanted man on the planet, was “brought to justice” under Trump’s watch. The dead dog caliph is now positioned as the ultimate foreign policy winning trophy ahead of 2020 reelection.
The climatic scenes of the inevitable-as-death-and-taxes movie or Netflix series to come are already written. (Trump: I “watched it like a movie.”) Cowardly uber-terrorist cornered in a dead-end tunnel, eight helicopter gunships hovering above, dogs barking in the darkness, three terrified children taken as hostages, coward detonates a suicide vest, tunnel collapses over himself and the children.
A crack forensic team carrying samples of the fake caliph’s DNA apparently does its job in record time. The remains of the self-exploded target – then sealed in plastic bags – confirm it: it’s Baghdadi. In the dead of night, it’s time for the commando unit to go back to Irbil, a 70-minute flight over northeast Syria and northwest Iraq. Cut to Trump’s presser. Mission accomplished. Roll credits.
This all happened at a compound only 300 meters away from the village of Barisha, in Idlib, rural northwest Syria, only 5km from the Syria-Turkish border. The compound is no more: it was turned to rubble so it would not become a (Syrian) shrine for a renegade Iraqi.
The caliph was already on the run, and arrived at this rural back of beyond only 48 hours before the raid, according to Turkish intelligence. A serious question is what he was doing in northwest Syria, in Idlib – a de facto cauldron-like Donbass in 2014 – which the Syrian army and Russian airpower are just waiting for the right moment to extinguish.
There are virtually no ISIS/Daesh jihadis in Irbil, but lots of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, as in al-Qaeda in Syria, known inside the Beltway as “moderate rebels,” including hardcore Turkmen brigades previously weaponized by Turkish intel. The only rational explanation is that the Caliph might have identified this Idlib backwater near Barisha, away from the war zone, as the ideal under-the-radar passport to cross to Turkey.
The plot thickens when we examine Trump’s long list of “thank yous” for the successful raid. Russia came first, followed by Syria – presumably Syrian Kurds, not Damascus – Turkey and Iraq. In fact, Syrian Kurds were only credited with “certain support,” in Trump’s words. Their commander Mazloum Abdi, though, preferred to extol the raid as a “historic operation” with essential Syrian Kurd intel input.
In Trump’s press conference, expanding somewhat on the thank yous, Russia again came first (“great” collaboration) and Iraq was “excellent”: the Iraqi National Intelligence Service later commented on the break it had gotten, via a Syrian who had smuggled the wives of two of Baghdadi’s brothers, Ahmad and Jumah, to Idlib via Turkey.
There’s no way US Special Forces could have pulled this off without complex, combined Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian Kurd intel. Additionally, President Erdogan accomplishes one more tactical masterpiece, juggling between performing the role of dutiful, major NATO ally while still allowing al-Qaeda remnants their safe haven in Idlib under the watchful eye of the Turkish military.
Significantly, Trump said, about Moscow: “We told them, ‘We’re coming in’ … and they said, ‘Thank you for telling us.’” But, “they did not know the mission.”
They definitely didn’t. In fact, the Russian Defense Ministry, via spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, said it had “no reliable information about US servicemen conducting an operation to ‘yet another’ elimination of the former Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the Turkish-controlled part of the Idlib de-escalation zone.”
And on Trump’s “we told them,” the Russian Defense Ministry was emphatic: “We know nothing about any assistance to the flight of US aircraft to the Idlib de-escalation zone’s airspace in the course of this operation.”
According to ground sources in Syria, a prevalent rumor in Idlib is that the “dead dog” in Barisha could be Abu Mohammad Salama, the leader of Haras al-Din, a minor sub-group of al-Qaeda in Syria. Haras al-Din has not issued any statement about it.
ISIS/Daesh anyway has already named a successor: Abdullah Qardash, aka Hajji Abdullah al-Afari, also Iraqi and also a former Saddam Hussein military officer. There’s a strong possibility that ISIS/Daesh and myriad subgroups and variations of al-Qaeda in Syria will now re-merge, after their split in 2014.
Who gets the oil?
There’s no plausible explanation whatsoever for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for years, enjoying the freedom of shuttling back and forth between Syria and Iraq, always evading the formidable surveillance capabilities of the US government.
Well, there’s also no plausible explanation for that famous convoy of 53 brand new, white Toyota Hi-Luxes crossing the desert from Syria to Iraq in 2014 crammed with flag-waving ISIS/Daesh jihadis on their way to capture Mosul, also evading the cornucopia of US satellites covering the Middle East 24/7.
And there’s no way to bury the 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) leaked memo that explicitly named “the West, Gulf monarchies, and Turkey” as seeking a “Salafist principality” in Syria (opposed, significantly, by Russia, China and Iran – the key poles of Eurasia integration).
That was way before ISIS/Daesh’s irresistible ascension. The DIA memo was unmistakable: “If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
True, the fake caliph has been proclaimed definitely dead at least five times, starting in December 2016. Yet the timing, now, could not be more convenient.
The facts on the ground, after the latest ground-breaking Russia-
And then, there’s the oil question. The “died as a dog” movie literally buries – at least for now – an extremely embarrassing story: the Pentagon deploying tanks to “protect” Syrian oilfields. This is as illegal, by any possible interpretation of international law, as is, for that matter, the very presence in Syria of US troops, which were never invited by the government in Damascus.
Persian Gulf traders told me that before 2011, Syria was producing 387,000 barrels of oil a day and selling 140,000 – the equivalent of 25.1% of Damascus’s income. Nowadays, the Omar, al-Shadaddi and Suwayda fields, in eastern Syria, would not be producing more than 60,000 barrels a day. Still, that’s essential for Damascus and for “the Syrian people” so admired within the Beltway – the legitimate owners of the oil.
The mostly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) did in fact take military control of Deir er-Zor when they were fighting ISIS/Daesh. Yet the majority of the local population is Sunni Arab. They will never tolerate any hint of a longtime Syrian Kurd domination – much less in tandem with a US occupation.
Sooner or later the Syrian army will get there, with Russian air power support. The Deep State might, but Trump, in an electoral year, would never risk a hot war over a few, illegally occupied oilfields.
In the end, the “died as a dog” movie can be interpreted as a victory lap, and the closure of a historical arc languishing since 2011. When he “abandoned” the Syrian Demoratic Forces Kurds, Trump effectively buried the Rojava question – as in an independent Syrian Kurdistan.
Russia is in charge in Syria – on all fronts. Turkey got rid of its “terrorism” paranoia – always having to demonize the Syrian Kurd PYD and its armed wing YPG as a spin-off of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatists inside Turkey – and this may help to settle the Syrian refugee question. Syria is on the way to recover all its territory.
The “died as a dog” movie can also be interpreted as the liquidation of a formerly useful asset that was a valued component of the gift that keeps on giving, the never-ending Global War on Terror. Other scarecrows, and other movies, await.
This stinks (if possible) even worse than the alleged murder of Osama bin Laden – who had probably been dead for ten years at the time, as he was dying from kidney disease in 2002.
Funny how extremely close the parallels are, though. Almost as if Trump were – yet again – trying to duplicate and eclipse the (alleged) accomplishments of his predecessor Obama.
Funny that the Russian MoD denies Washington claims of having participated.
Funny that the Russian MoD says that, although it has kept a very close watch on aerial operations in Idlib, it was unaware of any such operation as claimed by Trump.
The whole thing looks like pure fiction.
Tom Clancy fiction. He’s dead but the plots keep spinning out from D.C.
Netflix will have it as a mini-series.
I also read today, after the Russian MOD said they know of no evidence for this event, Putin apparently came out and said if it happened they did a good thing and there were cruise missiles on the radar, contradicting his MOD. Clearly, he is playing along with the charade perhaps not wanting to humiliate Trump in hopes of gaining more cooperation, such as finally have the troops leave for real. I don’t expect that is going to happen but we shall see how this develops.
Vin Diesel and The Rock terminate Joaquim Phoenix with extreme prejudice.
I do agree with both you and Pablo, well written. Oh, how I hate the primitive silly scripts for Tom Cruise’s “Mission impossible” sequels!
But this – this is much bigger. This is so stupid and megalomaniac as Donald only could bear. I suppose he must have been framed by the deep state officers. Will he succeed to turn it against them and get rid of the scum? He is no chessmaster Putin, however, I suppose he is capable of thinking some modest two moves forward… 😎
You tell me.
I think this guy was protected by the US from when Raqqa was destroyed,if he is dead he was probably whacked Mafia style sitting in an armchair drinking iced tea,dead men can’t talk.
This seems to be the most probable scenario.
Just like the supposed killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011 or, most damning, the Reichstag Fire of Sept. 11th, the al-Baghdadi “killing” is an example of what America does best: psyops and Made-for-TV narratives that have more holes in them than a crappy Hollywood B-movie.
US Launches a New Propaganda Campaign Around the Assassination of Their Asset, Abu Bak
In Desperate Propaganda Move, the US Claim to Have Killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – Again!
Like Abu Musad al-Zarqawi, the patsy used to justify US terror in Iraq, then ‘terminated with extreme prejudice’ when he demanded a pension plan. I believe he was mentioned by Colon Bowel during his lie-fest at the UNSC, as a terrorist who sort refuge in Saddam’s Iraq, after he lost a leg in some unfortunate accident. But by the time he appeared in Iraq, and made lots of clearly phony videos (no doubt ‘discovered’ by SITE and Rita Katz)he’d grown his leg back. We are in a fight for ‘civilization’ with amphibians!!!
Thanks, all, for your insights. Man, talk about something having nine lives, maybe more? –this guy has been “killed” what, ten times over the last ten years ! ! ? ? Let’s Talk about the dark resurrection– it is real. The power of evil is practicing great, overwhelming deceptions. Now is the time to be as wise as serpents. I fear that evil entities can and do possess and energize human bodies. In contrast, I think the last time a truly good guy was resurrected was about 2K years ago.
I’m taking some lovely ‘compliments’ on facecrap after expressing my doubts in a freedom outpost article about this event. Forever Trumpers I think. After all, it spoils the glow of the orange soda. They couldn’t see the light from the sun if they stared directly at it.
Right on, good for you! I stumbled onto a YT channel called ‘Salty Cracker’, had an entertaining video up, ‘Trump calls Obama Treasonous’ late last week. I tuned into his livestream last night and was asking some (what I feel as essential) questions about the entire narrative, and that of the very existence and role of this puppet called ‘al-Baghdadi’. Nobody really engaged me, they were too busy reveling in their stupor and sensational news story about his alleged death. Saw a couple posts about how Alex Jones was a hero or some bs. I called bs on that and someone asked why I felt that way, I stated that he never criticizes Israel or brings Zionism into the light it so rightly deserves. No response back. One person said after I stated that it was only after Russia entered the fray in late 2015 that ISIS began to suffer serious setbacks and their demise began. That if it weren’t for Russia, Syria was very close to being completely occupied by them and their cohorts (kept it simple so they could understand, or so I thought lol) Someone said, ‘Russia had nothing to do with it!’ I’m not sure if he was responding to my statement or to an earlier one about Russia expressing doubts about this whole affair.
It was actually nauseating (as I remember vividly the OBL “raid” and subsequent dumping of the body in the ocean, allegedly honoring some unknown Islamic tradition for burying the dead (and since when did the US empire care to figs about not wanting to offend Muslims?) I asked if the Navy Seals (and other SoF involved) have to worry about being deep-sixed like their comrades were following the phony OBL “raid” in 2011. (I believe a number of them were killed after a helicopter had crashed which they were traveling in.) It really is a waste of time and energy trying to get through to either of these two camps, both radical sides of the political spectrum, imo. Good on you for at least trying to wake some people up.
That’s the joke about why the never had daylight saving in Queensland, our Alabama. The word was that the reactionary, ‘Bible-bashing bastard’ Premier, Joh Bananas, believed that the Sun shone out of his fundament, and he wasn’t getting up an hour earlier for anyone.
Hmm, how many times was he killed already? Is he actually a real person? This stinks just like Osama’s death, followed by assassination of the seal team (as I heard, read whatever).
“He died like a dog.”
Heavy metal song, T-shirts, windshield decals, tattoos. It’s sweeping the world.
Trump knows branding.
Yet to see any dog wearing suicide vest.
Dogs die just the same way as people. Trump uses an expression that just shows his ignorance.
I should think who ever this bloke is, he is having a very pleasant retirement in the US as did Adolf Hitler for doing the (((people)))’s bidding.
If these puppets didn’t behave they’d get shot. There has to be a pay off, no matter what the official lie is.
There is no way this US puppet died this was just as there was no way Hitler took his own life in a bunker.
Hitler died in Chile, in 1962 if I recall correctly.
Are they sure this time? Because the americans had him “successfully killed” several times before. And to blow himself up so conveniently, in a way which renders any positive identification impossible…
Oh, but they have his underwear, purportedly thanks to some forward thinking Kurdish mole!!!
What more positive way of identification could one ask for?
This is curious. While Pepe discusses that the Russians denied they had any involvement or been informed, as israel’s trump wind-up doll claims, he left out what is probably the most important thing. That the Russians said they did not detect any american/coalition airstrikes in the area on Saturday or after. Now why did pepe delibrately choose to leave out this very important piece of information?
You know this because that’s what he said in the article.
But yeah. This specific passage claims attention.
I think he did not discuss this point because that’s nothing to be discussed. It did not happened.
That’s what the Russian said! If Putin later changed the statement to grab more political points…who cares.
Follow up to my previous comment. It gets even stranger, the Russiams appear to be contradicting themselves. This RT article reports:
If ISIS chief al-Baghdadi is dead, Trump has made a big contribution to fighting terrorism – Kremlin
“The news itself can’t be taken negatively by the Russian authorities,” Dmitry Peskov said. “Indeed, our troops saw American planes and American drones in the area, which may have been on a mission there.”
A Sputnik article also makes the same claim:
If Baghdadi Proven Dead, It’ll Mark Real Contribution to Fight Against Terrorism by Trump – Kremlin
“He also stressed that Russian forces had spotted American planes and drones operating in the area. There have been multiple reports of al-Baghdadi’s demise, but no confirmation was issued before.”
Although the embedded link, supposedly sourcing this claim:
Does not mention Russians detecting americam air assets.
Im going to make a wild guess and suggest the initial Russian MOD was mistranslated. Instead of saying they detected no american airstrikes in the area, they instead said the americans failed to inform them of any airstrikes.
Yup…..mystery re Defence and Peskov statements….one hopes there is not a gap between some departments which has been exposed.
I think RT and Sputnik did mistranslate the MOD statement now:
Kremlin says IS ringleader’s death could signal Trump’s major role in anti-terror fight
“Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Sunday that it had no reliable evidence that al-Baghdadi was dead. Moreover, it said it had not opened airspace over Syria for US aircraft.”
Maybe Russia understands the script and it doing its part to undermine the US impeachment scenario.
Not “meddling,” mind you. Just . . . playing along . . .
That’s not conflicting… They said IF they killed him, they would have made a contribution to Anti-Terror… This is just a political comment. MoD states they had no information on the operation. I don’t see any of it as conflicting.
American presidents capture terrorists a year before elections?
Saddam Hussein: 2003
George Bush 2nd-term elections: 2004
Bin Laden: 2011
Obama 2nd-term elections: 2012
Trump 2nd-term elections: 2020
Is anyone seeing what we’re seeing? ; )
Question marks everywhere!
Plus Trump fending off impeachment nonsense.
So, provide bigger nonsense!!
Sort of takes the air out of the impeachment sails.
I have to laugh that the Congress is annoyed that Trump didn’t tell them his plans beforehand.
Of course they would have leaked the plans.
If they are genuije. Or also if they are not.
Trump is the director/producer here. Congress is just spearcarriers.
I am viewing this purely as Groucho Marx vs. the Keystone Kops.
Something very fishy going on. The narrative doesn’t make much sense:
– So this secret raid by night caught al-Baghdadi unawares, but he and his wives quickly donned their suicide vests with explosives armed and ready to go from their customary place on the pegs of the family coat rack in the 30 seconds they had after first hearing commotion. Or did they know in advance about the secret raid?
– Trump thanks Russia, and there are claims that Russia and Syria, who control the air space, were notified in advance (so as not to get shot down). Why the hell would Assad and Russia go along with this?
– Are we to believe the Americans flew to Idlib but the Russian, Syrian, and Turk air defenses registered nothing? There were air strikes, but they weren’t registered by any of the observation posts dotting the landscape?
– US wants to bury the mutilated body parts at sea in accordance with Islamic ritual. ??? Islam does not as a rule bury their dead at sea.
– And are the Russians glad for the assist they provided? Not exactly. In a statement, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Russian military “does not have reliable information” on a US Special Operations raid in Syria’s Idlib province, adding: “The increasing number of direct participants and countries that allegedly took part in this ‘operation,’ each one giving completely contradictory details, raises legitimate questions and doubts about its existence and especially the level of its success.”
– He died like a cowardly whimpering dog, but he was not surrendering, he was escaping in a tunnel and blew himself up, hardly the standard action script of a coward. In the MSM all terrorists are cowards preying on unarmed innocents, except drone operators engaged in video-game elimination of young boys in Afghanistan collecting dung (mistaken for IEDs) or farm workers camped out to pick the pine seed harvest. You use many epthets to describe people who have the conviction to lay down their own life, no matter how misguided, even suicide-bombers, but “cowardly” is not an apt description. Cowardly is when you use technology so that you take no risk and the other guy/girl has no chance.
Senator Graham said. “It [the oil] is now in the hands of Syrian Democratic Forces, which are Arabic Kurds”
[As reported by CNBC]
This is the level of US political thought: Arabic Kurds!
Unawares that the Kurds and the Arabs have quite a few bones to pick about al-Hasakah, Raqqah, and the (Arab) oil in Deir ez-Zor.
“This was the chief source of revenue for a long time for ISIS,” Graham said.
Yes, which was transported by convoys to Turkey for years, until the Russians obliterated these trucks in hundreds of kilometers of open desert, something the American just couldn’t have thought to do. Instead the Americans dropped ordinance on the infrastructure of the Syrian state, and crippled the electricity (and water/sanitation) of Aleppo with specialized ordinance.
And now, suddenly, the oil has to be protected from ISIS (which was demolished 100% by the Americans). The narrative is so stilted you cannot even imagine how anybody can hold such contradictory thoughts in their head simultaneously.
Not exactly a misunderstanding, I suspect, but rather a Freudian slip.
Arab and Kurd fighters have been moving back and forth between Daesh and YPG since the begining of the war. From the perspective of Graham and others like him Arab/Kurd means Western sponsered proxy fighters.
Plan A, the creation of a Kurdistan, was a ruse from day one, meant to make Russia overestimate it’s strength in the theatre and go to war essentially alone. Plan B, the creation of a Sunnistan, is the real Plan A, which is what Erdogan is angling to accomplish on behalf of his Muslim Brotherhood/Zionist Deep state and NATO friends. Obviously Russia would prefer if the Turks and NATO just went home. If Turkey were a friend of Russia that’s exactly what they’d do.
Sooner or later Russia will need to confront Turkish expansionism. When it happens Russia might find itself isolated and alone. Putin’s gambit to turn Turkey away from the West is based on short term needs, not a belief the Turks will ever be completely ‘turned.’ Russians understand perfectly that Turks prefer the West, partly because so many Russians prefer the West just the same.
“The narrative is so stilted you cannot even imagine how anybody can hold such contradictory thoughts in their head simultaneously.”
I think the narrative is mainly for pindo consumption, especially those who are trump’s core support base. These critters don’t do logic, their buttons are labeled “greed” and “emotion”, usually the latter is triggered when the former hits a snag or is “trespassed” upon in some way (such as hitting a traffic jam on the way to mcdonalds or they have to pay higher than starvation wages to employees). They don’t fo reason or rationality, either.
I hate to tell you but the critters that makeup the dem’s base aren’t any stronger in the reason, logic, or critical thinking category. They’re just usually a little more polished when they open their cake holes in front of people. Both bases are disgusting.
On the site of Moon of Alabama, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi (alias Elliott Shimon, an acclaimed Mossad agent) was rebranded as ‘Kenny’, the character from South Park that dies in every episode and is alive again in the next ;-)
The seeming contradictory statements from the RF might have to do that they don’t want to embarass the USA too much, besides some statements that this might be bogus. I remember somebody on MoA checked the pictured demolished site on Google Earth, and apparentley it looked already for months that way.
Same script, other name.
I’m more concerned about this hideous action to steal the Syrian oil, surrounded by hostile forces. That cannot continue for too long. I suggest the SAA starts with cutting the power supply.
The site sid not look blown up by explosives …rather by machinery……now how did that get in and out?
More on the “retirement” party of Usama Zarqawi Bin Laden al-Baghdadi:
Something Big Has Happened!
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Why does no one make the connection between (1) the 250 millions that Trump paid few days before to the white helmets, and (2) the subsequent produced “a la hollywood script” of the fake death of the self-declared caliph?
Interesting connection….someone in the compound ex ISIS of unknown nationality (or still a member themselves?)……contacting and in two way communication presumably ? with Kurds with the DNA proof who had began to locate the compound….how when would that be possible in Idlib is the region rhat porous …….why is to claim the 25 m dollar reward as says ISIS murdered his family/relatives………was present in compound when USA went into action- how did they recognise informant so as not to dispose of him…just knock on the door or had secret location device on him….what were total number of peoples in compound….https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7628561/ISIS-defector-INSIDE-al-Baghdadis-Syrian-compound.html
Now the Septics claim that they identified Shimon from the DNA obtained when he was at the jihadist academy, Camp Bucca, where Daash was incubated, in Iraq. What? No stolen undies?