Bin Laden death an 'intense turning point': British press

3rd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Osama bin Laden's death is a watershed in the fight against terror, Britain's press said Tuesday, stressing that Al-Qaeda's position in the Arab world had weakened considerably.

Bin Laden's reputation has been tarnished by the revelation he was hiding in a luxury compound, and by his reported use of a woman, believed to be his wife, as a human shield, newspapers said.

"A bullet in the brain was all this coward deserved," the Daily Mail's outspoken columnist Richard Littlejohn said.

"If they (Al-Qaeda) love death as much as we love life, we should do our level best to oblige them. Sometimes a bullet between the eyes is the only way," he added.

"Bin Bagged," The Sun tabloid ran as its front-page headline.

"Never did a murdering rat more richly deserve a bullet in the brain," the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper said in its editorial.

"He (bin Laden) was not living the austere life he demanded of his followers. The hypocritical rat was enjoying luxury in his plush fortress."

The centre-right Telegraph was more measured in its analysis, but agreed the terrorist mastermind's death was unambiguously good news.

"This man, more than any other, turned the opening years of the 21st century into the decade of terrorism," the paper's editorial said. "His death is an enormous psychological blow to those who would do us harm."

As popular rebellions continue across the Arab world, the paper predicted that the older dictatorial model was now more likely to be replaced by democracy than by Al-Qaeda's brand of theocracy.

"The uprisings of the 'Arab Spring' have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda and its nihilist philosophy, and everything to do with the desire of the young and powerless to have a say in the way they are governed," it said.

The centre-left Guardian echoed the sentiments.

"The result of (Islamic) fratricidal carnage is that Al-Qaeda has now lost what fatal attraction it once held for anti-imperialists," it said.

"There is no more potent sign of the loss of Al-Qaeda's brand leadership of revolt than the Arab Spring, in which one dictatorship after another has tottered and fallen, out of a yearning to end tyranny."

Richard Kemp, who led British forces in Afghanistan, said in The Times that the operation represented "what Churchill would have called a 'climacteric' -- an intense turning point -- in the war on terror."

The presence of bin Laden at a luxury complex in a bustling military town raised media suspicions that Pakistan may have helped hide "the world's most wanted man".

"(British Prime Minister) David Cameron got into diplomatic trouble last summer for warning (Pakistan) that it could not 'look both ways' on terrorism. He has been vindicated," The Telegraph said.

"That bin Laden was living a stone's throw from one of Pakistan's leading military academies will confirm the suspicions of many that that country's ISI intelligence agency is dangerously compromised," it added.

© 2011 AFP

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