On yet another anniversary of the epochal 9/11 attack by the al Qaida, it is time to take stock of the multi-billion dollar war on terror.
The first and foremost question to be answered is: Why has Bin Laden not been killed or captured? Where is he?
The answer is clearly difficult. It is guessed that he is in the North West Frontier of Pakistan. He is clever: not only does he not use telephones or other devices that could allow him to be tracked, but also has a very loyal close circle who have not yet betrayed him in spite of the bounty offered for information about him.
The area where he is likely to be living is not easy in terms of intelligence-based tracking operations. To the Americans, most bearded tribals of the region would look similar from a distance, I have no doubt. Over and above that, there is no good intelligence that is paying off.
A recent spurt of American attacks in Pakistan, including the Waziristan region, based on a combination of human and satellite intelligence, has resulted in the deaths of the wives and children of the terrorists, and has precipitated a crisis with the Pakistani army. Similar tactics have been more successful in Iraq, if reports are to be believed.
So, back to the question: is bin Laden alive?
It is inconceivable that Laden is alive without medical care, suffering as he is from advanced kidney disease. His medical care could not be available without the connivance of the local Pakistani authorities. Therefore, if he is alive, it is unlikely that he will be found, as he would be protected by the Establishment (read ISI). If he is dead, we will soon know. In a day or two, a video showing the al Qaida leader should be telecast from al Jazeera. If it doesn’t come through, chances are he is dead.
Even if he is alive, it is possible that he may not be found till he (and many of us) is an old man. History repeats itself, from the time of the Nazis till the recent arrest of Radovan Karadzic.
The worst scoundrels always seem to escape for the longest time.
For an interesting discussion on this subject at the Washington post, click here.
Read my previous posts Harry Potter and the Cave of Osama and Bin Laden is Dyeing!.

30 responses to “IS BIN LADEN DEAD?

  1. Considering that they haven’t been able to get dawood who is openly staying in pakistan, what chance they have of getting bin laden? Sure, the americans don’t want dawood that badly, but well, he is an international criminal.
    In any case bin laden may be already dead.

  2. The problem and solution is not Bin Laden’s death. He may die sooner or later, but if he has propagated his ideologies very strongly to his successors then we have to root it out at that level. If Bin Laden dies, there shouldn’t be a chance for getting another Bin Laden formed. It has to be stopped before that. That is the tough part.

  3. It is not that important if he is alive or dead , except to Pakistan or Bush for most others he is a successful terrorist martyr to supporters and an al quaeda creating pain in the butt for others
    Anyways the aq ceo is zawahiri

    As u said maybe he is being hosted by a hi rankg isi general or a big paki mafioso entwined in the cocaine business , but the stakes are still to high
    u never know when America would buy out his host or when he is shown to the world Saddam style just before elections…

  4. You mean to ask ‘has he Bin Laden to rest?’ Who knows?

    I think Americans and others give him too much importance. He is a scape goat, the fall guy, the proxy.

    Why is he needed?

    Well mainly because it is too scary a thing to contemplate that the ‘vision’ he espouses may have converted so many that they do not even need a formal organisation, hierarchy, command and control systems and centrally disbursed resources to carry out the bidding!

    Did you read this post from some time ago?

  5. I hate organised crime! Well, i hate crime, period! and though not really a politically correct comment, hate criminals too!

    (as if other like them!!!)

  6. I remembered Adolf Eichmann.
    It is quite possible that Laden is being sheltered by Pak Govt/ authorities.
    To get Bin Laden and all those ‘been laden’ with his ideologies is a gargantuan task…

  7. I agree with Shefaly, Bin Laden has been given too much importance by America. He is a creation of America may be that makes him so important. Bin Laden dead or alive is not the question. His message has spread all over the world and that is what matters. During elections in Bihar, Paswan and Lalu Yadav were campaigning with Bin- Laden look alikes in search of muslim votes. Although I am sure that only a small percentage of muslims support Bin-Laden.
    Mussharaf fooled the US authorities for a long time in the name of Bin-Laden, now it seems the US authorities have taken the job in their own hands. Let us see what happens. Everyday there are news of attacks by the NATO forces inside Pakistan ever since Zardari took over. Who knows Zardari may have come to power after he bargained the life of bin Laden and his supporters. The protest from the Pakistani side
    is mild, considering that their borders are being violated everyday.
    About Dawood, Nita thank your stars that Dawood hasn’t been deported. What have we achieved after spending so much time, money and law on Abu Salem? Extra burden on the taxpayer! Dawood in India will be more lethal than Dawood in Pakistan.

  8. Considering that they haven’t been able to get dawood who is openly staying in pakistan, what chance they have of getting bin laden?

    Nita, but are the “they” who haven’t been able to get dawood, the same “they” who haven’t got bin Laden? 🙂

    Prerna, it’s somewhat of a myth that bin Laden is America’s creation. From what I’ve read, he was motivated by his Wahhabi faith to go to Afghanistan and fight the Russians – he is very devout and takes his faith seriously. Being independently wealthy helped too – he didn’t need any agency to finance him. Maybe some American money funneled into Afghanistan was used by Al-Qaeda or other mujahedins fighting USSR, but there’s just not enough and conclusive proof that America created him.

    His beef with America, so to speak, is that they get out of the holy land of Saudi Arabia, and not so much as “hating American way of life” – though he probably wouldn’t approve of a Western lifestyle. But “he hates our freedom” is a good and easy (as well as proven) way to rally people around.

  9. @ Amit

    I do not think Prerna or I suggested that bin Laden is America’s “creation”. What we both are saying was that it is important for America to keep alive the ghost of bin Laden because it epitomises, or embodies their ‘war on terror’. You can’t fight wars with shadows.

    By imbuing him with this symbolic meaning, they are unfortunately strengthening his image, his ‘saga’ as it were. And that is an expensive political mistake.

    It is a very, very different point to the one you make. You are talking about the biographical detail; P and I are talking of the symbolism in his ‘branding’.

  10. Shefaly, oh OK.
    Yes, in that sense, I agree that Osama bin Laden is America’s creation. But I’ve also read many people say “OBL is America’s creation” to imply that USA created him in the first place way back in the 80s, based on the rumors that CIA trained him during the fight against Russians. I misinterpreted Prerna’s comment to mean the latter.

  11. Nita:
    Yeah, I think the ‘they’s here are different!
    True, one will be replaced by another, but the US needs to catch him for the Government to show some tangible achievement to its voters. After all, Iraq is not that much of a showpiece!
    Laden will never be caught Saddam style. His guards have been instructed to kill him before the Americans get to him.
    Lemme guess: you hate cockroaches, like clean shaven men and love spicy-sour food, too?
    Yeah, impossible within 25 years is my guess.
    Prerna, Shefaly and Amit:
    Prerna gives some interesting perspective on this. I surprise myself by agreeing with Amit: I don’t believe the Americans created bin Laden. I doubt if Zardari could barter Laden’s life for political patronage, but it is interesting to think of it. However, I doubt if the US wants to keep him alive for some abstract reason, though intelligence has weird long-term ways of thinking, if Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy are to be believed! Shefaly, I will look that link up.

  12. The fellow who spawned bin Laden has been dead for more than 14 centuries, and the civilized world is still reeling from the problems he had created. Do you really think bin Laden’s death matters?

  13. @ R-Doc

    Neither Prerna nor I imply ‘creation’ in the literal sense but that it is important to keep his imagery alive as a symbol. It helps people, esp people who seem themselves as wronged and traumatised i.e. the US post 911.

  14. Check out the South Park episode called “Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants”… It’s quite revealing…

  15. TRF, do you mean Ibn Taymiyyah or that pbuh dude? 🙂

  16. TRF, Amit:
    I didn’t hear nothin’!

  17. Nikhil:
    I don’t even know where South Park is.

  18. @ R-Doc

    It is easy. You take YouTube and alight at South Park 😉

  19. Amit,
    I wrote, “… dead for more than 14 centuries”, didn’t I? According to the Wikipedia, the other fellow you are referring to “sought the return of Islam to its sources…”. I wish he had succeeded 😉

  20. @ Nikhil:

    //… It’s quite revealing…//

    …to which of the senses — aural? olfactory? visual?

  21. @ Shefaly:

    If I correctly recall my high school chemistry practicals, a labware item called the U-tube was used in one of the [non-biological] 🙂 methods of preparing Hydrogen Sulphide. Our teacher taught us how to use it for this purpose if the standard Kipp’s Apparatus was not available. I have now forgotten the details of the method, but vaguely remember the chemical reaction, which went something like

    ZnS + 2 HCl –> H2S + ZnCl2

    The more common use of the U-tube (which lies beyond the scope of the present discussion inspired by bin Laden’s pants) is in manometers.

  22. There are U tubes used in liver surgery, too, Vivek and Shefaly.

  23. Doc:

    Is that to effect a turnaround the advance of cirrhosis?

  24. No, it is a tube put into the liver through the bile duct after a complicated bile duct reconstruction surgery, the tube acting as a decompressing/protecting device. Less commonly used these days, I reckon.

  25. Doc,

    Sorry, I should have inserted a smiley after my cirrhosis question. But thanks for the information anyway. Medical treatments and procedures from bygone times are among my peripheral areas of interest.

  26. i know that, nyways a live and free laden is more useful to the us and pakistan than a dead or trophy laden.
    but hey anything is possible with the americans and especially the pakistanis – they can gas his whole haram to sleep

    Amit the afghan conflict was essentially started by the us (weapons/ training) – pakistan (manpower) – saudi (funding/ wahabi indoctrination ) nexus

    people even say that the shekh(of in bin saud family) trusts the pak SSG more than his own troops for his personal security

  27. @ Prax:

    From your analysis of the nexus that started the Afghan conflict, it sounds like a comprehensive outsourcing job. A crucial question: WHO did the outsourcing?

    BTW, knowing that many South Asians are not aware of when to use or not use the definite article, I would have felt more comfortable if, in your second paragraph, you had written ‘US’ in all-caps 🙂

    WRT your comment on the SSG, you cannot deny that Pakistani military personnel, whatever their political orientation, are professionally as thorough as the Indians.

  28. True Vivek but i get lazy sometimes

    i think it was Zbigniew Brzezinski and the agency or CIA and its covert opps that did all the outsourcing
    form the wiki
    In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski recalled:
    We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would…That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Soviets into the Afghan trap…The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War.

    True the SSG is a very well trained unit and is an elite unit – even Mush was a part of it. But the Islamist cracks are developing that from recent suicide attack at a mess by a commando for avenging his sisters killing in the lal masjid raid.

  29. Bin Laden is a legend, and legends don’t die.

    Anyway, Is Saddam Hussein dead ?

  30. @ Anshul:

    That’s the finest one-liner (I’m stretching a point, I know) that I have read in a long time!

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