Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A New Year's Resolution: Death to Terrorism…..Long Live Bin Laden

This is an interesting take on terrorism and bin Laden:

Two important issues need to be investigated: What is the future of terrorism in 2005 compared to the previous year? What is the effect of the continuous absence of Osama bin Laden on al Qaeda and its supporters? [snip]

Financial experts believe that a trillion US dollars have been circulated in the Saudi stock market in the last year alone.

In other words, citizens might be busy with exploiting the second Saudi economic boom in order to increase their fortunes. There is a feeling the current period is exceptional and requires everyone’s attention, disregarding other events, even if it were a bombing or an exchange of gunfire nearby.

The fear is that this interest in the economy will undermine our focus on the crucial issue that is the war against terrorism by leaving it to the specialists. Terrorists might benefit from no longer being in the spotlight and regroup.

The second issue I would like to examine is If Osama bin Laden were to be killed, would this weaken Islamic terrorism?

Bin Laden has roused our curiosity and interest with his yearlong absence from al Jazeera’s screens. His number one aide, Ayman al Zawahiri has compensated for this absence, appearing 7 times on television. In one message, he asked Abu Musab al Zarqawi in Iraq for a 100 thousand dollar loan.

His absence has been bewildering, to the extent that Donald Rumsfeld indicated, a few days ago, “I think it is interesting that we haven't heard from him for close to a year”.

Personally, I do not believe the death of bin Laden or his capture will have a positive effect on his supporters in the Islamic world. On the contrary, his continued absence is unconstructive! By remaining alive, bin Laden is bound to continue to make speeches and claim responsibility for terrorist attacks but he is also certain to commit mistakes and provoke the anger of a Muslim society with his predictable endorsement of terrorism, which will undermine his symbolic image. Whether we like it or not, the man has become a symbol for many, even amongst the non-religious, across the Muslim world.

In this respect, an interesting remark I heard lately caught my attention. Will Osama bin Laden become the equivalent of Khomeini for the Sunnis? In other words, can the leader of al Qaeda inspire the Sunni revolutionaries just as Khomeini did for the Shiaa?

Read the rest: A New Year's Resolution: Death to Terrorism…..Long Live Bin Laden

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