Al Qaeda is still the West's nightmare

Two years after Osama bin Laden was killed, the organisation he started is still going strong, an Arabic editorial asserts. Elsewhere in the Digest: two meditations on the Arab Spring.

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Two years after his death, Osama bin Laden's organisation keeps changing but still lives on

May 2 marked the second anniversary of the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan by members of the US "naval special warfare development group" and CIA operatives, in a covert operation ordered by President Barack Obama, the London-based daily Al Quds Al Arabi noted.

The paper's editorial on the subject on Thursday was entitled On the anniversary of its leader's assassination, Al Qaeda is stronger than ever.

"The Al Qaeda organisation, which bin Laden founded in 1996, did not at all wane as the Americans had anticipated," the editorial asserted.

"On the contrary, it became even more dangerous and geographically widespread," the paper went on.

Before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the organisation was small and was based only in Afghanistan. Today, however, Al Qaeda has branches in most parts of the Islamic world, not only because of its enticing jihadist ideology that appeals to many outraged Islamic youth, but also because of the increasingly unjust US and western policies towards the Islamic world, suggested the paper.

The US administration still considers Al Qaeda to be the prime threat to the security of the United States. Billions of dollars are allocated to security procedures and intelligence networks in the hope of preventing any more vengeful attacks.

"It is remarkable that the US administration continues to fear bin Laden even after his death. It refuses to publish any photographic proof of his assassination or release details about the assassination operation," the paper added.

Yes, the US did take out the organisation's head, but it didn't stop its body from growing stronger and more capable of pushing the US and other Western governments into long and costly wars of attrition.

The current events in Mali, Yemen and Afghanistan are only some of examples of Al Qaeda's power today, the editorial continued.

The organisation's ever-widening scope of operations is probably America's worst nightmare.

Now that Al Qaeda is actively present in Iraq and Syria, President Obama and his Israeli ally Benjamin Netanyahu are desperate to stop Syria's chemical weapons from getting into the hands of the organisation or any of the jihadist groups affiliated with it. These weapons would surely be used against Israel.

"Al Qaeda is much like a mythical dragon. You cut off its head and many other heads sprout in its place.

"It will always be a terrifying obsession for any US administration as long as Washington continues to practice the policies that led to its creation in the first place," the paper concluded.

Arab world is plagued by excess of anxiety

Recent developments following the Arab uprisings call to mind something said by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Bahraini author Ali Mohammed Fakhro wrote in the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

What Nietzsche said was this: "Insanity in individuals is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."

The symptoms of neurosis disorder are prevalent everywhere, Fakhro wrote. The Arab community is plagued by excessive anxiety and unjustified phobia.

In the media, pessimism and wailing are disseminated by those who lack insight into history or the nature of politics, he went on. That is why they magnify the mistakes that are happening in the political landscape in Arab Spring nations.

Too much worry led these people to deem such mistakes incorrigible, and that in turn brings despair and apathy to the public.

"Although the historic barriers of fear among the Arab publics were broken by the Arab revolutions," he wrote, "particularly the historic fear of brutal rulers, an illogical phobia of what the future holds is now on the rise."

Behind this phobia are a number of intellectuals and pundits who, through superficial analysis, push people into neurosis. Some of these people belong to the counter-revolution while others are just impatient.

The good news is that neurosis among communities, as among individuals, is treatable.

Arab states at risk of losing original values

The Arab uprisings started as action against tyranny and for freedom; but now some practices are posing a threat to the very identities of Arab Spring nations, Syrian poet Adunis wrote in a column in the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.

It is no longer a matter of regimes and oppositions, liberty and dictatorship; it has become much more serious than that - nations' identities are in danger of losing their meanings, the poet wrote.

Many groups seem to be eager to bring back the middles ages, and some leaders sound as if they are from another planet. Revolutionaries usually rise to end darkness and open the windows of freedom and justice. But those who pretend to be liberators in Arab countries seem to converge with the old rulers in violence, turning prayer into a sword.

Three negative phenomena worth studying, anthropologically speaking, are marring the Arab Spring. These are the outburst of Arabic and Islamic culture, the destruction of urban life, and the disintegration of societies on religious and sectarian grounds.

This has led to the disruption of values and principles and a lack of objectivity.

Even consideration of the concepts of Ummah and Arabism seem unable to help do anything about that, the writer noted.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk