Washington lawmakers from both parties on Sunday praised the U.S. raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, a key Islamic State leader in charge of the group’s oil and gas operations in eastern Syria.
“It’s good news,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Obviously, any time you can degrade or take away top leadership of an organization. It’s a positive step forward.”
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants, known for their obliteration and wanton destruction of historical sites, have seized parts of the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site in Syria, according to reports.
“If [the Islamic State] enters Palmyra, it will spell its destruction,” said Syria’s director of antiquities, Maamoun Abdulkarim, to Agence France-Presse before the news was announced. “If the ancient city falls, it will be an international catastrophe.”
And another chaser:
The key Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to ISIS on Sunday after government security forces pulled out of a military base on the west side of the city, the mayor and a high-ranking security official said.
The ISIS advances came after militants detonated a series of morning car bomb blasts, Mayor Dalaf al-Kubaisy and a high-ranking Iraqi security official said. The explosions forced Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters to retreat to the city’s east, they said.
It’s a wonderful thing, taking out ISIS leadership like our Special Forces did to Abu Sayyaf in that raid on Saturday. But at its heart, ISIS is a popular ideological movement — or at least just popular enough to keep its ranks and leadership slots filled. If we’re serious about defeating it, that means a much more sustained effort than pinprick air raids and the occasional commando raid. It also requires a sustained counter-ideological effort, rather than apologies and denials about the true nature of radical Islam.