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Robert Pape: The Death of Osama Bin Laden with English subtitles  

I'm Robert babe I'm a professor at the

University of Chicago and I'm the

director of the Chicago project on

security and terrorism I am I Jenna

Jordan and I am a postdoctoral scholar

at the Harris school for Public Policy

and I'm a fellow at the Chicago project

on security and terrorism as well as you

already know the death of Osama bin

Laden is by far the most prominent

success that we've had in the war on

terror in the last 10 years there is no

more successful day that we've had then

today celebrating the success but there

are large questions about what is the

long-term what how much should we really

be confident about our future and the

answer is that it turns a lot on how we

follow up today's major success because

as you'll hear especially from Jenna

leadership decapitation of terrorist

groups even religious terrorist groups

in and of itself rarely cripples a

terrorist organization what really

matters is what happens after that

leader is killed what really matters are

the next steps that follow up after that

leader is killed today many people are

asking is there a possibility of

retaliation after the death of Osama bin

Laden and the answer is yes in the short

term in the short term it is fully

possible that remnants of al Qaeda will

seek to avenge his death Osama bin Laden

was very much the hub in the middle of a

wheel and there are spokes that still

exists at many of those folks they seek

to operate independently however that

and that does mean that we do need to

worry about the safety of Americans all

over the world just as President Obama

and our state department is doing

however this also closes opportunities

for us because those individuals folks

if they want to be effective that is not

just do an attack that burns out in the

blaze of glory but action

we have an effective attack they're

going to have to put this together on

the fly they will have to talk to each

other they will have to plan they will

have to do reconnaissance all of those

are major opportunities for our

intelligence services to collect

information and actually to roll up the

group that's why intelligence services

that have been on the job on the ball

not only in getting information to kill

the leader in the first place but to

follow that up in an aggressive way have

actually had success in rolling up

groups secondly and probably far more

important is whether we take steps

starting in the next few months to

significantly undermine the long-term

support that al-qaida has enjoyed in

various parts of the Muslim world the

crucial pillar of Osama bin Laden

support from the beginning in the 1990s

has been the deployment of large-scale

American military forces first on the

Arabian Peninsula and then in

Afghanistan this is something that we

had actually been a bit reluctant to

talk about because we'd like to believe

that when we station a large army

overseas it will necessarily make us

safer the fact is it's been at most a

mixed blessing what made Osama bin Laden

popular what made him famous was not

being an Islamic radical there were

dozens and hundreds of Islamic radicals

what made him famous was his public and

public vigorous opposition to the

deployment of tens of thousands of

American ground forces in Saudi Arabia

and other countries on the Arabian

Peninsula in the 1990s that became the

rallying cry that brought dozens and

then hundreds to support al Qaeda and

that's why the most important next step

we can take to undermine the group is in

fact over the next six months or a year

to begin large-scale withdrawals of

ground forces from Afghanistan and to

continue the already significant

withdrawals that are

under way in Iraq because if we take

today's major success and follow it up

with undermining the long-term support

for al-qaeda what we will do is render

that group increasingly fragile

increasingly a group that's falling

apart not a group that is reconstituting

itself I will have looked at about 300

cases of decapitation which can refer to

either the killing or arresting of a

leader and basically looked at whether

it was effective when it worked and when

it didn't work decapitation rarely

brings about the demise of a terrorist

group so if we take this analysis and we

apply it to the case of al-qaeda it

would indicate that it's not likely to

be effective in the case of al-qaeda at

least decapitation alone is not likely

to be effective so al Qaeda started in

1988 we have an organization over 20

years of age if we look at Al Qaeda's

membership and even looking beyond just

al Qaeda core if we're including its

affiliates in you know in the Islamic

Maghreb in the Arabian Peninsula there's

clearly over 500 members also increasing

its stability and we have a religious

organization I think that's very clear

so these things would indicate that

decapitation is really not decapitation

alone it's really not likely to be

effective against Al Qaeda and in fact

what my data shows is that against these

sort of types of organizations older

groups larger groups religious groups

targeting the leader actually can

increase their resilience and increase

their life span overall and I think a

lot of this has to do with what

Professor paid was talking about in

terms of things like support things like

retaliatory attacks so these are the

sort of you know what we look at other

cases of decapitation very prominent

cases that have happened in the past

look taking a Hamas for instance you

know in 2004 we saw the targeting of

very high-profile leaders yaseen and run

TC and in the aftermath of these attacks

we saw retaliatory attacks we saw a huge

increase and an amount of support for

Hamas and

fact you know resulting in a Hamas

winning the legislative elections in

2006 they're going to worry whether we

tell them to or not and it's a good

thing you see public awareness being

publicly alert often comes from being

worried about your safety and today I am

sure that if there's any question of any

suspicious activity whatsoever people

are calling the FBI they're calling the

police they're calling any first

responder they can think of that is a

good situation to be in because that

means that it's going to be highly

unlikely that we're just going to be

surprised who's surprised today al-qaeda

that's who's surprised that's the way we

want to keep it any yes Chicago does

present a greater retaliatory threat

than the average sitting in the United

States why is that it's because we have

very famous buildings in Chicago we have

of course the Sears Tower the sears

tower was has been mentioned among Ben

Laden's favorite targets so to speak

it's being famous makes it prominent on

any list but by the way that's something

we know very well at this point and the

bad guys know very well at this point

the real energy for al-qaeda is coming

from the long-term presence of the

large-scale forces United States has

stationed in Muslim countries what

al-qaeda is trying to do is trying to

kill large numbers of people that's why

if you look at the al-qaeda attacks

there's simply a pattern in their

attacks they attacked transportation

systems they often try to attack

airplanes they often The Times Square

bomber he's trying to attack a group of

people in a prominent place such as

Times Square that's what is what do they

all have in common large numbers of

people in a well defined space and

that's really what's driving al-qaeda is

targeting choice it's not really being

driven by a religious calendar or

religious symbolism and so it is simply

the case that over the next few months

we are going to have to be a word but

again I want to tell you that we are

going to be a word naturally and it's a

good thing that we're going to be a work

naturally because we can all take

comfort that our neighbors are helping

us there is there are two parts of the

terrorist organization so to speak

there's the existing members of the

terrorist organizations those that have

already wanted to become terrorists and

we're trying to carry out the tax with a

suicide terrorist organization you can't

just rely on those existing members

because when you do a suicide attack you

only get to do one of those all right so

suicide terrorist organizations always

depend on the next generation the next

generation of suicide terrorists are

overwhelmingly walk-in volunteers

they're not longtime members of an

organization and those walk-in

volunteers are motivated over

ninety-five percent of the time by anger

at the presence of ground forces on

territory the terrorist prize that's why

the more we've put forces in Afghanistan

the more we've stimulated terrorism

Afghanistan the more we've withdrawn

forces from Iraq the more we've

decreased terrorism in Iraq and so what

we need to do is worry about the next

generation because if the next

generation doesn't come then

increasingly the current generation just

becomes more fragile or fragile and more

fragile and collapses however if we make

a different choice if we decide Oh for

the next few years let's stay tough

let's keep that big Army in Afghanistan

then I'm afraid the prospects start to

turn on the other side what we think is

that big force is going to make us safe

no it's going to mobilize more

terrorists than it's going to kill

anyone where he was in Pakistan you know

military city and what does that say

about you talk to anybody who does

covert operations they will often tell

you the best place to hide is where they

ain't looking so if we have this big

army that's supposed to be looking all

over here and there they're just not

hiding there and what we see with bin

Laden is the standard intelligence

operation which is let's just hide where

nobody's looking the big thing to

understand is that getting bin Laden was

always going to be about intelligence

and once we had the intelligence than

tiny numbers of forces we're going to be

needed to get in once you have accurate

intelligence you only need a little bit

of force to take out the leader without

that accurate intelligence you can have

a whole army and it's beside the point

and that's the big thing that we're

learning here which is that the deal

with terrorism this is an intelligence

problem a CIA a problem a special forces

problem it just simply doesn't help to

take a hundred thousand ground troops

and start conquer in Muslim countries

you

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