Monday, May 18, 2015

WAR ON ISIS - U.S. Raid in Syria

"Inside the U.S. raid that took out a key ISIS leader in Syria" PBS NewsHour 5/16/2015


SUMMARY:  U.S. special forces killed a senior Islamic State commander during a raid overnight Friday in eastern Syria, the Pentagon said Saturday.  Doug Ollivant, the former director for Iraq in the National Security Council, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Washington, D.C., to discuss.

HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR:  For some perspective on the raid, I’m joined by Doug Ollivant in Washington, D.C.  He was the director for Iraq in the National Security Council in the Bush and Obama administrations.  He is a senior national security fellow at the New America Foundation and a partner at Mantid International.

So, what do we know about this individual?  Why was he such a high-value target?

DOUG OLLIVANT, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION:  Well, there are many things we don’t know about this individual.

Now, presumably, the U.S. intelligence knows the function that he is performing in the organization.  He’s evidently very tied into financing, oil sales, and the like.  But exactly who he is, we’re not sure.

Abu Sayyaf, his nickname meaning “father of Sayyaf.”  We don’t know who Sayyaf is.  Presumably his son, but we don’t know how old or what he does.

And we seem confused where he comes from.  The United States seems to think he’s Tunisian, but we have had reports out of the region saying he’s an Iraqi from Mosul, and before that, from Saudi Arabia.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  OK.  One of the interesting things that I found was that this was one of the first times that I’ve heard about U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, and they were launched from Iraq.

DOUG OLLIVANT:  That’s right.  So, this is the first time that we know of that U.S. Special Forces have gone into Syria with the intent of killing or capturing enemy combatants.  We know that there was the attempted raid to rescue hostages, such as James Foley before.  This is the first time they’ve gone forward to conduct combat and try to kill and capture people.

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