America failed to locate Osama Bin Laden for almost 10 years not because it wasn’t trying hard to find him, or because American intelligence is incompetent. It took so long because the Godfather of Terror was surrounded by many Muslims who would rather protect him with their lives than give him up to America – and no amount of financial reward was going to convince them to give him up.
There is no doubt that many Muslim leaders knew exactly where Osama was hiding – and that it was not in the caves of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but in a huge mansion with very high fences that indicated to the whole neighborhood that someone big was hiding there. Nothing happens in a Muslim country without the knowledge of its intelligence and leadership. Also nothing goes unnoticed in a Muslim neighborhood where people habitually monitor activities on the streets and who comes in or goes out of homes.
Muslim leaders knew very well that their lives were on the line if they handed over Bin Laden to the Americans. They know where the Islamist groups are, where the terrorists train and where their money and support comes from. Support for Al Qaeda and many other jihadist and terrorist groups, even the so-called reformed Muslim Brotherhood which produced Al Qaeda, runs deep in the psyche of many Muslims.
But gradually the love affair of many Muslims with Bin Laden started fading away and other jihadist heroes took his place. That was a signal to the leaders of Pakistan and perhaps other Muslim leaders to go ahead and give him up to the United States since it is now less dangerous for them and perhaps can be used as leverage for some demands from the U.S. government. The calculations for giving up Bin Laden now were much better than before. The capture of Bin Laden also coincided with a sharp decrease in Obama’s popularity – which desperately needed a boost before next year’s elections. The need for America was increased and the fear of Muslim leaders of giving him up was decreased; and so, voila: Bin Laden was killed.
I was a bit alarmed as I watched Arabic Al Jazeerah reporting on the news of the death of Bin Laden with a regretful tone. They referred to Bin Laden not as a terrorist or someone who gave Islam a bad name (the standard mantra), but as the “leader” of Al Qaeda. They also discussed the possibility of retaliation when they said that Al Qaeda retaliated against the West over the killing of much smaller members of Al Qaeda and that there was no doubt there will be retaliation over the killing of Bin Laden. Several Al Jazeerah hosts referred to the concept of terrorism as “what is called terrorism” meaning that the word terrorism is coined by the West and what the West regards as terrorism is not necessarily so.
The death of Bin Laden is no doubt a positive thing in our War on Terror that tells the world that America will never stop bringing terrorists to justice. This is also a major boost to the morale of the American people and to the families of the 9⁄11 victims who have been very gracious and patient for 10 years while watching jihadist Imams in America trying to build an Islamic victory shrine over the grounds of the World Trade Center. Americans are fed up with politicians who have forgotten what happened ten years ago and are acting as appeasers to the jihadists and the radicals. Killing Bin Laden is a positive step for a change.
But the bad news is that Bin Laden’s death will not decrease the terror acts the jihadists plan against the West, simply because jihad is not an invention by Bin Laden, but is taught to every Muslim from birth as a war against non-believers in Islam. Terrorism in the short run is likely to increase and the reason is because we are dealing with a religion and culture that values retaliation and vengeance as a duty and commandment from Allah. “Retaliation has been prescribed to you” is a quote from the Qur’an. The West should fasten its seat belts, since the bad guys have found yet another excuse to hate and hurt America.
Nonie Darwish is the author of “Cruel and usual Punishment” and the President of FormerMuslimsUnited.org.