Tango Down

These days, the lifespan of a newly appointed head of a radical Islamic terrorist group can be measured in months.

Way back in August of this year, I wrote about al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and how he was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul while sitting on the balcony of his home sipping a cup of coffee. The R9X variant of a Hellfire missile chopped him to bits to the point there was nobody left.

House where al-Zawahri died
A man points to the Kabul home where al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was supposedly killed. It is less than 1000 feet away from the UK embassy. Image Credit: cnn.com via Twitter

According to sources at The Washington Post, yesterday, a spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) reported on Telegram in a recorded audio statement that their leader was killed recently. The information said Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi (shown below) was killed in battle. No further details were offered. He had commanded the jihadist group for a little over nine months. His successor is Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi. Yes, I know the names are pretty similar. “Qurashi” is a tribe of the Prophet Mohammed. All ISIS leaders must prove that they have descended from this group; “al-Qurashi” is part of their nom de guerre or “war name.”

USCENTCOM, in their press release announcing the death of the terrorist group leader, was highly tight-lipped as well. Below, in one screenshot, is the entirety of that release.

USCENTCOM press release
Screenshot from USCENTCOM

Central Command spokesman Col. Joe Buccino noted that The Free Syrian Army carried out the operation that killed al-Qurashi in Daraa province in mid-October, but that’s it. In recent months ISIS has seemingly been trying to rebuild and has carried out attacks in Iraq and Syria.

Does the US Still Have Troops in Syria?

Some of you are wondering if we still have troops in Syria. The answer is, “Yes, we do.” The United States has about 900 soldiers in the country. They are positioned in the area known as the “Eastern Syria Security Area.” Officially, they are there to fight against the Islamic State, Daesh, and to train and advise Kurdish and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). All of this is public record but not widely discussed in mainstream media. Thus far, I have not read credible speculation on why it has taken over a month to acknowledge al-Qurashi’s death.

CENTCOM makes it clear that ISIS is still a threat in Syria. They remind America that “ISIS remains a threat to the region” and “CENTCOM and our partners remain focused on the enduring defeat of ISIS.” I read this and thought, “Wait a second, haven’t we (or someone) declared victory over ISIS in the not-too-distant past?” Well, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS in his country in 2017 when the last remnants of the terrorist organizations were driven out. At one point, the group claimed one-third of the nation.

In March 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces declared victory over the Islamic State in Syria. In a statement to the press, the SDF General Command said, “On this occasion, we cannot but remember those heroes and pay tribute to the memory of the martyrs and wish the urgent recovery of their wounds; without their sacrifices, we would not be granted this victory,”

As it turns out, these claims were a bit premature.

Is Zawahiri Really Dead? I’m Not So Sure

Read Next: Is Zawahiri Really Dead? I’m Not So Sure

Washington Weighs in..a Little

John Kirby, the spokesman for the US National Security Council, when asked about the ISIS leader’s death, commented with the following,

 “We certainly welcome the news of the death of another ISIS leader. I don’t have any additional operational details to provide at this time.”

That’s it. If you remember your terrorist history, the newly deceased al-Qurashi is the third ISIS leader to be killed since Americans hunted down and took out ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in late October 2019 in Syria.

Al-Baghdadi was an evil incarnate. His real name, as reported in 2018 by Reuters, was Ibrahim al-Samarrai. He ordered and was personally involved in numerous crimes against humanity. Among these was the genocide of Yazidis in Iraq, where thousands of Yazidi women and girls were forced into sexual slavery, and thousands more Yazidi men and children were murdered. He kept personal sex slaves and was a serial rapist. According to ABC News, he took American hostage Kayla Mueller as a “wife” and tortured and raped her numerous times during her year and a half in captivity.

Photo of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS. This is what evil looks like. Screenshot from YouTube and ABC News

The ISIS founder died during a raid jointly conducted by 1st SFOD-D, elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment, and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). He was cornered in a tunnel by US military working dogs and ultimately ended his life as a coward when he exploded the suicide vest he was wearing, killing two of his children nearby.