US Touts Killing Of Previously Unknown “Leader Of ISIS” As Biden’s Mideast Trip Kicks Off
Just as President Joe Biden was in the air traveling from Washington to Tel Aviv, Israel – kicking off his much anticipated tour of the Middle East which will culminate in a Saudi Arabia meeting with crown prince Mohammed bin Salman – US officials announced the death of what’s being described as a top Syrian ISIS leader.
CENTCOM described that a drone strike took out ISIS commander Maher al-Agal near Jindayris, in northwestern Syria, and additionally injured another ISIS target. “US Central Command Forces conducted a UAS strike outside Jindayris, northwest Syria targeting two senior ISIS officials, July 12, 2022. Mar al-Agal, one of the top five ISIS leaders and the leader of ISIS in Syria, was killed in the strike,” the statement reads.
The Pentagon announced additionally, “A senior ISIS official closely associated with Maher was seriously injured during the strike. Extensive planning went into this operation to ensure its successful execution,” and said that there were no civilian casualties in the attack.
The timing of the strike and announcement is curious given it came the very week the Biden administration pivots to the Middle East, with the president arriving in Israel on Wednesday where he was greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid. ISIS as well as Pentagon operations in Syria have rarely made headlines over the past year, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Biden uses one of his favorite lines arriving in Israel: That he’s a “non-Jewish Zionist.”
From fumbled fistbumps to expansive Biblical allusions to peering at Iron Dome, updates here on @haaretzcomhttps://t.co/JTWYx8UTl2
— Esther Solomon (@EstherSolomon) July 13, 2022
Despite the most pressing issue of the need of Washington and the West to secure more oil amid the backdrop of the Ukraine war and the desire to “punish” Russia through a proposed oil embargo, Biden is in public statements emphasizing regional security and counter-terrorism.
The first thing he did upon arriving in Israel on Wednesday was to be given a tour of Israeli weapons systems set up at Ben Gurion Airport, including the Iron Dome…
JOE BIDEN in Israel: “What am I doing now?” pic.twitter.com/liBEsBsz2f
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 13, 2022
As for the anti-ISIS operation in neighboring Syria, again this seems to be ideal political timing to serve as a backdrop of ‘serious’ counterterror optics.
The Syrian “ISIS leader” is not a name that has been previously reported, nor is there a known photo of him, as AntiWar.com’s Jason Ditz observes:
As is so common with US reports of high-ranking enemies being killed, there’s a lot of doubt to be had, not the least of which is that Maher Agal is heretofore virtually unmentioned in official media reports until this sudden death. All-too-often it seems the US posthumously promotes the people they killed to more important figures.
Ditz also notes of the CENTCOM statement announcing Maher al-Agal’s death that the most dubious US claim of all is that “there were no civilian casualties.”
Biden is expected to become the first US president in history to fly straight from Israel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – which is to happen Friday – and is intended as a symbol of the two countries inching toward official diplomatic based on the Abraham Accords.
Wed, 07/13/2022 – 11:02