The New Virtual Caliphate And Its Implications: What Will Happen After Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Death?
In any case, the Islamic state is on track to lose most of its property in Iraq and Syria later this year. This will be the cause of the celebrations, but that does not mean that the goal of ISIS eradication was achieved.
ISIS has prepared its fan following for months with the line losing territory does not endanger the caliph, which in the meantime is busy acquiring other properties in South Asia and elsewhere.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently announced the end of ISIS in Mosul. Coalition forces with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) surround the ISIS capital, Raqqa, for a more likely decisive battle in the next five months.
But Isis is good for restructuring. Many of his senior commanders have already been moved to Deir ez-Zor, a Syrian city, near the Iraqi border and preparing to retreat when Raqqa succumbs. ISIS sooner or later will drop conventional military style and return to insurgency.
Terrorists will melt into the local population, forcing coalition forces to risk heavy casualties on ground operations. When times are really difficult for them, they will provide hundreds of foreign fighters to carry the war in their home country or in other territories controlled by ISIS in South Asia and North Africa.
At this stage, ISIS will announce the “virtual Caliphate”, an invisible death boat floating in the sphere network and raining death through self-taught terrorists around the world while promising that the “state” will return to Territorial domain.
Meanwhile, ISIS will lose several of its leaders, probably Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (if he did not die for a Russian air strike there three weeks or if he had not been killed by recent local reports) and some of his aides. But no terrorist leader is irreplaceable.
Certainly, thousands of fighters will be lost and the prestige of ISIS may have a slight fall down, but their hiring machine will produce cannon fodder for suicide, while Western citizens are determined to live with their terror for generations.
But the virtual caliphate can be defeated. Virulence is due to their belief system, the United States national security team in Washington has vowed to defeat. To counter the ISIS in the West after the descent of Raqqa, we must stop the spread of its ideology and recruitment activities in the West.
The terror subversion strategy will be different between the predominantly Muslim countries and the western nations where Muslims are a minority.
In Muslim-majority countries, before the ideological war to succeed, the authorities need to stabilize the region, neutralize sectarian conflicts, stop moving people and create more jobs.
The Coalition proceeds gradually in this situation in Iraq. Without stability, Salafists always recruit terrorists seeking a way out of poverty.