London, May 3, IRNA - British broadcaster and journalist Yvonne Ridley is sceptical about reports of the US assassination of Osama bin Laden, which comes at a time when President Barack Obama is plagued over questions about his birth certificate and rated so lowly in the polls.

"Only a gullible section of Americans are falling for this nonsense while the rest of the world is maintaining a healthy disbelief over the news that the al Qaida leader was killed in a compound in Abbottabad," Ridley said.

"What I would like to know is why did they dump the body at sea, thereby eliminating every bit of vital evidence?" she asked.

"This has only served to feed the many conspiracy theorists out there and those who no longer believe anything coming out of The White House since we were all lied to over the whereabouts of WMD in Iraq," she said.

The British journalist, who has extensive experience travelling around the Middle East, was expressing her doubts about the reports in an exclusive interview with IRNA.

"If I were a cynic I'd point out that it has certainly stopped people focussing on and talking about Obama's birth certificate - an issue which was becoming a major irritant for the US president who is embarking on his campaign for a second term," she said.

The death of bin Laden, she suggested, "might just secure his second term in office, judging from the rather unbridled show of hysteria by the masses gathered in New York's Times Square, Ground Zero and other landmark sites."

Ridley said that in October 2001. the Taliban's foreign minister offered to handover the al Qaida leader but the "reality is that the US needed an excuse to go into Afghanistan."

"Osama bin Laden provided that reason otherwise they could have avoided the world's costliest manhunt for the last decade, the futile War on Terror and the catastrophic war in Afghanistan which has cost tens of thousands of lives," she said.

She believed that it was also ironically that Obama now needs to withdraw from Afghanistan after a fruitless 10 years there and that the al Qaida leader "has provided The White House with another excuse.

The announcement itself, Ridley said, will have "little or no impact on the now discredited War on Terror or global terrorism" as the reality is the al Qaida leader has not been 'hands on since December 2001 during the battle of Tora Bora when many believe he died."

"Apart from the odd video and audio taped message, UBL has had no distinct influence or direction of al Qaida which became more of a brand name or a franchise. The US might have killed one man but his ideology lives on and you can not kill an idea," she said.