Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) armed group was killed in an October 26 raid by the US forces in Syria. United States officials say, facing imminent capture, al-Baghdadi detonated a bomb he was wearing, killing himself and two of his children.

Jessica Stern, Boston University Professor and coauthor of ISIS: The State of Terror, says the killing of al-Baghdadi is significant, but even if his organisation is severely weakened the conditions remain ripe for another ISIL.

"We know that some of the risk factors for terrorism include lots of young men who are unemployed or underemployed, sectarian tensions, sectarian conflict, sectarian war."

Stern says the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 played a role in the emergence of ISIL, but US President Donald Trump's withdrawal of US soldiers from Syria is also problematic.

"I don't believe the US can fix this problem," said Stern. "Even when we're trying to make it better, we often make things worse. But that doesn't mean we should leave precipitously and leave our allies in the lurch the way we just did."

Hassan Hassan of the Center for Global Policy and coauthor of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror says groups like ISIL will continue to attract members as long as authoritarian governments continue to hold power in the region.

"If you're fighting someone like the regime of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad then jihadism provides a way for recruitment," he said.

Hassan believes that the threat from ISIL remains despite al-Baghdadi's death.

"Most certainly they will try to wage a campaign of revenge," he said. He added that in 2006 and 2010 the organisation was also in a critical time, yet it survived.

"I think with the announcement this week of the two, the new 'emir' and his spokesperson, it seems like they handled the transition very well."

In this week's Arena, we discuss the future of ISIL and its ideology after the death of the group's leader.

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Source: Al Jazeera News