First of all, the confirmed death of Osama Bin Laden does not mean an end to terrorism. It does not end the fight against militant jihadists who have their own goals. One has to get a grip and understand the nature of the threat that was posed by OBL when he formed Al Qaida. This also involves examining more closely and in detail the role of Muslim Brotherhood in the surge of terrorist groups around the world. The Jihad is not dead just because OBL has been killed. In fact the death of OBL could see a surge in terrorist activity.
Over the past week I have looked a bit more closely at Pakistan, since Pakistan is the real hot bed of terrorism at the present time. It is true that there are jihadists and those affiliated with AQ in a range of other ME nations. Some leaders of those nations are fighting for their existence right at this very moment. However, the real threat remains centred on Pakistan, followed by Yemen, then Egypt, and down the chain to Libya. There are many countries that have violent jihadists and each is a danger to western nations.
The terrorist attack in Morocco has led to some arrests, and surprise, surprise, the people arrested are members of the local AQ network. The threat is by no means diminished.
So far, countries such as Indonesia, where there is also a large contingent of radical Islamists, and Pakistan, where the Islamists are literally everywhere, are bracing themselves for more violence. Indonesia has seen much violence over the years, and I do remember that there was an upsurge of the violence in the 1990s. Most of the violence in Indonesia has centred on the Aceh province, which is where the Yemeni imam Abu Bakr Bashir had his jihad training camps. Indonesia has done a credible job in rounding up jihadists, and then either putting them in jail or handing out the death sentence (when they survived the firefight and were captured rather than killed). However, with the trial of Abu Bakr Bashir underway for again inciting jihad with his training camps, things could quickly get out of control. The Australian Embassy, as well as several American hotels have been targets for these jihadists in Indonesia since the 1990s.
However, the countries to watch in the first instance are Pakistan and India. As you are aware, American Pakistanis participated in the Mumbai massacre. One thing I am noting is the alarming increase in the number of Pakistanis participating in jihad activity around the world. Much of the activity in London and other parts of the UK have been carried out by Pakistanis, but one attack was carried out by Indian Muslim doctors. The Times Square bomber was a Pakistani and several others that have been caught before they could pull their stunts have been Pakistanis.
Second, I think that we need to have another look at the covert role played by Pakistan in protecting OBL for the past 6 years. We can be certain that for a period of time it was the Afghanistan Taliban that was protecting him… until the carrying out of the plot on the World Trade Centre. He then fled to the Tora Boras, and then he managed to escape prior to the bombardment of the region. That should immediately have been a red flag: someone in the security of Pakistan was aiding and abetting OBL, and that someone or persons helped him to escape so that he could live in annonymity in a town that was flanked by military personnel. A finger could be pointed at the ISI because they have actually stated that the compound had been an ISI safe house in 2003 when it had not yet been built. Another finger could also be pointed to the former leader Pervez Musharef who never really comes across all that well. It is possible that he played the double game.
Third, keeping with the same theme in regard to Pakistan and their military, it is possible that there were members of the military who were helping the harbour the fugitive OBL. However, it seems that at the very top levels of the ISA and the Pakistan military in 2011, that they were doing things in a covert way to assist in the tracking down of these militants. There have been a few reports that indicate that there was cooperation with the Pakistan military, and that they cordoned off the area prior to the raid. Then there is the arrest of the Indonesian Patek in January 2011. This was kept a secret for a long time until Kevin Rudd mentioned the arrest (which was swiftly denied by his Indonesian counterpart). It seems that the Indonesians knew about the arrest but were staying mum for some reason. Only now has it been revealed that it could have been that Patek was seeking to meet with OBL. Since the raid there have been some other arrests in Abbottabad. So it would seem that the Pakistan military is trying to do the right thing and at the same time trying to mollify the more militant Pakistanis. They walk a very tight line.
Fourth, Pakistani security in recent years has been abysmal. Once again I hark back to the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. The issue for me is why the security detail faded away prior to the attack. People were in the know that the attack was going to happen. Since then, there have been multiple attacks on police barracks. All attacks have been the work of militant jihadis associated with either AQ or the Pakistani Taliban.
One has to question why Pakistan receives aid when it seems incapable of cleaning up its own act in dealing with these militant individuals. The more that Pakistan veers towards the full Sharia state, the more that we in the west should back away from them. Pakistan is extremely dangerous, and the religious party is firmly in control – that is why Benazir Bhutto was assassinated (a woman has no business in politics in this modern Pakistan). Pakistanis are very easily turned into becoming jihadis too. There is really no such thing as a moderate Pakistani.