In a delicately balanced international community, a small band of commandos may have brought more than honor to the US. We are more at risk than at any time since 9/11. One hopes that with a porous southern border and air travel not yet secure that the administration has taken all precaution to protect the US. The President has made targets of not only military and political leaders here but especially those in Britain, France and Germany – terrorists’ favorite European targets to date. Prince William’s honeymoon was the first fatality.
From Omar bin Laden’s up-close look at the next generation of mujahideen and al Qaeda training camps he says the worst may lie ahead, that if his father is killed America may face a broader and more violent enemy, with nothing to keep them in check.
“From what I knew of my father and the people around him I believe he is the most kind among them, because some are much, much worse,” Omar bin Laden, who was raised in the midst of his father’s fighters, told ABC News in an exclusive interview in February 2010. “Their mentality wants to make more violence, to create more problems.”
“Attacking peaceful people is not being fair, it is unacceptable. If you have a problem with armies or governments you should fight those people. This is what I find unacceptable in my father’s way,” Omar told ABC News. HT Drudge Report.
[This is a mild assessment of what may happen – surely not based in a broader world view. But after all, the time of the interview was 2010.]
The Asia Times had the darker, yet more universal view. This act may see the worm turn not only in Pakistan but in the Middle East in its so-called “democratic” revolutions:
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN
Pakistan has a price to pay
Pakistan’s authorities were kept in the loop – and lent active support – as the final stages of the American raid to get Osama bin Laden played out. What they did not know was that the high-profile target was the al-Qaeda leader. This is of no consequence to the previously neutral militant groups that will now target the Pakistan state. Al-Qaeda will join in, while following its agenda against the West and India. – Syed Saleem Shahzad (May 3, ’11)
Bali bomber may have been vital link
The capture of Bali bomb mastermind Umar Patek in Abbottabad in January may have yielded vital information that sealed the fate of the al-Qaeda leader in the same innocuous Pakistani city. Patek, who trained in Afghanistan when Bin Laden was a mujahideen commander, may be an explosive expert, but was not necessarily trained to resist interrogation. – Jacob Zenn (May 3, ’11)
THE ROVING EYE
Obama/Osama rock the casbah
It may have turned the boogie on United States President Barack Obama’s re-election, but the assassination of Osama bin Laden heralds a new breed of hell. The West’s prophecy that al-Qaeda, made irrelevant by the Arab revolt, will react “with a vengeance” may be self-fulfilling, and the Arab world will revert to barbarism instead of dreaming of democracy. – Pepe Escobar (May 3, ’11)
To follow Pepe’s articles on the Great Arab Revolt, please click here.
Deathly figures wait in the wings
The world is not a safer place with the death of the al-Qaeda founder. Dormant cells can spring into action not only in Europe but throughout the Arab world, and a replacement will emerge from a line-up of notorious figures who are perhaps more radical and dangerous than Osama bin Laden himself. – Sami Moubayed (May 3, ’11)
And Obama’s move from “dithering” to “ruthless” should be a concern to us as well. Was he a cheetah lying in wait at the waterhole for his prey? In domestic politics this has been true. Now see one foreign view of him:
President Obama can feel justifiably proud of the clinical efficiency of the military operation. It was a text-book display of excellent intelligence informing a daring but carefully targeted military attack. The US has been on the back foot of late. Its response to the Arab uprisings has been particularly maladroit. Yesterday, though, was a reminder to the world not only that America is a force for good but also that it is implacable. The attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon shook the nation to its core; revenge has now been exacted.
It also confirms that Mr Obama has a ruthlessness that has taken some by surprise. It should not have. The President has shown through his troop surge in Afghanistan and, more pertinently, his decision to increase significantly the number of drone attacks on terrorist targets inside Pakistan, that he has more than a touch of inner steel. His re-election prospects were already looking pretty rosy, given the thinness of the Republican field. He is now beginning to look a shoo-in. Credit is due also to his predecessor, George W Bush, who after September 11 did much to transform what had become a limp and complacent intelligence and security community. There was nothing limp about what happened in Abbottabad.
The fear now is that the death of bin Laden will increase the pressure for a swift American withdrawal from Afghanistan. That should be resisted. The premature removal of US troops before Afghan security forces are ready to take over would open the possibility of terrorist training camps being re‑established there. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, sent out precisely the right signal yesterday when she pointed out that the hunt for bin Laden demonstrated that when the US started something, it would finish it. “You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us,” she told the Taliban. [Telegraph]
As international elation at Bin Laden’s demise ebbs, China voiced its happiness at Bin Laden’s death and quickly became the voice to call the world to join in working toward a permanent solution to terrorism. China’s reaction was set against the Huan’s historic rise against the dollar. [China Daily] Could it be that the torch has been passed in this episode. And could it be that one of the growing vendors of arms – especially in Pakistan – will benefit even more than those of the west?
And what of nearby India – competitor of China? Even the US worried that its actions could be mistaken for those of India and start something unintended:
WASHINGTON: US President Obama and his national security team spent hairy moments in the White House Situation Room on Sunday worrying among other things that Pakistan would mistake the Osama-specific American commando raid on Abbottabad for an Indian attack.
In fact, a top US official disclosed in a briefing on Monday that the Pakistanis even scrambled their jets when they realized something was afoot in Abbottabad, but the US commandos finished their operation in 40 minutes and were out of there before the Pakistanis acted.
”The Pakistanis were reacting to an incident that they knew was taking place in Abbottabad. Therefore, they were scrambling some of their assets,” US counterterrorism czar John Brennan revealed while providing some operational details of the mission. It was not clear if the ”assets” Brennan referred to included just fighter jets or other options ranging from anti-aircraft fire to missiles. [Times of India]
Clearly the era of cowboys and indians is over and George Bush discovered in Iraq. Clearly the international community has to get its stories straight: did or did not Pakistan authorities know of the raid? What did they know and when did they know it?
Overall, China has gained the upper hand around the globe by not firing a shot – just keeping its eye on the prize: economic dominance – “it’s [always] the economy, stupid.” We have become their mercenaries.