(TMU) — President Donald Trump has formally announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-proclaimed leader of ISIS, is dead from suicide. The infamous terrorist reportedly detonated an explosive vest on Saturday night as U.S. Special Forces raided a compound in the Syrian Province of Idlib.
Along with obliterating the ISIS figurehead, the blast also killed three children, according to the U.S. government.
“Baghdadi was vicious and violent, and he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying,” Trump said. “He died like a dog, he died like a coward.”
Oddly, this is not the first instance in which al-Baghdadi was reportedly killed or severely wounded over the years—and it may not be the last.
Baghdadi was reported at large in Iraq until Iraqi officials told Al-Jazeera they had arrested Baghdadi in December 2012.
Casting further doubt on al-Baghdadi’s existence, the ISIS leader rarely showed his face on camera and in 2014, he made his one known public appearance, according to the Independent.
Then in November 2014, somehow managing to evade his arrest, al-Baghdadi was reported “critically wounded” in an airstrike. Just five months later, he was “seriously wounded” in another air strike in April 2015. There are further reports that Baghdadi was killed in 2016, as well.
In May of 2017, the ISIS leader was also reportedly killed in Syria by Russian airstrikes, according to the Russian Defense Ministry and Syrian state television.
Less than a year later, a senior Iraqi official stated that al-Baghdadi was severely wounded in an air raid in Northwestern Syria in February 2018. The Iraqi official added that the ISIS leader suffers from “injuries, diabetes and fractures to the body and legs that prevent him from walking without assistance.”
More recently, al-Baghdadi was allegedly shown in an 18-minute long video released by an Islamic State media group in April of 2019. Various audio messages that were reportedly from al-Baghdadi have been released through the years, with the last being in 2019. However, the authenticity of those messages were not all verified, according the the BBC.
“Days later, the Pentagon confirmed that Baghdadi was only in U.S. custody for 10 months, from February to December 2004. The Department of Defense told the fact-checking website PunditFact in a statement that Baghdadi was held at Camp Bucca. ‘A Combined Review and Release Board recommended ‘unconditional release’ of this detainee and he was released from U.S. custody shortly thereafter. We have no record of him being held at any other time.’”
Some have even reported that al-Baghdadi was in U.S. custody in 2009, though Politifact cast doubt on this particular claim after the Defense Department was asked to confirm the story and clarified that he was released in 2004, not 2009.
The media and government has obviously created a cycle of kill-capture-injure of a single person all while the general public has never seen more than brief snippets of the apparently immortal boogeyman.
The al-Baghdadi narrative makes Orwell’s 1984 look tame in comparison and, if history is any indicator, this is not the last time we’ve heard from al-Baghdadi.
A timeline of the al-Baghdadi narrative:
- 2004 – Al-Baghdadi was in U.S. custody
- 2012 – Al-Baghdadi is captured in Iraq
- 2014 – Al-Baghdadi made his only alleged public appearance in Mosul in June
- 2014 – Al-Baghdadi is reportedly killed by a U.S. airstrike in September
- 2014 – Al-Baghdadi is ‘critically wounded‘ from air strikes near Mosul in November
- 2015 – Al-Baghdadi is once again ‘seriously wounded‘ from a U.S. air strike near Nineveh
- 2016 – Al-Baghdadi is reportedly killed again by coalition air strikes in Raqqa
- 2017 – Al-Baghdadi is wounded from an airstrike and has to relinquish control of ISIS for five months
- 2017 – Al-Baghdadi is killed yet again by Russian airstrikes in Syria
- 2018 – Al-Baghdadi is ‘severely wounded‘ in an air raid
- 2019 – Al-Baghdadi allegedly appears in a video released by an Islamic State media group
- 2019 – Al-Baghdadi kills himself during U.S. raid
The Russian military has dismissed Trump’s al-Baghdadi speech as propaganda, while Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, declared that the U.S. had simply destroyed its “own creature.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that al-Baghdadi was killed, mentioned by U.S. military officials, and captured throughout 2007-2010. The al-Baghdadi mentioned in these instances was Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
- 2007 – Iraqi officials report the death of al-Baghdadi
- 2007 – U.S. Major General William Caldwell said it was not known who al-Baghdadi was or if he even existed
- 2007 – Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner told a news conference that al-Baghdadi did not exist at all
- 2009 – Reuters reports that Iraqi forces had captured al-Baghdadi
- 2010 – Al-Baghdadi is reported dead by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from an airstrike
The Notorious ‘Gateway to Hell’ May Finally Be Sealed, Turkmenistan’s President Says
The Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has long been host to what has been dubbed the “Gateway to Hell” – a massive hole in the ground that has been smoldering for about five decades.
However, the country’s government is now moving to finally extinguish the blazing natural Darvaza gas crater which lies in the center of the huge Karakum desert.
This isn’t the first time that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has spoken of extinguishing the so-called portal to the underworld. In 2010, the strongman leader also ordered that experts investigate how best to put out the flames, which have been raging since a mishandled Soviet drilling expedition in 1971.
To prevent a disaster resulting from the spread of dangerous fumes, Soviet authorities decided it would be best to burn off the gas by setting it alight.
As a result, the 229-foot (70 meter) wide and 65-foot (20-meter) deep crater has been ablaze ever since, drawing tourists to the former Soviet country.
In 2018, the government officially renamed the pit the “Shining of Karakum.”
This week, Berdymukhamedov decried how the gas crater “negatively affects both the environment and the health of the people living nearby,” reports AFP.
“We are losing valuable natural resources for which we could get significant profits and use them for improving the well-being of our people,” he added in the televised statement, noting that officials must “find a solution to extinguish the fire.”
Turkmenistan is known to possess the fourth-largest known reserve of natural gas in the world, reports VICE, and its economy is dependent on the export of the raw resource.
North Korea Claims It Invented Burritos in 2011 as Mexican Food “Booms”: Report
English-language tabloid newspapers are abuzz about the latest alleged bombshell from North Korea – that the country’s late ruler and father of the current ruler is being touted as the inventor of the beloved North American dish, the burrito.
According to The Sun, North Korean official news outlet Rodong Sinmun has made the implausible claim that the U.S.-Mexican staple food was invented by Kim Jong Il, who came up with the idea of what he called a “wheat wrap” in 2011, shortly before he suffered heart failure.
The newspaper added that current ruler Kim Jong Un has taken a “meticulous interest” in the food, which is generating “booming” interest among the population.
The dish can also be seen in official footage circulating online, with Pen News airing clips showing a vendor selling the food outside of Kumsong Food Factory in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. Children and soldiers can be seen eagerly devouring the wraps, which apparently contained vegetables including cabbage and carrots.
Meat on a rotating spit, similar to the kind used for tacos al pastor or shawarma wraps, can also be seen in some of the footage, reports Yahoo! News.
The footage also shows a billboard of former ruler Kim Jong Il smiling while standing in a kitchen alongside workers preparing the tubular delicacy.
North Korea has been submerged in food insecurity and famine-like conditions as a result of decades of sanctions imposed on the country by world powers keen on preventing the country from developing its nuclear energy and weapons programs. The precarious conditions faced by civilians was exacerbated by the pandemic and accompanying health measures.
In October, a U.S. rights investigator blasted the sanctions as inhumane and primarily impacting ordinary citizens in the country.
“People’s access to food is a serious concern and the most vulnerable children and elderly are at risk of starvation,” said Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is officially called. He added that citizens are placed in the unjust position of having “to choose between fear of hunger” and fear of the pandemic thanks to global apathy over ongoing sanctions.
One can only hope that the burrito news is a sign that conditions may be slightly improving for average citizens in the DPRK.
According to popular lore, the burrito grew popular along the U.S.-Mexican border when street vendors used donkeys, or burros, to carry and sell large flour tortillas filled with meat, beans, and vegetables to workers in the area.
Since then, the food item has exploded in popularity in the United States and across the world as a convenient and delicious food, and is often seen as a symbol of Mexican gastronomy despite the dish’s relative obscurity in much of Mexico.
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