When the Islamic State was allegedly purged from the self-professed caliphate’s de facto capital Raqqa, it was really big news and celebrated as a hard-fought victory for Syria and the American-led Western coalition. In fact Trump claimed ISIS “gave up” because he is the president. But according to a seriously “deep report” by the BBC, that so-called victory was Raqqa’s “dirty secret” as well as flagrantly “fake news” to conceal the truth: Trump’s America was complicit in protecting ISIS fighters as they escaped unharmed. All the while threatening citizens they would be back seeking vengeance.
Most Americans likely remember that during the campaign, and even after his poorly-attended inauguration, Trump pledged to exterminate the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS, Daesh) including killing their friends and families. However, according to “the secret pact” between ISIS, Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) and the American-led coalition; ISIS fighters in the caliphate’s capital were allowed to depart unmolested including being given protection and an escort to ensure free passage to wherever they intended to regroup and plan their return.
Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones wondered why there was little attention given, or a demand for answers, from “commander-in-chief” Trump about a confirmed BBC comprehensive report on the “secret deal” America participated in. Especially one that aided ISIS fighters to depart “their capital” Raqqa unharmed with their substantial arsenal. They certainly did not suffer what Trump and his Defense Secretary pledged was complete annihilation. Aiding ISIS fighters’ exodus to new territory is contrary to Trump’s claim throughout the presidential campaign and something Jim Mattis promised in May. Besides promising that “no fighter would ever escape annihilation,” Defense Secretary Mattis said:
“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so.”
Not only did America “allow them to do so,” a few hundred ISIS fighters, a few thousand ISIS fighters’ family members, ISIS leaders, and their heavy weapons were allowed to leave Raqqa. And they were allowed to leave with America’s blessing including being lovingly shepherded to safe havens; coalition warplanes and drones observed and escorted the dreaded ISIS fighters and tons of weapons and ammunition to safety.
The first big lie was that only a “few dozen” ISIS fighters were given safe passage to preserve the lives of Iraqi, Kurdish and SDF fighters in a battle for the city. However, American and British observers on the ground said the exit convoy was “six to seven kilometers (3.5 to 4.5 miles) long and included almost 50 trucks, 13 buses and more than 100 of the Islamic State’s own vehicles.”
And despite the claim that it was just a couple dozen ISIS fighters carrying “only” their personal weapons, there were “at least 10 trucks loaded with heavy weapons and ammunition.” So much ammunition, in fact, that drivers pointed out one truck that had to be scrapped because “Its axle was broken because of the weight of the ammo.”
As the BBC noted, the American-led coalition’s secret plan was not an evacuation of the dreaded ISIS, it was a coalition-assisted exodus of the Islamic State fighters replete with their weapons to relocate, regroup and plan the caliphate’s return. Unfortunately, those “local” ISIS fighters and their weapons were allowed to relocate to Turkey, Kurdistan, and within Syria where they can kill more innocents and coalition forces with special attention to Americans. The ISIS fighters were livid at America for bombing them into an agreement to leave their de facto capital and take their extremism across the region.
After the BBC investigation was made public, the “coalition” had no choice but to admit that it did play an important role in the deal that was “alleged” to be all about the Syrian Defense Force. A spokesman for the American-led coalition, “Operation Inherent Resolve,” said they “didn’t want anyone to leave” because total annihilation was the big plan. But the big plan succumbed to the “secret pact” America approved that allowed a few hundred “IS fighters” and about 3,500 of their family members to leave Raqqa with escorts. Colonel Ryan Dillon said:
“This goes to the heart of our strategy, ‘by, with and through’ local leaders on the ground. It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations.”
The issue now is that those same Syrians, and Turks, Iraqis, Kurds, and Americans will be fighting and dying again when the ISIS fighters regroup and return as they pledged when they were leaving Raqqa. The BBC report noted that the Syrians did not want the “coalition covered retreat” to appear like an escape to victory for ISIS or to give the appearance that any foreign fighters escaped. But foreign fighters from France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, China, Tunisia and Egypt didn’t even have to pretend to escape: they were allowed to leave and take their extremist ideology, and their heavy weapon cache, with them. And they were allowed to leave with assistance from Americans so concerned with their safe exodus that American warplanes dropped flairs to light the four-mile long convoy’s way through the desert during the night.
It is noteworthy to mention that the ISIS fighters who were allowed to escape Raqqa are many of the same Baathist fighters that America allowed to be chased out of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to form the Islamic State in the first place. Now, with America’s involvement again, those fighters were allowed to escape and take their weapons with them. It is a question that demands an answer that has not been posed to Trump and it is a mystery why that is the case. The BBC report was published last week and there is no outcry from anyone demanding to know why the so-called “commander in chief,” Trump, had to have known about and signed off on the deal; particularly after boasting that ISIS gave up because he’s president.
It is difficult to imagine how this “secret pact” is any kind of good news for anyone other than ISIS and the military industrial complex. It is obvious now that Trump does not want ISIS “annihilated” because he needs to keep Americans terrified as much as he needs distractions. Keeping ISIS intact also gives Trump talking points in support of his anti-Muslim agenda the next time there is an ISIS-affiliated terror attack.
Regardless of Trump’s ulterior motives, allowing “hundreds of ISIS fighters with tons of heavy armaments” to migrate en masse to friendlier territory in Syria, and find safe havens in Turkey and Kurdistan is contrary to his campaign pledge. Keeping ISIS alive to continue threatening the region also keeps American warplanes in the air and troops on the battlefield. But worst of all Raqqa’s dirty secret allows “foreign ISIS fighters” to take their bomb-making expertise, battlefield experience and extremist threat to their home countries and beyond.
The media needs to demand answers from Trump, and badger Congress mercilessly, as to why they are not conducting another investigation into Trump’s administration. The people deserve to know why Trump aided and abetted a terrorist organization’s fighters migration to safety to regroup and plan its return.