Ten years since the death of Bin Laden: the Saudi billionaire fanatic who became an enemy of the West

At 11:35 p.m. on the night of May 1, Washington time, in the early morning of May 2 in Spain, President Barack Obama confirms the rumors that were spreading throughout the country. USA has killed Osama bin Laden. The Spear of Neptune operation lasted just 15 minutes. Thirteen troops from the elite units of the Armed Forces coordinated by the CIA enter a house in Abottabad, Pakistan, just a few kilometers from the Pakistani intelligence office. It is three thirty in the afternoon in the United States. On the third floor, two women. And in a room, Bin Laden. Private Robert O’Neill pulled the trigger. Half an hour after landing, the helicopters finish the mission.

The White House decides not to distribute photographs of the corpse, which they throw into the sea. Obama said on CBS that the body was not a trophy. There is no image of the body but there is another image for the story. It is the one that the White House distributes and that the next day occupies the front pages of the press in half the world: ‘The Situation Room’, which is the name of the White House room where Obama follows the operation live. Along with him, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or the national security adviser.

Bin Laden’s death opened a new scenario in jihadist terrorism. Al Qaeda is weakening and ISIS, with its new ways of communicating, committing attacks and spreading, begins to gain strength and spreads to other countries. With the death of Bin Laden the leader of Al Qaeda dies, but: who really was this Saudi billionaire turned jihadist militant and enemy number one of the West? Why did the White House decide not to distribute an image of the corpse? What stage did the United States close with his death? What new scenario has opened in jihadist terrorism?

At Matinal SER we have spoken with reporter Jon Lee Anderson; Félix Arteaga, principal investigator of the Real Instituto El Cano and expert in international security; and with Fernando Redondo Neira, professor of Communication at the University of Santiago de Compostela.

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