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'Bin Laden over, time for awakening'
Mon, 02 May 2011 15:48:44 GMT
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Osama bin Laden's death shows that there is no future for terrorism and extremism, but public uprisings are the solution and the people will assume their right, says an analyst.

In an interview with Press TV, defense and diplomacy analyst Naveed Ahmad says that the popular uprisings in the Middle East will reap more fruit than the violent actions of al-Qaeda after the death of its leader bin Laden.

Ahmad elaborates on the incident which led to the killing of bin Laden, as well as the Islamic awakening in the Middle East.

Press TV: How do you look at this issue? They say that though US President Barack Obama thanked Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari for the cooperation on bin Laden's death; on the other hand, they said that they did not notify Pakistan. What's happening?

Ahmad: As far as the operation is concerned, clearly Abbottabad is deep inside Pakistan, about 150 kilometers from Islamabad, and it was not possible to have an air raid - a sting operation through helicopters and gunships - without notifying the Pakistani government. Helicopters are very easy to target and Pakistan would not allow such an entry in such a high sensitive zone. That is absolutely not possible.

Pakistani intelligence agencies were aware, but the timing was not that they had discussed. There was some serious cooperation going on between the two countries but at the very top level.

And according to the speech, Mr. Obama said a week ago that he had actual intelligence and we should proceed with the operation; and that is not really something that could have happened without the Pakistanis being in the loop.

Press TV: Another major issue that comes into mind is that this was the justification, and some analysts may call it a pretext for the US administration to convince its public and elsewhere in the world, to take the forces all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, the Muslim Brotherhood and many other groups and analysts believe that there is no other reason, justification or excuse for the US to stay in Afghanistan, for example. What's your take on that?

Ahmad: Absolutely. And I think the US is more aware of that than us. They are really keen to pull troops out of Afghanistan and, of course, their assets that are deployed in Pakistan, tribal areas and elsewhere.

The entire story has shifted for journalists in the Middle East. They have heated up things in Libya and elsewhere. The Arab [situation] is really the center of attention..and is so in Palestine, with the merger or friendship between the two groups that have been fighting for the past so many years; all of this really takes attention off Americans towards its side.

So, Americans are not really keen to be here. They are only here to consolidate the position and see their interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or elsewhere in the region are preserved. Obama now has a solid reason to tell people that we are pulling out of Afghanistan where we have significant achievement as far as al-Qaeda is concerned.

Turkey is very active in opening an office and convincing Afghanistan and Pakistan, and NATO is on board, to have an office of Taliban in Istanbul. I can tell you from my understanding that the Taliban will be relieved as well.

Osama bin Laden was baggage. Pakistanis are happy that he is no longer here; they have lost so many lives here. Pakistan might have had some sympathy for Osama bin Laden about seven years ago, but no more at the moment.

And the same goes with the Taliban. The Taliban are more interested in focusing on Afghanistan; and for that matter, the development in Istanbul, Turkey, for opening an office and getting various parties in dialogue could be a way forward for some kind of peace.

But we are not seeing any exit any time soon. It may take a year or more than that.

Press TV: I have one last question, if you could explain briefly. How significant is this event in killing, or the death of bin Laden? The threat of terrorism that the US has been talking about, allocating huge military budgets and lots of resources - killing of their own soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan and elsewhere - how important is this? Is the threat of terrorism over?

Ahmad: The threat of terrorism is not over, but an iconic figure is no longer in the picture. Osama bin Laden has become the signature, or grand ambassador for a particular extremist school of thought. And that has been eliminated.

His other lieutenants are on the run. Their financial network is already broken. And, of course, there are various indications in the Middle East that what Osama bin Laden tries to do, militarily, is happening to the voice of the people.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, there are voices of the people that are getting a lot of strength. I think there is no future for military action and terrorism and extremism. Instead, public uprisings are the solution and people will assume their right, identically, a decade after 9/11.

GMA/AKM
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