Robert Fisk: How US turned tired has-been into a martyr
Published 05/05/2011 | 05:00
Bin Laden got his just desserts -- those who live by the sword tend to die by the sword -- but did he get the "justice" that President Obama talked about? Many Arabs -- and this theme was taken up by the Arab press, which spoke not of his killing but of his "execution" -- thought he should have been captured, taken to the international court in The Hague and tried by law for his crimes.
Of course there will always be those, in the Middle East but especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who do and will believe he was a brave martyr ignominiously murdered by the proxy arm of "Zionism". Islamist groups in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and many Ulema in south-west Asia have said as much already.
In reality, needless to say, he was a has-been. His promises of overthrowing the pro-American or non-Islamic Arab dictators were fulfilled by the people of Egypt and Tunisia -- and perhaps soon by Libyans and Syrians -- not by al-Qa'ida and its fearful violence. The real problem, however, is that the West, which has constantly preached to the Arab world that legality and non-violence was the way forward in the Middle East, has taught a different lesson to the people of the region: that executing your opponents is perfectly acceptable.