The dramatic events of May 2, enacted in Pakistan’s small, sleepy town of Abbottabad have surely shaken the world. The global icon of al Qaeda — Osama bin Laden — has been ‘eliminated’ through a well-executed, covert operation. This was a major victory for charismatic US president Barack Obama especially given his dwindling popularity, and will help him survive in office, perhaps, for another term. It isunlikely that this development will lead to the end of global terrorism. While his death may have symbolic value, Osama was not in any case in charge of al Qaeda operations and hence the impact may not be much.
The most significant aspect of this game-changing event, perhaps, is the cutting of all ties between al Qaeda and sections of our security establishment. While Pakistan’s assistance in executing the operation against bin Laden’s hideout is being downplayed for political reasons, it should be obvious that all this couldn’t have happened without its active help. For all its front line status, the Pakistani state has not yet permitted the Americans to operate in the ‘settled’ areas, the way unmanned drones work in Fata. The recent hullabaloo over the strained Pakistan-America relationship has once again proved to be exaggerated: Stories were spun for domestic political consumption in both countries. (more…)