Baghdadi's death and future of ISIL
photo via thierry ehrmann at

The global leaders and regional analysts have warned that the threat of the Islamic State Of Iraq and Levent (ISIL) still exists despite the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. According to media reports, the ISIL leader detonated the suicide jacket during the US raid. His three children were also dead as a result of a suicide explosion. He was residing in an underground tunnel in Adlib. 

Under Baghdadi’s rule, ISIL emerged as the cruelest organization of modern history. In 2014, ISIL declared self caliphate on territories of Iraq and Syria. 

Under Baghdadi, ISIL invited thousands of protesters from across the world to join the group. The group created fear among the people by imposing brutal punishments like beheading, torture till death, and massive rapes. Furthermore, the organization successfully expanded its terrorist activities beyond the middle east. 

However, offensives launched by Syria, Iraq, the USA, and Russia forced ISIL to leave the territories. ISIL had to vacate its last stronghold in Syria in March this year. But defense analysts believe that Baghdadi’s death is symbolic. The threat of ISIL exists with a different face. 

Experts opine that ISIL is a virtual organization. A leaderless ISIL can be used by any group to sell its narrative across the world. Experts further argue that a leaderless ISIL still can conduct guerilla warfare in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and other countries having an extremist ideology. Here it must be noted that Baghdadi’s death has already been reported many times by various media outlets. However, Trump’s announcement has nullified all the doubts on Baghdadi’s death. 

On the other hand, ISIL’s social media accounts did not confirm the assertion of President Trump. But experts believe that Baghdadi is no more, and sooner or later, his successor’s name will emerge. Experts believe that the prediction of Baghdadi’s successor’s name is not possible. However, Abu Othman Tunsi and Abu Saleh Juzrawi are the most suitable candidates for this position. Both have a history of conducting terrorist activities in the region. 

Abu Othman belongs to Tunisia and heads the Shura council of ISIL. Shura council administers legislative and consultative affairs of the organization. While Abu Saleh belongs to Saudi Arabia, he chairs the delegated committee of the organization. The delegated committee is responsible for recruits and talks with other extremist groups. 

However, some experts believe that either of these options can create intra-organization chaos because none of them belongs to Iraq or Syria. Some experts are also taking the name of Abdullah Qardash, a military officer in Iraq. He was sent to the US administered jail in Bucca. However, no one is certain whether Qardash is still alive or not. 

Most of ISIL leadership is wiped off from Iraq and Syria. Therefore there is a possibility that the new IS chief may be an outsider. Iraqi intelligence sources claim that Qardash was dead in 2017. The Iraqi intelligence agency abducted Qardash’s daughter. Iraqi security agencies claim that she confirmed Qardash’s death. 

Experts believe that the new chief will face difficulties in managing the affairs of a scattered organization. Experts believe that ISIL is facing intra-organization differences. Many members of the so-called legislative body think that Al-Baghdadi was responsible for the failure of the organization in Iraq and Syria. 

Hasan Haniyeh is a defense analyst in Amman. He told Al Jazeera TV that Baghdadi’s death will not cause any significant impact on the organization. He further claimed that Baghdadi’s death would reduce the burden of protecting him. He also said that Baghdadi had become a burden on the organization after its defeat in Iraq and Syria. Now, after his death, ISIL may lose its identity as an organization; however, it will keep on carrying terrorist activities in the form of disgruntled groups. 

World Reaction:

Russia praised the death of Baghdadi by US commandos. However, Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov refused to answer whether Trump informed Russia about the operation in advance or not. 

French President Emmanuel Macron also showed satisfaction on Baghdadi’s death. He claimed that Baghdadi’s death is a major victory, but fight against the group would continue. 

British Prime Minister also praised the death of Al-Baghdadi. He reiterated that British support will always be available to eradicate terrorism. 

Meanwhile, Southeast Asian countries are also struggling to fight against ISIL. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philipines are home to the world’s most organized insurgent groups. Experts opine that these countries can face retaliation from ISIL. 

Philippine’s defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that although the death of Baghdadi was a big blow for ISIL, the organization is still capable of conducting terror activities across the world. Lorenzana further argued that Southeast Asia faces major threats from the group, and ISIL had rooted strong roots in the region. 

Related: How Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Became World’s Most Wanted Man?

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