The Death of Baghdadi, the End of ISIS?

The Death of Baghdadi, the End of ISIS?

The leader of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Bakr al-Baghdadi, was reported dead during the air strike by the US coalition. Daily Star news portal reported on Tuesday (14/6/2016) that Baghdadi was killed in the air strike to ISIS’ base in Raqqa. The British news agency quoted a report released by Iranian Government media and Yenis Safak daily, a pro- Turkey Government media. A statement regarding the development of the terrorist organisation said “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed by an air strike in Raqqa on the fifth day of Ramadhan.” Another source suggested that Baghdadi was dead in Mosul, Iraq, also due to the US coalition’s strike, as released by Daily Mirror.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi security official said, “An Iraqi aircraft attacked Baghdadi’s convoy when they were moving towards Karabla to attend the meeting of ISIS Daesh leaders.” This news appeared after an Iraqi TV channel had claimed that Baghdadi who was believed located in Raqqa was injured by the bomb attack during the US led air strike last week.

This recent development of the air strike was indeed a severe blow for ISIS. Baghdadi, who was known as Khalifa Ibrahim amongst his fellows, for the first time show up for the Friday sermon in Mosul, Iraq, in 2014. He has once severely injured due to an air strikes in West Iraq, as reported by Guardian on Tuesday (21/4/2015) by quoting some sources. He suffered serious injuries in a US-led coalition raid in March 2015. This incident had triggered urgent meeting of the leaders of ISIS, which was initially convinced that he would die and they were making plans to appoint a new leader.

Recently, the rumor reappears which might have pressured ISIS especially regarding the intensifying attacks by the US coalition. A spokesman from the US coalition, Col. Chris Graver said that he has read an email regarding the death of Baghdadi, however “it is not the time yet to confirm the rumor.”

End of ISIS?

If the death of Baghdadi is true, not a propaganda created by western media, it must please all people in the world because it might signal the end of ISIS. The death of Baghdadi that occurred in the holy month of Ramadhan also shows that Allah SWT does not bless any terrorist attack that is brutal, cruel, and horrible, and the terrorists always relate their actions to Islam. In the other words, basically the terrorist groups have defamed Islam that actually is a rahmatan lil alamin (blessing for the universe).

Not only that, the death of Baghdadi will likely decrease the fighting spirit of the terrorist organization as they will no longer have a figure to unite them. ISIS might soon appoint a new leader to keep the morale of the fighters high, especially since in some recent battles in Allepo and Raqqa (Syria), including in some areas in Iraq and Libya, ISIS was also defeated due to the air strike from both the Russia and US coalition.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the one who first declared ISIS is a strong and respected figure. Thus, his death will be a “knock-out” punch for the organization, meaning that the death of this 1970 born in Iraq will have significant and strategic impact for ISIS in the future.

On the contrary, the death of Baghdadi can become a motivation for Syrian and Iraqi army that are supported by Russia and US coalition to increase the intensity of the attack to ISIS’ basis. This successful air strike by the US coalition claiming that they successfully killed the top leader of ISIS shows that the military strategy and territorial control of ISIS is weak compared to its rivals. It is no wonder because most of those joining ISIS are local terrorists from various countries with questionable experience in a crossfire.

Terrorist Attacks will be intense?

This death of Baghdadi might have whipped the rest of ISIS members and its supporters from across the world. There is a possibility that they will soon choose a new “caliph” and plan a deadly revenge. Should it happen, the death of Baghdadi is indeed an alarm that might signal the possibility of more intense and frequent terrorist attacks in the near future. The promise to attack the US and its coalition might soon be realized. A Thing to consider is that France is now hosting the Euro while the US is hosting Copa America. Both international agendas are likely attractive targets for the terrorist groups. If it occurs, it will be a politically painful revenge for France and the US.

Another possibility is that the terrorist attacks by ISIS will intensify and occur ubiquitously with more “lone wolf” attacks, which is very difficult to be detected, as what happened in Paris, Belgium, and Israel recently. Thus, the death of Baghdadi should become a strong signal for the security and intelligence officers in the likely targeted countries. They must very closely monitor the situation and information related to ISIS and its terrorist cells in some countries.

Above all, such terrorist actions will always happen if the global gap, either in economy, sociocultural, education and other aspects keeps widened. This gap was the result of the greed of some powerful countries that want to maintain their influence by playing the terrorism issues and defaming one religion. It seems that terrorism is an antithesis of “silent majority voices” that is unstoppable. Terrorism is clearly not in line with any religion value especially Islam as a peace lover religion.

Wildan*) Wildan Nasution is a political researcher and terrorism observer in Lembaga Analisa Politik dan Demokrasi. Resided in Batam, Kepri.

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