The news of the audacious Navy Seals raid that killed Osama bin Laden electrified the West, but in North Africa and the Middle East it was merely one story among many. “Last Tuesday, the front page of Dubai’s Al-Bajan newspaper was dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates. In Cairo, the lead article in the Al-Wafd newspaper addressed worries about money flowing out of Egypt. The Arab News in the Saudi capital Jeddah reported that English would now be an obligatory subject at school from fourth grade onward.”
What’s the Big Idea?
As dangerous as al-Qaida remains as a terrorist organization, its political ideology has become virtually irrelevant in the Middle East, says the German newspaper Spiegel. “The more attacks it has carried out since 9/11—including on targets in the Muslim world—the harder it has been to justify that terrorism to ordinary Muslims. … Support was particularly undermined by a series of al-Qaida assassinations carried out in Saudi Arabia from 2003 to 2006, in 2005 in Jordan and the countless attacks during the Iraq conflict, which quickly cost thousands of lives.”