The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is dead, and so is its vicious rapist, murderous and genocidal founder and leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. Now a very different kind of man - Iran's Qods Force Commander Major-General Qasem Soleimani who played a central role in destroying ISIS - is dead too: But what is going to follow both of them is far, far worse.
For all his bluster, threats and unfortunate tweeting habits and boasting, up to this point U.S. President Donald Trump has proved himself up to this point to be the least bloody-minded and most war resistant leader in modern U.S. history in the 43 years since Gerald Ford left office.
Every U.S. president since then has either drastically expanded wars he inherited, launched new ones or encouraged other nations to start them: Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski started the process when they urged Saddam Hussein to invade Iran in 1979, unleashing a bloodbath that killed one and half million people.
Until January 2020, Trump had proved remarkably resilient in resisting one trap, manipulation and pressure from the U.S. Deep State after another. His decision to order the assassination of al-Bakr, who personally repeatedly raped and beheaded female hostages, did not cross any red line. Bakr was an outcast on the world stage and previous President Barack Obama had personally authorized the killing of Osama bin Laden, founder and head of al-Qaeda.
The killing of Abu Bakr exposed the fraudulence of hundreds of liberal pundits and think tank "experts" in the United States who all pronounced that Abu Bakr would be easily and quickly replaced.
They forgot, however, first, that Bin Laden was not replaced when he died: The franchises of Al-Qaeda around the world obviously still exist but they are now isolated orphans without a master.
Second, Al-Qaeda did not enjoy a smooth succession of leadership. His supposed successor Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi has so far been a nonentity. Some analysts have expressed skepticism whether he even exists at all. ISIS, like al-Qaeda before it appears to have been a franchise based on extremely specific charismatic leadership with the founding group rapidly losing cohesion and credibility even before its founder was eliminated.
Contrary to the mouthing of America's endless armies of chattering pundit grasshoppers, decapitation theory works in hunting down and eliminating the leaders of terrorist groups. Russia's security services proved this in the long, hard fighting to eliminate such murderous groups in Chechnya and the Syrian armed forces have proved it again. It turns out that you can fight successful against extremist ideas when you know how to do so.
The Saudis applied decapitation theory repeatedly against Al-Qaeda in Arabia (AQIA). To be "honored" with the leadership of AQIA in the first decade of this century was a death sentence.
Thus, we have repeatedly seen over the past 20 years that non-state radical Sunni Muslim revolutionary Islamist movements, while capable of flaring up very fast, have no stability and staying power if resolutely confronted and isolated on the international scene.
The United States and its allies predictably boast arrogantly about how they destroyed ISIS. However, real credit for the destruction of its genocidal reign of terror across half the territories of Iraq and Syria goes to the Syrian Army, its Hezbollah allies, the armed forces and intelligence services of Iran and the Russian air force.
Russian tactical air support for Syrian ground troops operated skillfully and effectively to smash al-Baghdadi's vicious and passionate but poorly coordinated forces.
General Soleimani was a vital figure in ensuring the smooth running of this coalition. Far from being the arch terrorist of the world as Trump proclaimed, he was therefore the arch enemy and most successful opponent of the worst and most dangerous terrorist organization on the planet.
It is therefore no wonder that ISIS surviving groups rejoiced when he was killed in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad International Airport last month.
Soleimani was certainly a dedicated opponent of U.S. and Israeli influence across the Middle East. But his death will not benefit Washington and Jerusalem. On the contrary, it is certain to backfire catastrophically on them.
In Iranian terms, Soleimani was a pragmatic moderate who acted as an ally of the United States when it was in his country's interests to do so in two major wars.
Iranian intelligence and cooperation played a major role in so quickly and smoothly toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in November 2001.
In 2014, ISIS might well have swept to Baghdad and occupied all of Iraq despite the desperate use of U.S. air power if Soleimani had not committed Iranian forces, assets and allies in such determination to destroy it.
Finally, Soleimani's tremendous prestige as his country's preeminent general, strategist and military hero has now been eliminated. This will not aid "moderates" in Iran. Instead, it is already strengthen the passionate religious and eschatological Twelver elements in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
In killing Soleimani, Trump destroyed a responsible Iranian leader who fought Islamist extremism and genocide in Syria and pursued cautious pragmatic policies at home. Now Iran's revolutionary End of Days extremists will likely take advantage of his elimination to seize power and take over: What follows will not be pretty.