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US Special Forces raid in Syria kills senior ISIS leader, captures wife watch

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    United States SOCOM forces conducted a raid overnight in Eastern Syria, killing Abu Sayyaf and capturing his wife Umm Sayyaf. Abu Sayyaf was a senior ISIS leader, and his wife is believed to be involved in human trafficking operations by ISIS. The US Special Forces also freed a Yezidi slave being held captive by the Sayyafs.

    It is very interesting that the President opted to send in special forces rather than hit the building with a drone. I suspect that the primary consideration was the psychological effect it will have on ISIS, and on others' perception of them, that US forces are able to put troops on the ground in their heartlands, kill one of their leaders and carry off one of their women. I suspect a close second, in reasoning, would be the potential intelligence haul from laptops, phones, documents, etc. This is something they obviously do not get when using drones.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...mment-52281815

    All I can say really is well-done to the soldiers involved; by all accounts it looks a daring, assertive mission and risky as well. They carried it off very well.
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    Yeah! Now that has cheered me up. Pleased they saved the Yezidi slave too. At least she's now out of that hellish nightmare.
    Watching a film like Zero Dark Thirty, you realise they haven't really got hope in Hell, at the end of the day. Well done USA!
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    (Original post by Marco1)
    Yeah! Now that has cheered me up. Pleased they saved the Yezidi slave too. At least she's now out of that hellish nightmare.
    Watching a film like Zero Dark Thirty, you realise they haven't really got hope in Hell, at the end of the day. Well done USA!
    Well, Zero Dark Thirty took very considerable liberties with the truth. But actually, in some ways the whole thing around Zero Dark Thirty is why we should feel some prospect of making progress on the Al-Qaeda issue; under President Bush, the United States almost ignored Al-Qaeda, and invested thousands of lives and a trillion dollars on invading Iraq, which took their eye of the main game (and precipitated the chaos that led to the rise of ISIS).

    However, President Obama did start moving us back in the right direction; he decided to end the tacit permission Pakistan had to be a privileged sanctuary for Islamist enemies of the US. He took out bin Laden, and ordered the CIA to start whacking Al-Qaeda members, including the ones in Pakistan. That is what we should have been doing from the start, rather than fiddling around with military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.

    There's no doubt the campaign against ISIS is the right one; we need to finish them off. But once that is done, we really need to stop making messy interventions in the Middle East that undermine secular, nationalist leaders like Saddam Hussein, Ghaddafi and Assad; interventions that consistently lead to chaos and open up a space for Al-Qaeda affiliates to set up shop. We need to stop doing that, and start putting some serious focus and pressure on Pakistan, compelling them to purge their military-intelligence establishment of jihadists or otherwise we will go in and do it for them.

    Given Pakistani military-intelligence gave sanctuary to bin Laden after 9/11, their provision of money to Al-Qaeda in 2001, and continuing to provide money, ammunition, fuel and intelligence to the Taliban after 2001, and their record as one of the worst nuclear proliferators in the world (providing nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea), there is no doubt in my mind that they are the most dangerous country in the world and that a significant portion of their government are our mortal enemies who need to be either neutralised by being removed from office, or killed.

    Dealing with Pakistan will not be easy; in fact, it is probably the most difficult foreign policy problem that can be imagined. In some ways, I can understand why the Bush Administration thought it was too hard and passed. But the threat will not dissipate by itself, and thus far there has not really been any blowback on Pakistan for their duplicity and their being in bed with our most hated enemies. That needs to be dealt with.
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    Very good news. I hope we see the leader and his wife given the death penalty.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Very good news. I hope we see the leader and his wife given the death penalty.
    His sentence has already been carried out, so to speak As to the wife, she is at a secure location in Iraq being drained of all the useful intelligence she can provide, and then she will be handed over to the Iraqi court system. Iraq still has the death penalty, and I don't think they will be in a magnanimous mood about someone who has been trying to destroy Iraq
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    (Original post by MatthewParis)
    Well, Zero Dark Thirty took very considerable liberties with the truth. But actually, in some ways the whole thing around Zero Dark Thirty is why we should feel some prospect of making progress on the Al-Qaeda issue; under President Bush, the United States almost ignored Al-Qaeda, and invested thousands of lives and a trillion dollars on invading Iraq, which took their eye of the main game (and precipitated the chaos that led to the rise of ISIS).
    I pretty much go along with that. Bush using the invasion of Iraq to assuage his desire to make a bold statement of revenge for 9/11 was utterly wrong, irrational and immoral - a misuse of his Office. Al Queda were the enemy and Al Queda isn't a country.
    But wondering what are the liberties with the truth regarding that film? As with The Hurt Locker, it seemed to have an integrity to the truth about it, as far as films go. I'd be interested to know if they exaggerated or do you mean they omitted things that should have been included, bearing in mind it's not an impartial history documentary.

    (Original post by MatthewParis)
    However, President Obama did start moving us back in the right direction; he decided to end the tacit permission Pakistan had to be a privileged sanctuary for Islamist enemies of the US. He took out bin Laden, and ordered the CIA to start whacking Al-Qaeda members, including the ones in Pakistan. That is what we should have been doing from the start, rather than fiddling around with military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.
    Yep, but Obama is getting less and less credible these days. I think he's had his day.

    (Original post by MatthewParis)
    There's no doubt the campaign against ISIS is the right one; we need to finish them off. But once that is done, we really need to stop making messy interventions in the Middle East that undermine secular, nationalist leaders like Saddam Hussein, Ghaddafi and Assad; interventions that consistently lead to chaos and open up a space for Al-Qaeda affiliates to set up shop. We need to stop doing that, and start putting some serious focus and pressure on Pakistan, compelling them to purge their military-intelligence establishment of jihadists or otherwise we will go in and do it for them.
    I agree that these interventions of the three you mention were stupid! They were/are tyrannical leaders but they were strong enough to hold together at least some form of unity in their countries, albeit by including human rights abuses in their methods. What it leaves behind though is far worse - utter chaos and fanaticism. It seems to me that these predominantly Muslim countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria need strong dictators. They don't seem to respond well at all to democracy. There's seems to be a tension there between Islam and democracy. The goal of Islam is about complete 'submission' to one teaching. It's not about creative discussion aiming towards an ever evolving society.

    (Original post by MatthewParis)
    Given Pakistani military-intelligence gave sanctuary to bin Laden after 9/11, their provision of money to Al-Qaeda in 2001, and continuing to provide money, ammunition, fuel and intelligence to the Taliban after 2001, and their record as one of the worst nuclear proliferators in the world (providing nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea), there is no doubt in my mind that they are the most dangerous country in the world and that a significant portion of their government are our mortal enemies who need to be either neutralised by being removed from office, or killed.

    Dealing with Pakistan will not be easy; in fact, it is probably the most difficult foreign policy problem that can be imagined. In some ways, I can understand why the Bush Administration thought it was too hard and passed. But the threat will not dissipate by itself, and thus far there has not really been any blowback on Pakistan for their duplicity and their being in bed with our most hated enemies. That needs to be dealt with.
    Pakistan is a problem alright but not one the UK really wants to talk about much because of our large British Pakistani community. Also I think there are other countries in the equation like Yemen and Somalia, both breeding grounds for Jihadist terrorism too. It's a war without borders because of the local threat of random terrorist acts. It has to be fought on many fronts, virtual, political and militarily etc. I like the operation just carried out. Very encouraging and a classy tactical play. In and out of their own backyard before they even had time to count the count the dead. Bite on that you ISIS mongrels.
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    (Original post by MatthewParis)



    Given Pakistani military-intelligence gave sanctuary to bin Laden after 9/11, their provision of money to Al-Qaeda in 2001, and continuing to provide money, ammunition, fuel and intelligence to the Taliban after 2001, and their record as one of the worst nuclear proliferators in the world (providing nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea), there is no doubt in my mind that they are the most dangerous country in the world and that a significant portion of their government are our mortal enemies who need to be either neutralised by being removed from office, or killed.
    .
    IS there definitive proof that Bin Laden was given shelter by the Pakistani military? I know it seems obvious given where he was found, but there never seemed to be firm links of Pakistani involvement.

    Pakistan has that lovely distinction of always making itself useful to someone. It used to be the US, now its China. They always seem to find a way to make themselves useful and thus find some protection from a larger power.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    IS there definitive proof that Bin Laden was given shelter by the Pakistani military? I know it seems obvious given where he was found, but there never seemed to be firm links of Pakistani involvement.

    Pakistan has that lovely distinction of always making itself useful to someone. It used to be the US, now its China. They always seem to find a way to make themselves useful and thus find some protection from a larger power.
    That's the problem with the Pakistani ISI. The actions of their people
    Doesn't necessarily equate to the actions of ISI or the Pakistani goverement.
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    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    That's the problem with the Pakistani ISI. The actions of their people
    Doesn't necessarily equate to the actions of ISI or the Pakistani goverement.
    That is always the feeling I have had. Elements of their government have almost pushed them into a war with India on so many occasions. Yet this would completely destroy the Pakistani state and only achieve the aims of al Qaeda. ( It has always been one of their ideal scenarios to create a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan) It just shows how warped their government and military are, that these elements can thrive.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    IS there definitive proof that Bin Laden was given shelter by the Pakistani military? I know it seems obvious given where he was found, but there never seemed to be firm links of Pakistani involvement.
    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    That's the problem with the Pakistani ISI. The actions of their people
    Doesn't necessarily equate to the actions of ISI or the Pakistani goverement.
    IIRC one of the former Pak Army Chiefs of Staff said that the ISI Director-General put bin Laden up in the house, with the full knowledge of General Kiyani. Former ISI director Hamid Gul went on television and said something along the lines of "Of course we were hiding him, he was an honoured guest". I will have to go back to some sources so I can link them here, but my recollection is that ISI officers on the bin Laden Desk had hands-on involvement, that senior elements in the military/ISI were generally aware but not aware of details for reasons of opsec/deniability, and that politicians suspected but did not probe the issue (in fact, there are plenty of PML(N) politicians who would approve; it depends who is in power)

    If it was a one-off, then it might be arguable that this was a rogue agent, but when you look at the overall picture there is little question of a pattern of behaviour by the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment that encompasses a pragmatic playing of both ends against the middle (extracting money and equipment out of the US as a partner in the War on Terror, and throwing the occasional bone to the US, but also keeping every option open and maintaining their relationships with the Afghani Taliban, the Haqqani Network and Al-Qaeda) but also, for many high-ranking ISI and military officers, a genuine commitment to hardline Islamist values.

    In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, ISI Director Gen. Ahmed met with Mullah Omar and encouraged him not to hand bin Laden over and to resist any American invasion. There have also been reports that $100,000 wired to 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta came from General Ahmed, and that the AQ financier Omar Saeed Sheikh was an ISI agent. Interestingly enough, when Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2002 (an ominous foretaste of what was to come), the video that was released demanded the United States reinstate its sale of F-16s to the Pakistani military. Make of that what you will.

    You also have fairly consistent reports of a continuous flow of weapons, ammunition, money and fuel from the Pakistani military and ISI to the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban (the relationship with the Pakistani Taliban is much more hostile, despite the name they are very distinct organisations).

    The Pakistan Army believes that eventually the Americans will pull out of Afghanistan, their military doctrine almost requires that Afghanistan must be friendly to Pakistan. The Pakistani Army's strategy in an all-out war against India relies on having the strategic depth that a friendly Afghanistan would provide, allowing their armour to withdraw before organising a counter-attack (not to mention the perceived value of being able to call up a few tens of thousands of Afghan Taliban to fight as irregulars in such a scenario). Materiel has gone directly from Pakistan Army arsenals to Taliban units where they have been used to kill American and British soldiers. That support is a direct and violent challenge to our Afghanistan policy and our goals there.

    Furthermore, while the issue of ISI support for the Taliban and AQ is a bit murky, the Pakistan Army's relationship to Lashka-e-Toiba is not; Pakistan is probably the most active state sponsor of terrorism, given the shooting attacks in Mumbai. On top of that, Pakistan is probably the most egregious proliferator of illegal nuclear technology in the world; the AQ Khan network sold uranium enrichment centrifuge technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea, and it is believed North Korea acquired the design for a light / small nuclear warhead (suitable for being mounted on a missile) from Pakistan.

    I fully accept that the issue of who is culpable, who is involved, is highly complex, that the Pakistan government is not a monolithic entity and at times the civilian government opposed such contacts or was in the dark; having said that, my feeling of what the evidence says on the whole is that the ISI in particular has been deeply duplicitous and has played a very broad double game. It hasn't just dabbled, its relationship with Islamists in Afghanistan goes back to the 1980s and its support to the Taliban in the 1990s was indispensable. The only change around 9/11 is that the ISI becomes the exclusive conduit for those contacts.

    To tackle this, we would have to work with the Pakistan civilian government, and distinguish friendly from unfriendly elements, specifically identify and isolate jihadist elements, use our military aid and influence to end their careers and require Pakistan to clean out the Augean Stables that is the ISI. It is my belief that if they refuse, or they are obstructive, we should consider what options we have to neutralise some of the key individuals and intimidate the others with threats of violence. We should refuse them entry to the West, block their children from attending Western universities, utilise cyber capabilities to publicise their web-surfing habits or manufacture disputes, etc ad inifinitum. Make it clear to younger officers in Pakistan that if you associate with these people, your career will turn into a dead end, your children's path to social advancement will be blocked, you will be harassed and it's quite possible you may end up actually dead. I know it seems a bit convoluted, but if you are going to come up with a strategy that takes into account the fact that the government of Pakistan per se is not our enemy (we can't just invade them, or lob a few Tomahawks at ISI headquarters), and so it comes down to leveraging personal motivations, isolating individuals, etc.

    Anyway, that's my view of the situation. Sorry for the long post, I wanted to reply to both of you and it's a viewpoint that I have't seen put around very much so I thought I should explain it
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Very good news. I hope we see the leader and his wife given the death penalty.
    Why?
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    (Original post by pjm600)
    Why?
    With something as serious as an attempted state that is an enemy of the west, i think there may be a case of her aiding and abetting the murder of countless innocents.

    That and i suppose i don't have much respect for ISIS filth.
 
 
 
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