They got Baghdadi. But the war against Daesh isn't over yet
People look at a destroyed houses near the village of Barisha, in Idlib province, Syria, after an operation by the US military which targeted Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.- AP
The radical ideology needs to be nipped in the bud by spreading the message of tolerance and inclusiveness.
It was a typical Diwali morning. By the time I woke up, there were scores of greeting GIFs and forwards waiting in my WhatsApp inbox from family, colleagues, friends, associates and even strangers, and etiquette dictated that all, or at least a majority of them, should be responded to. I don't know what you do but I usually take a shortcut when it comes to responding to forwarded greetings. I copy/paste the greeting GIF or image from Person A and send it to Person B, provided that they're not from the same 'circle' (to avoid the awkwardness of them finding out that I'm just being lazy). But doesn't everyone do just that? I mean, how many people would care to create 'original' messages every time there was a festive greeting to be sent out?
Anyway, I digress. As I was busy with thumb exercises (a.k.a. copy/paste), my smartphone lit up with similar messages from multiple apps. 'Al Baghdadi believed to have been killed in a US military raid, sources say'. Almost on a cue, the office WhatsApp group started buzzing with KT colleagues commenting on how this was the umpteenth time for news of death or capture of Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi to have surfaced since the declaration of the caliphate in June 2014, and how it turned out to be overambitious within a few hours or days or even a year. In June 2017, for instance, Russian military officials believed they'd killed him in an air raid, a 'fact' that was later corroborated by Iran. But Al Baghdadi, a pseudonym acquired by Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badri Al Samariai, is also known as the phantom for nothing. He resurfaced in August 2018.
This time, however, US President Donald Trump confirmed his death on live TV, hours after tweeting that 'Something very big has just happened!' There's cold comfort in the news of Al Baghdadi's death. In August, he'd nominated Iraqi Abdullah Qardash as his successor. Even if the progressive world captures or kills the successors, too, it is the radical ideology that needs to be nipped in the bud by spreading the message of tolerance and inclusiveness. The UAE has taken the lead in celebrating 2019 as the Year of Tolerance and pursuing it in letter and spirit. But it's a long road ahead and the world needs to follow the UAE's example. That journey is far from over. In fact, it may have just begun.