Bargaining with Pakistan 5

What did the Pakistani government, military, and intelligence service know in advance about the American plan to get Osama bin Laden?

In a speculative article, N.M.Guariglia at PajamasMedia raises many pertinent questions, and makes an impressively plausible case that they all knew such a raid was to happen. He suggests why one or two of the three powerful parties, on certain conditions, agreed to let it be carried out without interference.

Did Pakistan know about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden? …

While American politicians wonder whether the Pakistanis were aware of OBL’s hideout — of course they were — al-Qaeda is currently wondering whether the Pakistanis were aware that SEAL Team 6 was on its way to kill their leader. If destroying the rest of al-Qaeda’s hierarchy is the goal, perhaps that is the more immediate question. Perhaps some in Pakistan knew of the hideout, some knew of the operation, and some knew of both. …

What happened from the time we located OBL’s courier and the Abbottabad compound in August 2010 to the night of the raid? Did we not once share this intelligence with someone in Pakistan during these nine months? During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama stated he would intervene in Pakistan to catch OBL if the Pakistanis did not act. Such a policy required waiting to see whether or not the Pakistanis would act.

We knew Abbottabad was a military town. Pakistan’s prestigious military academy is located just yards away from OBL’s compound. In fact, U.S. forces were stationed there in October 2008 (and possibly another time or two). This remarkable WikiLeaks revelation has been lost on most of the American media. One can only imagine OBL smirking from his balcony, sipping tea while observing joint U.S.-Pakistani military training. He was right under our nose — or, more precisely, we were right under his.

Why would we unnecessarily jeopardize the mission and risk a firefight with the Pakistanis without knowing for certain that we might not have to? What if the Pakistanis thought they were under attack from India? That could have sparked a nuclear exchange between the two rivals. …

Some other questions linger. Does this year’s arrest of Bali bomber Umar Patek, also caught in Abbottabad, have anything to do with anything? What about Pakistan’s arrest and eventual release of CIA agent Raymond Davis in March? For months prior to the raid, CIA operatives had a safe house in Abbottabad to spy on OBL. Who knew of this? And why are we revealing the nature of the intelligence we collected at the compound? As for the raid, what was the nature of the firefight? We were first told it was a 40-minute battle and OBL was the last to be killed. Now we are told the only resistance came from the courier living in the guest house, not OBL’s villa. We were first told OBL had a gun in hand. Now we are told he was “reaching” for a weapon. How does it take that long to reach for a weapon? What happened during the 20-25 minute blackout on the operation’s video stream? Why didn’t we take OBL’s wife with us? Why do at least two of the other three men killed during the raid seem to have been shot in the back of the head?

This suggests an execution. The two men that were shot in the back of the head were OBL’s son and another chap, and the guy shot regular-style was the courier in the guest house who engaged the SEALs with gunfire. Was it that we captured these two men but didn’t have enough room to take them with us due to the downed stealth chopper — so we killed them? Does this mean OBL was executed, as well — as his wife claims? … Wouldn’t we prefer to take OBL alive, if we could? That is, of course, unless an arrangement had been made prior to the operation whereby OBL’s death was mandatory.

In many ways, Pakistan is three countries in one. There is the civilian government, the military, and the mysterious intelligence service, the ISI. Each party is suspicious of the other, has divided loyalties within, and collaborates with one against the other … By all accounts, the two most powerful men in the country are Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, head of the Pakistani Army, and Lt. Gen. Ahmed Pasha, head of the ISI. President Zardari is subordinate to the men with the guns.

It stands to reason that at least one of these men, probably two, knew of OBL’s hideout. And at least one, probably two, knew of the U.S. operation to kill OBL. …

Lt. Gen. Pasha met with CIA Director Panetta on April 11 and Gen. David Petraeus, who is set to take over the CIA, met with Gen. Kayani on April 25.

One piece of information, if true, makes it obvious that the military expected the raid to take place:

Abbottabad residents are saying the Pakistani military secured and cordoned off the site on the night of the raid, visiting the homes of civilians and asking them to turn their lights off. …

And, almost certainly, it would have been “impossible for U.S. helicopters to fly to the compound without the knowledge of the Pakistani military”.

So, assuming the military facilitated the raid – why?

Yes, Pakistan was protecting OBL – as they have been, in some capacity, since the 1990s. But when we discovered OBL’s location — thank you Guantanamo, rendition, black sites, waterboarding, and wiretapping – we probably, and wisely, confronted the Pakistanis about it in secret

We caught the Pakistanis red-handed. And that’s when a deal was made. They said: “Okay, you got us. We will give you an hour of peace and quiet to get your man. But he must be killed.” … The Pakistanis did not want an interrogation or trial of OBL to expose their goings-on with the rest of al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and so forth. Also, this way the Saudis, the Syrians, the Iranians, and the financier network from the Gulf sheikhdoms would all be protected.

What’s in it for Pakistan? They would rather have the American people angry at them for ostensibly sheltering OBL than their own people angry at them for handing him over. We probably accept that logic. We want their nuclear weapons in secure enough hands. Had the Pakistanis openly captured OBL and handed him over to us, or had they openly participated in the raid, the rest of their jihadist clientele would have turned on them — which would have required Pakistan turning on all of them first. And Pakistan would not want that. Why not? India, India, India.

So Panetta goes on television to say if we tipped off Pakistan about the raid, they’d have tipped off OBL to escape. And walah, Pakistan’s street-cred with the jihadists is covered.

What’s in it for us? Well, we kill Osama and dump him in the ocean. That’s pretty damn good. President Obama gets his “gutsy call,” a Hollywood-style takedown of Public Enemy Number 1. He also avoids an expensive, multi-year political circus about how to interrogate, try, and execute the terrorist mastermind. Additionally, we don’t put our fist in the Pakistani hornet’s nest. …

Intriguing questions follow:

If this theory has a grain of truth to it, the remaining questions are obvious. What else did the U.S. and Pakistan agree upon? Foreign aid, “bribe billions,” was no doubt part of it. Was the release of Raymond Davis part of an agreement? Was the nature of a post-U.S. withdrawal Afghanistan part of the discussion? Was the rest of al-Qaeda’s leadership part of the deal, or was the Egyptian-wing of al-Qaeda compliant with the elimination of OBL as the foreign press is speculating? Is this the beginning of a consensus within Pakistan or the beginning of a power struggle? …

Did we kill OBL when we could have captured him? Did we want to capture him but killed him amidst the chaos of the raid? Would we truly execute a man merely to uphold our end of a bargain that brought him to us? I doubt it. And in the event of such a bargain, why wouldn’t we first agree to the terms of condition, but then instead capture OBL if we could, so as to learn everything about his support structure within Pakistan — all the while having the Pakistanis think he was dead? If we’re fooling al-Qaeda with Pakistan, why not also fool Pakistan to learn about al-Qaeda? Perhaps that is why we left OBL’s wife there — so that the Pakistanis could confirm, through her testimony, that her husband was in fact killed?

If so, that’s not a good enough reason to leave her behind – especially as she is saying that her husband was “executed”. (Rightly if he was, but Obama would fear being accused of it.) She would surely have been more useful as a source of information.

It may be that bad bargains were struck.

One thing seems certain: the military knew for years where bin Laden was living and chose not to tell the American government.

How many more “bribe millions”  – in fact, bribe billions – will go to a country that has been paid too much for too long in return for too little?

  • George

    Here’s an article that will really drive you howling mad. Do a keyword search for the title:
    ** World Blog – Honor killings persist in ‘man’s world” by Shahid Qazi and Carol Grisanti ** , this occured in Babakot, Pakistan . This is just another illustration of who these barbaric savages really are. Please read the entire article and see for yourself the behavior of pure insanity in action.

  • George

    Since we do not have any absolute proof that Osama bin Laden is dead , he could very well be still alive and the government is lying to us as a cover up for a secret agenda or operation. I don’t know. The fact is we don’t know the facts. Nothing has been proven , verified or substantiated. Why bury him at sea so soon and why that method anyway ? Why not release the photos ? The whole things smells to me ! I have suspicions on both sides of the argument and I can’t prove either . We are at the mercy of what we are being told and the other question begs—-who can we trust for accurate and true information ?

  • Ralph

    As you said the article is speculative, but it is plausible. If we ever are told the truth about bin Laden’s death it will probably be years from now. For the moment all I’m sure of is that bin Laden is dead and Isreal is our only dependable ally in North Africa or the Middle East.

    • George

      I agree , and I wonder what the news will be like years from now .

  • George

    Who does Pakistan think they’re fooling ? Osama bin Laden was living and operating in a three story compound about one-half mile away from the Pakistani Military Academy and the location of several regiments of the Pakistani Army in a wide open area and they claim they didn’t know of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden . No he wasn’t in a cave or mountain or hiden underground bunker but right under their nose in their backyard and they claim they didn’t know where he was. Yeah, right ! Spare me ! It was obvious that Pakistan was harboring this terrorist fugitive and considering the massive wealth and support following that Osama had, he could easily pay for protection or buy off corrupt Pakistani officials . The entire government of Pakistan is corrupt , yet Obama gives Pakistan billions of US dollars . Anyone want to take a guess where those billions of dollars went ? Anyone want to take a guess what those billions of US dollars were used for ? Anyone want to take a guess whose hands those billions of US dollars fell into ? Anyone want to take a guess how the terrorists finance their terrorist regiemes ? Anyone want to take a guess how the terrorists pay for weapons and bomb purchases ?
    Pakistan calls itself delivering a warning to the USA regarding ever doing a covert operation within Pakistan again. I say we deliver a warning to Pakistan for ever harboring terrorists again ! If only we had political leadership with guts that would deal with these barbarians like they need to be dealt with and send the message —Don’t %$#@ with America or American citizens ! I don’t trust Pakistan or anyone in their corrupt political body. These corrupt regiemes and barbaric religious fanatic kooks only understand brute force and nothing less.