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30 August 2011


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Brig. General Ali,

Your scenario makes sense and explains a lot of the unanswered irregularities.

If under Pakistani home detention, with even a gate to keep Osama upstairs, and if the USA claims of an intelligence bonanza from the raid are accurate, this implies active participation and support of Osama's contacts with Al Qaeda by the ISI. Perhaps, this implies the Bush II belief that USA was under no treat from non-state actors (Al Qaeda) is correct. But, the States that were implicated in 9/11 attack, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, were unassailable. So like the school yard bully, the kid standing to the side (Iraq) is attacked instead of the real assailants.

Byron Raum

Does the Saudi royal family consider al-Qaeda an enemy, or does the Saudi royal family call al-Qaeda an enemy?


A minor point or two.

1. The CIA clearly has no human intelligence capability in Pakistan. Certainly not one that includes natives. Otherwise, we at the very least could have confirmed OBL's presence in the house in less than 6 months - and without doubts near the very end as to whether in fact he was (still) there. The neighbors all did know who was in the house! (As reported to me by an authoritative local source who spoke directly to them).

2. Leon Panetta is major national liability. Crude emulations of the Godfather have and will jeopardize the national interest.

3. Most important. What do we make of reports that Obama personally the contingency plan of what to do in the event of Pakistani interference? There have been several inside reports that he insisted that the Seals try to fight their way out with OBL's body in tow. The implication is that he was prepared to sacrifice American national interests for personal glory and electoral benefit. If he knew, though, that there would not be any Pakistani intereference, then either his action - or the telling of a tale about a dramatic decision that never occured - was pure public relations. Of that he certainly is more than capable.



What's a DoD to do, with the 'emulations of the Godfather' now at its helm? Throw up its hands and do the OMG routine?

FB Ali

M Brenner,

My impression is that the CIA's native humint capability there is the people in the Pakistani intelligence agencies (including ISI) who are in their pay. However, they are generally not in the top layers.

My estimate is that the decision to allow ObL to be relocated by some jihadi outfit was taken and communicated at the highest level. Lower levels probably just knew that the house in Abbottabad was 'off limits', not who was living there, though some must have suspected it. Their reports must have been part of the CIA confirmation process.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Obama would not have launched the raid unless he had assurances from Kayani and Pasha that there would be no interference. However, there must have been a contingency plan in case there was a double-cross.


Brig Ali,

Obama's actions have shown him to be a calculated risk taker. Getting Bin Laden was the highest priority for him.

Had the US confronted Kayani with evidence of Bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad, Kayani could have simply had the target moved despite US monitoring. This is what Pakistan has been doing with the Haqqani network targets. Posession is 9/10th of the law, they say. Even when the US shared precise coordinates, the targets seem to disappear overnight.

Given that the US would have studied Pakistan military's radar and surveillance patterns along its Western border, they could have easily concluded that there was only a small risk of interference. Plus, even if the Pak mil were to discover the raid as it happened, it is not a given that they'd shoot without seriously thinking about the consequences.


wish ful thinking

Hashim Khan

I think Brig FB Ali has nailed it right. To the question of why didn't ISI move Osama after they knew that the CIA knows where he is, could they. If ISI knew that Osama has been found out, then they also knew that he is under constant survilence by them and any attempt to relocate him would not go unnoticed. The end result would have been that ISI would have been dyed as the blackest sheep. The only option for Pakistan was to fake ignorance of the US plans of a raid and raise tantrums later on. I think it worked out best for the US and Pakistan the way it was carried out. US got their man, Pakistan didn't lose face with Saudis, and Saudis can point finger at any one they feel like, though they are also taking the best course of action by showing a helpless shrug and staying mum.


The US has been so proactive in its handling of all matters related to Bin Laden, no different than the Roman legions chasing , Hannibal all the way to Armenia, or the end of some of the famous red indian chiefs. If the scenario given is correct ,What is stopping them from demanding from the ex commando president , reasons for double dealing, and complicity ,instead of giving him vip treatment?



"Visited JUI Fazlur Rehman madrasah in Bhakkar, Pakistan full of Taliban ready to die for fight against america."


Jaish-e-Muhammad reviving:


One should distinguish the Obama of domestic politics, where he wants to be the bipartisan president; and Obama of foreign policy. Obama's "nature" is thus not a fact, but a speculation.


Better start making up the narrative from now for when Mullah Omar is captured. Perhaps it will be more convincing then.


"If I knew the precise operational details you request, I would not be in a position to reveal them in public, would I."

Swagger. You miss the point - That. It. Is. Very. Probably. Not. Feasible. Period.

Naturally, if you knew the operational details... you would see that.

What I am saying is that the idea to mount simultaneous (to preserve the element of surprise) assaults on the locations where the Pakistanis hold their crown jewels under heavy guard would probably end in bloody failure.

Getting their nukes pulled is nothing the Pakistanis will ever accept. The metaphor is apt, they are indeed their teeth. They will fight it with all they have. Seals, Rangers, Delta Force and Special Forces are surely top trained troops, but they are still mortal and can they die just as anybody else.

If such an attempt was made, the Pakistanis will throw at them what they have. To give them a chance of survival air cover would be a necessity. Essentially we're speaking of an all out war against Pakistan. Madness.

It is worth keeping in mind that the lifeline to the US contingent in Afghanistan runs from Karachi through the Khyber pass.

Patrick Lang


"Essentially we're speaking of an all out war against Pakistan. Madness"

Yes, I do not think this is a practicable option. pl

Patrick Lang


Well, then, since nothing one says will be believed, I guess it will have to be Article Nine. pl

FB Ali


Re your latest objection (regarding Obama's nature), perhaps you'd like to write up a post for here explaining why you think Obama would have chosen to launch the SF raid (without assurance of Pakistani non-interference) rather than picking the other option of a drone strike.

I'm sure we'd all find that much more interesting than this dribble of nits you can pick.

But first, do read again the pros and cons of these two options that I have listed in the article.

The beaver

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Obama would not have launched the raid unless he had assurances from Kayani and Pasha that there would be no interference. However, there must have been a contingency plan in case there was a double-cross.

Brig Ali,

Didn't Pasha meet with Panneta in DC just two weeks before the killing of OBL? And there were rumours that Pasha left in a hurry after his meeting.

May be he was given an ultimatum!!!!


Perhaps if ISI had moved OBL the raid would have snatch Kayani and Pasha instead?

used to post here


OK. Fine. Not practicable, not feasible.
No swagger intended.
Now, find a way.
I know you can do it!
Fight entropy.


somehow the US managed to cope with the prospect and the real risk of national annihilation in nuclear fire during the Cold War. Nothing in Pakistan poses a comparable threat. Nothing.

I know, it is anathema to the vaunted 'can do spirit', but there are limits to American power, and hard power proper for that matter. Some things you have to learn to live with in dignity, like a nuclear armed Soviet Union, China, North Korea, or a nuclear armed Pakistan.

FB Ali

The Beaver,

Yes, Pasha met with Panetta and Mullen in Washington on 13 April. He had planned a 3-day stay but left the same day after the meeting.

I had referred to this meeting and hurried departure in my article, "Something's happening.....", though at the time I did not know that it was linked to the ObL affair. The piece is at:


used to post here


Hmm. what about Iran and it's proxies? They are conspicuously absent from your list, my friend. In any case, I appreciate your posts.


Interesting Discussion. But let's just go to the basics. OBL and his AQ attack US by bringing down WTCs. US retaliates and counter attack AQ in Afghanistan. After 10 years of relentless pursuit they incapacitate AQ and finally get their man OBL. Where, how or when is inconsequential. Fact is he is dead.
Now the only way out of this mess is for US to make a graceful exit while they can, from Afghanistan. Leave the country for its neighbors to rectify. As for Talibans, their cause of fighting a 'war of liberation' from perceived Western Occupation forces, will loose steam with the departure of US Forces from Afghan soil.
Otherwise, the radicalization of Pashtun masses will continue with every drone strike and collateral damage in Af Pak region thus destablizing the whole region making even the western world more dangerous with time.

For God sake, stop war mongering and give peace a chance.

Patrick Lang


"For God sake, stop war mongering and give peace a chance."

Not referring to the SST crowd, are you? That would be egregioous. pl

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