OBL is no more; some quick thoughts
Am sleep deprived and very short on time so this will be quick, with more to follow.
Bin Laden’s death is a symbolic victory but for the folks in counter terrorism nothing much changes. In fact their life just got a whole lot busier.
Expect maybe some more raids, strikes etc depending on what intelligence was gathered; not only from the strikes but also from monitoring of those in the immediate network.
To get this type of info a much broader network would have been monitored.
As for AQ.
It’s leadership will go to ground and close ranks while they try to protect themselves and ascertain the degree of damage to their comms channels and other elements of operational security.
External operations (AQ’s attacks against the west) are not likely to be impacted. OBL really only got involved in ops planning to approve spectaculars, particularly those using a new means of attack or against a new target. Second tier leaders deal with external operations for the most part. Aside from communications disruptions (which do little to disrupt those already deployed) this section will continue on business as usual.
Leadership will automatically pass to the second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. If he goes too, then the position goes to the head of the command council, or potentially the head of AQ’s shariah council, although this is a more informal body. It’s unlikely to go to a vote in the short term due to operational requirements.
AQ’s branch and franchises will stay on board.
As for retributive attacks, AQ is unlikely to waste operatives on hasty retaliation. It will incite others to do so, but it’s own efforts will come later. AQAP may not be so pragmatic and it already has permission to carry out attacks against the west.
Anyway, that’s just my first thoughts.