Pentagon Plans Assassination of ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 10, 2014 5:48 PM EST
The Pentagon may ask U.S. President Barack Obama to launch a drone attack on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the spearhead of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The attack will apparently depend on justifiable circumstances to defend the assault.
REUTERS/Social Media Website v
A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video. There had previously been reports on social media that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would make his first public appearance since his Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) changed its name to the Islamic State and declared him caliph. The Iraqi government denied that the video, which carried Friday's date, was credible. It was also not possible to immediately confirm the authenticity of the recording or the date when it was made.
U.S. defence officials are reportedly aware of the Pentagon working on such a project of gathering necessary information related to ISIS. However, if there is any such attack on the ISIS leader, it has to be approved by the U.S. president. There must be detailed and specific information available to locate al-Baghdadi to launch an air-strike. Such information is important to make sure no civilian is harmed during the operation. On the other hand, it also has to be established that al-Baghdadi and his organisation are a threat to the United States. This may not be very difficult to recognise as U.S. officials said that ISIS did threaten Americans in Iraq as well as the U.S. Embassy in the country.
According to reports, if such an air-strike is launched, it will focus on possible targets in both Iraq and Syria. There is also a possibility that the attack will involve manned warplanes as those are more capable than drone attacks in terms of dynamic targeting. However, the U.S. government is apparently not willing to start a long-term war against ISIS at the moment.
Obama earlier clarified that United States would only get involved in such attacks if those were associated with a feasible plan by the Iraqi government to ensure sustainable non-sectarian security in the country. Such a clarification indicated that the U.S. government might alternatively provide gathered information to the Iraqi government so that the latter could conduct a mission to capture of assassinate the ISIS leader.
The Obama government has already announced $10 million bounty for Al-Baghdadi under its "Justice" programme. The programme is designed to offer a significant amount as a reward for those who provide necessary information about high profile terrorists. United States has also reportedly included Al-Baghdadi in its "kill list."
Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au
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