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Daesh lives on despite the loss of its ‘caliph’

12 10 0

While the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi represents one of the most successful anti-terrorist actions in recent history and was a severe blow to Daesh, his death is rather symbolic given that the threat from the notorious group remains serious. Many analysts believe that his killing won’t have a significant effect on the group’s operations on the ground, at least not in the short term.

Make no mistake, action against Daesh has seriously diminished its operational strength and shaken its command structure; many of its senior figures have been taken out, and tens of thousands of its fighters have been killed or captured. However, the group still exists. Despite the military defeats and collapse of the self-proclaimed caliphate, it has taken the fight underground in Syria and Iraq while expanding its franchises in Afghanistan, South-East Asia and Africa. It has also aligned with other radical Islamist groups worldwide, suggesting that Daesh is very adaptable and it will be hard to eliminate it altogether. With obvious resilience, the world wonders to what extent the group will recover after the killing of its leader and if it will be able to repeat its previous “success”.

According to Colin Clarke, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, with the selection of Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi as its new leader, Daesh is clearly suggesting that he claims descent from Prophet Muhammad. “This would seem to be a ‘safe pick’ because it can ensure continuity and business as usual,” wrote Clarke, “signalling to [Daesh] supporters that the new leader will carry on the legacy of the Caliphate.”

In using Al-Hashimi and Al-Qurayshi, one Iraqi expert on Daesh, Hisham Al-Hashemi, suggests that the new leader is claiming........

© Middle East Monitor