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Today in Politics
(Martyn Aim / laif / Redux)
As Turkey moves in on northeastern Syria after the removal of American troops, exposing America’s Kurdish partners in the fight against ISIS, take a moment to consider who exactly the American withdrawal leaves exposed.
Mike Giglio has spent years tracking the rise and fall of ISIS. The stories he tells from on the ground with America’s Syrian, Kurdish and Iraqi allies fighting a version of a forever war will leave you breathless.
ISIS made its car bombs in factories and outfitted them with metal armor and enough explosives to incinerate a building or a Humvee. For months they’d been coming, one after another, at the soldiers, the pilots speeding through the fields and streets like the War Boys of Mad Max, blazing forward in their clanking death machines, chasing suicidal glory.
They had killed some of the battalion’s best soldiers in this way. Of all the forces aligned against ISIS, the soldiers of the ICTF were its deadliest enemy. They were elite and attacked with the support of America’s air force and intelligence, but at the same time they were soldiers of Iraq. They were men like Ibrahim Abu Hamra, a.k.a. Red, the Humvee’s driver, a meaty sergeant with cream-colored skin and strawberry hair who looked Irish. He was a longtime ICTF soldier and new father who had managed to maintain the fiction to his wife that he worked a desk job.
→ Read the rest of this selection from Mike’s forthcoming book, Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate.