Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden's dead. After an almost 10 year search for him, the US found and killed him in an upmarket compound in a peaceful setting in a town in Pakistan 150 km from Islamabad. On one hand the American people have 'closure' on 9/11; on the other, they are waiting for the other shoe to drop on the revenge of Bin Laden's al Qaeda. The page, nonetheless, is turned but the WTC is not forgotten.
President Obama's terse but eloquent announcement from the White House at almost midnight on May day raises more questions than it answers. Do we buy into his argument that he had the full cooperation of Pakistan? Or the simple details of the JSOC mission aided and abetted by the CIA? His words are a challenge the more especially hour by hour and day by day, more info, mostly leaked, will come out to fill in the puzzle of Osama's death during an exchange of gunfire in his well built and fortified compound.
Already Philadelphia lawyers are condemning Bin Laden's death: wouldn't it have been better to capture him, bring him to trial, so on and on? It is a stretch of the imagination that Osama would've allowed himself be captured, slipping into a hoary life from a Hollywood oater--'he died with his boots on!' Then, there are the conspiracy theorists who believe he had nothing to do with 9/11, even though Bin Laden is caught on tape boasting about planning the attack on the WTC. Nothing will ever convince those who take fantasy for reality.
Where is Bin Laden's corpse? Buried at sea? Cremated? In a shallow grave according to Muslim burial custom? Many thirst for a photo like Che's strikingly like a Christ brought down from the cross that once graced the cover of 'Paris Match'. Alas their wish will not be granted.
With Osama's death the decline of al Qaeda will continue, in spite of the bombing of the Agana Cafe in Marrakesh. Germany broke the rhythm of an operation to collar Muslim terrorists on its territory to arrest two Moroccans and another Muslim a few days ago.
Bin Laden's death buoys the sagging ratings of Obama and enhances his stature against a sea of second rate Republicans who are wanting to run against him in 2012. It is a sign of a thaw in a run of bad luck -- political, military, and economic -- for the US. Is it the single swallow, a harbinger of a false spring? Will Osama no longer being on the scene mean that the US will wind down the war in Afghanistan? Now that General Petraeus will head the CIA, it may mean that the US is turning towards a JFK solution relying on guerrilla warfare? So many questions, so few answers.
And of course Pakistan continues to be a failed state with nuclear weapons. GuamDiary suggests reading Mohammed Hanif's excellent 'Exploding Pineapples' for a 'retour aux sources' in the radicalisation of Pakistan with the aid of the US. Looking behind Obama's words, it is obvious the US does not trust Pakistan whose secret services, controlled by the military, have been playing a treacherous double game: hold the US hostage for billions whilst coddling with the terrorists home grown or Afghani or serving as a training ground for global terrorists. Thus, the US cannot disengage without scars. [Remember the long 'love affair' with Pavlavi the Shah of Iran who held the US hostage for 25 years until he fled and the Mollahs took charge!]
Yet, the US military which is more firmly in the cat bird's seat in running the US will be emboldened to more adventurist designs that will continue to bleed the US treasury white and hasten America's decline.
Lastly but not least the tonnes of ink that will follow on the meaning of Osama Bin Laden's death, a new cottage industry.

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