Osama was the popular face of 'jihad'. He was seen as an ideologue with universal appeal among terrorist organizations. Does his death change the strategic balance of power, or are the Al Qaeda franchises too deeply rooted for this to affect them badly?
Osama was an iconic figure not just for al Qaeda but also for many other terrorist groups in South Asia and the Middle East. His death will have tremendous psychological impact on his followers, but it will not lead to the collapse of al Qaeda.
Under increasing US counterterrorism operations, al Qaeda over years has changed into a more decentralised organisation which minimises the damage to the leadership and operational capabilities of the group.
Will it depress morale, or be used as a 'martyr' factor? Do you expect to see a backlash now?
It will weaken the terrorist leaders confidence, but Osama will be remembered as a martyr by his followers.
"Now he is the number one martyr for al Qaeda because he is stronger dead than alive," one Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan said on Monday. Al Qaeda and its allies will try to retaliate in the near future to project power. Both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have vowed revenge for his killing.
Afghanistan has been trying to split the Taliban from Al Qaeda for a long time. Do you think the government has been successful at that?
Not at all. Quite the opposite, the Taliban is more closely associated with al Qaeda now than any time before. The Taliban has largely ignored the Afghan government's pleas to cut ties with al Qaeda and join the peace process.
The new young leaders of the Taliban are more hard-line, more repressive and more closely associated with the al Qaeda ideology.
Do you think the death came a few years too late to be effective? He was hugely popular a few years ago, with trinkets being sold in open market places, but he seems to have slowly disappeared.
Bin Laden remained a popular leader amongst the radical groups. His death is symbolically and psychologically important.
(In Image) Freedom from the beard: School teacher Gary Weddle, 50, East Wenatchee, Washington, displays his cut beard while shaving the remaining stubble on Sunday, May 1, 2011. He completed a vow made nearly 10 years ago not to shave until Osama Bin Laden was captured or proven killed.
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