World leaders praise al-Baghdadi’s death, warn fight not over, #resistance rages at Trump for talking to Russia

World leaders praise al-Baghdadi’s death, warn fight not over, #resistance rages at Trump for talking to Russia President Donald Trump cheered the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but not everyone was in a celebratory mood. World leaders were cautiously optimistic, while the anti-Trump #resistance raged as usual.

On Sunday morning Trump revealed that the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) mastermind had met his demise the night before, detonating a suicide vest as American special forces entered his compound in northwestern Syria. The self-proclaimed caliph of a genocidal terrorist organization that once reigned over much of Iraq and Syria, Baghdadi’s death was greeted with triumph by Trump, and cautious celebration from world leaders.

“The death of Baghdadi is an important moment in our fight against terror, but the battle against the evil of Daesh is not yet over,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, using a pejorative name for Baghdadi’s organization. Likewise, French Defense Minister Florence Parly hailed the “early retirement for a terrorist, but not for his organisation.”

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu were equally congratulatory, with both vowing to assist the US in future counter-terrorist operations. 

Russian officials were more skeptical, with the chairman of the upper house of parliament‘s foreign affairs committee Konstantin Kosachyov cautioning that the death of Baghdadi had been incorrectly announced five times in the past, and warning that “countering terrorism is a much more difficult task than the physical destruction of its leaders.”

Back in Washington, partisan politics entered the fray. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) demanded that the House be briefed on the raid, and complained that “the Russians, but not top congressional leadership were notified.” 

Russian forces were warned of the raid so that the Americans could fly low through Syrian airspace they control, Trump claimed, although Moscow said there were no US coalition airstrikes in the Idlib area on Saturday and US aircraft were not flying. 

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Whatever the case, American and Russian forces in Syria have maintained several “deconfliction” lines of communication, and one might assume warning other armies in the area is the right thing to do to avoid inadvertent clashes.

As for Trump opting not to inform Pelosi and the Democrats, he said he wanted to avoid leaks to the media.

“There‘s no country in the world that leaks like we do,” he said, “and Washington is a leaking machine.”

Nevertheless, the anti-Trump crowd hammered the president for “indicating that he trusts Russia with this information more than congressional Democrats,” as the Washington Post wrote. The Post also complained that Trump mentioned Russia in his speech before he mentioned the American intelligence community, as did the Twitter #resistance.

Among other bones picked by the #resistance was Trump’s insistence that Baghdadi’s death was a bigger moment than the death of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, under Barack Obama’s leadership.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, meanwhile, Trump for delaying the start of his news conference by 20 minutes, while Obama started his on time. Par for the course for CNN.

Baghdadi’s death will be mourned by few in America, yet some disagreed with Trump’s graphic depiction of the jihad chief’s final moments, which he said were spent “whimpering and crying and screaming.” According to some, the IS leader, who oversaw genocide, execution, rape and forced religious conversion, deserved a little more respect.

James Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Obama, told CBS that Trump “piling humiliation” on Baghdadi after his death was inappropriate.

“If you look back at the Bin Laden raid, we treated his body with respect that is due under Islam,” Winnefeld continued, referring to the unceremonious burial at sea given to the 9/11 mastermind following his death at the hands of a Navy SEAL team.

“I think this is what Dems will settle on,” journalist Glenn Greenwald . “Obama‘s boasting of killing Bin Laden was done with elegance, class and dignity, while Trump‘s was tacky, crass and unpresidential. What else do they have? It‘s kind of a metaphor for the general contempt for Trump.”

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