The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Syria:
The Death of al-Baghdadi Does Not Mean the End of ISIS

Nov 11, 2019

This article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group active in France.

Trump staged an obscene show to announce the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, one of the leaders of ISIS, killed on October 27 by U.S. forces helped by Kurdish intelligence, near Idlib, in Syria.

Trump described it “As though you were watching a movie.” With this statement, by putting himself in the central role, the U.S. president recounted the sordid details and the outrageous justifications for the deaths of al-Baghdadi and his children. One can only imagine the effects this news conference will have on the youth of Iraq who might be susceptible to the propaganda of ISIS and its auxiliaries. He added, “At my direction, as commander-in-chief of the United States, we obliterated his caliphate 100% ... but I would say, where’s al-Baghdadi? I want al-Baghdadi!”

Trump lauded the exploits of an army dog, launched in pursuit of the head of ISIS, without giving his name, “to protect his identity,” but tweeting out his photo. Faced with the ridiculousness of Trump’s performance, the Pentagon chiefs distanced themselves from his story, signaling that they did not have exactly the same information.

Trump can very well play the sheriff, bragging that he took out a delinquent, but it’s important not to forget that the entire policy of U.S. imperialism produced these fundamentalist militias that the U.S. supported in a number of countries, before they turned on their creator. U.S. policies allowed these militias to grow and multiply.

Even though one, and then another head of ISIS has been eliminated in Syria, even though the group’s ex-bastions in Mosul and Raqqa have been retaken for two years now, militias calling themselves ISIS or al Qaeda, as well as other independent fundamentalist groups, are evidently still around. They continue to carry out operations in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, in the Sahel of Africa, in Somalia, and in certain countries in Asia.

Since the fall of their last territory in northern Syria, Baghouz, by the Kurdish militia called Syrian Democratic Forces last March, hundreds of attacks have been claimed by ISIS or competing militias.

The incredible chaos and misery brought by years of imperialist war in the Middle East opened up a space for these militias and provide them with an inexhaustible fuel.