The problem of the terrorist group Daesh* and the jihadist cause in general is far from being solved even as its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been confirmed dead, Sweden's leading terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp of the National Defence College, warned, predicting a “Daesh 3.0” with new leaders.
With the death of al-Baghdadi who at one point proclaimed himself “Caliph over all Muslims”, the terrorist organisation, which previously lost its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq, suffered yet another major setback, but is far from being completely defeated, he stressed.
“It's not based on a single leader. There have been many of them. They do not depend on Baghdadi being alive, but of course it's a setback. Still, they are far from defeated, though Trump will probably use it in the election campaign and claim that [Daesh] is completely knocked out. They are not”, Magnus Ranstorp warned in an interview with Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
“Daesh will resurface. There will be a Daesh 3.0 with new leadership. New leaders are waiting in the background, and will take over”, Ranstorp stressed.
According to Ranstorp, Daesh already began to prepare for threats to the “caliphate” in 2015 by spreading out its leadership and establishing new units. He also emphasised that the ideology still exists, and that propaganda material is still available online. Al-Baghdadi himself appointed his own successor, ex-Iraqi soldier Abdullah Qardash, whose position as “legislator” and “political adviser” with Daesh earned him the nickname The Professor.
Ranstorp predicted that Daesh will remain in the background for a bit and they will try and rebuild, employing two well-known strategies – namely, disrupting the reconstruction of war-torn areas, and liberating prisoners who can be recruited. “There are people with Daesh affiliation lurking in the shadows, and they still exist in several other places. We are far from having solved this problem”, Ranstorp stressed..
“They cultivate children to become the next generation to take over. It's going to take time, but there are individuals working frenetically on this in Syria and several other places”, Ranstorp concluded, referring to camps for Daesh brides and children.
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump announced that al-Baghdadi had been hunted into an underground tunnel by military dogs during a US raid, whereupon he detonated a suicide vest, blowing up himself and three of his children.
Following his death, a number of countries, including the UK and the Philippines, stepped up security measures.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrrorist organisation banned in Russia and other countries