Bin Laden's success
...As Wednesday’s anniversary of bin Laden’s death approaches, I have been going back over my notes of these messages. I found some unpublished passages that show how bin Laden’s legacy is an ironic mix: His movement is largely destroyed, but his passion for a purer and more Islamic government in the Arab world is partly succeeding. In that sense, the West shouldn’t be too quick to claim victory....What we’re seeing now in Egypt is something that might be called electoral bin Ladenism. Take the group Gamaa Islamiya, which under its spiritual leader, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, made the first unsuccessful attempt to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993. Today, the organization has formed a Salafist political party with the benign name Building and Development Party. This organization, which like al-Qaeda traces its roots to the Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb, has 13 seats in the new Egyptian parliament.
Syria will be a test of whether this post-bin Laden Islamist movement can continue to reject violence or will instead be radicalized by the jihadist magnet that is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The successor to bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has tried to use the anti-Assad battle to rehabilitate the al-Qaeda brand — even though it’s another fight that embodies the Muslim-on-Muslim violence that bin Laden came to abhor.
Zawahiri got little traction with his opportunistic “Onward, O Lions of Syria” video in February. But as time passes, al-Qaeda is slowly becoming a more potent part of the Syrian opposition.And the battle is still raging in Yemen, the place that bin Laden believed offered his best chance of victory. The United States just decided to step up its drone war there, which is a sure sign that al-Qaeda poses a significant, continuing threat....Obama has been particularly inept in dealing with the rise of the Muslim religious bigots in the Arab world. "Smart diplomacy" is not looking all that great as friendly governments are replaced by regimes that are hostile to freedom and to the US. These regimes are not willing to lash out as much as bin Laden, but they are stifling the life out of the countries in the name of Islam. The people are finding just how awful a Sharia based government can be.
I don't think Obama has a strategy for dealing with the rise of the Islamist in the Arab countries, but it is a problem for the people in these countries and for our allies in the region.