The destruction of the ISIS terrorist group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was an obvious success and will serve as another factor in squeezing the territory occupied by the group, but still it will not lead to its disintegration and automatic destruction, the experts said. speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said today that it is verifying reports whether the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed by a Russian airstrike on the southern outskirts of Syria’s Raqqa.
"According to information, which is being verified via different channels, the meeting was also attended by the ISIS leader Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated in the strike," the ministry said.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, commenting on the reports of the death of the ISIS leader, pointed out that it is possible to evaluate this event only according to knowledge of the group's nature. "ISIS is not a sect built around a charismatic leader. ISIS was built around a fundamentalist religious and political project that will remain relevant for its adherents, regardless of names. Therefore, the figure of the leader is not some critically important parameter of vitality," the expert explained.
Nevertheless, he stressed that the destruction of al-Baghdadi was an obvious success. "It will have a certain impact on the situation and will become another factor in squeezing the territory occupied by ISIS. Because, ISIS has shrunk recently, albeit much slower than we would like," the President of the National Strategy Institute said.
Remizov explained that the role of the coordination center is very significant for ISIS, and its deprivation will deplete the group. "If we talk about ISIS as a network structure, a interregional and global network, this role is minimal. Yes, this global franchising will remain in effect only as long as the center itself is supported. But if the center is destroyed, then this global franchise will start to operate under the auspices of other similar organizations," the expert warned.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, also doubted that the liquidation carried out by the Russian Air Fores, and not just of al-Baghdadi, but of many other ISIS leaders, would make a serious breakthrough in the struggle. "Terrorists like Zmey Gorynych: two or three new heads grow back instead of a cut one. Because the problem is not only in personalities, but also in ideology," he said.
"So, of course, we need to destroy them, we should be tough. But I would not hope that it will stop the fight against terrorism," the expert pointed out.
He warned that, in fact, ISIS does not need a single center. "It is a network system in which individual structures can act independently, because their main thing is ideology, their radical views on the situation, on life and the need for domination. Everything else is just details," Victor Litovkin concluded.