First published on CRI on 2nd May 2011. Republishing on this blog.
A lot of people are in a self-congratulatory mood after the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, near Islamabad. I am sure that Champagne has been popped in Washington, and there have been public celebrations on the streets in the US. The American media has been playing this up as a great victory and that justice has been done (not that I disagree). Chidambaram, the Indian Home Minister, true to his clueless form, has issued a facile statement that this proves that the 26/11 plotters are also in Pakistan (pray how?). The ostrich-like policies of India against Pakistan continue unabated.
The Pakistani Army and ISI must of course be sad as one of their highest value “protected” asset has been eliminated and they couldn’t do anything about it. They will of course go around making noises that their “intelligence” facilitated this attack on Osama. General plaudits are also following from all over the world that one of the world’s most wanted terrorists has been eliminated.
And life will be hunky dory once again, like it was pre-9/11.
Well, I wish that life was so simple and events related to Pakistan were that easily predictable.
The world has never been more wrong and about something that couldn’t be more important.
I still maintain the position that I tool on a recent blog of mine “The Impending Af-Pak Fak-Ap”. The death of Osama is not the precipitating event that I had talked about, but if there was one event that could have been a precursor to my “predicted” precipitating event, this is it!
There was anyway a Wikileaks corroborated statement a few weeks ago by Al Qaeda that if something happened to Osama, they will unleash a nuclear attack, and use nuclear bombs that they have already stashed away securely in Europe. For those who took this warning lightly, we will find out sooner rather than later. If this information has come out, I doubt whether it is true, in the sense I doubt whether it would be located in Europe.
What the US has done is that it has stepped on the tail of a virulent rattlesnake, and is exultant, that it has chopped off the “rattler”. We need to realize that the “biting” force of this rattlesnake is at the other end, and not the end from which it issues warnings!
The US also seems to have “tightened up” security in all its embassies all over the world (which is a good step), but only a fool would expect an immediate retaliation outside Pakistan from the Al Qaeda (they will settle scores with Pakistan internally first). However, it would be even more foolish to assume that there won’t be retaliation, just because Osama has been killed.
I imagine that within the next six months, we will see a triggering off of any one of the precipitating events that I have spoken about in my earlier blogpost. Osama’s death is the trigger point for that.
My fear is that the US will turn triumphal, declare victory and run-like-hell, in order to give Obama his 2-minutes of fame and a boost for his electoral chances in the 2012 election.
Meanwhile Pakistan’s support to the Jihadis will go deeper underground, more sinister, and the hatred of the US will grow that much more. The policy of pretence and plausible deniability will continue. They will just become that much more careful not to get caught, and also not to leave “clues” behind that can be traced back to them, like they unfortunately did during 26/11.
I fully support the fact that the US had been able to keep pictures of Osama’s blood-splattered and bullet-riddled face away from the media channels, as these would provide brilliant propaganda tools for the new recruits amongst the jihadis. However, the US doesn’t realize the brilliance of the British in the way they handled Bahadur Shah Zafar, quietly killing him off in Rangoon and burying him in an unmarked grave, two centuries ago (I don’t agree with what they did, but it was tactically brilliant, from a British perspective).
I believe that the US Special Forces could have captured Osama alive. I believe that they bumped him off deliberately, to ensure that inconvenient details of his past association with the CIA, and present association with ISI, do not come out. They could have also done this in a fit of Rambo-like bravado.
I think celebration time will be over soon, as the Jihadi monster has not been beaten, but actually been made even more aggressive and vengeful. Watch out, and don’t presume that this is the end of either Al Qaeda or Global Jihad.
The crazed battle for Jihad 2.0 has just begun.
I still maintain that this Jihadi monster cannot be tackled till the problem state of Pakistan is handled (What do you do with a problem like Pakistan?), and their cocky Generals sent back to the barracks for good, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. There are people actually suggesting that Osama’s killing has brought the US and Pakistan closer together (is it even possible?). Sometimes I wonder whether the real conjoined twins are US-Pakistan and not Pakistan-Afghanistan.
The real battle has just begun and the world risks complacency at its own peril, the US 2012 election timetable notwithstanding!