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“With the Islamic State’s Baghdadi Dead, Where does Jihadist Terrorism Go?” Some initial thoughts on the impact of Baghdadi’s death and what we should look for from the Islamic State. fpri.org/article/2019/1…
1- Baghdadi’s death is symbolic for the end of the caliphate, as he was the self appointed caliph. Great achievement for The US and the anti-ISIS coalition & hard to imagine how the Islamic State brand continues without being able to pursue a state in the Levant
2- Leadership decapitation (#baghdadi) of terror groups severely degraded their current ops, but often times, can loosen the control of emerging terrorist middle managers seeking their own jihad.
3- after death of Bin Laden, we saw al Qaeda affiliates move aggressively, splinter (Baghdadi & ISI/ISIS) create competing violence. Will be important to watch Islamic State affiliates around the world in coming weeks to see how they message and migrate
4- for 2nd time, terrorist leaders were killed in unexpected locations. Bin Laden at Abottabad (not in a cave in mountains). Baghdadi not in traditional ISIS turf (E. Syria) but a compound near Turkey. We should question the commonly repeated assumptions about terrorist leaders
5- it’s been 18 years since Sep 11, where is Zawahiri leader of Al Qaeda and why can’t we get him? Could we nab Joulani, HTS (AQ in Syria) in short order? There’s only couple key leaders with global recognition, could the global connective tissue of jihad be disabled?
6- follow on intelligence from the Baghdadi raid seems to be rich, will be fascinating to see if global counterterrorism ops ramp up in next few weeks and if so, where spider web of Isis networks emerge/ or don’t
7- and from what it sounds like, I’ve not seen word of any US casualties (correct me if I’m wrong) to think US can kill Bin Laden or Baghdadi deep in hostile territory and take no losses is absolutely amazing.
8 - Appears we received one of the answers discussed in the @FPRI article I posted this morning. US Forces appear to have rushed to get Baghdadi because of the uncoordinated, rapid Trump withdrawal from Syria nytimes.com/2019/10/27/us/…
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