Abu Sayyaf was a senior ISIL leader who, among other things, had a senior role in overseeing ISIL’s illicit oil and gas operations – a key source of revenue that enables the terrorist organization to carry out their brutal tactics and oppress thousands of innocent civilians. He was also involved with the group’s military operations.The funny thing about Abu [meaning father of] Sayyaf is that nobody that has been studying ISIS leadership seems to have ever heard of him before. I've been writing about ISIS since July 2013, almost a year before it took Mosul and declared itself a "caliphate." That doesn't make me an expert, so it really doesn't mean much that I've never heard of him, but I do know experts that should have heard of him, and when they say they've never heard of him, I know this guy was not that important.
The hands down best book I know of on the subject of ISIS is ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan. Now, they are experts, and I've followed the work of both of them for a long time, so when I hear Michael Weiss say he's never heard of Abu Sayyaf, I know there is something fishy about the Pentagon story.
Besides, if this guy is really as important as they now say he is, why did they not already have a price on his head like they do for the other top ISIS leaders? If this was like the hunt for the Baathists in Iraq a decade ago, some of which are now in ISIS, I'd have to conclude they weren't playing with a full deck, because before this raid, Abu Sayyaf didn't have his own card.
I think the Pentagon is trying to put lipstick on a pig.
I think this guy is pretty low-level, and not the kind of target that they would risk US soldiers on the ground for. I think they were after a really important target, maybe the leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, maybe somebody else in top leadership or responsible for Kayle Mueller's captivity, but definitely a big cheese, and they missed. Maybe Obama was looking to distract attention from questions about the accuracy of his tale around the bin Laden mission with another daring US Special Ops kill or capture. I don't know about that, but I know one thing for sure: Abu Sayyaf is no bin Laden!
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [SOHR] is saying 32 IS militants were killed by US air strikes and by a "dropping off operation in al-Omar oil field near al-Besera east of Der-Ezzor." They say among them, "4 commanders 3 of them were Moroccan including the assistant of Abo Omar al-Shishani the military chief in IS." Abu Sayyaf isn't mentioned but that's just a nom de guerre anyway. I don't think Obama put US boots on the ground in Syria to kill an "assistant."
It is interesting that the Syrian Army is also claiming credit for these kills, raising the curious question of to what degree this operation was co-ordinated with the Assad regime. After all, They did openly acknowledge they had "the full consent of Iraqi authorities" and and acted "consistent with domestic and international law." If consistent with international law meant respect for Syrian sovereignty, that would imply the knowledge and consent of the Assad regime, but according to the New York Times:
The White House rejected initial reports from the region that attributed the raid to the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. “The U.S. government did not coordinate with the Syrian regime...,” said Bernadette Meehan, the National Security Council spokeswoman.I strongly suspect Abu Sayyaf was not the real target, he was just the best they could do, so now, in death, he has been promoted by the Pentagon, the CIA, the White House and the tame media, to top ISIS leadership and the story is the raid was a great success because they got the man they were after all along.
And the idea that they are going to get some "actionable intelligence" from interrogating the wife of Abu Sayyaf. Please!? That line alone marks this mission as a pig being dressed up. Hello! News Flash. ISIS is male chauvinist in the extreme, but I mean extreme! There are no women in the leadership of ISIS. Know why? They aren't even allowed to drive! So if the CIA thinks Umm [meaning mother of] Sayyaf knows much about ISIS operations, they are even stupider than I think they are. Please, leave that poor woman alone. If she has been a "wife" of an ISIS jihadist, she has already been through enough.
And while its great that they freed the Yazidi woman from ISIS slavery, there are still hundreds more, not to mention tens of thousands in Assad's torture archipelago.
Clearly the mainstream media has locked arms on this story and with that, they may be able to fool the American people. But what about ISIS and others who know better? What conclusions will they draw?
There is no shame in saying you don't always get your man and since no US troops were killed or injured in this assault, there should have been no problem saying they were after bigger fish. Handling it the way it looks, very likely has ISIS rolling in the aisles with laughter and might even help their recruitment efforts.
Apparently U.S. thought Abu Sayyaf was with al-Adnani (ISIS spox and contender for caliph). Would have been a big scalp if so.— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) May 16, 2015