Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
Has IS Leader Al-Baghdadi Been Killed And How? An International Security Expert Explains
27 October 2019, 12:29
Will Geddes, who is an international security expert and analyst, addressed the reports that IS leader Al-Baghdadi has been killed by US troops and how that might have happened.
Geddes said: This is a very significant threshold in the fight against Islamic State. Certainly when one considers that Baghdadi had been probably the most high value target, obviously, as their very charismatic leader and the fact that he had a $25 million bounty on his head and had evaded capture for the last five years, despite the fact that there be numerous reports that had been killed in various airstrikes.
Pierce asked who the bounty would be paid to.
Geddes said: "Well, inevitably it would be someone who would give them the critical intelligence and specific whereabouts. Now as we're already seeing, and we're probably going to see a lot more of it, Andrew, is various individuals are coming out of the woodwork and claiming responsibility.
So we've heard the Turks obviously coming out and saying that they were responsible for providing that intelligence, the Kurds, various other groups."
He explained that someone in the local area probably needed to provide local information in north-western Syria - and that was interrogated by technical surveillance, like satellite.
Andrew asked how we can be sure that he is actually dead - and how can we be sure it isn't Trump trying to distract from criticism he has faced about withdrawing troops from Syria and the suggestion that led to a number of prisoners escaping.
Geddes replied: "Well, there's really there's a really good two parts to that question, Andrew. I mean, the first part is in terms of the credibility and the confirmation, obviously, of Al Baghdadi being killed and that will have come down to obviously DNA proof that would have been gathered.
"And I understand certainly from some my sources, although this has not been confirmed in the mainstream media that the DNA and various other key evidential elements have been now confirmed of his demise.
"But again, this is speculation on my parts and based on sources. In terms of the second part, which is obviously the withdrawal of US troops from Turkey and particularly from Syria, pardon me, the key issue here is really the fact that this is again a demonstration by the Trump administration to say, okay, we may have brought out the ground troops, which again, sends a message to appease those that obviously were very adverse to that.
But to those saying that they left them completely alone, this operation shows that tactical and surgical strikes can still be done against individuals that could pose a threat to the US and elsewhere around the world."