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Bin Laden ‘Retains the Capacity to Mobilize Extremists’ Almost 10 Years After Death

The Al-Qaeda founder “retains the capacity to mobilize extremists even in a polarized jihadist scene that has radically changed in the last years”

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Osama bin Laden

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the death of global terrorist, Al-Qaeda founder and 9/11 terror attack mastermind Osama bin Laden, his influence remains. The Associated Foreign Press reports bin Laden “retains the capacity to mobilize extremists even in a polarized jihadist scene that has radically changed in the last years.”

Bin Laden’s body was apparently buried in the Arabian Sea in a respectful Muslim burial directly from the deck of a US aircraft carrier. This burial was also to “avoid the creation of any pilgrimage site on land” reports the AFP. “Above all, Al-Qaeda is now a brand and a franchise rather than a coherent organization with a decision-making hub.”

However, “Bin Laden’s face still gets emblazoned on T-shirts, his name appears painted on the back of cars, and his effigy is often brandished during demonstrations.” While some jihadi circles do not follow bin Laden’s strategy, Al-Qaeda branches are still active in the Sahel, Somalia, Yemen and Syria, “but much less in the West.”

Glenn Robinson, author of “Global Jihad: A Brief History” says bin Laden’s approach in jihadist circles is controversial, most notably his decision to attack the United States. “It is still widely viewed as a significant strategic mistake. Part of the evidence for this is that very few follow this strategy anymore – and most never did.”

In the wake of bin Laden’s death, “Islamic extremism mutated…with Al-Qaeda losing its status as the world’s foremost jihadist network to the Islamic State group, which at its zenith controlled swathes of Iraq and Syria” according to the AFP.

Aaron Zelin, a researcher who runs the Jihadology website that analyzes extremist videos says of bin Laden’s death, “since he was killed before 2014 and the split between IS and AQ, he is still viewed favorably amongst the IS cadre.” Zelin added, “in some ways IS sees itself as the true successors to the Bin Laden way.”

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International

Iran Launches Missile Into Space As Biden Admin Fails To Negotiate New Nuclear Deal

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Joe Biden

On Sunday, Iran’s state television announced that the country had launched a solid-fueled rocket into space, drawing criticism from the United States ahead of plans for continued negotiations over the Iranian nuclear deal.

“It’s unclear when or where the rocket was launched, but the announcement came after satellite photos showed preparations at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s rural Semnan province, the site of Iran’s frequent failed attempts to put a satellite into orbit,” the Associated Press reported. “Iran had previously acknowledged that it planned more tests for the satellite-carrying rocket, which it first launched in February of last year.”

“Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for Iran’s Defense Ministry, said Zuljanah, a 25.5 meter-long rocket, was capable of carrying a satellite of 220 kilograms (485 pounds) that would ultimately gather data in low-earth orbit and promote Iran’s space industry. Zuljanah is named for the horse of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad,” the Associated Press added.

According to the report, the White House is aware of Iran’s announcement and said the move was “unhelpful and destabilizing.”

Iran’s state-run media aired dramatic footage of the missile launch amid heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, which has accelerated as President Biden’s administration has failed to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran.

According to a report earlier this year, three Biden administration negotiators working on a renewed nuclear deal with Iran gave up and left the team because they thought that President Biden was being too weak in dealing with Iran during negotiations.

“U.S. officials confirmed over the weekend that Richard Nephew, the deputy special envoy for Iran, has left the team. Mr. Nephew, an architect of previous economic sanctions on Iran, had advocated a tougher posture in the current negotiations, and he hasn’t attended the talks in Vienna since early December,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Two other members of the team, which is led by State Department veteran Robert Malley, have stepped back from the talks, the people familiar said, because they also wanted a harder negotiating stance.”

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Economy

Biden Suggests Only Solution To Gas Prices Is Letting Putin Invade Europe

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Joe Biden

On Wednesday, President Biden suggested that the only solution to high gas prices is to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade parts of Europe.

“For all those Republicans in Congress criticizing me today for high gas prices in America, are you now saying we were wrong to support Ukraine?” Biden said. “Are you saying we were wrong to stand up to Putin?  Are you saying that we would rather have lower gas prices in America and Putin’s iron fist in Europe?”

“I don’t believe that,” he continued. “Look, I get the easy politics of the attack.  I get that.  But the simple truth is gas prices are up almost $2.00 a gallon because of Vladimir Putin’s ruthless attack on Ukraine, and we wouldn’t let him get away with it.  And we’re doing everything we can to reduce this pain at the pump now.”

However, the increase in gas prices since Russia invaded Ukraine is closer to $1 than it is to $2. On February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, national gas prices were at $3.54 per gallon, and on June 22, the day of Biden’s speech, gas prices were at $4.95 per gallon – which is an increase of $1.41.

Gas prices began rising shortly after Biden took office. From January 20, 2021, to February 24, 2022, gas prices soared from $2.40 per gallon to $3.54 per gallon – an increase of nearly 50 percent.

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