President Obama has announced it, the news are all over Internet: bin Laden has been killed and buried at sea.
Understandably, to avoid any political complications, Americans did not want to catch him alive. Big moment for America. A symbolic victory.
Yes, insofar as it goes. But the blogosphere is already abuzz with news of people doubting that he is really dead. Next there will be cries for revenge. Al-Qaeda will get started again on yet another round of terroristic killings. Actually, many Americans expect this, starting with Leon Panetta, the current CIA Director.
So, yes, I'm pleased America has achieved its goal of decapitating al-Qaeda. But will it slow down Islamic integralism and the more extreme forms of violence?
Quite frankly, I don't think so. Since al-Qaeda is a highly fragmented organization, with lots of terrorist cells sprinkled here and there, cutting off its head is not likely to affect its effectiveness.
On the other hand, the situation facing al-Qaeda hasn't changed significantly in recent years: it hasn't been playing a noticeable role in the on-going "Arab Spring" movements - not even in Yemen where it is supposedly very active. Not only that, but it appears that Osama bin Laden had already lost - or was losing - public support in Muslim countries, according to a recent Pew research. Moreover, while he was a charismatic leader to his al Qaeda followers, no doubt about it, he had, it seemed, passed over effective leadership to various people in his entourage. The fact that the house he lived in was devoid of any internet and phone connections is ample proof that he was no longer a day-to-day military chief.
Does all this spell the end for al-Qaeda? Not really. The killing of bin Laden could give al-Qaeda some cards to play, reviving the more extreme, violent fringes of terrorism. There could be "lone wolves" ready to act, just about anywhere.
What do you think will happen?