Congratulations to U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism forces, and to both Presidents Bush and Obama, for the long chase that finally led to the end of Osama bin Laden. Americans can celebrate justice done, in the killing of this mass murderer. As Bill Roggio’s Long War Journal notes, this is “a major blow to al-Qaeda.”
But Obama, in his remarks Sunday evening, had it right this fight is not over: “There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.” Al-Qaeda trained thousands upon thousands in its bloodthirsty totalitarian creed and tactics of terror. Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, remains at large; so do many others, such as Saif Al-Adel, who according to the Telegraph is “thought to be in Iran.” Iran and al-Qaeda have a long history of connections, as detailed by a wide variety of sources, including the 9/11 Commission Report.
Which brings us to an enormous font of terror that Obama in his focus on al-Qaeda did not touch upon, and that is Iran — the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism,” according to none other than Obama’s own State Department. In State’s “Country Reports on Terrorism,” you can read about Iran’s Quds Force, “the external operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),” which “is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.” The State report goes on to describe how Iran has “provided weapons, training and funding to HAMAS and other Palestinian terrorist groups,” as well as training and hundreds of millions in funding to the terrorists of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Recall that Hezbollah, in its terrorist attacks, has killed more Americans than any terrorist organization except al-Qaeda. Add to this that while al-Qaeda has murdered thousands, Iran’s rulers, in their public statements, have proposed the murder of millions. They are working toward weapons that would enable them to do this. And for all the effort that has gone into imposing and trying to enforce sanctions meant to change Iran’s ways, nothing has yet persuaded or forced Tehran’s totalitarian theocracy to change course.
Getting bin Laden is a terrific victory in the battle to rid the world of the most notorious mass murderer of the 21st century. Now we need a lot more action to stop the rest, some of whom aspire to attacks even more devastating. This is a long war, and al-Qaeda is just one part of it. It ain’t over.