Tulsa Middle East Expert Calls Death Of Radical Cleric A Big Victory

Friday, September 30th 2011, 4:38 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Reaction is coming in from all over, about the death of the world's most prominent and influential terrorist. U.S. drone strikes killed wanted al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki Friday morning in southern Yemen.

A Tulsa expert on terrorism and Middle Eastern Affairs says the death of the radical cleric is a big victory on the war on terror.

Dr. John Swails is the Director of the Center for Israel and Middle East Studies at Oral Roberts University. He says the death of Anwar al-Awlaki likely saved American lives in the future.

"He was a vicious, committed, terrorist," Swails said.

Al-Awlaki is the most prominent figure in al-Qaeda to be killed since Osama Bin Laden, and played a significant role in plotting and inspiring terrorist attacks.

"He was directly involved and indirectly of the planning and killing of US citizens, and he was busily promoting future attacks on us," he said.

Swails says the death of the terrorist will have a big impact on al-Qaeda's ability to recruit, raise funds and most of all inspire radical violence.

"Where he sits in the hierarchy of al-Qaeda I don't know, but because of his charisma, which he could communicate even through email he influenced and is influencing a lot of people," he said.

Swails and many other experts say the death of such a prominent figure in al-Qaeda is a milestone in the broad effort to defeat the terrorist group.

And persistent efforts by the U.S. to find terrorists sends a message that could deter future attacks.

"All of a sudden they see that the United States will have the courage and the principle of reasonably resolution to strike the individuals that are threatening, see that to me says wonders for us," Swails said.

Some civil Liberty groups are questioning the government's authority to kill an American without a trial, but Swails says al-Awlaki was such a dangerous threat to American lives, action needed to be taken.