The disclosure that IS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed came from US President Donald Trump himself. As he put it, Baghdadi blew himself up with his wife and three children on Saturday night when he could no longer resist the raid conducted by the US army's Delta Force at Barisha, lying close to the Turkey border in Syria's north western governorate of Idlib. Trump's statement came after viewing the live pictures of the 'Barisha raid'. And after DNA tests conducted on the blood collected from the site of exploosion, it was confirmed that the man killed was Baghdadi himself. In other words, this was not like the earlier stories about Baghdadi's death; this time it has been confirmed by none other than the head of the country leading the raid to kill him.
What has thus come to an end is the life of a man, whose name had put a large section of humanity under a scourge of fear and suspicion, and about whom there is insufficient clarity as to who or what he is. Leaders like British prime minister Boris Johnson characterised the raid as the most important moment in the fight against terror – rightly to be called so. And the interventions in the matter by countries including America are to be lauded too. That said, the crisis and uncertainties created by Baghdadi and IS's rampage, and by the interventions by US forces still linger. Who can rsolve that is the critical question of the hour.
The name of 'Daesh' or Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was first heard following the military onslaught made by 'Sunni Armed Dissidents' targeting the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in June 2014. Until the armed dissidents captured the strategic towns of Mosul and Tikrit in northern Iraq, the name of IS was not used by world media or any heads of state. About the same time, the same outfit made military incursion into eastern Syria. It was later, when a 'Khilafat' was declared annexing the areas captured from the two countries, that IS and Abu Bakr Baghdadi started finding mention in world news and political discourse.
It was only still later that 'news' started to emerge about Baghdadi including his having spent time in jail during the US occupation of Iraq. Naturally, doubts had been cast right during that time about the identity of IS and Baghdadi. And as cited by some countries now, together with the 'IS stories', also heard were similar propaganda about Baghdadi himself being a baby of America. Even then it is true that either the terrorist outfit IS or some others in the name of IS did conduct terrorist attacks in different parts of the world. Through such acts they were able to destroy the peaceful atmosphere of the world.
Despite the fact that nearly all responsible Muslim bodies denounced Baghdadi's 'caliphate', it cannot be ignored that at least some were dragged into the abominable path. In the name of such acts, Islam as a religion itself became subject of hate; once again after Sep 11 attacks, it led to intense Islamophobic propaganda. But five years since then, media reports tell a different story. IS has lost more or less the entire geographic belt that it had captured andn controlled. And the military action, initially by IS, and subsequently by the allied forces, have brought that entire region to shambles. Therefore, without finding a solution to these problems, can matters be ended by a mere 'Baghdadi execution'?
As it happened in the case of Bin Laden, news of Baghdadi's death also came out when the presidential election campaign is hotting up in America. There is substance in the observation that, just as Bin Laden's capture gifted Barack Obama a second term, the Barisha raid is a trump card played by Trump to retain power. As things stand, with an impeachment move by Democrats staring at him, prospects for Trump are not that bright. Not only that, the decision to withdraw US forces from Syria has also brought much criticism. Those US troops were stationed there to help the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), involved in anti-IS resistance in notrth-eastern Syria. After all, US pulled the troops out all of a sudden from there on the claim that the terrorists had all been annihilated. It was in fact when SDF was thus left in the lurch that Turkey's military intervention came to fill that vacuum of uncertainty. Later, Syria's Bashar Al-Assad's force also stepped in with Russian support and made matters more complicated. Trump has been facing blame even from within his own party that he complicated the Syrian problem, and it is in such background that the 'Baghdadi killing' took place. In short, no existing problem is going to end with the end of Baghdadi. All the same, for Trump, this is crucial for his future politics.