TIME

The world after al-Baghdadi

THE DEATH OF ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI MAY not change the world. Nevertheless, how it came about says a fair amount about the world he has departed.

In the chain of events that led to the Oct. 26 demise of the ISIS leader, every link tells a story. But even as it crystallizes what the war on terrorism looks like 18 years after 9/11, al-Baghdadi’s death may mark the beginning of an uncertain new chapter.

The first link begins with the government of Iraq, which in September arrested one of al-Baghdadi’s wives and a courier. Intelligence pointed to Syria, where the CIA was already working with the Kurdish militia. Both Iraq and the Kurds are committed enemies of ISIS. Iraqis suffered tens of thousands of casualties pushing ISIS out of their country from

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