US media have said American-born militant Anwar al-Awlaki's death is a boost for President Obama and a blow to al-Qaeda, but not every commentator is so sanguine.
The CNN Security Clearance blog, in a posting titled Rock Star No More, says Awlaki's death "deprives al Qaeda of a leading propagandist and an inspirational figure to jihadists the world over":
"I move freely in Yemen," he said in March 2010. "There is a support among my tribesmen... Even though they know they are in danger, they welcome me and greet me because they are righteous people."
No longer. We may never know whether one of these "righteous people" betrayed him or whether other intelligence finally led to his death, but al Qaeda has lost one of its principal flag-bearers.
ABC News' Jake Tapper, in a posting titled The Terrorist Notches on Obama's Belt, says the US president has been under-estimated:
The list of senior terrorists killed during the Obama presidency is fairly extensive. Remember when Rudy Giuliani warned that electing Barack Obama would mean that the US played defense, not offense, against the terrorists? If this is defense, what does offense look like?
John Solomon at the Daily Beast agrees, saying Awlaki's death is an important successfor the White House:
Coupled with Bin Laden's killing in May and the capture and killing of several al Qaeda operational leaders in Pakistan in recent months, Awlaki's death is a validation of the Obama administration's strategy of targeting high-priority terrorism leaders through drone strikes and special forces military operations with allies.
Writing for Fox News in an article titled Terrorists May Run But They Cannot Hide, KT McFarland says the US has al-Qaeda on the run:
Remember the final scene of Godfather III? when Michael Corleone takes out all his enemies all around the world, in one fell swoop, from the steps of the Sicilian opera house to a New York barbershop? Okay, maybe that's taking it too far, but we are taking out Al Qaeda senior leaders, one after another. First it was Bin Laden, now it's Al Awlaki, and countless Al Qaeda middle level managers in between... a terrorist network in disarray is a terrorist network that is vulnerable - these guys will scatter like cockroaches.
But former CIA and FBI operative Phillip Mudd, writing for the Washington Post, is more cautious, warning that al-Qaeda is not dead:
We may be right in looking at reports of the deaths of jihadist leaders overseas as representing a death knell for some of the most significant groups that have threatened America. We would be wrong, however, in confusing the demise of a few leaders or their formal groups with the death of the ideology they sought to spread or the revolution they still intend to inspire. Witness the arrests in this country and the arrests in Europe. Al-Qaedism isn't close to dead yet.