As the UK Independent notes, the self-styled “Caliph” of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has resurfaced on a video for the first time in five years.
Al-Baghdadi had been rumored to either have been killed or horribly wounded in an American air strike.
No such luck.
He is a little fatter and grayer than the last time the world had seen him, but the terrorist chieftain seemed healthy enough.
ISIS has seen better days.
The so-called “Caliphate” that once spanned northern Syria and northern Iraq is no more.
Local Kurdish and Syrian fighters, backed by American and allied air power and special operators, have destroyed the realm that troubled the peace of the world and caused untold human misery for almost a decade.
The destruction of the Caliphate counts as a signal achievement of the Trump administration, something that his predecessor never thought of attempting.
However, even though the Caliphate is on the ash heap of history, ISIS is still around, with jihadis dispersed around the world ready to commit murder and mayhem.
Al-Baghdadi boasted of this fact in his video, vowing a “war of attrition” against the civilized world.
He noted that the recent bombings in Sri Lanka was at least inspired by ISIS. Al-Baghdadi promised that there will be more to come.
No doubt, American and allied intelligence organizations are pouring over the video for the slightest clues of the ISIS leader’s location.
A $25 million bounty remains on his head, perhaps at least to cause people to talk about where the terrorist chieftain is.
If anyone deserves the Osama bin Laden treatment, it is Al-Baghdadi.
He has caused untold suffering during his career as a religious, terrorist zealot.
A midnight visit by a team of well-trained young men or a drone strike would be too good for him.
For Americans, a rather poignant reason exists for transitioning Al-Baghdadi to the infernal regions.
That reason is a young American woman named Kayla Jean Mueller, whose life the ISIS chieftain personally made a hell on Earth, before he is reported to have taken it away.
Kayla was a human rights activist and humanitarian worker who hailed from Prescott, Arizona.
She found herself in the war-torn town of Aleppo, Syria in August 2013 when, while working for a Doctors Without Frontiers clinic, she was captured by ISIS.
Kayla’s parents and the United States government devoted a great deal of resources to locating and rescuing her.
However, as reported by Fox News, the Obama White House knew Kayla’s location in May 2014.
American intelligence even knew which building she and other hostages were being kept.
Inexplicably, President Obama refused to authorize a rescue mission for seven weeks, by which time Kayla and the other hostages had been dispersed to unknown locations.
Al-Baghdadi made Kayla his sex slave, forcing her into a sham marriage, and repeatedly raped and tortured her.
Other captives, who were later liberated, testified that Kayla refused conversion to Islam and comforted herself with her deep, Christian faith.
Her steadfastness is said to have impressed even her captors.
ISIS claims that Kayla was killed in a Jordanian airstrike.
More than likely, she was murdered by ISIS jihadis, possibly Al-Baghdadi himself.
Poignantly, her parents cling to the hope that Kayla might yet be alive somewhere.
Joseph Stalin, a man as familiar with evil as Al-Baghdadi, once said that a single death is a tragedy while a million deaths is a statistic.
Kayla Jean Mueller’s last days and her presumed death is a tragedy that is almost too awful to contemplate.
It could be argued that Al-Baghdadi should not be killed out of hand, but rather captured and spirited away to some black site where he can be interrogated at leisure.
No doubt he possessed a wealth of intelligence that could prove to be of use for the continuing war against ISIS and other terrorists.
Confirmation of the final fate of Kayla Jean Mueller would bring some sort of peace to her parents and all who loved her in life.