The most dangerous terrorist group of recent times was killed by an American strike a few days ago. We will attempt to present the possible consequences of his death, showing the three world leaders first and applying their “after-death effects” to the world’s current situation.
How much can the death of a leader influence the followers or even the whole society? And how much of the past can be repeated in the present?
Life: July 13, 100 BC – March 15, 44 BC.
Where: Roman Republic
Julius Caesar was a Roman politician, statesman, rhetorician, and very successful general. He conquered most of Europe, for example, Gallia (today’s France), he fought against Teutons (today’s Germans) and Helvetia (today’s Switzerland), and a lot more. The Roman Republic under Gaius Julius Caesar experienced unbelievable prosperity. His success on the battlefield was equal to his proficiency in the political sphere. His promising career finished with a murder planned by his co-operators and even members of his own family on the 15th of March 44 BC. He died on the top of his success, at the hands of others.
The Roman Republic was immediately in crisis after his death. Nobody knew, in fact, who should replace Caesar, and probably nobody had the same qualities to lead a huge country as the Roman Republic was during that time. The infights caused the loss of some parts of the land and instability for the inhabitants.
After ruining several politicians, after endless battles, after all the future anxiety, Marcus Antonius (Antony) and Octavian became the last enemies. The one who wins the battle would probably win the highest power in the republic. After a bloody clash in Actium in 31 BC, Antony was on one side defeating his political aims and his beloved Egypt, and on the other side, Octavian, much younger but born to be a politician with the vision of dictatorship and Roman Empire. They killed Antony, and Octavian was declared the emperor of the newly founded Roman Empire.
As we could see, the Roman Republic fell; however, the Roman Empire arose, and one must claim that the second-mentioned success was at least the same as the Roman Republic’s one. They enjoyed their fame of that time like nobody else. Although Caesar’s death was tragic in the immediate moments, the complete historical view assumes the overall Roman triumph in the years after Gaius Julius Caesar.
Life: August 15, 1769 – May 5, 1821.
Napoleon was a politician and General leading the great French Revolution, who liberated France from the financial crisis and the profligate royal family and became the Emperor of the French. He had been holding this position for more than ten years. He helped France to become the empire it used to be. He established a new constitution where he presented a new fundamental liberal policy. Some particular principles of this document are still included in several national constitutions. On the other hand, he is considered by some French as a dictator and an imitator of Caesar, as Grand Dictionnaire Universel du XIXème siècle by Larousse claimed.
Napoleon was exiled since he had lost his last battle, the Battle of Waterloo, in 1815, and he died relatively hidden from the public. However, after his death, many articles glorified his battles and his impact on France. From the poor, broken person lost somewhere on the lonely island of Saint Helena, he became the national legend fighting for the people’s good.
After his death, France returned to the monarchy and restored the Bourbon dynasty on the French throne. A bloody period started including many executions and restrictions for people. The conditions for the citizens were the same as in the time before French Revolution, before Bonaparte. The equality and liberation that Napoleon fought for were disabled, and the discrimination of the poorer part of the population appeared again. They changed Napoleon’s changes in this European country back to those of monarchy.
From the text, we can see that after Napoleon’s death, they eliminated the good changes, and the society became conservative again rather than being modern. This shows how the death of a leader can change the country and negatively influence politics.
Life: October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948.
Mahatma Gandhi is known as the leader who brought peace without hurting anybody or indulging in bloody conflicts. He led India to independence, and some of the revolutionary leaders had been highly influenced by his peace philosophy. He planted the roots of modern civil rights, freedom, and religious harmony.
India from the time of “Bapu” changed a lot; however, it still holds its status as a country with the free expression of the people’s religion and opinion. The circumstances of Gandhi’s death and the moments after were shocking and hardly understandable. As a big powerful nation of its father, India is still attempting to follow him and his ideas that were so liberating and revolutionary for the world.
Past presented in the present:
We have provided three examples of leaders from different historical periods, different nations, and different statements. The linking part between them is that all three were successful in their careers, and they managed to lead the people to some extreme changes with relatively smooth acceptance. Their deaths were accepted with sadness to some and happiness to others. We tried to show the consequences of their ends and described how it could influence society. Let’s try to apply history to the present.
- Abu Nabil (recently killed, considered as the leader of ISIL)
Where: Iraq, Libya.
“The world has one important terrorist less,” this was the main news from 14 November 2015. The US forces killed the leader of the terrorist group ISIL. He was a former operative of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and he also led the same terrorist group in some operations between 2004 and 2010. In the final year, he became a member of ISIS and started to work hard to gain the leading position in Al-Qaeda, reported CNN.
The world has started to breathe again and has lost some of the fear following the ISIS spirit. Abu Nabil was killed by an American airstrike accomplished on the evening of 13 November, the same day as the terrorist attack in Paris terrified the world. Pentagon claimed that “this operation was authorized and initiated before the terrorist attack in Paris.”
Does his death imply an important change in the success of the Islamic State? We have shown three leaders before; therefore, there might be three possible scenarios.
- What will happen next?
Following are the simplified scenarios of the possible consequences of the death of a terrorist group leader. The above-mentioned leaders were not terrorists, and all of them were trying to fight against unfairness. Nevertheless, the good would often seem easier to follow than the evil.
1. The first “Caesar’s scenario”: ISIS will be shocked, and the infights will begin. The disagreement will arise within the group, and international forces will manage to provide better conditions for Syria and Iraq for the future by attacking the group in a time of instability.
2. According to the “Napoleon’s scenario,” the death of somebody important will destroy the ISIS expansion, and they will change everything from the inner part of the group. Members of the terrorist group will be arrested, and the rest will calmly come back to the same conditions as Syria and Iraq had experienced before.
3. According to the third scenario, ISIS will still believe in the same rules and attitudes as it used to earlier. They will find another leader, and the situation will neither get better nor worse. It will stagnate till the time of the next radical change. We must say that even if this scenario is related to Mahatma Gandhi, ISIS seems to represent the most serious enemy of all Gandhi’s pacifistic ideas!
The Pentagon officials claim that their own scenario: “Nabil’s death will degrade (ISIS’) ability to meet the group’s objectives in Libya, including recruiting new members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in the press conference held on 14 November 2015.
The time will provide all the answers. Let’s stay calm and be led by the leaders trying to lead us in the right direction.