Philly terrorism expert says death of ISIS leader should scare terrorists

Justin Udo
October 27, 2019 - 12:58 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died Saturday night during a U.S. military raid on a compound in Syria. That news came down Sunday morning from President Donald Trump.

The killing of Baghdadi helped destabilize ISIS as an organization, and took away an important part of its territory, according to Edward Turzanski, senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

"Remember, he was the man who stood up this caliphate," explained Turzanski. "The hunt for him was so very important, anything we can do to slow down the progress they make at trying to find other territory."

Turzanski, an expert in the study of terrorism, said the president's decision to leave troops in the region to guard resources was a forward-thinking approach to fighting the Islamic State, which can help further cripple the terrorist cell.

"Control over that oil supply was one of the things that ISIS had banked on, because it's stable revenue for them," he said. "That's where he's going to deny them."

He said Baghdadi's death has symbolic and operational significance, but it should also send tremors throughout the terrorist community.

Related: Trump says Islamic State leader dead after US raid in Syria

"The way this raid was carried out is yet another reminder to America's adversaries that we are extraordinarily patient," Turzanski said, "and when we do come for you, the verdict will be final. That's the sort of thing that rents space in the frontal lobe of every terrorist. They have to imagine that at some point the United States will come after me or those close to me."

However, Turzanski said he does not know how the move will be viewed politically, though he believes it shows the president is standing firm in his foreign policy agenda.

"It's a demonstration that (shows) where the red lines exist and American interests are at stake," he speculated. "The president is very firmly in support of the people in the intelligence community and the military who carry out missions like this."