What does the killing of Osama bin Laden mean to the issue of al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism?
While the American government and its people celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden, rest assured that al-Qaeda and fundamental Islamic movements will not now dissolve and disappear. The primary reason is that the United States continues to operate as the imperial purveyor and harbinger of state terror against Muslim countries. Many Americans forget the original demands of al-Qaeda, as presented by its second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, many of which are not outside the rational demands of people wanting to live free of imperialist influence and domination:
- The US pull its troops out of all Muslim lands.
- Stop all US financial intervention in Muslim countries. Stop funding dictatorships.
- End US aid to Israel.
We do not condone suicide bombings, especially in the name of Islam. We do not condone the indiscriminate killing of unarmed women and children. We do not condone political and ideological wars which are carried out at the expense of the people. Whether carried out by “terrorists” or by state governments, we stand by these principles.
And in making these statements, we remember that the US and his allies are responsible for scores more deaths than any “Muslim extremist.” The civilian death count for Iraq and Afghanistan alone since the beginning of the war on terror is well over a million. This does not include civilian deaths in Pakistan, Palestine, or Libya. It does not include the wounded, the orphaned, or the refugees. The number of innocent civilians killed, wounded, and displaced since the beginning of US intervention only since 9/11 is so high that the majority of Americans have seemed entirely unable to understand it.
So, those who argue that the death of bin Laden means averting future attacks and saving innocent lives are misguided. For, it is us who are most responsible for gross civilian death tolls. And by taking illegal international action against bin Laden, we have only given al-Qaeda and its allies ideological, emotional, and political munitions. More grotesquely, it still refuses to recognize the universal right to sovereignty.
The war against terrorism is not being fought for the sake of justice. It is in fact a US war whose intention is to continue to exploit the natural resources of Islamic countries with complete impunity from their necessarily disenfranchised inhabitants, and maintain military, economic, and political domination in the Middle East. It is not a war on Osama bin Laden. It is a war on what he stands for.
The death of Osama bin Laden does not end the widespread opposition to US exploitation and/or occupation of Muslim lands and their natural resources. It will not stop US aerial bombing of innocent men, women, and children, or the hypocritical (and often deadly) foreign policy toward Muslim countries. Thus, the killing of Osama bin Laden or any other Muslim jihadist is merely a symbolic accomplishment. It will result in very little military change in the so-called war against terrorism for as long as the US seeks to influence and control the natural resources and territorial sovereignty of Islamic countries. Therefore, the question for the US government and American people is how long they will continue to seek the exploitation of the natural resources of other peoples’ lands, and military and political domination of sovereign nations?
The fighters are still there. The weapons are still there. And the structure of resistance is not radically altered. What has changed since the assassination of bin Laden is that the ideological and political grievances and demands of al-Qaeda have been legitimated by the US itself. We alone have provided proof of the reasons behind the resistance. Americans who believe this war is not about oil, protecting and defending Zionism and US hegemony are as deluded as those who flew planes into the World Trade Centers.
Anthony Bottom #77A4283 Attica Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 149