Foreign Policy Blogs

"Senior al-Qaeda figure killed"

NBC news is reporting that a drone strike in Pakistan killed a “senior al-Qaeda figure”, but that it wasn’t Osama Bin Laden. Even if it were someone as high up as Ayman al-Zawahiri—al Qaeda’s number two—it would not change the reality on the ground. Capturing or killing Bin Laden or Zawahiri would be a major coup for the United States, but the problems of militant extremism in South Asia would still exist.

Were we to ‘get’ Bin Laden and/or Zawahiri tomorrow, it would not change the fact that a withdrawal without some sort of regional stabilization is an unwise idea. Yes, it’d be a major symbolic victory, and it would matter quite a bit. But that wouldn’t translate into immediate success in the region, and the American public need to know that fact.



Andrew Swift

Andrew Swift is a graduate of the University of Iowa, with a degree in History and Political Science. Long a student of international affairs, he is on an unending quest to understand the world better.