Bin Laden Eulogy and the Future of Al Qaeda
Osama bin Laden has been dead for just over a month, and now his "second in command" has issued a video eulogy, not unlike the annual videos offered by Bin Laden himself. Ayman al-Zawahiri released a video singing the praises of his fallen leader, and calling for renewed attacks on the Westerners that remain in Muslim lands.
In addition to calling for jihad against invaders in Muslim lands, Zawahiri called for the uprising of Pakistanis against their government for giving in to the U.S. In addition to calling for an uprising against the Pakistani government, he also railed against the U.S. for bin Laden's sea burial.
As for the future of Al Qaeda presumably under the leadership of Zawahiri, Al-Jazeera's political analyst is of the opinion that the organization is finished. Killing bin Laden killed the movement, and being "second in command" is meaningless. Additionally, given the events of the Arab Spring, Al Qaeda is no longer relevant. The people are already out on the streets speaking their minds, and have no need for the organization.
But that assessment could be nothing more than wishful thinking. Al Qaeda has taken responsibility for at least two bombings against Sunnis in Iraq. The first was outside one of their Mosques, and the second was at the hospital where victims were transported for treatment. The organization did not take responsibility for a bombing that killed 5 U.S. soldiers.
Al-Zawahiri is attempting to either take control of Al Qaeda, or resurrect it from the ashes, dependent upon how one views the current state of that organization. Either way, until he is pulled out of hiding in the wilderness between Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is unlikely that he will give up bin Laden's cause. Whether or not Al Qaeda is still a force to be reckoned with remains to be seen, and until bombings like the ones in Iraq are proven to be the responsibility of anyone other than its members, it would be unwise to assume that the organization died with its leader.