Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden (and his sponsors): any political significance?

The question remains whether there is any political significance to his death.  It is clear that Al-Qa`idah has largely been put out of commission since the US invasion of Afghanistan.  It is clear that Bin Laden, and even maybe Al-Dhawahiri, don't have operational links with their followers.  It is clear that many of Bin Laden's lieutenants were either captured or killed and that he lost the nucleus of the organization.  It is also clear that a small (terrorist in this case) organization can inflict a lot of harm on civilians, if that is what it wants to do.  But it is also clear that the danger of Al-Qa`idah after Sep. 11 was transferred to copy cats: groups and gangs that don't have direct links with Bin Laden and his lieutenants but who are inspired by the deeds of the mother organization, so to speak.  But what is not yet acknowledged here in the US is that Bin Laden is a product of horrific US policies in the Cold War: of their alliance with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.  The people in Pakistan and Afghanistan would be relieved today: not because they hated Bin Laden (many do sympathize with him only to spite the US), but because scores of Afghans and Pakistanis have been killed over the years during the campaign to get and kill Bin Laden.  Remember that time in late 2001 when the US incinerated a convoy there because "a tall dark man" was seen getting into one of the cars.  The US intelligence analyst on the scene assumed that there were no tall people other Bin Laden.   But the factors that produced Bin Laden and Al-Qa`idah are still there: the US is still very tempted to arm and fund fanatical groups if they think it is politically convenient for US "national security interests."  Look at that lousy Libyan Transitional Council: there are fanatics in the ranks and I assume that we will hear from some of them, especially once they declare the victory of their "holy cause."  The coverage on US TV news was celebratory:  I bet that Americans don't know that this man and his lieutenants once shared a cause with US covert operations against the Soviet Union.  Of course, as is the case in such affairs, the US news media focus on the skills and heroism of US special forces and intelligence agents.  For weeks we now will be served dishes of reports about the competence of US special teams.  Only later will some one reveal (as was the case in the capture of Saddam Husayn) that there was no military skill in the operation: that someone came forward to net the $25 million for Bin Laden.  But that will come later.  The disturbing part of all this was the coverage of Saudi news channel Al-Arabiyyah (news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law): the coverage was somber with a tinge of sadness.  They had a Saudi "expert" on extremist movements and he came on and said that Bin Laden fought back ferociously and that he resisted before being killed.  This is like how Saddamists were so embarrassed how their leader was captured and they created stories about how he did not resist or die.   How did the Saudi expert know that? It seems that the Bin Ladenites will now be busy inventing a story of heroism for Bin Laden, just as they invented a bogus story about his heroism in Afghanistan.  Bin Laden won't be missed (or should not be missed): not in the East and not in the West.  And that idiot Isma`il Haniyyah of Hamas is only confirming Western suspicions and Zionist allegations that all Islamists are alike.  This will be his own doing: he just rendered a great service for Zionist propaganda.  His remark will now be available in 34 languages and Israeli occupation embassies will circulate special brochures containing his lousy remarks in which he paid tribute to Bin Laden.  Expect a book or two to be published with titles like: Hamas and Bin Laden or the Unholy Alliance between Hamas and Al-Qa`idah, etc.  But Hamas deserves what its get: the lousy Fath organization is now replaced with a lousy branch of the lousy Muslim Brotherhood.  On Aljazeera: the coverage is rather less somber than Al-Arabiyyah but they had Saudi journalist (oh, yes.  Forgot to tell you. Ever since Qatar and Saudi Arabia entered into the Arab counter-revolution alliance Saudi propagandists are now invited on Aljazeera), Jamal Khashuqji (who edited Al-Watan newspaper and now will be directing a new news channel owned by yet another oil prince--Al-Walid bin Talal in this case).  But the anchor did not ask Khashuqji (who now poses as one of many Wahhabi "liberals") about his PERSONAL CONNECTION WITH BIN LADEN.  This guest once fought with Bin Laden and worshiped him for years.  And then the anchor asked him this question: he asked how Bin Laden turned to violence against civilians when he was not like that before.  What was that? When was Bin Laden opposed to violence?  When he recruited (on behalf of US and Saudi covert operations) an army of Islamsit fanatics, crazies, and terrorists?  Bin Laden made life more difficult for all Muslims (and for all if you consider the travel effects of Sep. 11):  my mother hates him for what he did to the image of Muslims worldwide, not to mention his callous justifications of the murder of civilians (Muslims including).  US is desperate for a victory and this one will be a chance, although the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are going terribly for the US.  Obama yesterday basically signed the death sentence of the Pakistani president for thanking him for his role.  How dumb is that? Even if he thought to falsely claim that the US did not violate Pakistani sovereignty near the capital of Pakistan.  Public opinion surveys will soon give a tremendous boost to Obama, who may have increased his chances for re-election.  I mean, no one in the Republican camp can now accuse him of pacifism or of reluctance to bomb and kill.  Obama has proven that he can outdo Bush, in wars and bombings and killing, etc.  Tell that to those who voted for him.  On the Muslim side, I can report to you that wild conspiracy theories are already circulating on Twitter and Facebook and Arab websites: it will be like the conspiracy theories about Sep. 11.  People are saying that either he was not killed, or that the US had him for a long time, or that he was dead even on Sep. 11.  Those unfounded conspiracy theories trouble me: because we--as leftists--need to distinguish between crazy and non-crazy conspiracy theories.  So in sum, not much will change in the world after this announcement because Al-Qa`idah has been largely weakened since Sep. 11.  Ayman Adh-Dhawhiri has no chance of reviving the fortunes of Al-Qa`idah: he not only has to protect himself but he has the charisma of a cucumber and the speaking skills of Sa`d Hariri (and he is as boring as the latter).