Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed in an American raid in Pakistan. The Saudi national, who was stripped of his citizenship, was living in a suburb of the Pakistani capital Islamabad.


The US forces dumped the body of Bin Laden in the sea, after alleging that the Saudis refused to receive his body. Saudi officials denied being asked to receive his body.


May 1, 2011



Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


The death of Bin Laden carries a number of implications for Yemen and the GCC. In recent years, the centre of activity for Al Qaeda has shifted from Pakistan / Afghanistan to Yemen, where Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is based. The death of Bin Laden is likely to increase this trend. AQAP’s area of operations is not restricted to Yemen, but also the rest  of GCC, particularly Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda, through AQAP, is likely to seek revenge by focusing on targets in Saudi Arabia, including soft targets.


In addition, Al Qaeda may seek to target Saudi interests overseas.


The continuity of Al Qaeda will very much depend on the role Bin Laden played in the organization and the sources of funding. Early indications are that he did play a significant role, implying that his death will weaken the organization. However, his death increases the chances of revenge against Saudi targets as well as Western targets in the GCC generally, and in Saudi Arabia in particular.