A leading Al Qaeda member, Abu Laith al-Libi, was killed in Afganistan, proclaimed a website often used by Islamists. According to www.ekhlaas.org, Libi had ‘fallen as a martyr’. That was about all the information that was provided to the world, late on Thursday night.
It is still unclear where the source of this news has emerged from. BBC News accredits the information to “senior Western counter-terrorism officials,” while CNN says that it is information that comes from “a Western official.”
However, news agencies such as Reuters and Associated Press, have agreed to the accuracy of the Islamist website, claiming the death of the Libyan..
Although, initial speculations were unclear regarding whether Libi’s death was linked to a suspected US missile strike, one which was responsible for the death of 13 foreign fighters in the North Waziristan (Pakistan) region this week, NBC News reported at 2.04 pm ET that an ‘unidentified U.S official’ has confirmed that Libi was killed three nights ago while a ‘CIA-operation drone fired missiles on a target in the Pakistan tribal areas’. The residents of the tribal area claim that the attack had targeted second or third tier Al Qaeda leaders.
Libi had appeared with Ayman al Zawahri, Second-in-Command, Al Qaeda, in a video that had been issued in November last year. This video announced the entrance of a Libyan Islamist group within the organization.
One could also recall Libi from several messages that appeared on the Internet last year. A particular one, posted on a particular website in May, said that the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was willing to exchange prisoners with Britain and other Western countries.
With a key figure of the Al Qaeda being killed, the world remains at tenterhooks. This ‘conquest’ of the US driven War against Terror, would not just have its effects within the territory of Pakistan, but would also go forth in affecting world policies. The first impact that is visible to the naked eye is the bearing that this incident would have on the Pakistani elections. Scheduled for a February poll, the elections have already been disrupted once with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. A tragedy that was attributed to the efforts of the Al Qaeda, this victory over the same organization would add a significant feather to the fast dissipating PML-Q, currently in power. President Musharraf has a reason now to boast of Pakistan’s staunch alliance with the United States in their mission to eradicate terror. This, notwithstanding, that the den of these fundamentalist movements remains mostly within the northern and the north western areas of Pakistan.
Not just Pakistan, Libi’s death is bound to affect another set of elections. As the United States gears up for its Presidential polls, foreign policy remains a topic of choice, ever since Bhutto was killed in broad daylight. Hillary Rodham Clinton, states in her official campaign site: “We have to continue the fight against terrorism and make sure we apply America’s best values and effective strategies in making our world and country a better and safer place. We have to do what is right and smart in the war against terrorists and pursuit of democracy and security. That means repudiating torture which undermines America’s values. That means reforming intelligence and its use by decision makers. That means rejecting the Administration’s doctrine of preemptive war and their preference to going it alone rather than building real international support.”
Fellow contender to the White House, Barrack Obama, has a lighter take on the issue, without losing the essence of seriousness that it demands. He once said “My job as commander-in-chief is to keep the American people safe,” he declared. “I’ve got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. Don’t think that I care any less than Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney about making sure that my daughters don’t get blown up.”
With terrorism ticking a potent clock, this accomplishment can be hailed and criticized simultaneously. While the accuracy of the CIA is worth applaud, this incident brings to the fore, one more time, the great divide between Islam versus the rest of the world. This would be another issue that would not bite the dust quite easily. US authorities have struck gold in their attempt to eliminate members of lesser value in the Al Qaeda. Coincidence or fate, this is a victory that the United States would not let the world forget soon, reminiscent of Saddam Hussain’s capture, followed by his execution – one that was planned by the US, as well.
A further critique of this trophy-murder is the continuous focus on Islamist fundamentalist groups, negating to the borderline other sects of fundamentalism that operate around the world. What could be termed as discrimination and induced fear regarding this particular religious section of the world, results in a difficulty to survive in the impressionable society for many Muslims, worldwide. Islamist fundamentalist organizations are not the only elements of terrorism that exist today. According to a huge list provided online for public view (US Department of State), groups such as Aum Supreme Truth (Aum), Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), Japanese Red Army (JRA), Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), National Liberation Army (ELN)—Colombia, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA) and Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, or SL) among others, are conveniently pushed to the background as the most powerful country in the world ravages and continues towards its ‘War Against Terror’ in an unidirectional mode.
This seems to be a classic example of an eye for an eye.
Ekhlaas is a password-protected Al-Qaeda-affiliated forum.
[Source]: USA Today, Al Jazeera