Oct 29, 2019 / 10:36

IS leader's death: Lucky salvation for Trump

The Hanoitimes - The killing of al-Baghdadi came just at a right time for Mr. Trump and helps salvaging his chances to be re-elected next year.

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 by US troops under the Obama administration, another infamous terrorist was annihilated by Obama’s successor. On October 27, US President Donald Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the “Caliph” of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
 
IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (L) and US President Donald Trump
IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (L) and US President Donald Trump
Of course, the annihilation of the top figure of the IS has been a big victory with great significance for the US and something like a lucky salvation for Mr. Trump personally. He immediately claimed it as his own success despite his categorical refusal in 2011 that the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden was one of very important achievements of Obama's presidency. He criticized Obama for sitting in the White House Situation Room while US troops risked their lives for the operation in Pakistan. More than 8 years later, he sat in the same room while US troops hunted al-Baghdadi in the northwest of Syria.

Just now, Mr. Trump needs this military result much more than Obama in 2011. It has been clearing him from many domestic and foreign political inconveniences. Defeating the IS and withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria were two of his main electoral pledges in 2016 but still having decisive impacts on his chances to be re-elected as US president in the November 2020 election. He already ordered to move US troops out of Syria and his team is now still negotiating with the Taliban the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He faces strong criticism of the US’s strategic allies and partners in Europe, in the Gulf and the Middle East for abandoning the US leadership in the world and the region, paving the way for their strategic counterparts like Russia or China, Iran and others to establish and enhance their military presence and political influence in this region. In America, he has to deal with intentions and attempts led by the Democratic Party aiming at exploring all possibilities to impeach him.

Just in this situation, he deadly needs some concrete and resounding results, something which equates to a victory. The killing of al-Baghdadi came just at a right time for Mr. Trump and helps salvaging his chances to be re-elected next year.

But the IS isn't fully and really dead. It suffered irreparable losses but won't disappear. It will reorganize and restructured. It will have new strategies and modus operandi. It will continue to terrorize the world. Therefore, the death of al-Baghdadi certainly is a big win but the game isn't over for Mr. Trump and the US.