This is the way the â€œGlobal War on Terrorâ€ (GWOT) ends, over and over again: not with a bang, but a whimper.
Two Hellfire R9-X missiles launched from a MQ9 Reaper drone on the balcony of a house in Kabul. The target was Ayman Al-Zawahiri with a $25 million bounty on his head. The once invisible leader of â€˜historicâ€™ Al-Qaeda since 2011, is finally terminated.
All of us who spent years of our lives, especially throughout the 2000s, writing about and tracking Al-Zawahiri know how US â€˜intelâ€™ played every trick in the book â€“ and outside the book â€“ to find him. Well, he never exposed himself on the balcony of a house, much less in Kabul.
Another disposable asset
Why now? Simple. Not useful anymore â€“ and way past his expiration date. His fate was sealed as a tawdry foreign policy â€˜victoryâ€™ â€“ the remixed Obama â€˜Osama bin Laden momentâ€™ that wonâ€™t even register across most of the Global South. After all, a perception reigns that George W. Bushâ€™s GWOT has long metastasized into the â€œrules-based,â€ actually â€œeconomic sanctions-basedâ€ international order.
Cue to 48 hours later, when hundreds of thousands across the west were glued to the screen of flighradar24.com (until the website was hacked), tracking â€œSPAR19â€ â€“ the US Air Force jet carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi â€“ as it slowly crossed Kalimantan from east to west, the Celebes Sea, went northward parallel to the eastern Philippines, and then made a sharp swing westwards towards Taiwan,