Early this morning the US Special Forces acting on a tipoff launched an attack on a villa near Abbotsbad, a town 150 kilometers from the capital. The US attack was successful and without the loss of life the master mind on 9/11 was killed. It would have been foolish to take him prisoner as that would have encouraged hostages situations. So he was killed and no one can fault the US forces for this successful attack. I must say that there will be a sense of closure for a national trauma and my thoughts go out to those who lost their loved ones on that day in September2001.
The death of Osama bin Laden will certainly weaken the al-qaeda network and I am sure the Special Forces will continue the hunmt for other key elements. Unexpectedly this victory has given Obama's presidential relection bid a big boost and I ma sure he will cash in for what it is worth.
The situation in Pakistan will deteriorate and it may be time to call the Army out to lead. The Zardar Government has helped the US to carry out drone attacks and men like Raymond Davis on whom I have written are really the unsung heroes. But for such men thsi operation wopuld not have been a success.
Fist things first. USA gave an accurate and truthful account of the mid night encounter in which Osama bin Laden was killed. Had the same event happened in my part of the world, the Government would have lied saying that the man was armed and was using women as human shield. A rifle or M-16 would have been placed next to him to make it appear that the truth has been said. I appreciate the Obama Administration and the Navy Seal VI unit for resisting the temptation to score brownie points. Second, as I have often said the Pakistani Administration was abetting in the crime of shielding Osama. The fact that he was found within meters of the Military Base at Abbotabad shows that the ISI and the Army knew of the high value asset located there. It is quite possible that the Pakistanis surrendered Osama bin Laden to the US for some concessions in Afghanistan. The truth will eventually come out. For the moment let us assume that the civilian administration knew little of value. The CIA, NSA, the Department of Defense handed the entire Operation Gerimono is a professional manner, and they deserve a big round of applause.
There has been a controversy over the burial--some would even say, hasty and thoughtless--of the body of Osama bin Laden. The fact is that a tomb or burial site anywhere in South Asia would become a magnet for would be jehadis and a cult would have grown around it. A lieux de memoire is uncalled for and an anonymous burial was the need of the hour. The body of the terrorist could have been burnt and disposed off. Instead the Arabian Sea has been polluted with this corpse. The Obama Administration did what it thought best and it need not have revealed the facts about the disposal of the body. A picture of the dead Osama should have been published in order to quell the nay sayers and the inevitable conspiracy mongers. Why there was such haste is disposing off the remains of Osama bin Laden. USS Carl Vince and its identity ought not to have been revealed.
The hunt for Osama bin Laden was long and wearisome. Countless false leads and deliberately misleading clues were sifted in order to establish the identity of al-Kuwati the courier whose existence was first revealed by Khalili,a Git Mo detainee. In fact the success of the operation shows that the policy of questioning the detainees in a thorough manner was not off the mark. The CIA did a good job in tracking down the fugitive. I do not know why the lack of internet connectivity was troubling. The man was using a data card and it is just possible that WI FI connectivity was there. As for telephone who has land lines in these days of mobile phones. I just do not think that these were important clues that led to the identification of Osama bin Laden. I would like one of the 22 seals who participated in this encounter to write the history of this extraordinary event which in the words of a great historian of ages past, an event likely to be remembered for eons to come.
On 29th April 2011, President Barack Obama signed an excecutive order that authorised the Navy Seals VI unit to seek and kill Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the targets in USA. Are we to believe that the US president has the authority to order the execution of those deemed inimical to the US. Is this argument that USA can violate the sovereignty of a state, enter its territory, carry out a clandestine operation, pick up the evidence and leave, all actions done in accordance to domestic or international law. No court of law has ever convicted the target of the May 1st attack and therefore what is the legal basis of Obama's actions. I have no problem at all with the killing of terrorists, but I am raising a larger issue: the legal and constitutional validity of the presidential order of April 29th 2011.
The nearest example that comes to my mind is the infamous case of Adolf Eichmann who was captured by the Israelis in Brazil and brought to Jerusalem for trial and execution. In this case, the Government of Israel acted according to the testimony of several who gave evidence in the Nuremberg trials. Eichmann was indicted for crimes against humanity and there was ample eyewitness accounts of his direct involvement in the crimes at several camps in Europe. Further there was also the domestic legislation in the new state of Israel that made the capture and trial of German war criminals a responsibility of the Government of Israel and international law went along with this extended interpretation of the doctrine of eminent domain over German war crimes claimed by Israel. I want to know whether there is any provision in US law that enables or authorises the US president o carry out attacks on targets chosen by the US. I am not going into the merits of this particular case. I am raising a larger legal issue. Of course the USA can come out ans declare that they violated the sovereignty of Pakistan as they believe that the situation in that country makes it a "terrorist state" and hence the USA is not obligated to be constrained by the principles of international law.
Pakistan has become a haven for terrorists of every kind and therefore it is not a state in the true sense of the world. It does not have full control over its territory. Sayed Hafiz, a known terrorist is moving about freely in the country. Dawood Ibrahim a known criminal is being protected by the ISI. Since Pakistan does not have control over its territory and its so called civilian government has no monopoly over the use of force within the borders, USA can make a strong case for the violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan. As far as Osama bin Laden is concerned, though there is no evidence that can stand up in a trial court, the law of national self defence does permit nations to defend themselves.
There is now controversy over the killing of the man. I had raised this issue in my very first blog on this subject. The Obama Administration made things difficult for itself by giving contradictory version of the sequence of events leading to the killing of Osama. First they said that he fired at the raiding assault party and Leon Panetta stood by this version. Then they said quite truthfully that that he was not armed. This has not gone well. USA should have stood by one version. Then they said that he used a woman as a human shield and then they back tracked. Now both these contradictions are fueling speculations about the manner in which Osama was killed. There is even one theory doing the rounds that Osama bin Laden was killed in cold blood. I do not subscribe to this version.
Finally the pictures. THe most gruesome image was of the fall of the Twin Towers. How is it that USA is not revealing the pictures of the dead Osama bin Laden. Is there something in the pictures.