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Bin Laden case lacks transparency – political analyst

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 2, 2011

As the world is absorbing the news of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by the US military, the credibility of the evidence provided by Washington is being questioned.

Bin Laden’s death was announced by US President Barack Obama late on May 1. Further reports stated that Bin Laden had been buried at sea, as an unnamed US official told CNN. That left the world with little evidence and gave grounds for a new surge of suspicion.

There has been a lot of confusion over the last six months, since Bin Laden was sighted by the US last time, says Ahmed Quraishi, Senior Research Fellow at the Pakistani think-tank “Project for Pakistan in 21st Century”. The confusion was further heated by suspicion that the US was using Bin Laden as a bogeyman to perpetuate its meddling and interference in the region. 

The Pakistani military personnel that Ahmed Quraishi talked to were always very skeptical of the strength of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as estimated by Washington. For the last two years there has been a strong conviction that Al-Qaeda, which has no more than 100 people in the region, is incapable of carrying out any major attacks.

There are a lot of questions regarding the location where he [Bin Laden] was found. The location is a very small town and it is impossible for a high-valued target to be there for a long time, especially for six months,” says Quraishi.

There was a strong element of transparency, for example, when Saddam Hussein was caught,” Quraishi continues. “There were pictures, videos and footage released. In this case the element of transparency is completely non-existent. The one picture that has been circulated right now is hazy, it is not clear. There is no video footage. And now we have this story how his body has been disposed of. It would raise a lot of skepticism.

Nevertheless, the news of Bin Laden’s killing is beneficial for the Obama administration, the CIA and American military in Afghanistan, Quraishi thinks. The US has been paving its way to get out of Afghanistan, where they have gone through a very negative experience. From the economical and political perspectives, Washington is no more in position to sustain any major enemies, especially multi-front. They want a break before they find another common enemy to consolidate their military powers against, concludes Quraishi.

Paul Lashmar, an investigative journalist and lecturer at London’s Brunel University, believes that Bin Laden’s death is a landmark moment and hopes it is the beginning of the end for the Islamist terrorists.

There is going to be a lot of angry supporters of Bin Laden across the world. It might encourage some of them to go out and do something immediately. In the long run, I think it is damaging to the Al-Qaeda-style terrorism,” says Lashmar. “I would hope we have learnt some lessons since Bin Laden. When Bin Laden was sitting in his compound, part of his mind was thinking about the corrupt relationships between the West and the movements in Saudi Arabia. Supporting corrupt dictators has to be in the past for the West.”

Stephen Lendman, a radio host and author and an outspoken critic of American foreign policy says that announcements like this are always strategically timed.

”We have a terrible economy at home, there are millions of people suffering, America is lurching from one war to another. Now we are getting involved in Syria after just getting involved in Libya. We could get involved in Yemen. The public is getting a little bit tired of this,” he said. “We are spending such massive amounts of money on fighting these wars, but ignoring public need, so it’s strategic planning to booster the Obama approval rating.”


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