Jessica Stern, Research Professor at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, published a recent Op-Ed in The New York Times on the United States raid that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.
From the text of the article:
The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, is profoundly important. He was a powerfully inspirational figure, more formidable and perhaps more evil than Osama bin Laden.
He was an Islamic scholar who claimed to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.He built on the apocalyptic ideology and extraordinary cruelty of his mentor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq (the predecessor organization to ISIS).
Importantly, Mr. al-Baghdadi managed to recruit former Iraqi Baathist military and intelligence personnel, hugely strengthening his capacity for insurgency. And he took advantage of Syria’s civil war to create a first in the history of modern terrorism: a proto-state able to seize and control territory, amass possibly billions of dollars and organize a major military force.
Under Mr. al-Baghdadi’s leadership, ISIS became the richest and most powerful terrorist group in contemporary history.
Stern has held fellowships awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Erik Erikson Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation. She was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, a National Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a Fellow of the World Economic Forum. Stern taught as a Lecturer at Harvard University from 1999-2015. Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, she worked in government, serving on President Clinton’s National Security Council Staff and as an analyst at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Stern has nearly completed her training as an Advanced Academic Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis. Learn more about her here.