More on Bin Laden’s death and implications for Southeast Asia

An update on what Bin Laden’s death might mean for Southeast Asia, a topic I mentioned in my previous post.

First, an item by by Zachary Abuza from the blog of the Southeast Asia program at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies:

What Bin Laden’s Death Means for Counterterrorism Efforts in Southeast Asia

Last Sunday’s spectacular raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed will have important implications for the future of al Qaeda. It will also have modest implications for regional affiliates, aspirants and other violent groups in Southeast Asia.

And on Thailand:

In southern Thailand, where an ethno-religious based insurgency has raged since January 2004, claiming the lives of over 4,500 people and wounding over 9,000, bin Laden’s death will have little impact. Although the militants have an Islamist component to their agenda and have no qualms about mass casualty and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, they have never done so in al Qaeda’s name. Though there were some ties between JI and some of the insurgents in the past, there are few if any today. There is no known al Qaeda funding or support for the insurgents, although al Qaeda propaganda, video and bomb-making materials have been found on the computers of detained suspects.

Second, here’s the International Crisis Group’s Sidney Jones, in the Jakarta Post, on issues in Indonesia:

Implications of Bin Laden’s Death for Indonesia

Osama bin Laden is being hailed as a hero and martyr by radical groups around the country, with the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) holding a program of “gratitude for service” later today at its headquarters. Demonstrations against the US by other groups are planned. The question is whether there will be more serious consequences, and three come to mind.

These include:

One: a temporary shift back to foreign targets.

Two: possibility of revenge attacks.

Three: Strengthened attachment to al-Qaeda.

(Emphasis mine.)

(Via @ConnellyAL.)


Osama bin Laden’s death and Southeast Asia

Today’s WSJ:

Southeast Asia Braces for Islamist Reprisals

Government and security officials around Southeast Asia—a major theater of operations for al Qaeda over the past dozen years—are watching out for potential reprisals from Islamist terrorist groups around the region following news of the death of Osama bin Laden.

Today’s Bangkok Post:

US interests in Thailand on high alert

Police have beefed up security for US citizens and interests in Bangkok in the wake of al-Qaeda terrorist group leader Osama bin Laden’s reported death.

GlobalPost today:

Osama bin Laden’s Asian disciples

BANGKOK, Thailand — With Osama bin Laden’s killing in Pakistan, so goes the opportunity to make him answer for Al Qaeda’s wrongdoings in court.

That distinction will largely fall to bin Laden’s consigliere, the Kuwait-born Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or “KSM,” a confessed architect of the World Trade Center attacks. The U.S. has just recently announced that his military trial will take place soon at Guantanamo Bay detention center, his prison since 2006.

But the coming Guantanamo trials will also include a lesser-known band of operatives who swore allegiance to bin Laden: two Malaysians and one Indonesian.

They are Guantanamo’s only Asian prisoners, recruited in part to elude U.S. agents focused on monitoring Arabs.


Osama Bin Ladin killed: how the news spread

2011 05 02 abbotabad tweet

A few links to share about today’s big news:

Brian Stelter, in the NYT, on how the news broke:

The terse announcement came just after 9:45 p.m. Sunday from Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern Time,” he wrote on Twitter, sharing the same message that had just been transmitted to the White House press corps.

According to Brian Williams, the “NBC Nightly News” anchor, some journalists received a three-word e-mail that simply read, “Get to work.”

The nation’s television anchors and newspaper editors did not know, at first, that President Obama would be announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, an extraordinary development in the nearly 10-year-long war against terrorism waged by the United States and its allies. But reporters in Washington suspected almost immediately that the announcement could be about bin Laden.

That speculation was not aired out on television immediately, but it did erupt on Twitter and other social networking sites. Wishful thinking about bin Laden’s death ricocheted across the Web — and then, at 10:25 p.m., while Mr. Obama was writing his speech, one particular tweet seemed to confirm it. Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, wrote at that time, “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”

The Atlantic had a similar story, a bit earlier, on how the news spread on Twitter.

(All emphasis mine.)

It’s also interesting to look back at the tweets from Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual), an IT consultant who lives in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where the operation took place.

In the tweet pictured above, he says, “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” You can scroll back through his timeline to read his comments as events unfolded.