||Capturing Osama (cont.)
. . . . . .
In all these cases, the leaders offer characteristics – charisma,
power, ruthlessness – critical to their organizations. If no other
figure can replace these strengths, then rivalries, incoherence, and
• • • • •
George Bush is a September 12 person
Kerry is a September 10 person
But in several ways, bin Laden’s elimination would not fit this
Being only one of his organization’s key figures, his disappearance
will not devastate Al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda is more “an ideology, an agenda and a way of seeing the
world” (writes Jason Burke, author of Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of
Terror) than an operating terrorist force.
And Al-Qaeda being just one of many jihadist organizations around the
world, its decline would do little to abate the wave of militant Islamic
violence in such places as Algeria, Egypt, the Palestinian territories,
Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the
While Bin Laden personally symbolizes militant Islam and his continued
ability to elude coalition forces inspires his Islamist followers, his
capture or execution would have a mainly psychological impact by
demoralizing those followers. His elimination would certainly be a blow
to his movement, but one it could readily recover from. “His
capture won’t end terrorism’s danger,” Robert Andrews rightly
noted in a recent USA Today article.
Next page in this article
1 | 2 | 3