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For the Media

Osama Bin Laden’s Death:  AU Experts Available for Commentary

American University, ranked by Princeton Review as the most politically active campus in the nation, has professors available to provide expertise and commentary on President Barack Obama’s announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s death, the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Abbottabad region, terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamabad, social/political reaction about justice, freedom and democracy, Ground Zero, World Trade Center, Pentagon and more.

Each expert below has substantial experience with press interviews. To request an interview with one of American University’s experts, contact AU’s Communications Office at 202-885-5950 or

Terrorism Experts & Reaction:

Akbar Ahmed the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies has been called “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam” by the BBC. The former Pakistani Ambassador to England has advised General Petraeus, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and met with Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, in addition to other high-ranking officials.
Ahmed says: “This is a seminal moment in 21st century history. America has closure for 9/11 finally and has no real reason to stay in Afghanistan and the Muslim world can now see Osama Bin Laden’s method brought nothing but death and destruction and the way ahead is to strive for democracy and dignity as in Arab revolutions. As for Pakistan-U.S. relations, I suggest there is more to it than meets the eye. It was in the interest of both to say this was a U.S. operation and Pakistan did not know about the mission. This is a significant moment for both U.S. and Muslim leaders and gives a new, more hopeful, direction to world.”

Jordan Tama – expert in security strategy, terrorism, intelligence, Congress, the presidency, advisory commissions. The author of Terrorism and National Security Reform: How Commissions Can Drive Change During Crises (Cambridge University Press, 2011). He was a member of the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Expert Advisory Groups for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Tama says: “The killing of Bin Laden is a great achievement for the United States and great news for the world. We owe thanks to all of our public servants who have worked so hard in a very difficult environment to track and capture or kill him over the past decade. The fight against Al Qaeda is far from over, but this is a big step forward in the dismantlement of its central leadership.”

Richard Bennett - expert in international crime statistics and trends, criminal defense systems in developing nations. Available to discuss impact on terrorism. 

Emilio Viano - expert in terrorism, transnational and organized crime, international security issues. Fluent in Spanish, French and Italian.

Middle East Experts & Reaction:

Kristin Diwan – expert in Middle East politics, Arab politics, Gulf politics, politics of Islamic finance, political economy of Islamism; specifically, how Islamic political movements build support and further social Islamization through the economy. Diwan’s most recent project entails researching the social and institutional origins of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf region.

Clovis Maksoud - former ambassador and permanent observer of the League of Arab States at the United Nations. He is an expert in Relations between countries in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, Middle East, developing world.
Maksoud says, "This is a very corrective development. It's becoming much more costly for terrorists and few incentives for terrorism. It enboldens civil society in the Muslim world to confront terrorism head-on."

Loubna Skalli-Hanna - expert in human rights and the Middle East.
   Skalli-Hanna says, "It's important to note that the majority of Muslims are rejoicing to the news of bin Laden’s death.  Most of Al Qaeda's victims, after all, are innocent Muslims. We should be careful when reporting on the reaction to his death from the Middle East. What has captured the U.S. media are instances of anger and "threats of retaliation" from Al Qaeda followers/sympathizers. These, however, do not represent the voices of the ordinary people from the region who, if given a chance, would reveal how close they are to Americans in their concern about the killings of their children, parents, friends and relatives. As the current Arab Spring has revealed, bin Laden and Al Qaeda's ideology do not resonate with the vast majority of the Arab youth. For many young men and women, bin Laden died a long time ago since he neither provided a democratic and just world, nor helped them secure their present or future prosperity."

Political/Media/Business Experts & Reaction:

Gordon Adams – former legislative director to President Clinton, oversaw national security and defense spending at OMB under Leon Panetta. Available to discuss defense and national security policy, the defense policy process. 
  Adams says, “The US made Osama Bin Laden in the 1980s; the US has taken him off the stage 25 years later. He became the symbolic focus of a major deployment of American force into the Middle East and South Asia. While he may be gone, the consequences of that deployment will be with us for decades to come.”

Gary Weaver - expert in American foreign policy; cross-cultural and international communication, adaptation, negotiation, and conflict. 
  Weaver says, "I don't think this is a big surprise to people in the Middle East. The idea that the U.S. would eventually kill bin Laden is a logical result of the eye-for-an-eye type of fatalism. Osama Bin Laden was not necessarily seen as a hero in the Middle East, his actions led to the death of many innocent Muslim Arabs, and the populations of many countries are very young. The average citizen in most Middle Eastern countries were only children ten years ago, they may not share the extremism of Al Qaeda." 

Leonard Steinhorn - politics, and the media’s role in politics and elections. He teaches politics, strategic communication, and courses on the presidency.
Steinhorn says, ""In the aftermath of an emotional high like Bin Laden's demise, Americans will rally around their commander in chief and it won't be surprising if President Obama's poll numbers spike. The more interesting question is long-term: whether our success against Bin Laden will buoy our national mood and lift us out of the battering we've taken from three years of economic struggle. In other words, is this a caffeine fix or permanent mood change?"

Jennier Oetzel - expert in business response to violent conflict.
   Oetzel says, "In the short-term, Osama bin laden’s capture and killing may increase the risk of violence. Longer term, however, this event has great symbolic value. It has the potential to qualitatively shift people’s attitudes and perceptions about the overall threat of violence and political risk we face and increase our sense of optimism about the future."

Allan Lichtman – expert in public opinion, politics. Lichtman, known for his “13 keys” system which allows him to predict the outcome of the popular vote solely on historical factors, has predicted another Obama win in 2012.

Danny Hayes - political behavior and political communication in American politics; public opinion; political participation, and the media.

Jane Hall - former media reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She is an expert on media issues, and can provide insight on politics and the media, and young people and politics.

Dotty Lynch - political consultant with CBS, she is available to discuss youth movements, young voters and polls.

Lou Goodman - U.S. foreign policy; democracy-building abroad; civil-military relations. Fluent in Spanish.

Additional experts are available at American University’s searchable expert’s database.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.