Monday, May 2, 2011

The follow-up

Thanks to the news about the successful operation against Osama bin Laden I'm back in the blogging world (this time for good, and preparing lots of interesting articles - take those introductory remarks as a very promotional teaser)...

After 10 years of searches, researches and millions of volumes of intelligence and military operations, it was about time to have him, but the fact in itself doesn't mean the end of the war or the final breath of terrorism. In my opinion, capturing him and delivering justice would have been a better move. But this, in a fully democratic world. In many respects, such a move would reshape him a "martyr" aura. 

I've read a couple of posts about how killing Osama might be the final signal to close down Guantanamo. Are those people ignoring the fact that many Guantanamo inmates returned in their home countries and reintegrated easily into the criminal rings they used to be part of before or were simply included by various terrorist cells? You need to find a legal system able to cope with such cases and to prevent the widespread of terrorism. An utopian project, by now. 

Obama's remarks are a tribute to all the efforts done during the last years, started by Bush administration, to put prevent similar terrorist attack to 9/11. Most probably he will use this success for electoral purposes as it used the weapon of criticism against the same Bush administration to win the votes of the Americans disillusioned with the war against terror (a communication failure of Bush administration(. I'm reading on some leftist blogs the fierce accusations against Obama, labeled as 'killer'. Probably their mind is still confused after the May Day demonstrations. This might be another example of the failure of the left after the fall of communism. Maybe they thought for a while that Obama might be their idol. 

What happened after Osama's promotion in history is the birth of a world accepting the possibility of such people and their criminal acts: getting used with his figure and his discourses on TV, with daily alers on terrorism, with an impressive number of successful or unsuccessful terrorist acts and attempts. In fact, his appearance in the daily media and in our daily lives - via TV or Internet, tools that Al Qaeda is using successfully - was well prepared by the wave of terrorism from the 1970s. TV and Internet lately widespread and amplified the effect of terrorism. Both disgust and sympathy - the percentages aren't clear - were outlined. If we look back in history, we should realize that people like Gaddafi, for example, who openly supported terrorism, were in the media long time before we were acknowledged about the existence of this Osama. One month ago, NATO started a series of strikes in Libya, after Gaddafi's bloody attempts to shut down the protests of opposition. The future of Gaddafi and Libya's future as such are still unclear. But Lockerbie was also a terrorist attack and many of the people directly involved were given "carte blanche" and we don't know exactly what role they will have in a possible post-Gaddafi scenario. From the point of view of the military operations, for me it's hard to believe that after such a long time, a military coalition as NATO was not able to produce visible and definitive results on the ground. 

A situation similar to Libya is taking place for weeks in Syria. Assad's regime is not strange of the connections with terrorism as well. I don't pledge for a military intervention here too, but looking carefully into the facts I see the same stubborn refusal to accept pluralism and the opportunity of change. The same situation in Iran, another staunch supporter of terrorist organizations. 

Would Osama's death deter the support for terrorism all over the world? Maybe it's too late now as he already produced various copies and supporters. Al Qaeda was structured at the beginning as an operational network of cells, operating independently. With or without a supreme leader, it was planned to act in various environments following the percepts of the religious extremism. This mushrooming would be, in fact, very difficult to control in the post-Osama era. It is unclear for the moment who's next in command or how the terrorist cells will react to the news. Maybe the SEAL interventions will continue, in Pakistan or elsewhere. 

The story will continue to create sensation on social media and in various other media. Nothing unexpectedly that chunks of information went leaked on social media, creating the wave about the success (the operation, step-by-step was twitted, but we didn't know what this guy was tweeting about). And nothing strange that people celebrated on the streets on New York City or Washington DC. They did it to support America, not to ask the death of other nations and peoples as it's going on more often than we think on the Arab streets.   

I tried to follow up the information on other media channels. For instance, Al Jazeera's reports were introducing Osama as a kind of romantic hero - he was peaceful, as a student he didn't involve in the 70s riots, a religious person (a mention made more than 3 times) etc..

What's for me very important in terms of understanding the current situation of the fight against terrorism is that he was killed in Pakistan. In the past, other big Al Qaeda and Taliban names have been captured in big Pakistani cities. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for example, the Kuwaiti-born senior leader, was captured in Rawalpindi. Mullah Barandar, the Afghan Taliban military commander was reportedly captured in Karachi. Pakistan is an old ally of US, benefiting of a permanent support for decades for democratization of the military and the political system. This information about the location where Osama was killed is very important for the follow up of the war on terror in the next days, weeks, maybe years. Still waiting for an official reaction from Pakistan explaining how it was possible to host the no.1 terrorist very close to the capital-city.

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