Home > AQ General, Commentary > OBL is no more; some quick thoughts

OBL is no more; some quick thoughts

May 2, 2011, 10:56 pm Leave a comment Go to comments

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.

More later.

Categories: AQ General, Commentary
  1. MAJ Dave
    May 3, 2011, 1:29 am at 1:29 am | #1
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    It is good to see you come up on the net with your analysis. I think your analysis is on the mark. I am interested in the overall impact on the popularity of AQ. WIll his becoming a “martyr” fuel it, or will this bring the organization back down to reality?

    • Leah Farrall, Australia
      May 11, 2011, 9:23 am at 9:23 am | #2
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      I think AQ is having media renaissance of sorts, which is to be expected. So, for the grassroots I tend to think it is fuel. As for the organisation, well it is interesting times!

  2. May 4, 2011, 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm | #3
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    What I would like more people to say, or at least to address, is the fact that killing OBL is not a very big deal, strategically. Yes, emotionally it was important for the US, the West as a whole, and for (in theory) millions of Muslims. But in the end, he was not very much in charge of operations, or anything for that matter, right? I would say he was more of a figurehead. Is any of this on target?

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