According to an interesting report in the Wall Street Journal, Osama bin Laden--and his breed of Islamic fundamentalism--is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the new Middle East.
That new Middle East is being shaped by pro-democracy movements "in which al Qaeda has played no role," the Journal reports:
Bin Laden hadn't been seen since his last video address was released in 2007. He died without commenting on the collapse of U.S.-allied regimes that al Qaeda tried and failed to demolish with violence.
Despite bin Laden's attempts to jump-start a global Islamic revolution with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in the end Afghanistan's ultra-conservative Taliban regime was the only government his movement actually managed to bring down, by sparking a U.S.-led invasion.
Pro-American governments in Egypt and Tunisia fell this year at the hands of a new generation of peaceful protesters. They demanded democracy, human rights and social justice, not the return to puritan Islamic rule espoused by bin Laden.
And while some Islamists continue to take bin Laden's message to heart, other Muslims have grown disheartened by it:
But al Qaeda's indiscriminate attacks on civilians in places such as Jordan and in war-torn Iraq alienated many Muslims, who were repelled by the disregard for fellow Muslims' lives.
Saudi Arabia intensified its efforts to discredit al Qaeda after a wave of terrorist bombings in Riyadh in 2003.
Read the full story here.