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For many Arabs, Osama bin Laden had already lost his appeal

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On the streets of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, reactions were equally muted. "It's good news," says Ahmed al-Shaify, a shopkeeper. "But it's not really important here." Many Yemenis, as well as Syrians, said they were far too absorbed in the protest movements against their own regimes to spare much time for the news of bin Laden’s death.

Peaceful uprisings achieved what violence could not

Even before the Egyptian revolution, which pushed former President Hosni Mubarak from power in February, few Egyptians considered bin Laden relevant to their lives. In Egypt, the Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has renounced violence, has long held far wider appeal than violent extremism.

But Egyptians' indifference to news of bin Laden's death underlines the further blow that successful peaceful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia dealt to Al Qaeda's ideology of violent regime change.

“Now they don't need bin Laden, they don't need his ideas or instructions, because Al Qaeda was not part of [the Arab uprisings],” says Fahmy Howeidy, a columnist for the Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouk who often writes on Islamic affairs. “Even in Yemen, although they have some Al Qaeda branches there, they were not a part of the protest movement.”

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