There is nearly nobody on the 7 billion people on our planet talking about anything else than Ben Laden’s death at the moment. When the American President Obama spoke late night, bringing the news that was already largely spread on all social networks and TV broadcasts of the killing of the most feared man on Earth after a hunt of nearly 10 years, he sounded victorious. “Justice has been done“, he argued. Really?
When one sticks to the facts, one is forced to conclude that:
- Apparently Ossama Ben Laden was not hidden in mountains, under the ocean or on Planet Mars, but in a small cozy town of Pakistan, an ally nation of US. The trillions of dollars put in the wars against terrorism and the extravagant sums spent to supply the Intelligence failed to bring practical and efficient solutions to catch the most wanted man on the planet in a reasonable timing.
- He was caught only after he clearly retired from his duties in Al-Qaeda. US totally failed at catching him while he was active, challenging the whole planet with his tapes recorded in Afghan mountains. Al-Qaeda legendary figure is dead, but Al-Qaeda works for now at least 3-4 years without Ossama Ben Laden. In a sense, he was more like a “Godfather”: highly valued and respected by his men for the “glorious” record, feared by his ennemies, but not being anymore the field guy.
- The logistics and organization of the number 1 terrorist nebula won’t be affected by Ben Laden’s death. Ex-Number 2 who is now Number 1, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, is not a youngster anymore either and very unlikely to be technically leading Al-Qaeda; he’s just the other ‘Godfather’. The technical leadership, planning of operations, recruitment, are to find somewhere else. So to say, US have totally failed to disrupt Al-Qaeda as a criminal organization able to schedule operations and put them into practice.
- Al-Qaeda’s emulators, such as Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb or Jamaat Ansar As-Sunna, are deeply rooted everywhere and do not depend on Al-Qaeda itself to pursue their own goals: Al-Qaeda created a template and it was successfully used to spread terrorism.
- The release of the Wikileaks Guantanamo Files (779 detainees files, with extensive individual description, charges, medical statements) a couple of days before the “arrest” of Ossama Ben Laden are nothing but a testimony of how far had Americans to go to get very few information, with an extremely weak “return on investment”. In other words, the enigma is still unsolved. Al-Qaeda succeeded to create the most opaque organization ever (the Wikipedia pages about Al-Qaeda are among the most poorly documented), almost impossible to stop but from the inside.
- By killing Ossama Ben Laden, any hope of a trial/instruction/interrogation is automatically suppressed, depriving anti-terrorism strategists from a number one source to key information on Al-Qaeda and depriving victims from a real justice process.
- The war on terrorism done in Afghanistan and Iraq ruined financially America, ruined its reputation worldwide, made about a thousands times more victims than the terrorist attacks themselves, planted the seeds of the dramatic collapse of the global influence the “American Empire”: US were weakened by this decade of “shock and awe” campaign. Al-Qaeda and Ossama Ben Laden made in less than 10 years what the USSR did not achieve in 30 years of Cold War.
When in 2008 Bush administration spokesman pronounced the simple sentence “Ladies and Gentlemen – We got him.” to announce the arrest of Saddam Hussein, it did not prevent G.W. Bush from the complete failure of his policy in Iraq. Today, Ossama Ben Laden death is certainly not a victory on the battlefield, where Amrican troops can surely already prepare for an intensification of terrorist acts against Amrican interests.
Indirect consequences of a decade of Al-Qaeda threat over the world would be interesting to study. A few can be already be named: Al-Jazeera was “made” by Ben Laden tapes the same way CNN was “made” by the Gulf wars, empowering the Arab region with its first subversive towards Arab regimes and the West TV channel; virtual activism and on-line recruitment, “headless” or “structure-less” political entities constitute the jist of the method mostly developped by Al-Qaeda (some used it for terrorism, others to ask for democracy); war on terrorism weakened enough US and allies for them to lose hand and perfect control on global geostrategy (they have hard time evaluating the dangers and the appropriate answers).
At the end, they offered Ossama Ben Laden what he always wanted: to die as a “martyr”. By his political criminal acts, as incredible as it appears, he created the “post-September 11th” world he wanted, where Western nations are terrorized and violently challenged for their imperialism and let a large “heritage”: a method to aggressive resistance.
Yes, definetly, by dying, Ossama Ben Laden won his last battle.