ISIS leader is not dead, says U.S. Defense Secretary, John Mattis

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On Friday, Jim Mattis, U.S. Defense Secretary said that he thinks Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the infamous leader of the ISIS is still alive and that coalition led by Americans is currently trying to target him.

“I think Baghdadi is alive,” he told reporters at the Pentagon. “I’ll believe otherwise when we know we have killed him. We are going after him.”

Last month, Russian military officials said that on 28 of May they struck the Islamic State leaders meeting that was held near Ragga in Syria, and possibly killed Mr. Baghdadi.

War monitoring organization from Great Britain, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, confirmed Russian report by saying that it received information from some of the Islamic State commanders confirming that Baghdadi was killed in Deir al-Zour Province which is close to Ragga Province.

The death of the man who gave very passionate speech in Mosul, after ISIS took it in June 2014, would really be a punch do th ISIS. They are currently still trying to take Mosul back from the Iraqi military, by using small guerrilla attacks

U.S. officials said that Baghdadi is constantly working on avoiding detection by not directing to the ISIS forces every day. Mattis says he believes that Baghdadi still “has a role yo play” in the organization, but he didn’t specify any details about that role. Mr. Mattis told this to reporters two days after President Trump called his national security council to discuss the administration’s still unfinished strategy regarding Afghanistan.

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain criticized the White House in multiple occasions for not articulating a plan to overturn the Taliban’s gains in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, just a day after announcing he has got brain cancer, McCain said, “It is now mid-July, when the administration promised to deliver that strategy to Congress, and we are still waiting.”

Mattis did not say whether there were differences among senior Trump administration on the matter of sending more troops to help Afghan forces. He only said that he still did not use the authority given to him by President Trump last month to send nearly 4,000 American troops to Afghanistan. He said he wanted to wait for a larger strategy.

“You fight wars for a reason,” he said. “You come up with a political reason for it.”

One of the issues in administration’s review is about Pakistan and how to deal with is as the Haqqani and Taliban forces made a sanctuary there. In the report by the State Department it is said that Pakistani officials “failed to take significant action” and therefore secure American and Afghan forces in the Afghanistan.

Pakistan still did not receive $50 million in military payment because it still has to deliver for fiscal year 2016. This indicates on White House’s displeasure with Pakistani failed attempts against the Haqqani network.

As this is not the first time the Defense Department is not paying to Pakistan, Mattis stressed that this is not some new Trump administration policy towards Pakistan. He said, “This is an assessment of the current state of play.”

Mattis also mentioned Trump’s meeting with Russian President Putin on July 7, at the G20 summit in Hamburg. The meeting that was not disclosed by the White House was relied just one one Kremlin-provided interpreter. President Trump received sharp criticism regarding this meeting, he said that conversation lasted less than an hour. Mattis defended the President by saying there was nothing wrong with the president’s talking to Mr. Putin that evening, and that such dinners were a venue for adversaries to chat.

“If you watch me at dinners, you will catch me talking to some ne’er-do-wells,” Mr. Mattis said.