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Who Gains Who Loses After Laden's Death

TUESDAY, May 10, 2011

US President Barack Obama - THUMBS UP

The US President has seen his dismal approvals surge by as much as 15 percent points. More usefully, killing Obama bin Laden has killed off Republicans claims he was a security wimp. But it isn't all politics. Obama has been just as determined as George W. Bush on destroying Al Qaeda.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh - SMALL UP

India gains because Pakistan is down. Sort of. India has been busy pointing out that the Pakistani military is in ca boots with every possible terrorist you can name. But Singh is too focussed on his peace drive to make much of what's happening in Afghanistan. Perhaps Kayani will be more realistic about his country's future - in which case the talks may actually be fruitful.

General Ashfaq Kayani of Pakistan Army - BIG DOWN

There is strong speculation the Pakistani army chief will be told to retire. Otherwise, Kayani was looking good. He had Hamid Karzai over a barrel, Manmohan Singh in a corner. The US was pumping in billions. He could still win Afghanistan but for many Pakistanis he will just bet the soldier who let the country's guard down.

Al Qaeda - BIG DOWN

Given that so many of its affiliates and members had sworn oath of fealty to Bin Laden himself the groups main problem will be keeping everything together. Al Qaeda needs some spectacular evil otherwise it may find itself overtaken by other, younger terror groups. We know one thing: Ayman al Zawahiri, the bookish number two, won't hack it when it comes to street cred.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai - SMALL UP

After the Abbottabad incident, Karzai crowed how it had once again been shown that terrorism wasn't an Afghan phenomenon, it was a Pakistani one. But he still has too few options. He's being forced to seek talks with the Taliban and toe the Pakistani line. Bin Laden's death may help, but his problems are Af and Pak, not Arab.


The Taliban are a cluster of Afghan militant groups. Their friendship with the Arab-dominated Al Qaeda made them the targets of the US military machine. They now have the chance to become bigger than everyone. If they play their cards right they could get the US to begin leaving Afghanistan. If they play them better they could end up ruling Kabul again.


Reshmita said...

Well researched, informative article.

Anonymous said...

A good analytical article

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