Courtesy Reuters

What will the death of Osama bin Laden mean for the future of al Qaeda? That depends on whether al Qaeda more closely resembles the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) -- or Hamas and Hezbollah.

The former two groups were crippled by the capture of their leaders. Peruvian authorities apprehended the Shining Path head Abimael Guzmán in 1992, virtually eradicating the group. Turkish authorities arrested the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999. Although the PKK continues to exist, it lacks the operational capacity it once had under Öcalan’s direction.

Hamas and Hezbollah, in contrast, have

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