Saiful Islam for BeyondHeadlines
I switched on the T.V. on Monday morning to get news of Arunachal’s C.M.(he is dead now) and saw some breaking news flashing, I did not notice at first as every news these days is ‘breaking news’. This news was really big though!
World’s most wanted or America’s most wanted man was dead. I was neither happy nor sad; indifferent would be a better word to explain how I felt. After ten years of manhunt and killing of five thousand American soldiers and more than a million civilians the corpse of Osama was not worth it.
Conspiracy theories are doing the rounds as no photo of the dead body has been released by the U.S. army and the only photo circulated on the net was declared a ‘fake’.
The mood around the world was euphoric especially in the States. But he was grieved too in certain pockets of the world. Grieving for a ‘terrorist’ is totally unacceptable but is celebrating someone’s death in consonance with the ethos of a civilized society? There are many questions before us. Will terrorism end with Osama? Will the U.S. stop the so called ‘war on terror’ and will we see a change in its policy? Will terrorism end if oppressions in Chechnya, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. continue? The answer to all these questions is an emphatic NO!
The U.S. may stop the war on terror but it will continue to meddle in the affairs of other countries in the name of liberating them from despots and restoring democracy. American involvement in the world affairs started with the Second World War when it destroyed an entire generation of Japanese and justified the use of atom bombs because it ended the war early when everyone knew that Japan will surrender within weeks. The idea was to show their might and to declare to the world that ‘they have arrived.’ It was a vengeance for Pearl Harbor. The American meddling does not end here; and from Vietnam, Afghanistan to Iraq under the guise of one thing or the other it pursued its narrow interests.
America’s love for democracy was so profound that the even killed a head of the state, read Saddam Hussain to force a regime change and now they are after the head of Qaddafi. And how can one forget the CIA sponsored coup in Iran that deposed democratically elected government of Mossadegh and brought Shah Phalavi back to throne! I wonder that if the powerful countries are tried for war crimes then from Senior Bush to Obama every one will be executed for war crimes. They test their bombs to drones in these wars at the cost of thousands of civilian lives.
The killing of Osama was as dramatic and filmy as was his life. He was killed barely eight hundred meters from the military base. I believe that it was a deal hatched between the ISI and the American authorities because the stakes were very high on Osama’s head. However, both parties have so far denied any collusion.
Win-win for all: Barack Obama now stands a good chance for re-election as suddenly his popularity has sky rocketed. America wanted to pull its forces from Afghanistan, buckling under pressure, from its people and an economy which is struggling to recover from recession. As America wanted to end the war on terror it no longer needed the face of Osama to be pursued. The Americans could not have pulled without sealing the fate of Osama as it would have been embarrassing not to; after fighting for ten years, spending trillions of dollars and sacrificing five thousand soldiers. Now is the perfect time to pull out their forces.
Americans are saying that the operation was fully carried by American commandos as a face saving attempt and to send home a message so what if they could not catch Osama for a decade they are capable of killing him in the cantonment area of another country even without their help.
Such a big operation in a military area seems unlikely without the knowledge and help of Pakistani forces. They are in a tight spot as they cannot claim that they helped in Osama’s killing fearing a backlash from the fundamentalists in the country. They cannot claim ignorance of the operation because it would be very embarrassing as it would reaffirm the belief that Pakistan is a ‘safe haven’ for terrorists and raise doubts about the competence of security agencies.
There was immense pressure on Pakistan to act and Osama had become a burden on the ISI and the army with his failing health and the high cost for his security and upkeep; more so in a country which lives on U.S. grants. Pakistan is also worried about India’s growing influence in Afghanistan and wants to limit it to the minimal. A happy and content America can help Pakistan in reducing India’s role in Afghanistan.
Overall the whole episode looks like some action sequence from a Hollywood blockbuster of Arnie or Stallone and many a film makers will be inspired and raring to capture the real in the reel.
I must admit a spent force like Osama could not have been put to a better use. All win no loss. Both America and Pakistan will politicize the issue to their advantage and their love hate relationship will continue in the years to come.
Under this changed scenario and after Pakistan has been exposed India is increasing the demand to bring the 26/11 plotters to justice as they too are believed to be in Pakistan. We must not forget that it was America’s war to which we had extended support as an unwelcome alley. Americans have ditched us time and again for Pakistan because an unstable country as an alley serves their purpose well rather than a thriving democracy. We cannot do away with putting the gun on someone else shoulder and if we are really serious about curbing terrorism then we must take the bull by its horns rather than waiting for someone else to tame it. The repercussions of the development will be seen in coming months and it would be premature to say anything now.
Saiful Islam is a Delhi based social worker and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect BH’s editorial policy.