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    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Tag

    Reports have surfaced that "Jihadi John," the masked Brit responsible for the beheadings of four western hostages, was injured last Saturday's airstrikes near the Iraqi-Syrian border. Via the Daily Mail:
    ‘We are aware of reports that this individual [Jihadi John] has been injured, and we are looking into them,’ a Foreign Office spokesman told The Mail on Sunday. This newspaper has received an independent account of how Jihadi John was injured and rushed to hospital after a devastating air strike in Al Qaim, in Anbar Province, Western Iraq. The Foreign Office spokesman added: ‘We have a number of sources of information coming in. ‘The incident occurred last weekend, and so we have received the reports in the last few days. We don’t have any representation inside Syria, and so it is difficult to confirm these reports.’ The Foreign Office also issued an official statement saying: ‘We are aware of reports. We cannot confirm these reports.’ A spokesman for US Central Command said they were unable to confirm the details for security reasons. The joint US-Iraqi mission left at least ten IS commanders dead, and around 40 injured. Those reportedly hurt included IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
    The Mail provides a great infographic detailing the fractured timeline as we have it so far: 1416081735658_wps_43_BANNER_jpg

    ISIS is the embodiment of evil. But:
    “We don’t understand real evil, organized evil very well,” said America’s former ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, in an interview with The New York Times. “This is evil incarnate.” “People like [Islamic State commander] Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi have been in a fight for a decade,” he added. “They are messianic in their vision, and they are not going to stop.”
    My question is: does anyone ever "understand" evil? I don't think so. Evil's very nature is to be inscrutable. Evil is altogether mysterious and altogether different from the way most people operate or could even imagine operating. In all the biographies and histories that have dealt with Hitler, for example, who has ever really explained him? No one. Religious people posit a spiritual origin for evil. Non-religious people tend to doubt its existence, until they look into its eyes. If it were necessary to fully understand evil in order to fight it, World War II would have never been won by the Allies. What is necessary is to be able to recognize evil and see it for what it is quite early in the game. Those are the important first steps. The next steps are finding the will and the tools to fight it. Evil is very strong, because it doesn't know the same restraints and limits as morality or good. Regarding ISIS, Elizabeth Warren pipes up:

    The self-proclaimed leader of the united Islamic State, or Caliphate, appeared for the first time in public on Saturday since his military organization took large parts of territory in northern Iraq. Before being named "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (known as ISIS).
    In a sign of [ISIS] confidence, the hitherto secretive Baghdadi made an unprecedented public appearance in the militant-held north Iraq city of Mosul, ordering Muslims to obey him, according to a video distributed online on Saturday.
    Baghdadi addressed followers in a mosque in Mosul and delivered a Ramadan prayer and call to arms. According to @Francois_Gatete -- here are several excerpts of the video translated into English.

    Media and civilian reports throughout northern and central Iraq on Friday suggest that the situation on the ground has become increasingly violent and unstable to the point that the Iraqi government is crumbling:
    Heavily armed Islamist militants flush with $450 million in stolen cash pushed toward Baghdad on Friday, sending thousands fleeing in fear from the Iraqi capital. Al Qaeda-linked insurgents who overran large parts of the north of the country earlier this week also seized about $450 million during a bank heist, Mosul Mayor Athier Nujaifi told NBC News. That makes the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) the world's richest terrorist group.
    The ISIS troops are led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (or Abu Dua) was once held by the US in Camp Bucca Iraq. al-Baghdadi was captured by U.S. forces in Iraq, but released by the Obama Administration in 2009. On his way to a visit to North Dakota, President Barack Obama held a brief statement and exchange with reporters on The White House lawn. Unfortunately for the President, events are deteriorating so fast around Baghdad, it may be too late for the United States to do anything before the ISIS/Sunni insurgents take the Iraqi capital. Reporters didn't ask specific questions about the failure of Obama to leave U.S. combat troops in Iraq after 2011 or his failure to complete a Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government.
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