ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself during US raid in northwest Syria, Saturday. This could be a game-changer for Donald Trump as the US heads for polls in 2020. After all, the killing of the infamous Osama Bin Laden by US Special Forces under President Obama’s command was a moment for jubilation in America and across the world. Since the George Bush presidency, the US has made it top priority to bring down these terrorists and doing so has certainly saved many lives as well as projected US hard and soft power across the world even further.
As such, the killing of prominent terrorists should score points for a US president. Obama’s re-election bid certainly benefitted from the raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011 that killed Bin Laden, the architect of the despicable 2001 9/11 bombings on US soil. In the run-up to the 2020 poll, Donald Trump’s announcement of al-Baghdadi’s death in the course of a US raid could potentially score some points for the president especially as he is on the hot seat facing an impeachment inquiry. al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi Jihadist, was the world’s most wanted man.
As such, when Trump announced Baghdadi’s death on Sunday October 27, 2019, that should have been a major achievement for his regime which, everything being equal, should improve his “re-electability”. However, issues such as al-Baghdadi being little known by the American public despite being one of the brutal terrorists ever and mounting opposition to Trump especially following the ignition of the impeachment inquiry may mean that the death of al-Baghdadi changes nothing for Trump.
Bin Laden commanded the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and other US infrastructure/sites. The terrorists under his hypnotism drove planes into buildings and crashed another. The death toll was 3000. This made Bin Laden a well-known and wanted criminal for US citizens, for whom tracking and killing him was top priority job for their President. After brainwashing others to commit these acts, the coward Bin Laden, went into hiding. US search for him was unwavering and 10 years after, US Special forces got him – mission accomplished! Obama’s reward was re-election.
In the case of al-Baghdadi, however, many US citizens don’t know the despicable crook. The US had taken more stringent measures since 2001 to prevent any further attacks on US soil. Therefore, al-Baghdadi’s horrendous crimes took place in far distant lands in the Middle East and Africa where his actions have affected mostly his own kin. In 2014 alone, al-Baghdadi’s ISIS was responsible for over 6000 deaths. Not that US citizens are insensitive to these deaths but their location means they are little unaware of the seriousness of the atrocities and therefore would be expected to fail to focus their choice of re-electing Trump based on al-Baghdadi bombing himself during a US raid.
In addition, Trump has been at the centre of too many controversies lately. He has come under the spotlight for his unpresidential language and behaviour; his attempts to break the Emoluments clause, even calling them phony after pressure led him to rescind his decision to organise next year’s G7 at his Miami National Doral Resort, and; more importantly, Trump facing an impeachment inquiry.
In July 2019, Trump appeared to pressure the Ukrainian president to dig dirt on Joe Biden, a political rival, in exchange for military aid. This led to accusations of campaign finance fraud, presidential misconduct and embezzlement of State funds for private political ends, the finality being the impeachment inquiry. These issues dwarf al-Baghdadi’s death.
Trump announced al-Baghdadi’s death with a lot of confidence and seemed to project himself strongly in his role as US President. That has however, not blown off the steam and he is still facing the impeachment inquiry. Americans know little of al-Baghdadi and they are more concerned about their President possibly being undemocratic and breaking the constitution he swore to protect. As such al-Baghdadi’s death may change very little for what soem analysts consider are Trump’s dwindling prospects for re-election in 2020.