The Ameican killing of a top al-Qaeda leader, Abu Laith al-Libi, has aroused the fury of his followers who are threatening some sort of retaliation. “The men he trained… will not rest until they avenge him and realise his aspirations and hopes,” said Mustafa Abu al-Yazid. Libi was considered as one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants and was killed in a suspected US missile strike that killed up to 13 foreign militants in Pakistan’s northern regions which are the scene of extensive miltant action.
The American campaign against al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders is based, very much like the Israel idea, that one can kill the head of the militants which will lead to some form of collapse. Israel has been pursuing such a policy for years without any evidence it works. For each leader who is killed there is always someone to rise to the top and assume leadership of militants. This is not to argue against killing militant leaders, merely to point out it is a strategy that will not result in accomplishment of the goal of ending terrorism. The top down approach doesn’t deal with a bottom up concept which would be aimed at creating conditions that are not conducive to the rise of militants.