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Bin Laden Losing Touch - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The world’s most wanted, who had been absent from our screens for the past two years, made an appearance recently.

Nevertheless, the event passed as a normal one, after having once been the most eye-catching news to viewers around the world. I believe that the main reason behind this is that Osama Bin Laden had promised a lot in the years that followed the 9/11 attacks in 2001 but he failed to carry out anything as significant since the terrorist attacks that demolished the World Trade Center in New York as well as of the Pentagon in Washington. During 9/11, Bin Laden gave himself and his Al Qaeda movement some extraordinary specifications of destruction in the war that he declared against the West and against Islamic governments, but he failed. I believe that this is his predicament today, since Al Qaeda has not been able to execute a mind-blowing operation since the 9/11 attacks. All its major plots that it planned have been thwarted except for numerous corresponding explosions in multiple locations of the world.

Nevertheless, we must admit that Al Qaeda has succeeded in expanding and spreading terrorism around the world from Indonesia to Spain, but it has failed to deliver another performance such as that of New York and Washington. Al Qaeda has virtually failed to carry out any operation in the United States despite its frequent threats and the reason could be attributed entirely to the strict American security procedures.

Bin Laden’s audio and video tapes, and the statements made by his companion, Ayman al Zawahiri, have now become a number of boring political analyses and those similar to them overcrowd internet forums and television stations. Bin Laden had even talked about political balances in Iraq, the global warming issue and then referred back to his 9/11 operation. Undoubtedly, Al Qaeda has remained alive even though it suffers a great deal regarding its magnetism and propaganda. As if all activities are related to publicity, the movement flourishes and withers through media propaganda that serves it. At this point, it is like an old television show that lost its audience, i.e. those who are interested in following it up either out of hatred or admiration.

Speculative tapes and ordinary operations as well as repeating the same line of propaganda is causing the movement to gradually lose its ability to recruit, fund and gain popularity within societies that support it. Yet, it remains a strong, pervasive and secret organization that takes advantage of all emerging crises in the world. Al Qaeda will not run out of destructive ideas and volunteers to carry out these ideas. Figures are not important; in fact quality is what matters since the 9/11 attacks were implemented by only 19 of its followers, succeeding to achieve what major armies could not.

Terrorism needs less in numbers but more in courage as well as a masterful plan since it targets unarmed civilians as in the case of the 9/11 attacks where four aircrafts were hijacked to carry out the operation. But because Bin Laden had geographically expanded Al Qaeda operations, he has actually narrowed the scope of activities of his affiliated movements, since numerous security agencies and governments now pursue them. It is no longer easy for them to move, hold secret deals or take advantage of conflicts between nations.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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