Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An-Nahar Newspaper: Bin Laden Dead - May the souls of his victims rest in peace!

[Administrator's Note: Octavia is now writing articles for An-Nahar Newspaper each week and we will provide them here after they are printed.]

It's a big win for the United States and especially for President Barack Obama. Intensifying the drone attacks on suspected al Qaeda sites in Pakistan and Afghanistan has finally paid off in a big way. Only last week, Bin Laden's protectors and arms partners, the Taliban, announced the launch of a new spring offensive over the weekend in Afghanistan. That didn't go well for them, as they were met by a determined U.S. response which killed many of them already. And with the confirmation of Bin Laden's demise in Pakistan, the U.S. achieved several victories against various enemies and sent a clear message to friends and foes around the world about the seriousness of its fight against terrorism and extremism.

In his death, Bin Laden will expose how bankrupt Al Qaeda is and will bring to the surface its fragmented infrastructure. With him gone, who will lead Al Qaeda which is now made up of hundreds of sub-groups -- What some call franchises -- around the world from Pakistan and Afghanistan to the Philippines, Morocco, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and every country in between that has smaller terror groups with open allegiances to Al Qaeda Central. We will know Bin Laden's value more as a dead man than a terrorist at large or in custody. He's been on the run for years, his messages have gotten less and less relevant with time and we haven't heard any substantial threats from him in years.

His death is significant because it brings closure to Americans who witnessed the greatest tragedy of their history at the hands of bin Laden who never showed remorse for what he did. He never missed an opportunity to address the American people directly only to threaten them and intimidate them with every message. So, his death is a gift that the Obama administration offers the American people and everyone around the world who doesn't support bin Laden or approve his actions.

Bin Laden has lost his luster over the years but he remained relevant because he was still at large. His death is a bigger win than his capture. Its finality will send a blow to al Qaeda members and supporters. A finality that reduces his chances of getting more attention through breathless media coverage of every single one of his moves and later trial and everything that would have ensued. Now, media will cover his death, its repercussions and reactions, then they'll move on to the next big story.

Will there be an attack by Al Qaeda to avenge the killing? That's highly possible and we should expect an attack with or without Bin Laden's death. We would be naive to think that the world is safe from terrorism. We should always keep in mind that to commit a terror attack is cheap and easy but to fight terrorism and remain vigilant and on alert is very costly. Also remember that the terrorists need to succeed only once but the counter terrorism efforts need to succeed every single minute of every single day. Until the world can render terror groups such as al Qaeda, Taliban and others obsolete their influence and threat will remain.

In addition to the drone attacks, a sophisticated intelligence is of prime importance, and dialogue with the youth to sway them away from joining these groups by giving them opportunities for a brighter future. Another important area to keep under close watch are religious leaders and mosque sermons. Local leaders and parents must remain active in their youth's lives and keep them away from extreme ideology that is spread through religion often.

Finally, the U.S. needs to examine and redefine its role in the world. This is an important achievement that can be used to build bridges with those who spread the message of peace, compassion, dialogue and prosperity in sharp contrast with the isolationist message of hatred and extremism spread by the fundamentalists.

The U.S. shouldn't rest. The two names that I'd like to hear nailed next are Ayman al Zawahiri and Anwar Al-Awlaki.

It goes without question that Osama Bin Laden will be hailed as a hero and a martyr by extreme Islamists. This is exactly what he would want. Someone suggested they might even build him a shrine or mausoleum. I agree, that's a plausible possibility; but who will visit him? Who will eulogize him? Who will remember him? My guess is, not many.



Keep the conversation going...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone has anything contrary to say about this victory, I hope Obama will use the opportunity to get in touch with his "inner Octavia" and put them promptly in there place!
S. Lombardo

May 4, 2011 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Oussama's Take said...

The next step for the USA is crucial whether they grab this opportunity and press on to a victory of some sort or use this success as a reason to scale down their operation and get out. Both are USA objectives. What happens in the coming weeks and months will reshape the war on terror. So we wait and see and hope for the best

May 9, 2011 at 2:39 PM  

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