Monday 18 November 2019

Robert Fisk: 'Leader may be dead - but Trump's bizarre diplomacy has brought Isil back to life'

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Getty Images
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Getty Images

Robert Fisk

USUALLY, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. But in the heavenly White House this weekend, it worked the other way round. Lord Trump took the life of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and then gave life back to Isil by telling us all that he'd promised to send its surviving murderers to the borders of the UK and other European nations.

How the Isil lads must have chuckled at this extraordinary offer. How their comrades still gestating within our frontiers must have taken heart at such a suggestion. We have raged mightily and for years against the vicious cult of Isil. But we counted without the Trump cult.

True, Trump's particular insanity is not as costly in innocent lives as that of Isil (unless, of course, you happen to be Palestinian or Kurdish or one of Sisi's 60,000 political prisoners).

And given that the Americans and the Russians have both claimed to have killed al-Baghdadi before, it might be wise to let the statutory three days pass just in case the wretched man pops up on yet another video.

We killed Osama four times before we actually got him, you may remember.

But this time Trump even thanked Russia, Syria and Iraq - Syria, perhaps, being the Assad regime? If so, certainly something to be debated in the presidential palace in Damascus whose army has been fighting Isil - among many others - for more years than the US military.

But for Trump to say that the support of European nations was a "tremendous disappointment" because they wouldn't take back their Isil members and adding that, "I actually said to them, if you don't take them, I'm going to drop them right on your border and you can have fun capturing them again... They could walk back - they can't walk to our country. We have lots of water in between our country and them".

Well, that was not just bizarre or weird or simply the language of the lunatic asylum. That was a real motivation for the Isil survivors.

If it was like "watching a movie", then of course we had to have the Trump Hollywoodian touch.

And sure enough, Trump told us that al-Baghdadi "died like a dog, he died like a coward... crying, whimpering and screaming". Well, maybe. That sounds more like how children die. His three children, to be precise. It's a bit difficult to see al-Baghdadi crying and screaming in his supposedly "dead-end" tunnel while fumbling for his suicide belt (proving, of course, that he always guessed the US would come calling). As for claiming that the world "is now a much safer place", well let's wait and see.

These Islamist cults usually have a chrysalis leader waiting to take the place of the dead. Or an even worse version of their own cruel institution.

As usual, we'll also have to wait another few days to find out how many other innocents were killed in this raid.

To suggest that they were all Isil members is also a bit Hollywoodian.

Be sure of one thing, the original story of the al-Baghdadi raid is going to change. We shall learn more.

Was there Israeli involvement? How much help did the Russians give? Or the Syrians? Or the Kurds?

Or perhaps even Isil itself, if it happened to be tired of its vile leadership? Or just some guy who wanted the £19.5m (€22.6m).

But for the moment, Trump shines like a halo in the eyes of his Republican supporters. If his army - and remember, given the military's own support for Trump, it probably is his army - can kill the world's most wanted terrorist, then what's all this impeachment nonsense from America's own internal Democratic enemies?

How can you compare killing al-Baghdadi and making the world safer with all this mumbo jumbo about Ukraine?

And Trump could watch almost all of it live. Like Obama watched the killing of Osama.

Well, in an age where you can livestream the death of innocents, at least they got the bad guys.

Independent News Service

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