The world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, is dead. For ten years the face of global Islamist terror, bin Laden was finally cornered and shot dead by US Navy SEALS in a secure compound outside Islamabad in Pakistan.
It was a high-risk operation, not least for US President Barack Obama, who ordered bin Laden taken dead or alive. If bin Laden had escaped, and Navy SEALS were killed, al Qaeda would have won a huge propaganda coup, and Obama would have faded into oblivion. As it turned out, this is Obama’s finest hour, virtually guaranteeing him a second presidential term.
But it is not without its problems. There are fears that bin Laden’s death may incite Islamist militants to carry out revenge attacks on Westerners, especially Christians, in Pakistan and elsewhere.
And news of the death of the mastermind of 9/11 brought hopes of a swift withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. Those hopes are premature due to the extreme political and military destabilization that has occurred there since 2001.
So: a major symbolic victory, but a small step on a long journey to peace and security.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, Sunday 8 May 2011.