Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bin Laden's death will disrupt al-Qaeda's operations in Yemen

By Faisal Darem in Yemen



Yemeni researchers and politicians stressed that the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would cause a major setback to the organisation, paralyse it in the near term and enhance efforts to combat terrorism and terrorist elements in Yemen.

Bin Laden was killed early Monday (May 2nd) during an operation carried out by U.S. forces in the town of Abbottabad, 50 km northeast of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

"The death of bin Laden at this time during a period of peaceful Arab revolutions may enhance the thinking of those who call for peace and the peaceful achievement of goals instead of by violence which al-Qaeda advocates," Mohammad al-Ghabri, a political analyst and an expert on Islamist groups, told Al- Shorfa.

Al-Ghabri said al-Qaeda may suffer from "hysterical madness" following the killing of its leader, and it may lose much of its power. He said that many individuals who recently joined may leave the organisation and abandon a life of violence that the organisation preached to them.

"The confusion that will occur within al-Qaeda may reveal many of its weaknesses, especially in this sensitive time for Arab revolutions which overturned the idea of achieving goals through violence," he added.

Mohammed al-Qaidi, the official spokesman for the Yemeni Interior Ministry, said Yemen is continuing its efforts and its partnership with the international community in the fight against terrorism. The death of bin Laden is of paramount importance, he said, and will strengthen the fight against terrorism because he was the spiritual leader of al-Qaeda internationally.

Al-Qaidi said the killing of bin Laden would cause great confusion within the organisation in the near term and will affect its operations.

"His elimination, however, does not represent the elimination of terrorism. Terrorism is a departure from the law and Sharia, and habits, traditions and customs, and terrorists will continue to be targeted by the regime until they are eliminated," he said. Al-Qaidi stressed the need for continued international efforts to combat terrorism.

Saeed al-Jamahi, a researcher on terrorist organisations, told Al-Shorfa that bin Laden's death will be a setback for the organisation that might prompt its members to retaliate and carry out operations against Western interests.

Al-Jamahi said, "Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen will be affected the most because some considered that the organisation's future was in Yemen."

He added that bin Laden's death will trigger a phase of confusion.

"But the conflict the organisation leads is a military and ideological conflict. While the military conflict may stop, the ideological conflict will continue with the recruitment and targeting of foreigners for membership in the organisation," he said.

Al-Jamahi said the organisation received severe blows, directly and indirectly, from the Arab revolutions, and that the killing of bin Laden is a significant victory in the fight against terrorism because he was a spiritual leader for terrorists.

"The presence of rash and violent personalities such as (Ayman) al-Zawahiri will encourage the organisation to respond and avenge their leader in the fastest time to prove to its opponents that the organisation will continue with greater force than before." But al-Jamahi added that this possibility seems weak.

Judge Hamoud al-Hattar, a former Yemeni Minister of Endowments and Guidance, said more needs to be done to confront terrorism. He said that the killing of bin Laden will be a big shock for al-Qaeda and that all entities must co-operate at this time to fight the organization intellectually and ideologically.

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