MaySTAT: Vol. 1, Num. 1 | May 2, 2011
Bin Laden Killed, Buried at Sea
Posted 6 AM, EDT, May 2, 2011
- Ten years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan just after midnight, May 2. (Sunday afternoon, May 1, US time)
- The Pakistani government has long denied bin Laden was in their country, but in the end, he was located in a compound 60 miles north of the capital Islamabad and only a short distance from military establishments.
- The compound in Abbottabad was extensive and expensive, very secure and surrounded by imposing walls.
- He was killed by Navy Seals, and his body was extracted. Within twelve hours he was buried at sea to prevent his grave from ever becoming a shrine.
- It's a certainty that many Pakistanis were aware of his presence. Pakistani officials--and perhaps especially their military and intelligence services--must now answer some pointed questions. The U.S. will have reason to doubt the sincerity of the Pakistani government as a partner against terrorism (or anything else).
- This anger cuts both ways, as the US is highly disliked--even detested--throughout the country. There will be rage in some sectors.
- Pakistan is often called the most dangerous country in the world: more populous than Russia (180 million vs. 140 million), a highly volatile citizenry, barely governable, with nuclear weapons on hair-trigger due to the proximity of long-time foe India.
- It is also anticipatable that Muslim sympathizers worldwide will possibly seek revenge against American targets abroad and probably Israeli targets by association.
- Unfortunately, the timing of this headline-grabbing event might divert attention from the Arab "spring revolution," taking the focus off the swirling internal political conflicts that have inflamed the entire North Africa and Persian Gulf regions. Should this happen, the heated rhetoric could revert back to its usual targets, the Great Satan (USA) or the Little Satan (Israel).
- It's extraordinarily fortunate that Raymond Davis, a covert CIA contractor in Lahore, was able to leave the country a few weeks ago. To summarize, in late January, Davis visited an ATM machine and soon thereafter was approached by men with weapons on motorbikes. He killed both, then was arrested for murder. The US feverishly attempted to get him released on diplomatic immunity, but Pakistani courts would not yield. His prospects looked grim until March 16, when $2.4 million "blood money" was paid eighteen relatives in accordance with Sharia law. If he were still in a Lahore prison, it's doubtful he would have survived the courts or the vigilantes.
- Interestingly, our son Matt visited Abbottabad during the time the bin Laden compound was being built. He did aid and relief work just to the north following the devastating October 2005 earthquake that took the lives of 75,000 and the homes of three million. Too bad he missed out on the $50 million "find bin Laden" reward. (Linda and I also spent a week 90 miles away, in beautiful Srinagar, just over the Indian border.)