Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations (where he blogs), co-author of "America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy" and a former director for global issues and multilateral affairs at the National Security Council.
By James M. Lindsay – Special to CNN
Americans are cheering the surprising news that U.S. Special Forces have killed Osama bin Laden. The successful military operation is a tribute to the skill of U.S. Special Forces, the perseverance of intelligence professionals who have hunted bin Laden for more than a decade and the nerve of a president to order a military strike that could have failed spectacularly.
The strike on bin Laden’s compound also raises lots of questions. Here are seven:
1. Does Bin Laden’s death cripple al Qaeda and jihadist terrorism more broadly? Probably not. Al Qaeda long ago ceased to be a centralized operation. For the last decade bin Laden has been a figurehead than a mastermind. Terrorist attacks, like the bomb plot that German authorities broke up last week, have been planned and carried out by largely independent al Qaeda “affiliates.” Nonetheless, U.S. Special Forces might have picked up valuable intelligence as they scoured bin Laden’s command post that could help uncover terrorist cells and plots.Read the full story
The killing of Osama bin Laden is "an enormously significant moment in the fight against al Qaeda terrorism," and there is no one poised to take his place as the group's leader, says CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank.
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil, was killed by U.S. forces in a mansion in Abbottabad, about 31 miles north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, U.S. officials said Sunday night. Read the full story
And here's a round-up of some of the coverage:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he hopes the world believes that his country is "not the place of terrorism" after the announcement that the al Qaeda leader was killed in neighboring Pakistan.
"If the international troops/forces are true allies of the Afghans - they should come out and say that the killing of Afghans, children and elders which took place over the many years on a daily basis was not a good idea," Karzai said Monday on state television.
Bin Laden eluded capture for years, once reportedly slipping out of a training camp in Afghanistan just hours before a barrage of U.S. cruise missiles destroyed it.
Prior to masterminding the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, bin Laden had been implicated in a series of deadly, high-profile attacks that had grown in their intensity and success during the 1990s. They included a deadly firefight with U.S. soldiers in Somalia in October 1993, the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 224 in August 1998, and an attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors in October 2000.
In his speech, Obama reiterated that the United States is not fighting Islam.
"I've made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims," Obama said.