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ISIS could attack the US as revenge for Baghdadi's death, security experts say
Retaliation for the operation that took out Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a threat the U.S. must guard against, national and foreign security experts said Sunday.
The death of al-Baghdadi could become a battle cry for his followers who "see this as demanding retaliatory measures," said Amarnath Amarasingam of Queens University.
"I think it is entirely possible that there may be a small uptick in inspired attacks, but this is not a given," he said Sunday.
Retaliatory attacks are always a concern after the death of a terrorist leader like al-Baghdadi, said former Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis, who's now a top security consultant.
"History will tell us that when there's the elimination of a leader like this, it takes the organization some time to regroup and get into attack mode," Davis said. "For the first days and weeks, they get pretty turned upside down by losing a leader like this."
Lone wolves are also a concern.
"An attack is more likely to be done by an individual who will take claim on behalf of ISIS," said Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute. "ISIS is clearly on the defensive."
Al-Baghdadi's death "degrades" ISIS leadership but by no means spells the end for the terrorist organization, said Howard J. Shatz of the RAND Corp.
Shatz said ISIS predecessor organizations have survived leadership shake ups before, and said there will be people ready to step in and take over operations.
"It's a question of who is waiting in the wings, how respected are they, how well organized is that person, and what other pressure can be kept on the rest of the organization," Shatz said.
The death of al-Baghdadi marks the demise of one of the most brutally effective jihadist leaders of modern times — a man who commanded tens of thousands of fighters from around the world. His death is a major blow, but the extremist group has survived the loss of previous leaders and military setbacks going back to the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
"It's just not clear what the leadership structure will look like going forward," Amarasingam said. "There are names being floated around as potential successors, but there are also rumors that these very people may have been killed in the raid. So, we will have to wait until the dust settles to see who is left standing, and how ISIS might structure itself next."
— Herald wire services were used in this report.
©2019 the Boston Herald - Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.