The Death of Osama Bin Laden: Islamophobia Goes to America

It was a bullet that killed a terrorist and revived a presidency. On the morning of May the second 2011, the world woke up to the breaking news of Osama Bin Laden’s (OBL) death. He was murdered in a top-secret operation by the elite US Navy Seal Team Six with two shots – a „double tap‟ maneuver – once in the torso and then in the head to ensure the enemy‟s death. “We got him!”, President Barak Obama added as he heard what he had long wanted to hear: „Geronimo EKIA‟ („Enemy Killed in Action‟). The enemy was, of course, OBL, America‟s Public Enemy Number One and, since 9/11, the personified embodiment of „Islamic terrorism‟. The US Special Forces captured him in a fortified compound locally known as „Waziristan Mansion‟, in the military garrison town of Abbottabad, in North-West Pakistan. Curiously, he was not hiding in a „cave‟ in the mountainous area of Tora Bora in Eastern Afghanistan, as the world had been led to believe. Indeed, „Waziristan Mansion‟ was located just one kilometre away from the Pakistani Military Academy and about 100km (62 miles) from the capital Islamabad . Pentagon officials and the US media claimed that OBL‟s body was „buried at sea‟ following the Muslim practice of burial within 24 hours and to prevent his grave becoming a shrine, while Obama hailed the operation as “the most significant achievement to date in our nation‟s effort to defeat al-Qaeda”. Although there is no question that OBL‟s death has brought to an end an 11-year-old man hunt and is the beginning of the end for the so-called War on Terror (WOT), the defeat of al-Qaeda is far from being any closer. Achieving the latter is far more complicated than killing Bin Laden and requires a new set of strategies. Four of them will be discussed here.

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Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 2 No. 2

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