Bin Laden death 'blow to al-Qa’ida'

By taking out Osama bin Laden, American special forces have cut off the "head of the snake", experts said today.

The terrorist's death, at the hands of elite troops in Pakistan, is expected to cripple al-Qa’ida and will come as a major blow for its supporters who have looked to his leadership for so many years.



However, analysts have predicted that the organisation will not go down without a fight, warning of serious reprisals in the short-term.



Terror expert Dr Razaq Raj, a senior lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, said it would now be "impossible" for al-Qa’ida to re-establish its grip on the wider world.



"It will be very difficult for anyone to take over from bin Laden," he said.



"There's still the second in command (Egyptian-born doctor and surgeon Ayman al-Zawahiri) and if he is still there, if he has not been killed, al-Qa’ida could be reunited. But I don't think it will easy.



"It will be very, very clear-cut now that the backbone of al-Qa’ida has been destroyed.



"He was the figurehead and now that the figurehead is gone, I think it will be impossible for them."



Professor Anthony Glees, director of the centre for security and intelligence studies at the University of Buckingham, echoed his remarks, suggesting bin Laden's demise could signify the beginning of the end for al-Qa’ida.



Likening his death to those of both Hitler and Mussolini, he said: "It is very important news that the head of the snake has been cut off.



"If you look at history for parallels, I would say there is an argument for being optimistic and for saying we can move forward now.



"This is a massive blow to the prestige of al-Qa’ida, there is no doubt about that. It was a movement that was originally based on the charisma that bin Laden could exercise and the fact that the snake has been decapitated will demoralise al-Qa’ida and its affiliated groups."



But he reiterated fears that the terrorist group is likely to launch some form of retaliation in the the short-term.



"I think we are in for a very dramatic 24 to 48 hours," he said.



John Gearson, reader in terrorism studies and director of the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College London, said even with al-Zawahiri at the helm, al-Qa’ida could not be the organisation it once was.



"I think there will continue to be plots and threats and attacks but the threat that it (al-Qa’ida) represents to the world will have been reduced by bin Laden's removal and by the undermining of the al-Qa’ida brand," he added.



Meanwhile, he said second-in-command Al-Zawahiri did not have the "symbolic importance" of bin Laden, whose name is well-known.



However, he urged caution, adding: "Just because you have decapitated the leadership of al-Qa’ida doesn't necessarily mean the organisation has been beaten, because it obviously has not."







While it is thought that last night's dramatic developments may not have a direct effect on the Afghan insurgency, Dr Raj suggested it could lead the Taliban to reconsider its position.



"In my opinion I don't think it will change much for them but they might now come to the table and talk," he said.



"I think they might think that if the Americans can get bin Laden, who was a very difficult target, then it may be better for them to negotiate rather than prolong this war and have more damage done to them.



"I think we could see good things happening and I think we are looking forward to a better future."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?