Osama Dead: What Now?
May 1, 2011 Leave a comment
Osama bin Laden is dead, so what now? We have presumably accomplished the goal that was the reason the US has invaded Afghanistan. Our withdrawal from that country is already in progress–I doubt that it will be quicker because of this development. The US military’s primary mission in Afghanistan at the moment is training the country’s military and providing security until such time the Afghani military can take over.
What will happen to Al Qaeda now that its leader is dead? There will most likely be a period of instability and in-fighting within that group as others move to take over its leadership. This could result in increased violence in areas that Al-Qaeda operates, or perhaps even more Al-Qaeda deaths as they kill one another, or their focus on internal politics could cause they to become careless, making themselves vulnerable to US forces.
Once the new leader is chosen, he may launch an attack to prove his worth to the organization’s members, and to assert Al-Qeada’s strength. He may choose different tactics, or target different things–all these things are the unknown, and these unknowns are dangerous.
Or, the organization could fall apart. If the US and allies move quickly, they can eradicate Bin Laden’s Lieutenants, cut off their resources, and spread this news quickly and convincingly, that is.
Politically, this is very good for President Obama. He has accomplished what Bush Jr and Clinton could not. This accomplishment reflects well on Obama in his role as Commander-in-Chief. The timing is quite favorable–right in the beginning of the Election 2012 season. This will be a mark against those who said President Obama would be weak on defense.