Tuesday, May 3, 2011

News Analysis: Bin Laden's death not to influence al-Qaida in Yemen

by Fuad Rajeh, Wang Qiuyun

SANAA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- As Yemeni officials hailed the U.S. operation that killed the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, local analysts said that bin Laden's death will not influence his groups, including the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

"We heard on Monday the U.S. president's announcement of bin Laden's death. This is a victory for the whole world, especially for those countries, including Yemen, which have been waging wars on terrorism inside their lands," an Interior Ministry official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

However, local analysts said the death of bin Laden will not affect the activity of AQAP and other terrorist groups in the world.

"In recent years, bin Laden was not the real and field commander of al-Qaida groups, instead he was the inspirer of terrorists to attack local and foreign interests, especially the U. S. interests," said Faris al-Saqqaf, head of the Future Studies Center.

But his death would add to the continuous blows to the terrorist organization of al-Qaida, making it clear that al-Qaida was being hunted and surrounded, "the news of bin Laden's death will be a big shock to al-Qaida groups," said al-Saqqaf.

In recent years, the AQAP, which claimed responsibility for most of the recent terrorist plots in Yemen and abroad, has drawn the world's attention to Yemen. The United States, as well as other Western countries, deemed the AQAP as more dangerous than the main al-Qaida group of bin Laden in Afghanistan.

In response to the serious threat posed by the group, Yemen, with support from the West, waged a relentless war and launched a massive hunt for AQAP members across its territory. Many suspects were killed, injured and arrested and some went on trials, receiving sentences ranging from jail terms to death.

"Lately, we have seen the U.S. and other Western countries focus on Yemen, saying it is more dangerous than Pakistan and Afghanistan, due to the existence of AQAP," said al-Saqqaf.

Meanwhile, al-Saqqaf said the operation in which bin Laden was killed exposed the deep relationship between the intelligence agencies of the U.S. and its allies.

"Though bin Laden's death paved the way for the U.S. to control other governments as it had succeeded in using the card of anti- terrorism, it will really help to establish better ties between the Muslim world and the West," he said.

Nabil al-Bukairy, a researcher specialized in Islamic groups, agreed with this, saying al-Qaida's second-in-command Ayman al- Zawahri has replaced bin Laden in recent years to instruct al- Qaida groups in the world.

"Bin Laden was seen just as an inspirer while al-Zawahri actually led al-Qaida. I think the death of bin Laden will only influence the morale of al-Qaida groups, not their ideology and organizational structure," al-Bukairy said, "the impact of Laden's death will be inevitable, but on morale not on ideology."

Al-Qaida would definitely take revenge attacks, although how big or where the attacks would take place are unpredictable, said al-Bukairy.

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