06/05/2011

After bin Laden, a safer and fairer world ?

The announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, on Monday, May 2, 2011, provoked unanimous reactions in the Western world. Scenes of jubilation were observed in the United States. The European heads of state, meanwhile, expressed their relief in unison that the world is rid of a major threat to global security. If you believe their statements here, it seems there is nothing wrong to what may yet be called a targeted killing ; you can be assured that justice was done and the world is safer today…

One can indeed expect that the death of bin Laden will cause a weakening of Al Qaeda in the medium term but in the short term, however there is a risk of retaliation by the organization to show that the death of the leader has in no way undermined their capacity to harm. This was also confirmed today by Al-Qaeda who, after confirming the death of its leader, has threatened to take revenge and committed to continued violent actions.

Moreover, bin Laden didn’t have any role in the technical or military leadership; he had only become the inspiration. Far from weakening the network, his death makes it an icon, a myth for his followers, in the same way that it gives his enemies the satisfaction of having dealt a blow to terrorism. It enhances the aggressiveness of some while it brings hope to others. It has a double symbolic and psychological value but does not obviate the threat of terrorism. The coordinator for the European Union in the fight against terrorism Gilles de Kerchove said elsewhere that « the symbolic figure of Osama bin Laden will continue to influence groups and individuals« . On the other hand, the doubts sown by the special screenwriting of his assassination and the use, in a first step, by the world media of a fake feed conspiracy theories and may place Bin Laden a martyr of the arbitrary of the West. We are still waiting for evidence, photographs and DNA testing. Their absence reinforces the myth.

Regarding the pursuit of justice, can we truly feel that justice was done when it’s actually an extrajudicial execution which is contrary to fundamental rules of the rule of law and democracy, supposed to protect against arbitrariness? On behalf of the rule of law, it would have been preferable to judge him rather than fall into private vengeance. By asserting that justice was done, the leaders and heads of state of the European Union, expected to uphold democratic values, sent a negative signal to all justice-loving citizens, making it acceptable and even celebrating the implementation of the lex talionis.

Iman Bahri