Stratfor - the premier private intelligence outfit - predicted on Monday that U.S. strategy would change because of the combination of bin Laden's death with Gen. Patraeus' move from heading the war in Afghanistan to head of the CIA. Both together will allow Obama to re-shape U.S. foreign policy differently. He can claim "mission accomplished" in Afghanistan, and that we can move on to other things.
Petraeus was the architect of the American counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. He symbolized American will in the region. The new appointment effectively sidelines the general.... From Langley, Petraeus can no longer be the authoritative military voice on the war effort in Afghanistan. Obama has retained Petraeus as a senior member of the administration while simultaneously isolating him.
Together, the two steps open the door for serious consideration of an accelerated withdrawal of most U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The U.S. political leadership faced difficulty in shaping an exit strategy from Afghanistan with Petraeus in command because the general continued to insist that the war was going reasonably well...Petraeus’ prestige made it difficult to withdraw over his objections.
Petraeus is now being removed from the Afghanistan picture. Bin Laden has already been removed. With his death, an argument in the United States can be made that the U.S. mission has been accomplished and that, while there may be room for some manner of special-operations counterterrorism forces, the need for additional U.S. troops in Afghanistan no longer exists.
With the new tensions in the Mid East, U.S. forces may be needed for operations outside Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they can withdraw from those countries in a way that was not politically feasible before.
Bin Laden's death and the removal of Patraeus from the Afghan theater...
...creates politically strategic opportunities for the U.S. administration that did not exist before, the most important of which is the possibility for a dramatic shift in U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.