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Until the end, America was on Osama's mindIn the months before his death in May 2011, Osama bin Laden was discussing new gambits – from a truce with Pakistan to opportunistic alliances with jihadi groups spawned by the Arab Spring – so that he could focus on tipping what he called "the balance of fear" with his main enemy, the United States.The new bin Laden files show that he recognized the opportunities that Arab upheaval offered for Al-Qaeda and was moving to exploit them. Al-Qaeda's main leadership had been rocked by America's drone war, but the group still had big ambitions, even at a time when U.S. officials said it was buckling.Hunkered down in Abbottabad, bin Laden was utterly focused on striking America "in its heartland". He noted that the slow bleed wasn't working: Vietnam had been far more costly to America than Afghanistan; Al-Qaeda's allies would have to kill 100 times more people to equal the Vietnam death toll.
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