Osama bin Laden’s Death and the Arab Spring

Osama bin Laden’s Death and the Arab Spring

Not surprisingly, people in the Taliban-controlled areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border have turned out -- some of their own volition, many under duress -- to mourn Osama bin Laden's death and to threaten the United States and its allies. Yet, as a Pew survey documented, the idolization once lavished upon bin Laden seems to have waned in recent years among Muslim polities. The sociopolitical change now being sought by Middle Eastern masses protesting their countries' secular and religious autocracies is a far cry from the caliphate that bin Laden envisioned.

Islamist militant groups like Hamas in Gaza have condemned the circumstances of bin Laden's demise. Indeed, some Arabs wish he had been brought to public trial. Yet, in the immediate wake of his death, few deny that bin Laden merited his fate.

Indeed, across the Middle East, bin Laden's elimination has been met with relief that his reign of terror has ended and with the hope that terrorism's ties to Islam will abate. Even Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood admitted publicly that neither al-Qaida nor its founder and his violence represent Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood's about-face is especially noteworthy because Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's second-in-command for the past decade and its presumptive new leader, was once closely linked to the Egyptian Salafist movement.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.