By Abdul Haseeb

Osama bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is not. The man is captured and killed,
but the idea remains, albeit in different shapes and forms.

His death will not be mourned in the jihadi world. It will be celebrated,
and the celebrations will cause more fire works, more casualty and much
more death.

Osama bin Laden (OBL) had lately been relegated to being an iconic figure.
As seen from the eyes of a person on the Arab street, he was just one who
stood up to the hegemony of the US and the regimes propped up and
supported by the West.

The vast majority of Muslims across the globe clearly disagree with the
ideology espoused by al-Qaeda. The average man on the streets of the
Muslim world aspires for the same things any individual would – a house,
education, a decent living and a decent burial.

This is evident in the various revolutions spawning in the Muslim majority
Middle East. Leaders of these revolutions are categorically calling for
freedom, justice and equal opportunity for all – slogans that rhyme well
with Western policy makers. Even the so called ‘Islamists’ are calling for
the same.

The infamous ‘War on Terror’, however, alienated Muslims with an
ever-widening gap between communities and nations, causing much distrust,
anger and hatred. Islamophobia sky-rocketed, millions in the Muslim world
lost their lives and hundreds, if not thousands, remain incarcerated in
prisons without trial.

Barak Obama attempted to reach out to the Muslim world, but the gap has
always been widening, trust being replaced by suspicion. Double standards,
lack of any honesty and a firm will towards resolving the very central
Palestinian issue and two unnecessary wars have made the US’s position in
the Muslim world untenable.

‘Justice has been done’, US President Barak Obama made the declaration.
Muslims, however, will argue and question the audacity of such a
statement. They will ask each other, now that there is a revolution and no
fear, “When will we as Muslims see justice?”

They will certainly question the killing of a so-called terrorist in a
terrorising and illegal way, and the violation of the air space of a
sovereign nation. Muslims all over the world will agree, that this is
state terrorism and that the US has no regard for international law.

People whose sons, daughters, brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and
babies were maimed by US bombs will ask, “When will we have justice?”

The killing of OBL may give some temporary closure to some of the
relatives of 9/11. The actions of the US, however, will not ultimately
bring them or the victims of the Afghan and Iraq wars any real comfort.

Instead of pursuing a military solution for a social problem that al-Qaeda
was, the US and its allies could have used a softer approach. Now, the
manner in which the whole operation was executed will create a martyr of
OBL and lead to retaliatory attacks on civilian and military targets,
reigniting a decade long war, the flames of which had nearly calmed down.

US citizens may celebrate a small victory. But the storm that has been
brewing in the East has yet to come. I hope, however, I am wrong.

Published in the Irish Examiner, 03 May, 2011