« RUSI Analysis of IS Options | Main | A Rough Week - But It Will Get Rougher »

20 May 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

William R. Cumming

PBS FRONTLINE had a story last night on the background and issuance of the Senate report on the CIA program that it calls TORTURE. That show also has the Senate report [never release verbatim] concluding that the WH and CIA and Hollywood version [Zero Dark Thirty directed by Kathryn Bigelow] basically HOKUM!

That show scheduled to be rebroadcast several times this week.


If the documents prove that Ben Laden was still active (meaning that his Pakistani handlers let him operate more or less freely while under their watch), would that constitute intelligence value?

At any rate the documents are (supposedly) out:


FB Ali

"...I am not completely convinced that senior Pakistani generals colluded with the U.S. in the attack..."

I think it was quite out of the question for the US to launch such a raid without assurance that there would be no Pakistani interception or interference. The risks were just too great, and the consequences of such a mishap too dire.

Pakistan is not some tinpot African backwater; it has a very functional military. The target was not in some remote rural area but in a military cantonment, quite close to an important military installation.

There was the risk of the helicopters being intercepted on the way in. There was an increased risk of this on the way out, since there was the distinct possibility of firing and explosions at the target alerting the Pakistan military.

There was the risk of intervention by ground forces while the SEALs were in the compound. Especially since their presence would no longer be secret once firing inevitably started.

In actual fact, not only were there explosions and firing at ObL's house, a chopper crashed and that caused a bigger explosion and fire. A second chopper had to be called in. The team was on the ground for longer than planned. Yet there was no intervention or interception. This is simply impossible - unless there was collusion at the highest levels.

Then there were the likely consequences if the raid were intercepted. If there was firing between US and Pakistani forces (on the ground or in the air), there was the likelihood of casualties. Relations between the two countries would have collapsed. The US war in Afghanistan would have been seriously affected.

Could Obama have undertaken the political risks involved in something going wrong? The Iran raid fiasco was one of the main reasons for Carter becoming a one-term President. There was the political fallout in the US following the Mogadishu "Blackhawk down" affair. Obama is not known to be that kind of a risk taker.

There is just no way he would have authorised the raid unless he was sure there would be no interference by Pakistan.

The Beaver

Brig Ali,

Do you remember that the power went out just before the raid started?
Granted that the electrical utility is iffy in Pakistan but one blogger did notice that it was odd at that time for a power outage ( when consumption is down) and he gave a realtime report about had happened afterwards.

The Beaver

Here is his Twitter thread at that time:


FB Ali, Sir

Anyone with any common sense would conclude as you have. It's the only plausible explanation. The idea that this was some kind of raid that got the Pakistani military unawares is good for a Hollywood fiction.

What this confirms (as if one needs any further confirmation) is the US government and American politics is all about media manipulation and propaganda directed at the American people. Of course the American people want this as they don't want to be bothered with facts and the truth. They would rather government take care of them as children and consequently are willing to give up their liberty and sovereignty.

What I find interesting is the level of mediocrity that has acquired power in DC and all state capitals. It's natural that this mediocrity coupled with hubris and the arrogance of power results in policies inimical to the interests of the country and the people. It must say something about us as citizens that we are going deeper in this mire as a society.

FB Ali

The Beaver,

Thanks for the link. Very interesting contemporary reports as the raid was taking place. Bears out my thesis that the raid couldn't be (and wasn't) that silent. If Tweeters 6 kms away heard the choppers then several army units within that area would have heard them, too. But no reaction.

The 'lights out' was probably intentional, but could have been a chance outage. They were (still were until recently) very common, I believe.

Babak Makkinejad

What, in your opinion, Pakistan received in exchange for Bin Ladin?

FB Ali

Pakistan didn't "give" bin Laden, he was "taken" by the US. Nothing was received by Pakistan.

As I surmised in my 2011 reconstruction (http://tinyurl.com/marnhqh) all the Pakistani command was promised was a cover story to spare them embarrassment over the raid; in the event, they didn't get even that.

C Webb

Bin Ladin's Bookshelf (apparently)


Col. I wonder what OBL's wives have to say about all this? Is anyone aware of an interview of the wives that was made public?


But then why send in the helicopters at all?

If the Pakistanis have already assented to the operation, and if there is agreement on a "drone strike in Aghanistan" cover story, why not simply have a couple Americans drive there, shoot Osama and retrieve the body?

Why send in a full raid with helicopters, which (risks aside) is guaranteed to attract the attention of locals and require an additional cover story? What's the adcantage, either for the US or for Pakistan?

FB Ali

Because of the Saudi connection (read my earlier piece: http://tinyurl.com/marnhqh )

Which is also why the Pakistanis didn't just hand him over when he was 'discovered' by the US.



Not a peep that I'm aware of. They remind me of the Dugger family.

1. Najwa Ghanem
Osama married the Syrian woman, also his first cousin, in an arranged marriage in 1974 when he was 17 years old. Najwa left the marriage in 2001, before the 9/11 terror attacks, after having 11 children with the terror leader.




I've been a fan for a while.


The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad