News / Middle East

Bin Laden Mideast Influence Declined in Recent Times

A Jordanian man reacts as he watch a TV news report about the killing of Osama bin Laden at a coffeshop in Amman, Jordan, Monday, May 2, 2011.
A Jordanian man reacts as he watch a TV news report about the killing of Osama bin Laden at a coffeshop in Amman, Jordan, Monday, May 2, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

In Yemen, where the offshoot al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has taken root, government officials hailed the news as a turning point in the fight against terrorism. So, too, did many ordinary Yemenis.

Sanaa resident Mortada Abed Al Qader said bin Laden was connected with many wrongdoings against Islam, and that his death "was right."

Similar expressions of relief were heard from leaders and citizens around the region.   

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the action shows that terrorists, in the end, are caught whether dead or alive.

In Israel, where the government was a key target of bin Laden’s wrath, leaders expressed joy at the news. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a resounding victory for justice. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, however, condemned the killing calling bin Laden an "Arab holy warrior."

Another target, Saudi Arabia, bin Laden’s birthplace and the country that stripped him of citizenship in 1991, has yet to make a formal statement. The Saudi government has spent years fending off terror attacks and trying to rehabilitate followers of the al-Qaida leader.

Robert Powell of The Economist Intelligence Unit discusses possible Middle East regional implications of Osama bin Laden’s death in an interview with Susan Yackee:

Bin Laden’s legacy in the region has been a handful of small but deadly groups inspired by his terrorist tactics and his fight against all things considered un-Islamic.

A younger generation has taken those ideas and spread them, largely independently, attracting supporters in a diffuse network around the world. One of bin Laden’s followers in Yemen vowed his death only increase devotion to his cause.

Al Qaida supporter Mohammed Alwatari said if bin Laden is really dead, "a thousand Osama bin Ladens will appear - god willing."

On the streets of Cairo, resident Mohamed Rashad said that continuing violence in places like Morocco show that al-Qaida might still be active in the region.

He says al-Qaida is not one person, and although bin Laden is dead, the popularity of his group in several Arab countries continues.

But for everyone who looked to bin Laden for symbolic or spiritual leadership, there were plenty of others horrified by al-Qaida’s definition of infidels. In Iraq, which saw some of the worst sectarian violence carried out under the banner of a local al-Qaida group, there was optimism at news that bin Laden was dead, even as a bomb exploded in a Shi’ite neighborhood of Baghdad shortly hours after the announcement.

Baghdad resident Abdul Zahra Muttar said al-Qaida helped defame the true picture of Islam and has caused great harm to Muslim people both in Iraq and around the world.

But perhaps the most notable regional aspect to bin Laden’s death may be its irrelevance.  The al-Qaida chief’s violent and puritanical vision of Islam has been virtually invisible in the wave of popular protests shaking up the Arab world. Said Sadek is a political science professor at the American University in Cairo.

"The current Arab democratic revolution - movements - are mainly led by youngsters, middle-class, urban and they do not want a theocracy," said Sadek. "Their slogans are very clear they want a civilian state, democratic state, accountable state. So bin Laden was not a popular figure or someone with an idea about reform or a state."

Sadek argues that in addition to the revulsion many Muslims felt toward bin Laden’s brand of Islam, the al-Qaida leader caused burdens on a more mundane level.

"He had been responsible for tightening entry visas for many Arab students, Arab investors and average citizens," Sadek said. "So a lot suffered from what he did. I do not think anybody is going to wear a T-shirt carrying the image of bin Laden like we have seen with [Argentinian revolutionary] Che Guevara, for example."

The professor notes that even Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, a group which shares common roots in political Islam, has long renounced militant Islam, and has not condemned the killing. Sadek believes that only a very small, marginal group that hates the West and the moderate approach to politics will feel "orphaned" by bin Laden’s death.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid