More on U.S. Syria Raid
Back in May, I reported that the US government was using stepped up channels to try to persuade Syria to turn over to Iraq a top alleged Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia figure, Abu Ghadiya, whose real name is Badran Turki Hishan Al Mazidih. A group assembled at the US government's request "concluded," I wrote, "'that the US needed to send a message requesting Damascus' assistance on Abu Ghadiyah. But it should not be seen by Damascus as an American message.' Ideas were floated to ask the Turks, or the French to play the intermediary. 'A request will be made to the Iraqis to ask the Syrians for Abu Ghadiya's extradition.'"
"It will be worth watching to see if Badran Al Mazidih one day finds himself pushed over the Syrian border into Iraq," my post concluded.
Apparently, that's not exactly how things went down. Tonight, the Washington Post and New York Times report that the figure targeted in the US raid in Syria this past weekend was indeed Abu Ghadiya, and that he was killed in the operation:
American officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the raid said the mission had been mounted rapidly over the weekend on orders from the Central Intelligence Agency when the location of the man suspected of leading an insurgent cell, an Iraqi known as Abu Ghadiya, was confirmed. About two dozen American commandos in specially equipped Black Hawk helicopters swooped into the village of Sukkariyah, near the Iraqi border, just before 5 p.m., and fought a brief gun battle with several militants, including Abu Ghadiya, the officials said.
It was unclear whether Abu Ghadiya died near his tent on the battlefield or after he was taken into American custody, one senior American official said.
Abu Ghadiya was reportedly one of four major Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia figures operating in Syria, including one Mazidih brother and two cousins, according to the Treasury Department.