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February 4, 2023

The war goes on

Osama Bin Laden, the head of the Al Qaeda network, was killed in an operation of the US Navy SEAL Sunday night. Ever since the 9/11 moment, when Bin Laden’s network perpetrated the simultaneous attacks on New York and Washington where over 3,000 people were killed, he has been a symbol for the terrorist fight as a planetary level, a declared enemy of Western civilization and a promoter of the jihad seeking to develop a pole of power of a systemic global magnitude. The decapitation of the murderous terrorist network which has been involved also after 9/11 in other terrorist attacks at a global level or attempts to subordinate various states like Afghanistan from where it has been removed is a major victory in the international war on terrorism. The positive strategic consequences of this victory will be visible in time, being an obvious fact that, in the perennial symbols of war, the annihilation of the commander has a direct and major effect, sometimes even crucial.

Bin Laden was killed in crossfire with the American soldiers together with a few bodyguards and three of his sons. He was hiding in an extremely well organised location near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, identified as a good hideaway by the US intelligence thanks to a well-conducted intelligence gathering operation. The statements made by the terrorists captured and questioned led to Bin Laden’s curriers’ network and, from there, to his secret hiding place situated according to international news agencies somewhere near the Military Academy of the Pakistani Army. A noteworthy fact is that the military operation for the annihilation of the Al Qaeda network chief did not take place in the territories under Taliban’ control near the Pakistani border or in the caves at Tora Bora , but in a comfortable shelter near the civilized capital of a nuclear state.

The preparation and conduct of the operation were carried out in the best preserved manner, with none of the US allies knowing anything, including Pakistan, on the territory of which Bin Laden had been for almost a year. The relations of the US with that country are quite close in the fight against terrorism, however with a few derailments in what regards the position of some of the Pakistani state institutions in their relations with the Taliban forces in Afghanistan or at its borders.

Bin Laden’s body was buried in keeping with the Islamic tradition within 24 hours of him being declared dead. To avoid possible complications that would have been easily anticipated, in the effort to identify a country able to host Bin Laden’s body, the decision was to dump it in the sea which is against tradition except for extreme situations such as death while at sea.

There are two things that still need to be said about the operation of the American special forces. They acted fast, suffered no loss (a helicopter reporting a mechanical malfunction was set afire) and it had been expressly approved by President Barrack Obama. The crossfire lasted for about 40 minutes, then Bin Laden tried using one of his wives as a human shield. Secondly, the operation is a major success, with a previous similar one failing in 1979, in the attempt to free the American hostages held at the Embassy in Teheran (Iran).

Of course, we can expect to hear conspiracy theories about the action. From denying the identity of the person killed to the modality in which the operation was carried out in another state’s territory or the so-called immorality of the action. The answer to such theories is in the dignity of the announcement made by US President Obama Monday morning, with the president of the most powerful state on planet naturally deserving the credit of the truth, being impossible to suspect him of a massive manipulation of the local and international public. Apart from that, it would be quite illogical for anyone to think that Obama, looking as a new term he is expected to win in next year’s election, would allow things that could be invoked by such conspiracy theorists. Moreover, the dignity and firmness visible in Obama’s statements on the operation contribute to the consolidation of his prestige in the national and international community.

Naturally, it is still too early to mention the consequences of this important act of the decapitation of Al Qaeda. The logical thinking would be to put such consequences in line with the ones of the serial uprisings in the Arabian-Muslim array still in progress in countries like Syria or Yemen, or of the military clash between NATO and the pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya. In addition, all consequences will be closely related to developments in Afghanistan or in the relations between the US and Pakistan. It is still clear that the terrorist organizations and the supporters of the jihad will try to fight back, which would also lead to a higher alert level in many of the world’s countries.

However, it is quite clear that one major conclusions stemming from this success in the campaign against terrorism Romania is also a part of is that the decapitation of Al Qaeda – the result of this spectacular and rich in consequences military operation – by no means is the end of the war which will need to be further sustained by the allied nations and international community with the same decisiveness. Any hesitation in that respect could cost us all dearly.

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