TODAY   |  May 02, 2011

Will U.S. jubilation spark rage in the Arab world?

NBC’s Tom Brokaw and David Gregory, along with journalist Hisham Melhem, discuss how the death of the al-Qaida’s kingpin, and the subsequent celebrations in the U.S., may impact relations with the Arab world.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with more of "today" on a monday morning as we are learning reaction to the news that osama bin laden has been killed by a strategic operation by u.s. special forces . i'm live at ground zero joined by nbc's tom brokaw . in washington, david gregory joins us, the moderator of "meet the press" as does the washington d.c. bureau chief forle al-arabia. good morning to you. tom, i want to take you to september 14, 2001 when president bush stood on the rubble here and said, i hear you and soon the people who brought down these buildings will hear us all. it took ten years to bring osama bin laden to justice.

>> last night i got ale call giving me a heads up and i said, i need to know more. he said, it's somebody we have been looking for for a long time. if you think about it, it has been ten years. the real issue this morning, matt, is how much influence does osama bin laden still have on the movement? obviously it's an enormous victory for the united states to get rid of this man who brought not only pain and grief to this country but to the islamic world as well in terms of what he triggered. i do know more about the operation at this point. the compound is large with a lot of buildings. they thought they know the building in which he was located. they were right and it was a fierce firefight. we don't yet know how many others were killed. no americans were killed but a number of people around osama bin laden were killed. they didn't tell the pakistanis until they left. that gives you an idea of the relationship between the countries.

>> david, clearly this operation raises all kinds of questions. he was not living in a primitive cave along the border. he was living close to islamabad, not bad from the equivalent, as tom put it from the u.s.le military academy of westpoint, their version of that. what does it raise in terms of questions as far as how much pakistan has actually been cooperating with us in this war on terror ?

>> i think the obvious question is if they knew and didn't cooperate more, why not, when they have a pretty sordid history of not only working with al qaeda and the taliban to their intelligence service but also if they didn't know, how could they not with that kind of intelligence operation? you're right. senior u.s. military commanders, the intelligence community felt he was so deeply isolated in the tribal region but we have known from pakistani leadership throughout that there was a sense that going after bin laden would somehow destabilize their government. there was a lot of sympathy for bin laden , a huge bounty on his head, tens of millions of dollars and nobody turned him in. not in the tribal areas , not outside their capitol.

>> ishan, what are you expecting?

>> there is a great deal of welcome. the government and importantly the yemeni government, palestinian authorities and others are welcoming the news. i think there will be few tears shed for this man, who according to a confirmation made by my network was responsible for the killing of almost 15,000 people, more than 8,000 of them. those in the arab world who would be sorry for osama bin laden shouldle know the criminality of this man knew no boundaries, no ethnic background.

>> how much will the arab world be watching how we react to this? we are seeing spontaneous celebrations on the streets of new york , washington and other places. how will how we handle this news be viewed in the arab world ?

>> i think so far it was handled properly. if it was a muslim burial, that's very fine. i don't think there will be the kind of reaction some people in the west are expecting. celebrating, if you will, the murder -- the killing of a murderer is not going to be seen as insulting to many people in the arab world . look at the people of benghazi and throughout liberated areas. they were celebrating news that gadhafi was the subject of an attack. i think a lot of people in the arab world will be relieved. and with tunisia and egypt and other parts of the arab world the arabs are resorting to peacefulle ways of changing their world. they don't need osama bin laden . the whole arab movement was a huge repudiation of everything that osama bin laden represented.

>> thank you very much. david gregory , thank you as well. tom brokaw here at ground zero . always good to see you. thanks for your perspective.