Navy SEAL Adm. Eric T. Olson described the killing of bin Laden by a special operations raid on May 2 as a near-killing blow for what he called “al-Qaida 1.0,” as created by bin Laden and led from his hideout in Pakistan.
Olson said the group had already lost steam because of the revolts of the Arab Spring, which proved the Muslim world did not need al-Qaida to bring down governments, from Tunisia to Egypt.
“I think the death of bin Laden was an uppercut to the jaw,” Olson told a packed crowd, opening the Aspen Security Forum. “It just knocked them on their heels.”
Olson echoed other administration officials who are predicting al-Qaida’s demise if a few more key leaders can be eliminated.
But the four-star admiral warned of the fight to come against what he called al-Qaida 2.0, with new leaders like American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, who Olson said understands America better than Americans understand him.
Source: Kimberly Dozier for the Associated Press.