US cannot afford to celebrate Baghdadi’s death

US President Donald Trump used the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to boost his own fading image. There is no doubt that the death of Baghdadi is a blow to the Islamic State, but not a mortal one. The ISIS has already named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi as Baghdadi’s replacement. At the end of June 2014, Baghdadi was announced as the caliph of all Muslims in a declaration that not only proclaimed a new ‘caliphate’ but also warned fellow believers in Islam that they must “pledge allegiance and support.”
The world’s most wanted terrorist ended his life as a fugitive who decided that he would kill himself rather than surrender to justice. He came to an ignominious end. Reportedly cornered by US Special Forces, Baghdadi blew himself up in a tunnel in Syria, killing three of his children, as well. Unfortunately, Donald Trump could not resist the opportunity to make a series of questionable statements and promote himself. His claim that Baghdadi “died like a dog” was unpleasant, unnecessary and will cause unintended problems for the United States that will require undoing, especially in the Muslim world where canines are considered unclean. The US will need all the help it can get to defeat terrorism in the Middle East. What is troubling is that instead of a global coalition being maintained against the threat of the ISIS, the lynchpin of such an alliance – the US – is crippled by its commander-in-chief’s capricious nature.
The extent of the group’s terrible reach can be gauged by the fact that more than 40,000 foreign fighters are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups. There needs to be a serious attempt to transcend the religious, nationalist and ethnic schisms in the region. Economic and political modernization, forgiveness, and peace would help lay the ghosts to rest.