Inside the Ring: Targeting Islamic State’s al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speaking at the Mosul mosque / AP


President Obama wants to kill or capture Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and has made striking the self-proclaimed caliph one of the highest priorities for his final year in office.

That goal was disclosed in a revealing interview with the president in The Atlantic magazine. Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg quotes the president and a number of senior aides including Ben Rhodes, Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser. The lengthy piece relates how the president and his aides define their foreign policy doctrine as: "Don’t do stupid sh—."

According to the lengthy article, the president is intent on leaving office with a "clean barn" for the next president. But his most urgent priority is fighting the Islamic State that has taken over large parts of Iraq and Syria and is expanding to several other parts of the world. Mr. Obama regards the group as a direct but not existential threat to U.S. national security.

Read the entire article at the Washington Times.

Bill Gertz   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill Gertz is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon he was a national security reporter, editor, and columnist for 27 years at the Washington Times. Bill is the author of seven books, four of which were national bestsellers. His most recent book was iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, a look at information warfare in its many forms and the enemies that are waging it. Bill has an international reputation. Vyachaslav Trubnikov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, once called him a “tool of the CIA” after he wrote an article exposing Russian intelligence operations in the Balkans. A senior CIA official once threatened to have a cruise missile fired at his desk after he wrote a column critical of the CIA’s analysis of China. And China’s communist government has criticized him for news reports exposing China’s weapons and missile sales to rogues states. The state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified Bill as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world. Bill insists he is very much pro-China—pro-Chinese people and opposed to the communist system. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once told him: “You are drilling holes in the Pentagon and sucking out information.” His Twitter handle is @BillGertz.

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