On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden promised that the United States would follow the murderous ISIS "to the gates of Hell," and according to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, a U.S. airstrike has delivered on part of that promise. NBC News is confirming reports that Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, a "top aide" to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was among three ISIS fighters killed in a strike on Mosul:
Three senior members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) -- including an aide to its leader -- were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, a senior Iraqi security official told NBC News Thursday. The strike on the ISIS stronghold of Mosul killed Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, an aide to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as well as an explosives operative and the military leader of the nearby town of Tel Afar, the source said on condition of anonymity. Al Arabiya cited the Iraqi Defense Ministry saying Baghdadi's aide had been killed in the strike.
A spokesdemon for Hell's Office of Public Affairs confirmed the arrival of Al-Sufi on Thursday morning:
“Mr. Al-Sufi has arrived,” the hideous jinn told the Dark House Press Corps at the eternal briefing. “Let's just say he’s settling in.”
It's a start.
This news is likely to be greeted with grim satisfaction by many, and perhaps even glee, but there will inevitably be some who declare that the killing of top ISIS figures by the U.S. is some kind of recruiting tool or propaganda victory for ISIS. It's a well-worn isolationist premise that never ceases to amaze and amuse me, as if terrorists would be at a loss for recruitment material if we did nothing. Are we to picture some gruff chief editor asking, "Are you sure you've vetted these claims, Anwar? We need at least one named source, we're not Politico, for fuck's sake."
The reason we need to form a regional and international coalition to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq isn't so we can avoid making terrorists mad at us, it's because that's the smart way to do it. For all of their bluster and desire for immediate bloodletting, even the President's most vocal critics agree with this approach, although they don't always seem to know it.
As welcome as this news is, it is sure to be followed, in the near future, by new ISIS atrocities. There is no way to fill Hell up with ISIS assholes fast enough. It does, however, underscore the truth in President Obama's words, that ISIS "will learn that we will not forget, and that our reach is long and that justice will be served."
It will be a hard lesson to teach, but hopefully, an even harder lesson for ISIS to learn.