This article first appeared in the 3 May 2011 edition of The Irish Times and is reproduced here with their kind permission.
ANALYSIS: The death of the figurehead leader of al-Qaeda does not presage the end of the worldwide campaign of terror he inspired
OSAMA BIN Laden’s legacy is that the ideology of al-Qaeda will endure. Al-Qaeda is a group of like-minded people, not a global military structure directed from a notional centre. In fact, the “Arab spring” we are witnessing is a much greater threat to al-Qaeda than the loss of its figurehead, iconic though he may have been.
To understand the significance of bin Laden’s death, we need to take a few steps back.