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Death of Baghdadi does not mean end of fight against terrorism

(China Daily) Updated: 2019-10-29 07:36

There is no doubt the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a significant contribution to the international efforts to fight terrorism. Or that the US president's announcement of the US operation which led to his death will boost his own reelection chances.

Since July 2014, when the IS terrorist group seized large tracts of land in Syria and Iraq following the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in 2011, the world has seen the opening of a Pandora's box of terrorism and extremism across five continents. The terrorist group not only committed atrocities in the territory it seized but also claimed responsibility for instigating terrorist attacks in dozens of cities including Paris, Nice, Orlando, Manchester, London, Berlin, and most recently in Colombo.

In its heyday, the IS group ruled over millions of people in areas extending from northern Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad. Its declaration of a caliphate and ideology propagating violent religious extremism lured thousands of people from around the world to join its jihadist movement, which has posed the biggest security threat to the world in recent years.

With the IS being defeated in Syria and Iraq by international anti-terror efforts led by the United States and other forces in the region including the Syrian government backed by Russia and Kurdish fighters, the death of Baghdadi in a US special forces operation is being heralded as sounding the death knell for the terrorist group.

But the demise of IS in the Middle East and the killing of its leader should not slacken the vigilance against terrorism as the world has not yet completely wiped out its evil ideology. Neither will this necessarily guarantee that peace and stability will finally prevail in the Middle East.

The US decision to pull its troops out of Syria and allow Turkey to launch a military operation in Syria to push Kurds from the border area has triggered worldwide concern about the worsening of the situation in Syria and the possible revival of the IS group.

Over the years, the Middle East has had to dance to the tunes of both US policy successes and failures in the region. True, the US has both contributed and made sacrifices in the fight against the IS group. But its policy inconsistency and greed in pursuing its own interests in the region have also made it a disruptive force in the region. It was the destabilizing of the region by the US that was largely responsible for the rise of the IS and the establishing of its caliphate five years ago.

Its double standard in fighting various groups of terrorists with different backgrounds has also hindered international cooperation and coordination against terrorism and done a disservice to the world community in reaching a consensus on rooting out all extremist elements wherever they may be.

The Middle East is at a crossroad in the post-IS era. As an important player in the region, the US should play a more constructive role in the region's peace and stability.

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