The elimination of Osama bin Laden by a group of Navy Seal commandos is excellent news for all friends of freedom. As it enabled the seizure of many documents, computer hard drives and other information sources, it will probably lead to additional eliminations.
That said, even though Barack Obama claimed ownership of the decision, it seems to have actually been made by others who confronted Obama with a fait accompli. The hiding place of bin Laden (who was not as discrete as we could have thought) was known to American intelligence services for months. Elimination scenarios had been presented several times, and rejected by Obama. This time, some decided to bypass White House approval, and though Obama was informed only once it was already too late, he pretends that he was the driving force.
Obama did everything he could to conceal the fact that the location and elimination of bin Laden were made possible by interrogations of prisoners held at Guantanamo. So the successful strike was thanks to information obtained in a place and in ways that Obama disdained.
Today, Obama is trying, with some success, to usurp the glory for an event whose every component was implemented against his will. It’s his familiar deception game once again.
But there’s worse: in all his declarations, Obama is speaking of al Qaeda, and almost exclusively al Qaeda, seeking to draw a dividing line between the Muslim world and the terrorist organization.
It’s hardly surprising, as this dividing line has been central to Obama's Middle East policy for two years. It foreshadows what will likely occur over the coming months and reveals what Obama will attempt to gain from bin Laden’s death.
His discourse will be that military interventions have become unnecessary, costly and counter-productive, that they must be replaced by intelligence and targeted strikes. This will result in accelerated US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq.
The discourse will be that the ideas of al Qaeda have been defeated, and with them, the radical Islam hostile to the West.
Westerners will say, what’s happening in the Arab world shows democratic momentum that we should reinforce and support. That this momentum facilitates the rise of organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood is an issue that will be sidelined or presented in some deceptively sugar-coated way.
As the preponderance of radical Islam emerges, it will differ from that of al Qaeda and will be presented as "moderate" although it is not at all. There will be a torrent of statements explaining that this "new" Islam is not hostile to the West, though it clearly is hostile, and very deeply so. Next will be political Islam's domination of the region comprised of the Maghreb, the Mashreq and Asia to the Indian border…
The consequences for the world are clear: a Europe more threatened than ever before and more incited than ever to bend, despite the occasional peremptory phrases we’ll hear. The US will basically exclude itself from the Middle East game. Exacerbated threats will weigh on Israel's survival. The highest trump cards will be held by the cartel of dictatorships and despotisms that will lay claim to the world order: China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran.
Those who think that all this, though harmful to freedom, promises a more peaceful world, should open their eyes. Seeing nearly the entire Muslim world controlled by political Islam will never prevent tensions. Saudi Arabia will never capitulate to Iran without a fight, and Sunni-Shiite rivalries are very far from resolution. The Arab countries are also currently falling into economic collapse and will experience further riots.
Moreover, we’ve known for a long while that a world without a hegemonic power is more prone to tensions and wars. Isolationist withdrawal of the United States portends nothing good.
The elimination of Osama bin Laden is excellent news, yes… for now. What’s likely to follow in the Obama era will doubtless bring more somber news.
Adaptation : Ed Clark.