Baghdadi dead - what should the next steps be?

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader and founder of the Islamic State, is dead. According to US President Donald Trump a special unit of the US army led an operation against al-Baghdadi on Saturday night which culminated in the terrorist leader blowing himself up with his suicide vest. But the fight against the IS and jihadist terror is far from over, commentators warn.

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Independent Arabia (SA) /

Rebuild and take back IS fighters

Independent Arabia explains what needs to be done to truly curb the influence of the IS:

“The danger of extremism can only be fought effectively if the international community takes on the task of promoting stability and reconstruction in the areas dominated by the IS militia. ... Moreover the Western states should face up to their responsibilities. They must take back their citizens who joined the IS militia, adults as well as minors, put them on trial and reintegrate them into society. They must not shirk this responsibility because they consider the political price to be too high. ... These steps are necessary if the world really wants to talk about a 'victory' against terror.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Defeating terrorism not possible without allies

The successful operation against al-Baghdadi should open the US president's eyes to reality, Dagens Nyheter writes:

“Trump should learn three lessons from this: that it's advantageous to have soldiers on location; that the know-how of the US intelligence service is crucial and that nurturing relations with your allies is worthwhile. Unfortunately he doesn't believe any of this. ... Yet in the future the US will probably need more friends than before, not fewer. Al Baghdadi may be dead but the phenomenon of terrorism is not. If Trump withdraws from the Middle East there are many unpleasant forces that can fill the vacuum. ... New conflicts will emerge both here and in the rest of the world. There is the risk that the US will have a hard time convincing potential allies in the future.”

Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

Turkey needs to step up fight against terror

For Turkey, al-Baghdadi's death in no way means the end of terrorism, warns Hürriyet Daily News:

“This country suffered so much from all kinds of terrorists that while the death of Baghdadi was welcome news, at the same time, it was a wake-up call to further increase security measures, intelligence efforts and take all sorts of preemptive measures. While doing so, of course, no effort should be spared to make sure that while increasing anti-terrorism vigilance the already impaired human rights and the freedom of thought situation in the country is not further imperilled.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

Unwarranted triumphalism

Trump shouldn't celebrate too soon, the Irish Independent warns:

“Even those who welcomed al-Baghdadi's death will have winced at the degree of Trump's triumphalism ... Trump gives us the unwelcome sight of yet another American leader proclaiming the death of one individual to be the successful conclusion of the job. It's not and it never will be. As successive presidents have learned to their cost, killing the leader of an enemy regime, whether it be an actual government, as in Iraq and Libya, or leaders of terrorist organisations or illusory 'caliphates', as in the case of Osama bin Laden and al-Baghdadi, rarely changes things for the better.”

Avvenire (IT) /

The white man is talking to his clan

The operation was clearly an electoral strategy, political scientist Vittorio E. Parsi writes in Avvenire:

“This is not about the fight against terrorism or about the international civil society, and it's certainly not about public opinion in the Muslim world. ... Trump is talking to 'his' clan for reasons of pure electoral tactics, to strengthen inner cohesion by pointing to an enemy. The death of a defender of violent Islamist radicalism is being used to unite people behind a (neo-)conservative radicalism that winks at White supremacy and evokes the principle of wall against wall ... Since this is the goal, and the recipients of the message are his potential voters, offending the sensibilities of a few hundred million Muslims in the world is worthwhile.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

The inventor of just-do-it terrorism

Gazeta Wyborcza explains why IS terrorism will continue even after Baghdadi's death:

“Baghdadi invented 'Nike-style terrorism' according to the motto 'Just do it!' In his videos he repeatedly called on his people to act quickly and locally. Instead of making plans and gathering money for big bombs for years on end, they were told to build small bombs, reach for their weapons or hijack a lorry and drive into into crowds of people. In this way he considerably increased the scope of IS terrorism: any madman, even those at the other end of the world, can take up arms in his name.”

The Independent (GB) /

Terrorists have a new martyr

The Independent is not at all happy about the terrorist leader's death:

“We could have set a new example to the world demonstrating our superior, civilised standards. Instead, now the armed jihadists have another martyr. The point is: The Islamists are not going to disappear or give up just because Baghdadi is gone. Indeed the very same vainglorious Donald Trump who took obscene personal credit for his death has put Isis back in business by his withdrawal of American forces from Syria.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The ideology lives on

It wasn't the leader who mobilised the IS's followers, the Tages-Anzeiger explains:

“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was never a charismatic leader. In stark contrast to the highly professional propaganda of the terrorist organisation, cleverly adjusted to the viewing habits of the smartphone generation, the IS leader projected an extremely brittle image. Baghdadi may have led the IS, but what fascinated its followers on every continent was never its leader but rather the idea of a new caliphate taking shape in the present, and not in a distant future. This idea, against which the Muslim authorities who are obedient to their leaders had so little to offer, remains intact.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Only education and tolerance can defeat hatred

Večernji list also believes the IS terrorist network won't disappear with its leader:

“The death of the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi raises the question of whether his work, the so-called Islamic State or caliphate which he proclaimed in 2014, will continue to exist without him. ... Al-Qaeda remained active even after the death of Osama bin Laden. Some movements can survive the death of their founder because of their ideas and ideologies. The ideology behind al-Qaeda and the IS was hatred of Christians and all followers of other faiths. An ideology of hatred is defeated through education, tolerance, and love for one's neighbour.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

It was the Americans who made him a jihadist

Ibrahim al-Badri, as the terrorist leader was officially called, was radicalised by the US invasion of Iraq, Tygodnik Powszechny points out:

“The war that broke out in Iraq when the Americans arrived on the scene changed Ibrahim's life forever. The invasion shattered the army, police, courts, authorities and government of the toppled tyrant Saddam Hussein. From one day to the next half a million people, including soldiers, police officers and security staff, found themselves on the street. ... Ten months in the American prison Camp Bucca were his jihad academy. Behind bars he met officers from Saddam's army and jihadists who had come to Iraq to wage their holy war against the Americans.”