In no country did Osama bin Laden’s demise generate as acute a sense of vindication as in India. For the past twenty years, India has pointed to Pakistan as the epicentre of regional and global terrorism.
None of this means that India is guaranteed to use force, and an array of other constraints - military readiness, fear of nuclear escalation, civilian reticence – will play their part. Nonetheless, the diplomatic environment in which the choice would be made has changed. >continue<
The shadowy agreement explains why Prime Minister Gilani gave such a tepid speech on the whole affair. He demanded no apology from the United States, appointed no commission of inquiry, and did not seem unduly alarmed (because he was not). He said that Bin Laden’s demise greatly benefited Pakistan, on which, he said, Bin Laden had declared war. Gilani, a relatively secular politician from a prominent Sufi family of Multan, was no doubt delighted to have Bin Laden out of the way. He did push back against suggestions that the Pakistani military knowingly harbored Bin Laden, though he admitted that the terrorist’s residence in Abbottabad was an embarrassment. Maybe not as big an embarrassment, he archly suggested, as invading a whole country such as Iraq on the basis of mistaken intelligence about WMD. But an embarrassment nevertheless. >continue<
Commentary by Juan Cole, with some interesting angles as usual, in tandem with the Guardian’s reporting: US forces were given permission to conduct unilateral raid inside Pakistan if they knew where Bin Laden was hiding
The US and Pakistan struck a secret deal almost a decade ago permitting a US operation against Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil similar to last week’s raid that killed the al-Qaida leader, the Guardian has learned.
The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.
Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion. >continue<
The response in Pakistan has not been promising. By focusing on the raid into Pakistani territory and glossing over the fact that bin Laden was living on Pakistani soil, the army appears to be doubling down on obstinacy. Nor is it helpful that the government says it will refuse the U.S. access to those who survived the raid. The one glimmer of hope thus far was the statement earlier this week by the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, that the government would launch an investigation into how bin Laden managed to live for so long in Abbotobad and whether his support system included any serving officials. It now appears the military has taken charge of the investigation, which does not bode well for transparency.
For too long the United States has relied on the army as its primary interlocutor out of perceived operational necessity, often with frustrating results. The military-to-military relationship is an important one, but over-reliance on the army is at odds with the aim of fostering civilian governance in Pakistan. >continue<