On October 26, 2019 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a military conquest undertaken by American forces in Idlib in Syria. His death however positive in the short run will mean little for counter-terrorism in the long run.
Many commentators around the world praised Trump for this operation and stated its importance to the fight against terrorism in the Middle East. However positive it is to eliminate such a monster, there will be another figurehead to chase in the coming years.
We do not have to think too hard to remember the last figurehead of global terrorism. The most wanted man in the world was Osama Bin Laden for a number of years. Since his tentative links to the Nairobi bombing in 1998 he became more known around the world on news TV. Since his death in 2011, mainstream news has been dominated by events in Syria and Baghdadi has become the new “Bin Laden’ to an extent.
Yet, the Trump Administration has recently sent another 1,800 troops to Saudi Arabia. This was central part of Bin Laden’s criticism of the US. Occupying the holiest lands with troops, killing muslim and supporting Israel. Syria is different to Iraq as there are so many factions till fighting out for power. Trump already claimed ISIS was defeated but history will tell us that there will be a new leader will take the spotlight in the media in the coming years. The US needs an enemy in the Middle East to justify a presence.
To me, it seems, while Trump will claim this is a great achievement of his administration (as did Obama the killing of Bin Laden) not much will change in overall terrorism and conflict in the Middle East. Not until the oil runs out will there be less emphasis on radical Islamic figurehead, fighting terrorism and conflict resolution in the region.