Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the 'caliph' of the ISIS terror group, is dead. His death surely does further weaken the vilest terrorist group of modern history, but does it necessarily end the existence of this group? To understand why the demise of key leaders does not necessarily mean the end of terrorist groups like the ISIS—it is important to look for why these groups come into being in the first place.
The way world cheered the demise of al-Baghdadi, it did the similar when the former US President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden, the deceased leader of Al Qaeda. It was hoped that the demise of Bin Laden would contribute in ending Al Qaeda and subsequently end the vicious circle of terrorism in the Middle East and the world.
After the end of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda indeed became weaker day by day. It should be noted that it was not necessarily Bin Laden's death that worked as the principal factor in weakening Al Qaeda. Following his death, Ayman al-Zawahiri took the mantle of Al Qaeda leadership and ensured a formidable existence of the group until a far more vicious and ruthless terror group, ISIS, filled the vacuum left by Bin Laden.
From the instances of rise and fall of two most vicious terrorist groups in the last two decades, the world has seen that terrorist leaders changed or died, the groups weakened or went on to extinct, but the terror movement has always been out there. And each time the newer groups filled the vacuum, it turned more gruesome and ruthless than the previous ones.
The death of al-Baghdadi thus may weaken the ISIS as a group of terror, it may create a vacuum in terror leadership—but rest assured, ISIS will end all but in name.
Till the reasons behind the rise of Islamic terrorist groups are not addressed, the vacuum left by the terrorist al-Baghdadi will be filled. The world will forget al-Baghdadi, but terrorists out there will come up with new forms of terrors to create so called 'caliphates', and new 'caliphs' like al-Baghdadi will emerge.
To understand why the Middle East always turns out to be the breeding ground of such terrorist groups, it is essential to notice what has been happening in the political spectrum of the region since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
When rest of the world has been moving forward with democratic values and systems, the people of Middle East continued to lose their civil rights and dignity under their brutal dictators over the decades. We do not have to look far back in history to understand how these regimes treated their people when they asked for freedom and dignity.
During the Arab Spring, when the people woke up against their tyrant rulers, the world witnessed how their efforts were brutally thwarted by these regimes, not to mention that these regimes are largely backed by the United States. So, when the US supports these hooligan regimes in oppressing their citizens—Pentagon's mission to get the Middle East rid of terror groups does sound nothing less than cutting down a tree to its root and then water the branches to enliven it.
Complicating the political spectrum of the Middle East more, a perpetual conflict between the Shiite and Sunni people has been created, in pursuit of serving the evil-interests of these regimes. It was not surprising at all when the ISIS launched brutal campaigns against the Shiite people in Iraq; they grew quite some popularity through this act among the Sunni Muslims of Iraq.
And why would Sunni people support such brutality against the Shiite? The answer is easy. They found vicious ISIS more comforting than the brutality they suffered under the Shiite regime of Nouri al-Maliki, the then prime minister of Iraq.
Shiite people being oppressed by Sunni regimes and vice versa, the absence of democratic values and basic human dignities, contributed in breeding the rise of violent terrorist groups like the ISIS and Al Qaeda in the region.
The death of Baghdadi is a relief for Shiite people because it will weaken the ISIS. But the demise of this terrorist doesn't necessarily end the Shiite-Sunni conflicts which serve the interest of the authoritarian regimes of the Middle East.
It cannot be denied that the death of al-Baghdadi will weaken the morale of global Jihadists, as even their 'caliph' is also vulnerable. But do not get surprised if the groups come up with new waves of attacks to avenge the death of their leader in the coming weeks.
With weakling and battling states like Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan still suffering from the ruins of miserable wars, the demise of ISIS is not the end of militant insurgency in the Middle East.