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Bin Laden's death

Nick Robinson | 10:28 UK time, Monday, 2 May 2011

America is rejoicing. George Bush promised Bin Laden - dead or alive. President Obama has delivered that promise and, crucially, before America marked the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Others are better placed than me to analyse what this means for Al-Qaeda and for events in the Arab world. The politics of this news, though, seem pretty clear.

Obama was elected to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For many Americans the loss of life there was justified only as a response to the attacks on New York and Washington on 9/11. The talk of spreading freedom and democracy, improving the life chances of the residents of Bagdhad or educating Afghan girls - nation building in short - was never popular. The news of Bin Laden's death will, I predict, encourage many Americans to believe that the war which began on 11th September 2001 is finally over and that it is time their boys came home.

A President who some said could not be re-elected may soon look hard to beat. His political advisers are likely to want to seal this victory by ending operations in Afghanistan as soon as they can. It is Obama, just as much David Cameron, who will determine when British troops come home.

Obama has looked mightily reluctant to get drawn further into conflict in Libya or into new conflicts elsewhere. There is a danger for David Cameron that today's news increases that reluctance. 'After a popular victory why risk a defeat.' his advisers may ask.

The security challenges of 2011 - in Syria, Libya, Egypt Iran and elsewhere - have little to do with the man George Bush identified as his country's greatest enemy in 2001. Nevertheless, today's news of the death of Osama Bin Laden could have a profound effect on the decisions taken about the future.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Another American fair trial executed. And on foreign soil too.

    Still not quite sure what Gaddafi's grandchildren's crime was. Still, NATO is presumably allowed to kill up to one less civilian than Gaddafi would otherwise have done.


  • Comment number 2.

    Tricky one this. Buried at sea, no body, no nothing... plenty of fertile soil for the conspiracy theories to grow. Has he been dead for years already? Who knows. I'm more inclined to believe Michael Yons take on it; now he's been "martyred", AQ may possibly prove as dangerous as ever. Anyone who thinks that just knocking off the titular head is going to put AQ into retirement would be wise to think again. Its not that simple.

  • Comment number 3.

    Comments must be calm and tempered. There are no victories here. One can expect New Yorkers, and those of all Nations, who lost family, friends and colleagues who died on 9/11 to feel some kind of justice - including all those emergency service workers who died too.

    We must not gloat, nor feel superior regarding Bin Laden's death, otherwise we simply reduce ourselves to the extremism that this wealthy man had the means to inflict on civilian innocents of all countries.

  • Comment number 4.

    'Bagdhad'? '...why risk a defeat.' Need a proof reader, Nick?

  • Comment number 5.

    Another 'False Flag' operation by the Americans? ..... Body immediately buried at sea??...... yeh, right! ..... no photos, no DNA test ..... no proof who this guy was ..... another 'patsy'?? ..... Jeez, ..... can't believe the BBC are broadcasting this report without doing the usual journalistic checks ....people are swallowing this 'operation' as done and dusted .... it sounds real sloppy the US think we don't want more proof ..... start dredging for that body, President Obama, if you want to use this for another 4 years in office.

  • Comment number 6.

    Maybe Lord Lucan can still be found, but he'd need to turn into a terrorist to enable such finances to search for him.

    Still good news, the rich Bin man Laden got his just reward and gone out the same way he afflicted upon others & golds falling in price so I might be able to afford gold teeth, not that I need any teeth.

    Still, he has quite a few brothers & sisters who could replace him. I am not surprised he gave USA forces the hop for so long, with 52 children in family his dad was a bit of a rabbit.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm still not sure how a country that did nothing to stop open fund-raising for one terrorist group for many, many years can now claim to lead the world in stopping terrorism

  • Comment number 8.

    Already the nutters are out ... buried at sea, no proof he's dead, killed years ago and announced now to help obamas re-election, blah, blah. Best one: 'finding' him in pakistan is just an excuse to start a war for pakistan's oil.

    Suppose it's no worse than when the same people told us invading afghanistan was because of an oil pipeline. Hey boys, 10 years on, when we going to see this non-existent pipeline?

  • Comment number 9.

    1. At 11:33am 2nd May 2011, PhilPolEcon wrote:
    Another American fair trial executed. And on foreign soil too.

    Still not quite sure what Gaddafi's grandchildren's crime was. Still, NATO is presumably allowed to kill up to one less civilian than Gaddafi would otherwise have done.



    So, you know little of Gaddafis regime history.

    Punishments handed out over the years did not just punish individuals, as in Saddams Iraq & Chetnya, whole familys and extended familys distant uncles and nephews/nieces are also punished in a variety of ways.

    It is a historical reality that bloodlines of enemys or criminals were often also punished or even "cleansed", it is a reality which is still practiced in Asia, Middle East & Africa & there are still deep feelings of such in Kosovo & Croatia & all around the area, as well as Albania.

    People do not forget, & centurys old hatreds & misdemeanors/insults can be and are carried forward for centurys.

    Even the recent report on an INNOCENT woman in Pakistan being punished via multiple raped by a local tribal justice system for something her husband had apparantly done.

    Dont look to USA for any such attrocity, there is so much of it in the world happening every day of the week.

  • Comment number 10.

    Pictures or it didn't happen!!!!

    surely the soilders that got him must have been able to carry a camera

  • Comment number 11.

    Looking at more serious issues ...

    Where does this leave pakistan?

    Bin-Laden found living in a mansion, in a military secure zone, surrounded by retired generals, a few hundred yards from pakistans equivalent of Sandhurst. Now dead, so now longer a motivation for the bottomless pit of aid to pakistan.

    Will the US billions continue?

    Will Cameron continue showering them with millions of pounds of our money?

    Worst news Pakistan has had in years.

  • Comment number 12.

    First, up until mid-December 13, 2001, the CIA had regularly been
    intercepting messages between bin Laden and his people. At that time,
    however, the messages suddenly stopped, and the CIA has never again
    intercepted a message.

    Second, on December 26, 2001, a leading Pakistani newspaper published
    a story reporting that bin Laden had died in mid-December, adding:
    “A prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement . . . stated . . .
    that he had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face
    prior to burial.”

    Third, bin Laden had kidney disease. He had been treated for it in the
    American Hospital in Dubai in July 2001, at which time he reportedly
    ordered two dialysis machines to take home. If you have ever wondered
    what bin Laden was doing the night before the 9/11 attacks, CBS News
    reported that he was being given kidney dialysis treatment in a hospital
    in Pakistan. And in January of 2001, Dr. Sanjay Gupta said – based on
    a video of bin Laden that had been made in either late November or
    early December of 2001 – that he appeared to be in the last stages of
    kidney failure.

    Fourth, In July of 2002, CNN reported that bin Laden’s bodyguards had
    been captured in February of that year, adding: “Sources believe that
    if the bodyguards were captured away from bin Laden, it is likely the
    most-wanted man in the world is dead.”

    Fifth, the United States has since 2001 offered a $25 million reward
    for any information leading to the capture or killing of bin Laden.
    But this reward offer has produced no such information, even though
    Pakistan has many desperately poor people, only about half of whom
    have been supportive of bin Laden.

  • Comment number 13.

    Bin Laden was as shocked as anyone else when the twin towers fell down ... He had no idea the things were so badly built and the govenor of New York had had the roof exits sealed in case of a terrorist attack ... American mismanagement and arrogance were as much to blame for the amount of deaths as the terrorists ... The twin Tower incident is just an illustration of what happens when two ignorant arrogant powers come together ... So lets see that for what it was
    Al Q aren't going to go away after this ... And there is no evidence of Bin Ladens death, so quite frankly who knows what happened ... One thing is for certain ... None of us, in the christian or muslimworld, can trust ANY of our politicians anymore ... Our system is failing us left right and centre ... And big business is leaching all the goodness out of the planet every day
    Lets start changing that shall we, and make that an epitaph to those that lost their lives that day and in the other linked events in London, Spain, Bali etc afterward

  • Comment number 14.

    Is his legacy going to be more deadly than the man?

  • Comment number 15.

    The value of this is hard to judge. OBL is not a 'General', he did not lead AQ from day to day and the network has franchised itself across the Middle East and the world. Ahmed Rashid has it spot on in this respect. However the propaganda value is not worthless. Indeed, in this war, as we choose to term it, perception is key. How the military, the public, the politicians and the enemy will react to the death of this figurehead is as yet unclear to see. It could well do more harm than good. Only time will tell.

  • Comment number 16.

    There will undoubtedly be documentary evidence of Bin Laden's demise. I applaud America's "isolationist" shift in foreign policy however NATO's strike at Gadaffi and their "on-the-ground" advisors show that they still have the capacity to annoy covertly. Whether the Muslim world can complete its current birth-pangs of democracy and install decent leaders in the future really is the big question now or will there be a new crop of terrorists inspired due to America's (and therefore the West's) continuing attacks. One can only hope that the gracious decision to release Libya's al-Magrahi is remembered as the action of the real, compassionate West and that all sides comprehend that Bin Laden and his ilk are terrorists and that Muslims are not being targeted specifically.

  • Comment number 17.

    9. Thank you for your comment.

    I still find it hard to see how the killing of children by NATO is the proper response to the atrocities you rightly refer to.

    Negotiations are still possible there, but under - explored. For example the Libyans are complaining that no foreign government delegation from any of the attacking powers has visited them in Tripoli.

  • Comment number 18.

    Of course, now that the world has been told Bin Laden's dead, the Americans could spend as much time as they like 'debriefing' him without the inconvenience of holding a trial...

  • Comment number 19.

    As the most wanted man on the planet, you'd think the media and the politicians would have at least done their homework on Al-Qaeda before thinking Bin Laden's death will change anything.

    Al-Qaeda means "the Base" - it was borne out of Islamic fundamentalism not of the ghettoes or backstreets, but out of a section of extremely rich Saudi society that wanted to use its wealth to create something to preserve their religious and social ideology which had come under stained attack through the creeping westernisation of the Muslim world.

    They suceeded in making something that is indestructable - something with no country, no HQ, no armed forces - indeed nothing physical at all -Bin Laden's legacy is AN IDEA - and your cannot kill an idea.

    "The Base" has delivered exactly that - a religious ideology that explains the tempestuous relationship between Muslims, Christians and other groups purely in terms of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and the "Crusaders" seeking to destroy Islam and impose their own religion and values on the Arab world, through the out and out Crusades of history, but also through the debasement and corruption of Arab World leaders today through oil wealth and the erosion of traditional muslim values via media influences, exposure to alcohol, gambling and prostitution, drugs and even plain old banking.

    For the "huddled masses" of muslims, this often has a strong ring of truth - rich, decadent westerners taking their oil, helping their enemies, exploiting their corrupt leaders and defiling the family, and where there are flash points of liberation struggles going on there will be men trained, influenced and even merely exposed to Al-Qaeda's Big Idea, who will seek to exploit the situation.

    Bin Laden's death won't change this - he will be seen to have been martyred for his faith - that he was true to the ideals of his brand of Islam.

    Being willing to die for what you believe in in the face of overwhelming odds whilst being seen to be on the side of the repressed masses usually has only one outcome - he has stopped being merely a man and has become a legend - and legends are potent weapons long after anyone who even knew him has passed on.

    Whether this transformation helps or hinders the spread and success of his Big Idea, only history will tell - to think the West has beheaded Al-Qaeda is to fundamentally misunderstand what it really is.

  • Comment number 20.

    12. At 12:28pm 2nd May 2011, No_Main_Party_Vote

    Do you have any evidence of bin-ladens death in 2001? Photos? DNA?

    I will await evidence from the US government of his death yesterday. I am still awaiting evidence of his death in 2001 - 10 years on.

    (By the way - where is that pipeline accross afghanistan? 10 years now, still waiting.)

  • Comment number 21.

    19 Richard Bunning

    Spot on. In western terms if I were to launch a "jihad" say upon my demise that "jihad" would end. In Islamic terms the same jihad is not only timeless but it is also embraced by the whole people's faith rather than the individual. Western politicians who see the symbolism of Bin Laden's death as a significant benchmark are severely mistaken and dare I say it deluded.

  • Comment number 22.

    Excellent news because this means we've won the war on terror. Terror is now vanquished and we can therefore stop fighting it, can concentrate on other matters.

  • Comment number 23.

    This is the moment of truth:
    The so called war on terror was mis-fought abused by George Bush and Tony Blair. Millitary might and lies (spin) cannot win war. When Afghanistan was invaded, culminating in the disintergratration of the Taliban, the whole world was behind the US. Unfortunately, the energy, the momentum and the support all dissipated when US and Great Britain needlessly diverted attention from Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to invade Iraq. It was the the most daft policy by political leaders since the Nazis. The best tool and policy to fight any form of terrorism is Intelligence backed millitary operations.
    Barack Obama's Administration has used just the right tools and they have done it.

  • Comment number 24.

    A few questions need to be answered having read the news reports. Firstly, why was there such haste to bury (dispose) of the body? Then there is the question as to how the body was transported over a 1000 kilometres for a sea burial so quickly!!! As everything seems to have happened with indecent haste one has to look at the greater picture. Where does the world go from here? Al-Queda is a very loose fanatical "franchise", which appears to have no cohesive command and control structure, so the fanatics could, in theory, strike at any time. Which means, everybody has to be very wary, probably tightening their security. There again this "franchise" has lost its figurehead, its mentor, appearing to have been less active of late other than the in-fighting between the various factions. The unfortunate consequence being the loss of innocent lives. One only has to look at the popularist upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East of late to see that Al-Queda has taken no part. The question is WHY?? Possibly because those people have seen the way forward is not fundamentalism but a nationalistic fervour to better themselves. Maybe, and I can only surmise, this could be the final nail in the coffin of fundamentalism - I do not know. Quite honestly there are more questions than answers, we must all wait and see what the future brings.

  • Comment number 25.

    19. At 12:56pm 2nd May 2011, richard bunning

    Moving back to the sensible comments, including this one.

    I think the death is more significant than you suggest.

    Seems to be generally accepted OBL had long ago given up direct operational command of AQ. But in 2001 OBL was a key figurehead - the man who stood up to the USA and won.

    Since then AQ has been disastrously entangled in Iraq and was thrown out by fellow muslims. Since then they have little in the way of successes to show their people. What little is left is in hiding and steadily being picked off by UAVs.

    Now their key figurehead is dead.

    I agree with you about the idea that the image was more important than the military, but I think the image aspect has been eroded as well.

  • Comment number 26.

    The haters will not give credit to the President no matter what. They are haters, what else do you need to know.

  • Comment number 27.

    He must have watched the so called Arab Spring with dismay. He may have spread destruction but his 'big idea' appears to have failed. However, his movement is not finished and the central issue of Islam and its relationship to the modern world is far from settled including here in the UK.

  • Comment number 28.

    Way to go, keep on making them dead. This seems to be the only thing they understand in the Islamic world. The threat of murder seems to be their prime weapon, so obviously death is their biggest fear, if they want martyrdom, hopefully the USA will oblige. As for burial at sea, the sort of living nightmares that clean up the detritus on the sea bed are good enough for him.

  • Comment number 29.

    To John112dk, if you google "Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline" you'll see the mysterious pipeline that the last 10 years of war has been fighting for!

  • Comment number 30.

    I guess Bin Laden will have been well pleased with his achievement in embroiling the Western military in conflicts across the Middle East and thereby depleting resources for other more worthy courses than slugging it out with the weapons of armed conflict.

    As one who lived through WW2 close to London I am well acquainted with the destructive element to warring. The destruction worldwide during WW2 bears no comparison to the Twin Towers episode, deplorable thought the latter was; but to have launched two major conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq appears to me to be quite disproportionate.

    In my humble opinion high-tech military paraphernalia has little hope of addressing the range of problems that threaten our species globally – on the contrary.

  • Comment number 31.

    "The news of Bin Laden's death will, I predict, encourage many Americans to believe that the war which began on 11th September 2001 is finally over and that it is time their boys came home."

    This is more a comment on the mindset and world view of the American public. They've been led to believe that the terrorist threat is simply the plot of an evil fundamentailst mastermind and that, like the plot of a Hollywood movie, all they need to do is neutralise the evil villain and everyone will live happily ever after.

    What they fail to understand is that they cannot easily convert the rest of the world to their way of thinking either by military force or otherwise and that religious fundamentalism is not the brainchild of a single man but a deep-rooted ideology. Many people around the world harbour ill-will to the West and the US in particular and it will take more than the assassination of a figure head to eliminate the threat.

    Of course, this argument presupposes that they wish to eliminate the threat when there is another view point that suggests the US always needs a threat, perceived or real (can you remember a time when they didn't have their targets trained on someone or other), to enable them to exercise their military power and persuade the world that they are acting in the interests of freedom and democracy.

    Either way, the idea that "it" is over and the boys can go home might be a little premature.

  • Comment number 32.

    I suspect to many Moslems OBL was a modern William Tell, will his legend also grow?

  • Comment number 33.

    29. At 13:28pm 2nd May 2011, Blueacres
    To John112dk, if you google "Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline" you'll see the mysterious pipeline that the last 10 years of war has been fighting for!

    Yep, just googled it.

    Got the same answer as when I googled it last time ....

    Lots of talk - mostly on nutters personal websites - no pipeline.

    Have you got a pipeline to show me?

  • Comment number 34.

    What if Bin Laden has been taken alive - interrogating him would bring a massive amount of information about his network. He is much more valuable to the intelligence services alive. Of course it is safer to pretend that he is dead and buried, for the sake of public consumption. But it is perfectly possible, even likely, that he is now in a cell awaiting an appointment with the CIA. And his continued existence will never be admitted: he might as well be dead and will soon wish that he was.

  • Comment number 35.

    I see that the conspiracy nutters are out and about.

    Yes, there is no photographic evidence released to confirm Bin Laden's death. Would this have not inflamed opinion still further, however, to have released this publicly? Obama is sensibly trying to be as low-key as possible with regard to Islamic sensitivities whilst understandably trying to milk the domestic political effect. And as for the burial at sea, Jacquie (24), it doesn't take long to fly to the nearest stretch of ocean to ditch a body. It also stops any chance of a search for the 'martyr's grave'.

    As has been said, however, OBL was in many ways yesterday's man. The real target today is surely Al-Awlaki, possibly even more of a threat than Bin Laden ever was.

    Today's news is a symbolic victory, but nothing more.

  • Comment number 36.

    Can we bring our soldiers home from Afghanistan now? I mean, what is the justification for staying if all the senior operatives are in Pakistan (and perhaps living in some comfort.)

  • Comment number 37.

    When Saddam Hussein was captured the world media was publishing his face every where. So will there be any pictures showing Bin Laden ?

  • Comment number 38.

    I am by no means a conspiracy theorist, but it is prima facie ludicrous to imagine that - having apparently apprehended and killed the West's number one terrorist enemy in the last 30 years - they would dispose of the body beyond all hope of recovery, and make no visual record of the fact that it really was him. It is obvious to a child that the first thing you would do is take video or photographs to prove your success to the world.

    It is simply not credible that they would instead transport the body to be buried at sea - the one area on the planet where it could not be recovered for identification - and take no video or photographs to corroborate the greatest victory of the "War on Terror".

    Surely photographs will emerge now?
    If not, serious doubt has to be cast on these claims.

  • Comment number 39.

    I have to say that the American reaction to this is pretty unedifying. I no longer look up to Americans as people, when you see that mob-like vulgarity, vitriol and pure nationalistic racism emerging.

    If I were the rest of the World, I would file a UN resolution condemning the American NATION'S lack of temperance, etiquette or mature humanity when yelling pre-adolescent U-S-A, U-S-A etc etc to the cameras and pouring out venalities on international blog sites. For venalities they are. Equating Americans to the chosen people and Iraqis et al to dead meat. It's total scum. You'll note I specifically exclude President Obama from this censure.

    3,300 dead is nothing. America bombed half a milliion to death in Vietnam in the 1960s, supported 1 million dead in bringing Suharto to power in Indonesia, supported Saddam commit god only knows what terrorism in the 1980s and bombed the shit out of the Iraqis again the past decade. Do the sums on dead and you'll see pretty soon. America is a bunch of wussy cry babies when it comes to war dead. Wussy cry babies. 3600 is nothing. And there's absolutely nothing special about Americans. Nothing.

    It should be made a criminal offence in America to refer to any war dead caused by American bombing overseas as 'acceptable collateral damage'. Referring to ordinary people in Muslim lands as 'savages' should be a lock up without trial offence, because Americans on international blogs think that saying that is acceptable. And it is NOT. It shows their savagery, their ignorance and their pure, unadulterated racism.

    And it is unacceptable for America to trash those who point out these unacceptable truths.

    It gives me no pleasure to do so. None whatever.

    And it hasn't done me any good saying it either.

    But it has to be said.

    Because America has racism and barbarism in its DNA and it needs to flush it out. It is associated with unhealthy religious fundamentalism, a large majority of those who never travel outside America and a media so filled with far-right rubbish as to be incompatible with the principles of the American Constitution.

    The day that there is a special visa requirement for Americans that bars them from any overseas visits until they have passed an examination testing freedom from jingoistic racism will be the day that America is treated in the world the way it should be. Assuming they are belligerent racists until proven otherwise.......

    It is not acceptable for America to refuse to face up to its far right rubbish.

    Because the effects of that rubbish spill out all over the world.


  • Comment number 40.

    forgive me for being blunt but Bin Laden was shot in the head, I doubt there was much face left to photograph. And even if the special forces team had somehow gotten pictures of him before he was shot the conspiracy theorists would be muttering about 'body doubles' and 'film sets'. The thing about conspiracists is they draw their conclusions first and then worry about finding/inventing evidence to fit afterwards. And of course they assume everyone else works the same way so no rebuttal is ever good enough.

    As for the effects of Bin Laden's death I think Nick Robinson is right about the impact on Obama's presidency; this may be his 'Falklands' moment, throw in a poor Republican choice of candidate(it's hard to see how they can find a good one) and it really could be four more years.

  • Comment number 41.

    Jon112dk- the BBC reported on the deal back in 2002. The original deal was between the American oil giant, Unocal, and the previous Taliban regime. This did not suit Unocal and so they pulled out as the missiles flew.

  • Comment number 42.

    Iran next then,get shares in haliburton or whoever runs the show,ask dick and donald,theyve made their fortunes.

  • Comment number 43.

    @ Mike Mullen [41] -

    Forgive me for being equally blunt, but if - as you theorise - U.S. and terrorist forces were engaged in a gunfight, during which one terrorist was shot in the head beyond all possibility of visual identification - how did they know it was Bin Laden at all?

    It is very noticeable that - whenever some story that does not make sense emerges in the news - there are certain people who immediately label all those who point out the inconsistencies as "conspiracy theorists". Speaking for myself, I am not a conspiracy theorist - I have no theory, I know nothing of any conspiracy. But I am capable of seeing that it is ridiculous, unthinkable even, that having just bagged the prime target in a ten-year campaign, the U.S. forces would dispose of the body in such a way as to make it untraceable, and take no photographs, no video footage, no DNA samples - nothing to prove their achievement to their military and political superiors, and to the world.

    Personally, I am confident such evidence will be provided.

    But if no such evidence does emerge, then no theory of conspiracy will be required
    to suggest to anyone with common sense that there is something decidedly odd going on.

  • Comment number 44.

    rjaggar@39 wrote:
    If I were the rest of the World, I would file a UN resolution condemning the American NATION'S lack of temperance


    Gee, can't our brothers across the pond show a bit of high spirits without provoking a deluge of clichéd and racist anti-Americanism?
  • Comment number 45.

    It seems to me that Osama was a figurehead and otherwise irrelevant, command and control sensibly having been passed to others years ago.

    The effect of this will be to stir up a nest of snakes and also to allow middle America to tell themselves that they are indeed masters of the universe, that the war against terror is pretty much over and to re-elect Obama, his secret foreign-ish-ness notwithstanding.

    Meanwhile, we are pretty much exactly where we were yesterday.

  • Comment number 46.

    Bin Laden dead? Yes, he probably is, but what if he was taken alive but presumed dead by the rest of the World. No news media to comb every bit of his treatment as he is tortured to reveal secrets.

    Always it seemed in the past that the US have released pictures of such events, why not now?

    Does anyone trust the Americans to tell the whole truth?

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Three stage managed events in a row

    The royal wedding

    The beatification of John Paul

    The killing of Osama

    The last two designed to upstage the previous in the auto suggestion narccisum stakes

    Particularlrly the killing of Osama [who in his wildest fantasies of evil could not have hoped to have matched the destruction WROUGHT in Iraaq] held in reserve when info was available to act on for some time.

    Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest WUM of all!

  • Comment number 49.

    I doubt bin Laden's demise will make much difference to the activities of the terrorists. The biggest concern for those who want to bomb Lybia into submission is that America will be even less likely to want to be involved now their main target has been hit. We are caught in a stalemate in Lybia and Cameron knows it.

    The defeat of the 'Rebels' will leave Britain and France looking pathetic and a decline in our world standing similar to Suez. The effect on our domestic politics would not be insignificant. It is debatable whether America would want to support a stronger UN resolution - they have 'dealt' with one Arab threat, so why provoke another one and Lybia is a European concern not a global one. The Americans might not go as far as saying that the present resolution 'may' allow for arming the 'rebels'. Without that NATO will have to do more unpopular bombing just to maintain the status quo. THis is a mess and the death of bin Laden hasn't helped.

    Of course some terrorist might hit a high value American target and the whole thing gets turned upside down.

  • Comment number 50.

    Very considerate of the US to observe the 24 hour burial tradition. Not sure if the bathing and white linen shroud part would have been followed though. More likely that those who disposed of the body would have made their own contribution to the procedings.

  • Comment number 51.

    33. At 13:38pm 2nd May 2011, jon112dk wrote:

    29. At 13:28pm 2nd May 2011, Blueacres
    To John112dk, if you google "Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline" you'll see the mysterious pipeline that the last 10 years of war has been fighting for!

    Yep, just googled it.

    Got the same answer as when I googled it last time ....

    Lots of talk - mostly on nutters personal websites - no pipeline.

    Have you got a pipeline to show me?

    -> On this one I agree with Jon...... The project was stalled as a section of proposed pipeline goes through Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Translated it's not going to happen very quickly ...if at all!

  • Comment number 52.

    41. At 14:13pm 2nd May 2011, Blueacres wrote:
    Jon112dk- the BBC reported on the deal back in 2002. The original deal was between the American oil giant, Unocal, and the previous Taliban regime. This did not suit Unocal and so they pulled out as the missiles flew.

    Took a look at the link - just like google, no sign of a pipeline.

    Not really surprising no oil company is willing to cough out billions to build a pipeline that could never be defended, accross the most ungoverned place in the world to reach ... well to reach lord only knows where.

    Meanwhile the central asian oil producing nations have quite happily built oil/gas pipelines to all of the real world markets china, india, russia/europe, even iran. None of them needing to go through afghanistan. All of these piplelines really can be looked up on google/wikipedia, complete with details of who built them and when they were completed.

  • Comment number 53.

    Vengeance has been had - whilst I'd personally have preferred to see him put on trial for his crimes, vengeance is something that other members of Al-Qa'ida will understand, justice is not so easy for them to comprehend. As god wants, so has been done.

  • Comment number 54.

    Option apraisal for obama ...

    Option (a) Release photos imediately. Get condemned for glorifying photos of the dead and illegally using war dead for propaganda purposes. Remember sadam's sons?

    Option (b) let the usual crew make a big fuss about no evidence. After 48hrs 'reluctantly' be 'forced' to release the photos, videos, DNA etc. Make idiots of the screw loose brigade.

    Judging by his recent actions on the birth certificate codswallop, I guess obama is going for option (b)

  • Comment number 55.

    Two wrongs don't make a right. Why are there celebrations over this man's won't bring back those that he killed or helped to kill, and for every OBL that is killed there will be another waiting in the wings to take over. Oh and I can see the points for not flaunting the body but in this world it is hard to trust the unseen.

  • Comment number 56.

    I should feel happy about this but somehow I don't think this is the end of it - another excuse for more terrorism - London will once again be on high alert and a target for extremists avenging his death and so the circle of hate continues.....

    Mr Cameron, can we please start standing up for ourselves here and stop these wretched home grown haters of the UK and the West and particularly giving them a platform to denounce the UK from the UK, they should ALL be banned.....enough now!

  • Comment number 57.

    The importance is this -

    Against this -

    How do you think JP Morgan's massive naked short position in silver is going to be covered ?

  • Comment number 58.

    Al Qaeda doesn't exist, it's an American fabrication to justify anything they deem fit to do and anywhere they deem fit to invade, and eventually admitted last year by the CIA no less. Dialogue between the UK and Bin Laden would have gone ahead but didn't because America were getting too twitchy. A different future would have resulted from the talks, and personally I think positives would have been the outcome. Americans partying in the street makes me feel queasy. How stupid are these people?

  • Comment number 59.

    with referance to comments saying that this will not stop AQ, no, it probably won't. this, however, is not the victory which will have the greatest impact imho.

    This significant victory in the 'war on terror' may well be the turning point of Obama's re-election hopes.
    With the release of his birth certificate, prospects now looking brighter for the economy, and this all in the space of a month could be seen as the start in ernest of Obama's invisible primaries.

  • Comment number 60.

    Obama was a butcher and his organisation are butchers and deserve what they got.

    We are seem to be worried about the response from them. No one care what the response is from Catholics and christians when his fanatics burn down churches and kill christians. He is dead and he cant do anything anymore

    May he rot in hell .

  • Comment number 61.


    Thanks for the kind words - I agree with you entirely.

    Bin Laden had been backing off and appears to have been leaving the organisation to develop on a regional/cell level, bringing on the next generation for some time and IMHO attempting to distract the CIA into throwing a large proportion of theiur resources plus military surveillance into the Pakistan/Afghan border area, trying to catch him and interdict Taliban/Al-Qaeda supply routes.

    He clearly expected to be caught eventually and his preparations point to a deliberate plan intended to ensure he was martyred. Why?

    As was shown with 9/11, Bin Laden was very adept at turning western technology and power back on itself - he spotted weaknesses and used them to great effect, as well as forming alliances with "fellow travellers" such as the Taliban and insurgents in Iraq to achieve massive force multiplication which the Pentagon has continuously under-estimated.

    OK - the WHY question - I think Bin Laden will have planned to use his death and the publicity it would create as a sychronising point for the start of a new offensive against western targets to use Obama's speech to send the GO signal to Al-Qaeda cells almost certainly in areas not currently directly involved in the coalition operations, so I'd expect a whole series of quite different attacks to take place at a fixed distance in time from the announcement of his death.

    Mounting an operation takes time and where there are people already under suspicion, they would need time to slip away and detach themselves from watchers, so I'd estimate we are talking about 2-3 weeks from now: maybe a month. Indeed I wouldn't put it past him to have arranged the date of his own death by allowing intelligence about his whereabouts to leak at the right time to synchonise events a bit more closely to his gameplan.

    Al-Qaeda has elevated asymetric warfare to an artform - they have made the coalition deploy huge amounts of resources against them, when they probably had less than 1% of 1% of 1% of the resources we used against them - Bin Laden was a genius and he has had years in hiding to do nothing but work out a gameplan for the future and carefully place the seeds it requires in fertile soil.

    Pure speculation on my part...

  • Comment number 62.

    Any so called British citizens fighting against british troops should be tried for treason.

  • Comment number 63.

    spot the hypocrisy teh BBC rejocing at yet another American assaination.
    I cannot wait untill America falls as it most certainly wqill and china rises to take its place. America and its lap dog Britain are going arounbd acting like teh terrorists they proclaim to want to stop. And as always with the BBC they whoop and cheer for the musrering of others, when done by americans and british soliders and decry it when its done by others. Its called double standards and teh sooner these morons are off the top the better.
    Some people have morals clearly the American and british governments and the BBC do not.

  • Comment number 64.

    RB 19

    "The Base" has delivered exactly that - a religious ideology that explains the tempestuous relationship between Muslims, Christians and other groups purely in terms of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and the "Crusaders" seeking to destroy Islam and impose their own religion and values on the Arab world, through the out and out Crusades of history, but also through the debasement and corruption of Arab World leaders today through oil wealth and the erosion of traditional muslim values via media influences, exposure to alcohol, gambling and prostitution, drugs and even plain old banking."

    Religious movements which are fundamentalist in form may be revolutionary in their consequences if the social structure is moving n the same direction.

    Has ABL been a catalyst for change? What is its influence on the Arab Spring? Can it both inspire reaction among the Saudis? and revolution among Libyans and Egyptians?

    In its use of violence to attain political ends, Al Quaeda is a dissident form of Whahabbism,persecuted in its nation of origin,notionally reviled across the Arab world, but secretly admired by many in its critique of elite corruption and betrayal.

    Its survival will not necessarily be its existing franchise in groups plotting terror, but the extent to which political violence has entered the mainstream as a catalyst for change? As the Arab revolt plays out across the middle East we will see the extent to which it is influenced by Al Quaeda.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    Only a moron thinks murdering solves anything but we are talking about a country which has commited many many war crimes and crimes against humanity yes America i am talking about you!!
    Any inteligent person realises you have to talk if you are ever going to find peace now all America has done is ensured they and us the british are going to be morning many many extra dead shame idiots in power cant see that and instead claim to be religous but only want to murder. How many innocent civilians have the british and americian heros killed and how come Nick Robinson you never talk about that or even think its wrong. Double standards all the way to hell

  • Comment number 67.

    The Obama officials, who have not been named, add that "DNA evidence has proven that Bin Laden is dead, with 99.9% confidence", according to AP. The officials did not immediately say where or how the testing was done.

    99.9% So does that mean it could be someone else? I guess we will know if Bin Laden releases another video some time in the future!

  • Comment number 68.

    64. At 16:45pm 2nd May 2011, bryhers
    When you mention the crusades , lets get some historical prospective.

    Perhaps you would like to read about Caliph al-Hakim 80 years before the 1st crusade who burnt down churches and synagogues in Jerusalem and then tell me there was no justification in the crusades.

    I do love it how people go on about how bad the crusades, with out knowing the slightest thing about the period before it or after the crusades . Most people it seems in UK cant be bothered to know about their own history let alone anyone elses.

  • Comment number 69.

    To all those speculating, there ARE indeed photos of OBL on the websites of certain British newspapers, which one could find with some Googling.

  • Comment number 70.

    DNA proof obtained, I gather. And deep sixing the corpse in a can't-be-located watery grave (as opposed to, say, a 'proper' burial in Pere Lachaise) avoids the risk of an Osama Bin Morrison type thing developing. It all makes perfect sense and it's exactly what I would have done. Well I wouldn't - no way would I - but you know what I mean. He's dead. He's an ex AQ warrior for Global Jihad. Course, such a figure can be more potent post death; the very term spiritual leader indicates this. Just last weekend for example, people all over the world were not only troughing chocolate eggs, they were also celebrating the short life of a revolutionary whose grip on people's hearts and minds only really took off once his earthly span was over. Will we see something similar here? No, I don't think so. It's possible, for sure it is, but unlikely.

  • Comment number 71.

    I am willing to believe Big Brother that Goldstein has been eliminated, but am sure that this will not change the need for permanent war with his Organisation. AirStrip One will also need to continue its sacrifice in providing the billions for this war. There will be a joint singing of Oceania, Tis for Thee, following the Two Minutes Hate Period on the Telescreen at 11.00 a.m.

  • Comment number 72.

    Retribution, long overdue , for past crime. Shame about the lack of proper process, but I suspect it was never going to happen.

    Whether it achieves anything depends on what we can believe about who if anybody organises terrorist activities. My view in ignorance is that the world is like a jungle with some very nasty things keen on doing us mischief. Are they all working together? Probably not.

    Perhaps a bigger concern is that no matter how repellent these people are to us, dead they are martyrs to others. Even others not sharing the same views and objectives.

    With this particular demon destroyed, who's next?

  • Comment number 73.

    Dead men tell no tales.

    We'll never know if OBL planned 9/11 or simply stumped up some money for it, but I guess no one's really cared about evidence and trials for a while now. Might makes right; the terrorists won.

  • Comment number 74.

    Response to post 63 @ 16:45pm on 02 May 2011 - 'Darren Shepperd'. Crikey, just noticed you! Glanced at your HYS post history - do you have anything positive to say about any topic? Freedom of speech, contraception, conservation, charities fighting for a living wage, men off the streets, and not women, when a serial killer or rapist is at large?

    Perhaps it's only fatuous topics that appear on HYS or 'in comment' that annoy you most, or you are more attracted to subjects that annoy you most? Well, as for the least important stories they do last the longest for comments - although you never can tell these days with the BBC? Doesn't take much to wind me up on some topics!

    Nonetheless, if you do have a good word to say about any subject on HYS or 'in comment' I would be delighted to read it. No, I'm not being flippant, nor judgmental, but probably being a little personal (apologies) and am sure you have good stuff to say, including solutions with a touch of irony. Your mind is obviously vital and active, but has more to give by being more focused on the positive? Kind regards. CP.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    There are claims that DNA testing was done on the body. But DNA tests take a lot more than dipping a piece of paper into a liquid, and certainly more equipment than a Navy Seal carries - a laboratory is needed.

    This announcement itself casts serious doubt about the veracity of the claims being made about the identification of bin Laden.

  • Comment number 77.

    The BBC is on the floor of the New York stock exchange interviewing some suit, he's babbling on about "good riddance to bad rubbish".

    It's ironic that Bin Laden, who was unsuccessful in bringing the world to its knees, lived long enough to watch Wall Street do it for him.

    Maybe al-Qaeda should have switched from suicide bombings to subprime mortgages.

  • Comment number 78.

    To Rjagger #39, do you feel better know dear? Unloading your anger and jealousy issues must be liberating for you.

  • Comment number 79.

    Although we should rejoice that Bin Laden is dead, we should also ask the question is why he hatred the West so much. The unpalatable truth is that the West created Bin Laden and others like him by getting involved in middle Eastern affairs and killing thousands. America for example shot down a paassenger airliner 6 months before Gadaffi responded and sanctioned the Lockerbie bombing.

  • Comment number 80.


    How do you cope with all the inaccurate, illiterate, intemperate tosh you find in this blog's postings? It all pains me!


  • Comment number 81.

    The postponement of the honeymoon of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is almost certainly due to the attack on Osama Bin Laden which took place yesterday. The UK government would have been given some sort of advanced warning, without the exact geographical location etc. but made privy to an imminent strike that could cause unrest in the world. Shame that they should lose their honeymoon because of an aggressive US foreign policy, where they seem to shoot first and ask questions later. By all means try and arrest the man and put him on trial (Neuremberg WWII is a good example) but to go round shooting people without any legal process will be a recipe for world disaster.

  • Comment number 82.

    To Darren Shepperd #66, talk about what and to whom? Do you honestly believe you can reason with the likes of Al Queda and their ilk by holding talks? Do you seriously believe reasoning will conquer the day with these savages? Your view is incredibly childish, not to mention unrealistic. The USA did the correct thing. Just because you have a bias toward the USA does not mean they are always wrong. Thank goodness you are not running the show.

  • Comment number 83.

    A symbolic event. The more significant blow to Al-Quaida is the demonstration of their irreleveance in the Arab Spring, driven by the aspirations of youth who want to join the modern world, not regress to historical irrelevance.

    Most important for the US is the boost to Obama. As a deserved piece of good luck for him, it puts the activities of the moronic "birthers" in their proper perspective, and incidentally makes a ridiculous laughing stock of the putative republican candidate Trump.

  • Comment number 84.

    "Why didn't they take photos?"

    a) they did, and they are debating whether to release the photos. Seeing their leader lying with half his face blown off might make some Al Quaeda members go utterly mental.
    b) Most of his face was probably blown from his head - shot twice in the head - think about it.

    "Why throw him in the sea?"

    Because otherwise his followers would try to find his grave and dig it up - obviously.

    "Why bury him so quickly?"

    Out of respect for Islamic principles.

    J K said, in a previous comment...

    "it is very noticeable that - whenever some story that does not make sense emerges in the news - there are certain people who immediately label all those who point out the inconsistencies as "conspiracy theorists".

    That's because those pointing out the "inconsistencies" were resorting to very selective reasoning. As I have explained above, there is an obvious answer to all of these "unanswered questions" - and they get labelled a "conspiracy theorist" because they willingly ignored them to make their points seem valid.

    The story made sense form the start but they simply didn't want to believe it.

  • Comment number 85.

  • Comment number 86.

    @ 67

    From what I understand it means the forensics render it a one in a thousand chance they killed someone else. Plus there's the circumstantial evidence, e.g. that he looked like Bin Laden and was living in a fortified secret-looking compound in Pakistan. When we add this in, the chances of it not being him reduce to something less than one in a thousand. All in all it would seem to zoom past the 'beyond reasonable doubt' test and thus we must conclude - sadly or gleefully or neither - that he's dead.

  • Comment number 87.

    63 and 66 Darren Shepperd - I had no intention of posting on this blog until I read your rage against US, UK and BBC. I find vitreol like this very disturbing and just wonder if there is any positive outcome to your expressing your views in quite this manner. I hope so.

  • Comment number 88.


    You're right about atrocities committed in the name of this, that or the other religion - from the Spanish Inquisition to the Porte of the Ottoman Empire's genocide of the Armenians, "Men of the Cloth" - indeed of many cloths - have been responsible for inciting crimes against humanity in the name of their Dieties - your Caliph al-Hakim is but one in a long line of religious zealots stretching back into the mists of time.

    Key lesson in all these debates - no propagandist ever let the truth get in the way of a good story - the reality of the Crusades is neither here or there - it is only the myth that has any traction today.

    Personally I think the practice of some Crusaders of putting the entire populations of cities they captured to the sword meant that Christianity is forever stained in the Muslim world and we should be just as rejecting of their conduct as Muslims should be of Caliph al-Hakim.

    I agree with other commentators who point out that OBL can take no credit for the uprisings in the arab world and in many ways the significant liberal, pro western thread that runs through much of the movement is diametrically opposed to Al-Qaeda.

    However I vividly remember the return of th Ayatollahs to Iran and the machine gunning of hundreds of engineering students at Tehran Airoport when they came home from British universities for being "corrupted by living in the West". They came home to work to build a new Iran in the mistaken belief that getting shot of the Tyrant the Shah meant progress. Let us hope history does not repeat itself.

  • Comment number 89.

    As somebody that still holds the visual images of the collapse of the twin towers firmly in my memory I hope that those relatives and friends that lost loved ones in that heinous act will find some measure of closure in the death of Bin Ladin. The cheering and celebrations in the USA are understandable if not entirely laudable, let’s not forget that there were many thousands of Muslims cheering at the sight of the twin towers collapsing killing over 3000 people, they were innocent victims. OBL was hardly innocent.

    Having come close to being blown up by the IRA in London its easy for me to understand the mixture and rush of emotions that follow such acts, for many years there was a perceived sense of hatred directed towards southern Ireland on the part of the English and same was also true of the Irish towards the English. However, if you took the time to sit and talk with the ordinary men and women of both nations that animosity simply did not exist between the overwhelming majorities.

    The hatred was fuelled by the extremists on both sides and that is really my point. You cannot condemn the entire population of any country / faith / ethnic background from afar and that includes America. The only way that the world can coexist in harmony is for knowledge of other cultures to be disseminated amongst the entire population by way of education and freedom of information. Therein lies the problem as general rule the west allows these things to happen, the Middle East and North Africa is largely uneducated uninformed and repressed, power and wealth lies in the hands of the top 2% of the populations whom also control the media and the education system. Little wonder that radicals from all sides have an unlimited supply of terrorists if all they are fed is a diet of hatred fuelled by acts in history dating back thousands of years.

    Clearly bombing the **** out of any nation is not going to solve that, democratisation works from the ground up not top down, that is why the whole strategy in Iraq was flawed from the beginning, the same is true in Afghanistan.

    You don’t win hearts and minds by killing people you just create the next jihadists.

    I hope (probably in vain) that somehow the death of OBL will draw a line under 9/11 and make them concentrate on a political / cultural solution rather that military.

  • Comment number 90.

    I suppose if you live by the sword, eventually, you die by the sword. And Osama Bin Laden certainly lived a lot of his life by the sword.

    I still haven't seen any material evidence of his death. President Obama may as well have said Aliens from the other side of the galaxy had landed. Buried at sea within 24hrs to conform with Islamic tradition? I don't believe the US government would care a jot about that. Preventing his burial place becoming a shrine for extremists is a more compelling argument however. One of the helicopters crashed and burned due to a malfunction? Is this really likely, given that they are maintained in good working order by service crews between missions and would have been checked doubly so beforehand? Or is it more likely that it was hit by some kind of weapon?

    Other than that, I guess it would have looked better had he been taken alive and exposed to the international justice system. As it is he was hunted down and executed without trial (he probably deserves no less).

    I find the timing interesting too. The ten year anniversary is approaching of that sad day when so many innocents died. You could imagine the headlines: "Ten years on, all the blood and treasure expended and still no Bin Laden". It also seems to have given President Obama a popularity boost at a most fortuitous time. Although quite why this is the case is beyond me. It would have made no difference who the President was, the work of the many security service personel would have been the same, as would the conclusion.

    Overall, if he is dead, and I've seen no evidence either way, then good riddance. His life has a tragic air to me. Horrific though his actions were, is there anything intrinsically evil about him? If he had been born into a family in Sheffield, might he have become an accountant? If one of us had shared the experiences of his youth, would we be counted among the Wests most hated? I wonder. In any case, I hope it brings some closure and comfort to all the families who have suffered because of him.

  • Comment number 91.

    It's pretty certain Osama bin Laden was an evil man. It's less certain though possible that the world is safer place without him in it. However, let's not confuse what happened in Pakistan today with justice. It was an extra-judicial assassination, no different to those that Israel practises frequently and of highly dubious legality. Commentators, especially senior American politicians right up to the President himself, minded to confuse this with justice are treading a dangerous path.

  • Comment number 92.

    Re conspiracy theories that he's still alive, I was going to do my usual poo pooing (indeed had started the process) but then a nasty little thought struck me - Sam Cameron didn't wear a hat to the wedding on Friday, did she?

  • Comment number 93.


    It would be interesting to see just what of my reflections broke house rules.

    I doubt if it would be my remark that OBL should have been taken up for trial on the basis that a sinner should be brought to true repentance.

  • Comment number 94.


    Or was it the view OBL has created a cult of death?

  • Comment number 95.

    68. At 17:04pm 2nd May 2011, Bruce Fox wrote:
    64. At 16:45pm 2nd May 2011, bryhers
    When you mention the crusades , lets get some historical prospective.

    Perhaps you would like to read about Caliph al-Hakim 80 years before the 1st crusade who burnt down churches and synagogues in Jerusalem and then tell me there was no justification in the crusades.

    I do love it how people go on about how bad the crusades, with out knowing the slightest thing about the period before it or after the crusades . Most people it seems in UK cant be bothered to know about their own history let alone anyone elses."

    I was quoting RB,(19).Your comments should be addressed to him

  • Comment number 96.

    Good job the attack was postponed until after the royal wedding. Shame if these two events were to be reported on the same day.
    Well done to the US forces and their intelligence. Let these terrorists know that they are not invincible. Bet they are not handing out candy in Gaza tonight.
    The early disposal of his remains will furnish conspiracy theories for many years.

  • Comment number 97.

    Anyone notice the correlation between unthinking, racist, rabid anti-Americanism and near illiteracy here? (see # 63 for a typical example)

  • Comment number 98.

    I surely hope so!

  • Comment number 99.

    Maybe the conspiracy theorists can explain why, if it wasn't Bin Liner that got his come uppence, why the Pakistanis aren't going ape over a bunch of innocent citizens getting stiffed.

  • Comment number 100.

    First released pics of the 'dead' Bin Laden ..... proved to be faked?? ..... and allegedly released by a military source. This isn't looking good for the Americans ......

    Check out: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]


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