The Corner

U.S. Boots on Syrian Ground: ISIS Leader Killed in Raid

United States Special Operations forces killed a top commander of the Islamic State in Syria on Friday. In addition to participating in terrorist operations, the commander, Abu Sayyaf, managed the jihadist organization’s oil and gas commerce. He is also suspected of complicity in ISIS’s enslavement of a young Yazidi woman who was apparently rescued by the U.S. forces.

The New York Times has just reported that defense secretary Ashton Carter announced the raid in a statement early Saturday. According to the Defense Department, American commandos entered Syria from Iraq with a mission to capture Abu Sayyaf and his wife, Umm Sayyaf. Abu Sayyaf was killed and his wife was captured. No Americans were killed or injured in the operation.

Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the Obama administration’s National Security Council, explained that the U.S. coordinated the operation with the Iraqi government but neither coordinated with nor advised the Assad regime in Syria in advance of the operation.

The Times report is here. CBS News, which is also reporting on the raid (here), explains that President Obama approved it. It involved hand-to-hand combat, the jihadists tried to use women and children as human shields, and about a dozen jihadists were killed. None of the women and children were injured.

The operation has been weeks in the making. Abu Sayyaf has been changing location while under surveillance. The U.S. forces infiltrated into Iraq over the past two weeks or so, continued training, and from there entered eastern Syria, where the operation took place. Our forces are said to have seized laptops and cellphones, which are being analyzed for intelligence purposes.

This is obviously a crucial development, and the president is to be applauded for authorizing it. Clearly, it underscores what many informed analysts have been saying for a long time: There is a severe limit to what can be accomplished solely by aerial attacks to beat back the Islamic State and a resurgent al Qaeda. To be decisively effective, the air raids must be augmented by boots on the ground … and there is no equal of American ground forces.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Some Counterfactual Thinking

Election Day is one week away. Can you believe it? On the menu today: contemplating what would be different, and what would be the same, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had retired in 2013 instead of staying on the Court until her death earlier this year; a couple of flubbed words on the campaign trail; yes, people really ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Some Counterfactual Thinking

Election Day is one week away. Can you believe it? On the menu today: contemplating what would be different, and what would be the same, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had retired in 2013 instead of staying on the Court until her death earlier this year; a couple of flubbed words on the campaign trail; yes, people really ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Whose Seat?

Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. And I think there are two little things to say about it. The first is that we very likely have in Barrett the true successor to Antonin Scalia on the Court. Barrett clerked for Scalia and her articulation of his philosophy is probably the most faithful on the court. Justices ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Whose Seat?

Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. And I think there are two little things to say about it. The first is that we very likely have in Barrett the true successor to Antonin Scalia on the Court. Barrett clerked for Scalia and her articulation of his philosophy is probably the most faithful on the court. Justices ... Read More