Osama bin Laden’s death might mean “mission accomplished” to the Obama administration but for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan the nightmare continues. In fact, the Al Qaeda leader’s demise and the U.S. triumphalism that followed it seems to have fanned the flames of violent extremism, evidenced by Friday’s twin suicide attacks which ended up killing 80 cadets near a Pakistani military base.
A Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson said the strikes were payback for bin Laden’s assassination because they believe Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment divulged bin Laden's whereabouts to the U.S.
Many Westerners feel the U.S. dealt global terrorism a lethal blow by killing bin Laden. This, however, is unlikely from both an operational and psychological/spiritual perspective. Operationally, consider that the extremist movement is acephalous in nature, thus the proverbial “head of the dragon” doesn’t even exist, making it impervious to strategic decapitation. Al Qaeda is a franchise – a virtual network spread across dozens of countries throughout the world.
Which is why having 100,000 troops mired in southern Afghanistan will not lead to the “dismantling” of Al Qaeda. U.S. presence in Central Asia has not made America any safer and neither has bin Laden’s assassination. If anything, it will make life worse for Afghanistan and Pakistan – countries that have shed more blood than any Western nation has over the past ten years because of Islamic extremism.
The U.S.-led occupation has been the cohesive force that has brought these extremists together, a large majority of them interested in either expelling the Western “invaders” or punishing those who support them – such as Pakistan’s government and military.
Bin Laden himself was more of an intangible asset, playing a symbolic role by unifying jihadists around the same ideological narrative. Although evidence rescued from bin Laden’s lair in Abbottabad suggests he was knee-deep in planning new terrorist attacks, his operational value has likely been overstated.
Dick Cheney himself told Tony Snow in 2006 that bin Laden was not directly involved in 9/11 while security experts have concluded that most of the planning took place in Hamburg, Germany – not Afghanistan (or Iraq).
Most of the dozens of Islamic militant organizations stationed in the area operate independently from Al Qaeda anyway. Bin Laden had little influence on the Afghan Taliban – a movement divided into three primary entities: The Haqqani Network, the Quetta Shura and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), which are all focused on ridding Afghanistan of NATO forces and establishing an Islamic caliphate in Kabul – with or without bin Laden.
Many pro-war neoconservatives agree with this sentiment. Max Boot even wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently that, since 2001, Al Qaeda itself “has never had more than a few dozen fighters at a time inside Afghanistan.” Examiner.com
Al Shabaab: al Qaeda was involved in overthrow of former Somali govt
“Since the fall of Somalia’s powerful military government, al Qaeda was stealthily operating in the horn African nations, including Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania” the al Shabaab official addressed at meeting. He admitted that al Shabaab depends on the military and financial support of al Qaeda.
A high ranking al Shabaab official has revealed that Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network was involved in toppling Somalia’s former military regime led by Maj. Gen. Mohammed Si’ad Barre.
Sheikh Mukhtar Rabow, better known as Abu Mansur, a top al Shabaab official, made the announcement while speaking at a ceremony marking the death of bin Laden on Wednesday in the town of Afgoye, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Mogadishu.
“In 1990s, the martyred al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has sent a number of his fighters to Somalia to train some of Somali guerrillas in order to help depose Somali military regime,” Abu Mansur explained.
He added that bin Laden also played a key role in financing the Somali armed militias and gave logistical support.
“Since the fall of Somalia’s powerful military government, al Qaeda was stealthily operating in the Horn African nations, including Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania,” the al Shabaab official said. He admitted that al Shabaab depends on the military and financial support of al Qaeda.
In 1998, U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed, leaving hundreds of people dead. Osama bin Laden was blamed as the mastermind of the terrorist attacks.
The al Shabaab member noted that al Qaeda played a crucial role in the 1993 U.S. battle with Somali militia leader Mohamed Farah Aidid.
At least 18 U.S. soldiers killed and 84 wounded in that fighting.
Abu Mansur said the killing of the al Qaeda leader will not undermine al Shabaab efforts and battles to topple the United Nations-backed government of Somalia, which is internationally recognized. AHL