Aftandilian in The Arab Weekly on the Politics of the Al-Baghdadi Raid

November 4, 2019

Gregory Aftandilian, Lecturer at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, published a recent Op-Ed on the politics following the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Aftandilian’s Op-Ed, entitled “The Killing of ISIS Chief Turns Into Political Football in Washington,” was published in The Arab Weekly on November 3, 2019.

From the text of the article:

The announcement by US President Donald Trump that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed by US special forces in Syria was well received by the American people who were repulsed by Baghdadi’s group’s brutality but, as with most things in Washington these days, it became part of the political theatre.

Not surprisingly, Trump took credit for the operation in a nationwide television address, hailing it as a major victory. He claimed it was a bigger achievement than the killing of Osama bin Laden. In Trump’s words: “Bin Laden was a big thing but this [the operation that took down Baghdadi] is the biggest there is.”

For whatever reason, Trump always wants to prove that he is better than his predecessor, US President Barack Obama. He had a White House photographer take a picture of him looking stern and in charge, while flanked by his vice-president, defence secretary, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and his national security adviser.

Gregory Aftandilian, a consultant, scholar, and lecturer, is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University and American University.  He is also an associate of the Middle East Center at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and a Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the Center for National Policy in Washington, D.C.  He spent over 21 years in government service, most recently on Capitol Hill where he was foreign policy adviser to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (2007-2008), professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and foreign policy adviser to Senator Paul Sarbanes (2000-2004), and foreign policy fellow to the late Senator Edward Kennedy (1999).

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