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Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Dead: No Cooperation from Pakistan

Congratulations to President Obama and all those who participated in this operation, which made fish food out of bin Laden. My joy, however, is accompanied by anxiety: There will almost certainly be attempts to exact revenge upon American civilians.

Details of the operation remain scanty, yet it was clearly undertaken without the cooperation of Pakistan, and inasmuch as the U.S. government has given some $20 billion in civilian and military aid to Pakistan since September 11, 2001, this is indeed troubling.

Let's read between the lines of a CNN article entitled "How U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden" (

"When first built, the compound was secluded and reachable by only a dirt road, the officials said. In recent years, more residences built up around it, but it remained by far the largest and most heavily secured property in the area, they said.

The mission ordered Friday by Obama encountered outer walls up to 18 feet tall topped with barbed wire, with two security gates and a series of internal walls that sectioned off different portions of the compound, the senior administration officials said. The main structure was a three-story building with few windows facing the outside of the compound, and a third-floor terrace had a seven-foot privacy wall, they said."

This mansion was built five years ago in Abbottabad, only 60 miles north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, where Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence ("ISI") is headquartered. Situated beside the villas of ranking Pakistani military officers, but eight times the size of the neighboring structures, the curiosity of the ISI surely would have been aroused. Even if they didn't trouble themselves to confirm who was hiding out there, they must have guessed, and the likely presence of bin Laden didn't trouble the ISI or bin Laden's neighbors from Pakistan's military in the least.

CNN continues:

"At some point, one of the assaulting helicopters crashed due to a mechanical failure, according to the officials. It was detonated as the U.S. team flew away to destroy it, they said."

The destruction of the helicopter confirms that Pakistan did not participate in the operation. More to the point, even if it was deemed wise to keep Pakistan out of the picture in order to improves the chances of operational success, why should there have been any need to destroy the helicopter if Pakistan is an ally?

CNN adds:

"Another senior [U.S.] administration official told reporters that Obama's administration did not share intelligence gathered beforehand with any other country -- including Pakistan -- for security reasons. The official said that only a small group of people inside the U.S government knew about this operation in advance.

However, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said members of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, were on site in Abbottabad during the operation. There was no way to immediately resolve the apparent discrepancy."

A many-faced hydra intimately involved in Pakistani politics, the ISI is no friend of the U.S., as has been demonstrated on numerous occasions since 9/11. Most recently, covert U.S. security personnel have been forced to leave Pakistan (see:

Should the U.S. continue to shower upon Pakistan military and civilian aid totaling billions of dollars, which reaps few rewards? Will chaos erupt in nuclear-armed Pakistan for the same reasons Mubarak was overthrown in Egypt, i.e. poverty and corruption? Stay tuned. It's not going to be pretty.


  1. Thank you for the comments for the CNN information. You put things in context.

  2. As Rushdie said today, "Time to declare Pakistan a terrorist state."

  3. The worst ally that money can buy.