Another Bin Laden Death Rumor

Captain Ed points to an article that says old OBL’s shuffled off this mortal coil. Sorry, but we’ve all been burned by that one before. Until someone pulls his mouldering hide out on worldwide TV, it’s safe to say that Shrödinger’s terrorist is either dead or alive, but we’ve no way of knowing which.

What is clear is that the operational axis of al-Qaeda has shifted. Bin Laden is more or less a figurehead right now. Al-Zawahiri is trying to exert control over the organization, but it’s metastasized into various cells such as al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan – both of them run by none other than Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi. Al-Zarqawi is the “bad boy” of al-Qaeda. Bin Laden and Zawahiri were evil, but intelligent. They know that in order for al-Qaeda to win, it had to capture the hearts and minds of the Arab and Muslim worlds – to spread a message that would appeal to the masses.

Al-Zarqawi is a thug. He’s a criminal with delusions of grandeur, and he’s been systematically destroying al-Qaeda from within. His use of beheadings, attacking fellow Muslims, and alienating the entire world, including and especially fellow Muslims, have shattered the notion that al-Qaeda is an agency that can unite the Muslim people under the banner of a single caliphate. No doubt that if bin Laden and Zawahiri had complete control over al-Qaeda, the tactics being used in Iraq would be vastly different. Bin Laden understood the value of charity, which is why he tried to project a positive image of himself throughout the Muslim world. Al-Zarqawi has no such skill.

The fragmentation of al-Qaeda may seem like a more dangerous manifestation, but it inevitably diminishes their operational capacity. The attacks of September 11, 2001 required years of careful planning, funding, and coordination from Kuala Lumpur to Kandahar to Hamburg to Florida. The 9/11 Commission estimated that the 9/11 attacks cost $400,000 to $500,000 to complete, which is difficult for a small cell to finance without the help of a substantial international network. Not only are terrorist leaders getting blown apart by US warplanes or forced to go deep underground, but the financial networks set up by terrorist organizations have been similarly attacked and destroyed since 9/11. Al-Qaeda remains deadly, but we’re more likely to see smaller attacks such as the London Underground bombings than wide-scale attacks like 9/11 or the attack on the USS Cole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.