Experts from the U.S. Institute of Peace have been closely following the developments regarding Osama bin Laden's death during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan.
For Immediate Release, May 2, 2011
Contact: Allison Sturma, 202-429-4725
(Washington) – Experts from the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) have been closely following the developments regarding Osama bin Laden's death during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan.
Colonel John Maraia, USIP Army Fellow, discussed the impact on U.S. counterterrorism efforts saying that:
"Killing the acknowledged leader of al-Qaida is a critical step in this war of ideas and images; it clearly sends the message to bin Laden’s followers that America’s pursuit is relentless and that even hiding in a well-appointed compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, is no guarantee of safety."
Commenting on the question of succession of al-Qaida leadership, Maraia added:
"Operationally, I expect al-Qaida will want to mount an operation in the West fairly soon to demonstrate its resilience. In my opinion, bin Laden had evolved from an operational leader into a symbolic one. Al-Qaida and its affiliates appear to operate off of his intent rather than specific guidance. He has put a movement in motion; it does not require his day to day input."
USIP Senior Program Officer Moeed Yusuf provided insight into the impact that the U.S. military operation will have on relations with Pakistan, cautioning:
"This comes at a particularly difficult time, amid existing tensions over the presence of U.S. operatives within Pakistan. The Raymond Davis saga is still fresh in the minds of the Pakistanis and this operation - clearly a major one - will also be viewed as having been conducted by U.S. operatives within Pakistan. The government is likely to come under more pressure and vested interests are likely to spin this to raise further anti-U.S. sentiment."