The killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is probably the most successful of U.S. clandestine operations, the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in 2003. Confirmation of his death is an emotional victory for the United States and could have broad effects on the region's geopolitics, but death is irrelevant to bin Laden's al-Qaeda and the jihadist movement, the operational point of view, says Stratfor.
Americans continued to celebrate the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, throughout the day May 2, outside the White House, near the place where stood once the World Trade Center and the rest of the country. The operation that led to bin Laden's death is among the most significant operational successes of U.S. intelligence in a decade. Although it is certainly an emotional victory for the United States, which could have consequences for the U.S. role in Afghanistan, as well as relations with Pakistan, bin Laden's elimination will have very little effect on the group's al-Qaeda movement as a whole and jihadists in general.
Because the status of "the most hunted man in the world, any dialogue with the other members of al-Qaeda risk being intercepted and thus to reveal the location. This forced bin Laden to be extremely cautious in terms of communication, for maintaining operational security within the group, and, in essence, to abandon an active role "command and control" in order to stay alive. It seems that bin Laden was helped to maintain a minimal communication by personal couriers who had some very high confidence. He did not have access to the Internet or telephone in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Even if the "network" to the communication was extremely limited, if the information published so far are correct, one of these messengers was found and traced to where bin Laden is hiding.
Because of the restrictions mentioned above, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, when he escaped from Tora Bora, bin Laden has been relegated to a symbolic role, and largely in al-Qaeda ideology. Consequently, the annual music barely texting while before had the means to record video messages. Frequency of increasingly lower quality and more doubtful of his messages was revealed when, in 2010, al-Qaeda has released a message on the occasion of commemorating the attacks of September 11 only on 21 January 2011.
The reality of the situation is that the "essence" of al-Qaeda - the central group, composed of leaders like bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri - was overshadowed by jihadists on the battlefield itself and in the last two years, she has lost even ideological role as leader of "Islamic holy war." The main threat is now represented by groups of "franchise" of al-Qaeda, such as the Arabian Peninsula and in the Islamic Maghreb - a group that recently conducted an attack in Marrakesh, Morocco. But even these groups are under intense pressure exerted by local governments and U.S. military operations and much of the current threat comes from terrorists and ordinary people acting individually - listening without any control groups, so- called "lone-wolves" (lone wolves). These groups might try to stage an attack in the United States to avenge the death of bin Laden, but do not have enough training capacity for significant transnational attacks.
Stratfor has long held that there is the possibility that bin Laden was already dead and in terms of its impact on terrorist operations, it could be argued that it was. That does not mean, however, that he was an important ideological leader, sought to be justified by the United States for his role in orchestrating the most devastating terrorist attack in U.S. history.
Aggressive information gathering efforts of the United States have left no completion: the killing of bin Laden was probably the main symbolic target of the CIA and all those involved in covert U.S. operations. Indeed, Obama said at the time of taking over office, personally instructed CIA director, Leon Panetta, the killing of al-Qaeda leader is a definite priority. Logistical challenges created by the capture of one individual helped by considerable resources were substantial. Ten years later, the United States of America have been able to achieve its target in October 2001.
The conclusion is that, emotionally, the threat of al-Qaeda and the jihadist movement is not any different in terms of operational after the death of Osama bin Laden.