But for Osama, Obama may not have been the US President. The American way of life changed on 9/11, much of it not to American liking. Airport hassles, intrusive security checks, checkpoints, surveillance, erosion of civil liberties all fuelled an environment of fear. The Americans hungered for change and, in Obama, they saw a harbinger of hope. That yearning ushered Obama into the White House. Osama again has provided a political bonanza for Obama to cement his re-election prospects just when Obamas Presidency was faltering. Osama was partly a blowback effect of the US 1980s Afghan policy glorified in the movie Charlie Wilsons War. When, during the previous Bush administration, Saddam Hussein was captured by the US troops and later hung, it was conveniently overlooked that he, too, was a blowback effect of US policy that nurtured him to foil Iranian revolutionary fervour. Both Saddam and Osama, in effect, were launched by US policies geared towards pitting forces against Iran and the Soviet Union. Washington, by deflecting attention away from its own role, has skilfully escaped critical scrutiny. It has done so by putting the onus on Pakistan and magnifying fears over terror. Osama, as an iconic symbol of extreme militancy, may be gone but the issues associated with him are unlikely to disappear. His Robin Hood lure in sectors of the region had much to do with popular anger over festering occupation situations in Palestine and Kashmir. This was further enhanced by the inadequacies of the ruling classes - much of it essentially a confederation of kleptocrats - to provide sound governance. No amount of abusive terminology will make these issues go away unless a serious effort is launched to tackle head-on the factors, which pollute and poison the national environment and motivate militancy. The West is unlikely to change course - and so perhaps too are the ruling circles unlikely to mend their ways - thereby setting the stage for more senseless conflict. What is required is tangible evidence for the young to cling to the rope of hope. Absent that, tomorrows may become repeat telecasts of yesterdays follies. Meanwhile, nothing prevents the 57-member OIC (lying dormant since King Faisals slaying in 1975) to convene an emergency Islamic Summit in Lahore, where the greatest such conference was held in February 1974 under Faisals direction in the wake of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. A consensus declaration can be framed around the following points: i No to occupation; i No to exclusion from world forums; i No to bad language against Islam in Western circles and; i Yes to fairness, dignity and good governance at home. The habit of wallowing in helpless victimhood is a form of passive surrender. Just as the destinies of Osama and Obama were interlinked, so too are the fortunes of the West and the Muslim world. The blood feud route has been tried with sorry results. Now a new pathway to enduring peace with dignity needs to be explored. n The writer is a barrister and a senior political analyst.