The lead fellow seems quite charming and his boys are a bunch of alpha males with really sexy black gear, still, why do we suspect that most americans will not be very happy when (not if) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi makes good on his promise?
from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria boasted on Twitter that they
had executed 1,700 Iraqi government soldiers, posting gruesome photos to
support their claim.
latest attack, if proved, would also raise the spectre of the war in
Iraq turning genocidal, particularly because the insurgents boasted that
their victims were all Shias.
The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in
the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from
the biggest U.S. detention camp in Iraq in 2009.
“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca. King
didn’t take these words from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a threat.
Al-Baghdadi knew that many of his captors were from New York, reservists
with the 306 Military Police Battalion, a unit based on Long Island
that includes numerous numerous members of the NYPD and the FDNY. The
camp itself was named after FDNY Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, who was
killed at the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
figured that al-Baghdadi was just saying that he had known all along
that it was all essentially a joke, that he had only to wait and he
would be freed to go back to what he had been doing.
“Like, ‘This is no big thing, I’ll see you on the block,’” King says.
King had not imagined that in less that five years he would be seeing news reports that al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS, the ultra-extremist army that was sweeping through Iraq toward Baghdad.
not surprised that it was someone who spent time in Bucca but I’m a
little surprised it was him,” King says. “He was a bad dude, but he
wasn’t the worst of the worst.”
King allows that along with being surprised he was frustrated on a very personal level.
“We spent how many missions and how many soldiers were put at risk when we caught this guy and we just released him,” King says.
the four years that al-Baghdadi was in custody, there had been no way
for the Americans to predict what a danger he would become. Al-Baghdadi
hadn’t even been assigned to Compound 14, which was reserved for the
most virulently extremist Sunnis.
“The worst of the worst were kept in one area,” King says. “I don’t recall him being in that group.”
The guards would seek
to disrupt the courts along with and any nascent organizations and
hierarchies by moving inmates to different compounds, though keeping the
Sunnis and the Shiites separate.
“The Bloods with the Bloods and the Crips with the Crips, that kind of thing,” King says.
guards would then move the prisoners again and again. That would also
keep the prisoners from spotting any possible weaknesses in security.
detainees have nothing but time,” King says. “They’re looking at
patterns, they’re looking at routines, they’re looking for
As al-Baghdadi and the 26,000 other prisoners were
learning the need for patience in studying the enemy, the guards would
be constantly searching for homemade weapons fashioned from what the
prisoners dug up, the camp having been built on a former junkyard.
“People think of a detainee operation, they think it’s a sleepy Hogan’s Heroes-type camp,” the other officer says. “And it’s nothing of the sort.”
Meanwhile, al-Baghdadi’s four years at Camp Bucca would have been a perpetual lesson in the importance of avoiding notice.
lot of times, the really bad guys tended to operate behind the scenes
because they wanted to be invisible,” the other officer says.
King had every
reason to think he had seen the last of al-Baghdadi in the late summer
of 2009, when this seemingly unremarkable prisoner departed with a group
of others on one of the C-17 cargo-plane flights that ferried them to a
smaller facility near Baghdad. Camp Bucca closed not along afterward.
clearly remembered some of the lessons of his time there. He has made
no videos, unlike Osama bin Laden and many of the other extremist
leaders. The news reports might not have had a photo of him at all were
it not for the one taken by the Americans when he was first captured in
That is the face that King was so surprised to see this week as the man who had become the absolute worst of the worst,
so bad that even al Qaeda had disowned him. The whole world was stunned
as al-Baghdadi now told his enemies “I’ll see you in Baghdad.”