Osama bin Laden- March 10, 1957- May 2, 2011

by UmairJ on 5/2/2011 · 7 comments

 

The events of September 11, 2001 have shaped a huge part of my life. I did not lose anyone thankfully in New York, Washington or in Pennsylvania, but I vividly remember what was going through my mind as I watched CNN from my residence in Karachi. It was a pretty hot day, and I had jus returned from school, it was like watching an action movie, the first tower was on fire and then out of no where the plane just went through the second building.  It was a surreal moment, everything was in slow motion, all I could think about was all those times my family had visited cousins in New York and the visits we took to the World Trade Centre.

Life had completely changed; at that moment I did not realize that everything I dealt with from now on, would be through the ‘9/11 narrative’. And then CNN did something unforgivable. They took images of Kuwaiti citizens celebrating the withdrawal of Iraqi troops after the Gulf war and displayed it as Arabs/Muslims celebrating the death of 3000 Americans. After that, all I heard was Fox discussing how the military was going to blow Osama out of a cave in Tora Bora. Who can forget the notorious ‘your either with us or the terrorists’ which galvanized NATO and eventually the United Nations to push forward into South Asia in search of Osama and to bring ‘democracy’ to Afghanistan.

Bin Laden was a murderer and a fake Muslim leader. Due to his direct actions the lives of many Muslims around the world was put into jeopardy, both in the West and primarily in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and eventually in Pakistan. The Patriot Act, the Islamophobia, the death of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan can all be in one way or another be traced back to his actions. I can only sit here and think ‘what if, 9/11 never happened?’ I also blame bin Laden for what Bush did, he is another individual who is a criminal to me for his actions in Iraq, an unnecessary war, an unnecessary second election (absolutely won because of the fear Americans had of terrorism) and I will guarantee you that many people in the Muslim world hate him equally as much as they hate bin Laden. There are rumours amongst the Pakistani media, that an innocent woman was killed in the gun battle that raged in Abottabad (which isnt a suburb of Islamabad at all). Some even have said that it was one of his wives that risked her life for Osama. Really puts human life into perspective, that someone can still love even an individual that is disliked by so many people.

The covert operation executed by Navy Seals and the Pakistani military took months to be planned. According to Obama,

Last August…I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.  It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground…finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability…After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

9/11 has had an effect on everyone’s life in the world, that is a given. But the real question that needs to be immediately answered is ‘where do we go from here?’ Is the ‘War on Terror’ over now that Osama bin Laden is finally dead? What will happen with Al-Qaeda, are they just going to whither away? What about Libya, and Syria and Yemen and Bahrain? What do we do about these nations that are in turmoil, and most of all what about the Drone strikes are they of any use in Pakistan now?

The war is still continuing in Afghanistan, the Taliban are still there and it seems that they might actually be part of the government if these secret meetings with ISAF are to be believed. If the Taliban do come into power than can we really say that even with the death of Osama bin Laden, the mission has been accomplished?

The creation of the Tehrik-e-Taliban is directly related to the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s participation in it. The TTP will continue their fight, even after the death of Osama and therefore these celebrations for the ISI and the government that coordinated with the White House will be short lived. Osama was not even found in the tribal regions, would Pakistani’s be more irritated knowing that the drone attacks may have been useless in the first place if their primary purpose was to find Osama?

On my travels in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden was never brought up, not because people were scared to talk about him, but because people actually did not care about him or what he had to say. Pakistani’s are sick of terrorist attacks that have been taking place around the country; they are sick of a continuous war in their own backyard (tribal areas) and want the drone strikes to end. Even in areas where there has been a rise in anti-American sentiment, Osama bin Laden is still irrelevant. This is a trend that will continue (though Libya may change that) these organizations will sideline themselves if they continue to bomb their own people.

Americans are just as likely to be killed by a terrorist attack as they were yesterday, which is very unlikely. Pakistani’s and Afghans however are in more danger of an immediate backlash from Al-Qaeda. Like the success of the Lal Masjid to the killing of Baitullah Mehsud there has always been an increase in violence.

I am not sad that Osama is dead, he has done a lot of harm to the world, but neither am I happy, because his death means nothing. People are still dying around the world, the economic environment is still volatile and Afghanistan and Pakistan are still a mess. I welcome a change in perspective, the cloud of 9/11 hopefully can finally be lifted, and hopefully Osama’s death will bring forth a change in American mindset. Now that the thought of revenge is over Afghanistan might actually have a chance.

 

Ps. I wonder if the Raymond Davis fiasco was related to bin Laden.

 


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– author of 22 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Undergrad in Political Science and History. Main area of interest include, Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam and contemporary Middle East in general.

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{ 7 comments }

Narcogen May 2, 2011 at 6:30 am

A bit surprised to hear this one repeated here…

http://www.snopes.com/rumors/cnn.asp

CE May 2, 2011 at 7:34 am

I believe you are right to infer that, tactically and strategically, UBL’s death means nothing. On the ground, from Afghanistan to Irak to Yemen to Lybia, Usama’s death will likely have very little impact on current ‘kinetic’ operations.

The capture or death of UBL was always destined to be but a bone to be thrown in the direction of the American mob. It had very little to do with geopolitical or foreign policy concerns; it had everything to do with the domestic political brownie points that would accrue to the administration that managed to nab the grand prize at the GWoT county fair.

…I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they’ll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it’s the sand of the coliseum. He’ll bring them death—and they will love him for it.

Johnny Matrix May 2, 2011 at 10:43 am

Didn’t read your whole post but some good points in there Joshua…I will argue that the next few days in AfPak will be very bloody though due to this

Burk May 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

“Pakistani’s are sick of terrorist attacks that have been taking place around the country”

That is nice to hear. Now have they asked themselves why they are cursed with this violence? Have they asked themselves why their own government conveniently stokes jihadism with respect to Kashmir and Afghanistan, and then expects no blowback to their own country? Have they asked themselves why their military and its intelligence arms are not under democratic and institutional control, but rather are rouge elements running a foreign policy directly in opposition to Pakistan’s stated foreign policy, and involved in terrorist attacks in its neighbors India and Afghanistan? Have they asked themselves why their religion prizes war as one of the pillars of faith and how that might affect the foreign policy and domestic environment of an Islamic country?

Adam May 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

A small Victory for Humanity(especially Afghan and American victims of terrorism)
Pakistan is double faced they celebrate with the Americans and mourn with the terrorists…For those who can not connect the dots, none of the terrorists fall from the sky into Pakistan…The terrorist farm was set up 40 year ago, it can be eliminated by OBL death because the founders and managers of terrorism on this earth as still active in and around Islamabad. Note: many high value terrorists were found close to Pakistani military facilities and retired military homes in posh areas. If the west thinks we can the terrorists to China and Russian we will be proven wrong again.
*Three young Afghan children died as a result of a recent night raid(dogs, guns and explosives) in Afghanistan(source: Waghma Faroogh- Afghan activist).the WEST should Stop taking their revenge by killing Afghan children and women in the name of democracy, wining hearts and women’s rights…I hope we stop the night raid in Afghanistan and do a few night raids of Pakistani military officials’ homes. NIGHT raid(strickly against Afghan culture and norms) it to the point success rate is near 0 and sparks hatred for US in Afghanistan.

anan May 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Regarding night raids. Have mixed feelings. On the one hand the majority of all civilian casualties by ISAF and ANSF are during night raids. [Only about 3% of all Afghan civilian casualties are because of air strikes.] Night raids cause more Afghan anger than air raids in my opinion.

On the other hand:
1) Was surprised by MoI minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi’s body language when talking about night raids. He strongly endorsed them and stated that the ANSF is causing a great deal of damage to the enemy through night raids. He must have Karzai’s sanction to speak like that.
2) Several other ANSF commanding generals [and MoD minister Wardak] have publicly endorsed night raids.
3) All night raids involve some ANSF [although in many cases with ISAF de facto in the lead]

I have a great deal of respect for Bismillah Khan Mohammadi. From even before 9/11. He is a heck of a lot smarter than me, and if he says something, maybe we should listen.

To Don Anderson . . . I have interpreted some of your past comments as implicitly insulting towards Mohammadi and Gen Karimi [current ANA Chief of Staff and former Deputy Chief of Staff ANA for operations responsible for all ANA operational forces.] Maybe I am wrong about both of them, but I think they are admirable and inspirational leaders with a lot of fighting spirit. Hence my occasionally harsh comments at you.

We disagree about Brigadier General Mohammed Israr Aqdas’ 1-203 in Khost and 2-203 in Paktika and 3-203 in Ghazni. We also disagree regarding Paktika’s ANP which are fighting quit well on their own initiative.

Ghazni ANP . . . well you are right about them. But I would blame the Poles and ISAF and NTM-A in large part for their failure.

You have mentioned your role in training ANA. Thank you for that.

Adam May 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

*I highlighted the recent night raid because the three Afghan children died of heartache as result of the dogs and guns taking part in the raid. Not one Afghan was involved in 9-11 or terrorism in the west it is wrong to impose a war on them- it is just. As Afghans say everyday is 911 for Afghans, from all sides.

As for the ANA, Listening and brokering US policy on Afghanistan to Pakistan will have devastating results…Not equiping the arm and intentionally limiting Pashtun participation in the Army will be catastrophic. Pashtun being part of the government, opposition and resistance leads all of us to believe that the Afghan Pashtuns make up over 60% of Afghanistan(as per the only through census on Afghanistan, CIA’s #s are wrong) and needs greater influence in the military. Again, this balance is needed in the region- Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, PAkistan and Iran are afraid of Pashtuns majority in the army. With our help of it took Pakistan 40 years to destroy the last Afghan army dominated by Pashtuns. Also, We should not resist Karzai’s moves towards conscription (The Imperialistic idea we will stay forever as long as Afghanistan requires us for security and to build their army is flawed and unrealistic). From my experience, Afghans will not tolerate any setup where submission to us is required in any form.

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