And the Americans got what they wanted. A man who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and was omnipresent on any American ‘Most Wanted’ list has been safely buried in the sea. Hiding in a mansion in Abottabad in Pakistan, Bin Laden was hunted down by US Navy SEALs after an operation directly authorized by President Barack Obama himself. Anyway, you can read all of this in the news. [Read]
The Americans are celebrating. But the killing happened a tad too late. It would be foolish to assume that the leadership of the Al-Qaeda would not have seen this coming. For a terror organization that aims to reign down the United States someday, a reliance on Osama Bin Laden is at best symbolic and at worst, non-existent. The Al-Qaeda head has died at the age of 54. During his time at the helm of one of the world’s most feared terror networks, he has successfully spread the wings of the organization into several pro-fundamentalist countries like Iraq and Yemen. The minimum this conveys is that the Al-Qaeda of today is a vast network, and any network of this kind will have several leaders in several disguises. Making several plans.
In fact, uncertainty regarding the Al-Qaeda leadership has always existed. The Americans and their allies have hardly been able to figure out who the commanders in control are. They’ve zeroed in on Ayman Al-Zawahiri, but remain unsure as leadership changes in Al-Qaeda have happened too often for their liking. Also Al-Qaeda, over the years, has tied up with several other organizations like the Pakistan Taliban and the anti-India organizations operating for Kashmiri ‘freedom’ and this clearly indicates that the network is too strong to be broken down by the death of a man who was most influential as long as a decade ago.
If Bin Laden would have been killed within 1-2 years of 9/11, it would have been a major statement from Washington and a cause of celebration for the Americans. As of now, the Pentagon and the CIA must prepare themselves. A warning has already been sounded by the Pakistan Taliban [Read]. It would, hence, be absurd to believe that in an era of spawned terrorist networks, the world just became a whole lot safer. Until Al-Qaeda is eliminated from it’s roots, which certainly can now be traced down to Pakistan, things remain murky.
The Americans can celebrate, the pro-Bin Laden Middle East can sulk a bit and the rest of South Asia can be cautious.
Meanwhile, life goes on.