100 Bin Ladens on the Way
by Daniel Pipes
New York Post
April 8, 2003
"When it is over, if it is over, this war [in Iraq] will have horrible consequences," lamented Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak the other day.
"Terrorism will be aggravated," he predicted. "[Instead of one bin Laden there will be one hundred bin Ladens.] Terrorist organizations will be
united. Everything will be insecure."
Many others have echoed this dire prediction.
Mohammed Adwan, Jordan's information minister: "Rising militancy is going to be very hard to contain."
Ghazi Qusaibi, former Saudi ambassador to Britain: "There may be more terrorist attacks and violent displays of anger."
Magnus Ranstorp of St. Andrews University (Scotland): "This war is a major recruiting sergeant garnering foot soldiers for bin Laden."
Nubar Hovsepian of the University of Pennsylvania: "1991 produced one bin Laden, and 2003 will produce many more."
Actually, the precise opposite is more likely to happen: The war in Iraq will lead to a reduction in terrorism.
That's what happened a year and a half ago in Afghanistan.
Osama bin Laden then commanded far wider support among Muslims than does Saddam Hussein now: He was called "the greatest man in the world," his
poster was paraded on streets and newborn boys were named after him. Emotions were inflamed by claims of an American grab for oil and talk of Afghans
suffering a "crisis of Holocaust proportions."
The government of Pakistan was deemed on the verge of overthrow. Hostilities in Afghanistan were seen as inflaming rage against America. Some even
foreshadowed Mubarak's prediction: "They can kill bin Laden," said a Palestinian interviewed in London's Guardian. "But there will be hundreds
more bin Ladens." Well, it was not to be.
The Taliban collapsed in just two months and with them these predictions. Afghans expressed joy at being liberated ("We're being reborn in the
world"), which caused Muslim anger at Washington to melt away.