News Analysis

Assassination for Electoral Gain

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam sees the Abbottabad charade not as an anti-terror move, but a poll gimmick.

Osama bin Laden’s assassination is being touted as the ultimate in the “anti-terror” campaign of the United States. However, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Firstly, it is the destruction of a scarecrow foisted by the US to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The American culpability in foisting it is as great as that of the destroying it.

Remember the days of President Ronald Reagan when people like Osama bin Laden and his comrades in arms were waging jihad in Afghanistan against Russian invaders.

Addressing these people, President Reagan said these people stood for human freedom and dignity like the iconic American heroes – President Washington, President Jefferson and President Lincoln.

That was then, and this is now, as they say.

The American war effort against the USSR in Afghanistan (the money provided by the Saudis, the strategy by the CIA, and logistics by the ISI) drove the invaders away, but also destabilised the vast Muslim region from Pakistan to Central Asia.

Strategic planners like Brzezinsky knew the heavy cost Muslim countries of the region would have to pay for it in terms of agitated masses of people uncontrollable by local and national governments.

It is quite clear that America was thinking in a limited, selfish way, unconcerned about the fallout. Naturally, men like Osama, too, were not unduly concerned about their former ally United States and its sensitivities.

Osama had opposed the stationing of US forces on Saudi soil and was opposed to US support to Israel against hapless Palestinian Arabs. Every day he saw Israelis bombing Palestinian population centres with American planes, missiles and bombs.

He saw Israeli atrocities financed by US dollars and action against it thwarted by US diplomatic support. A man who saw the Haram in Makkah, Madinah and Jerusalem threatened by the US and Israel would not have friendly feelings about them.

The transparently unjust war in Iraq (with a million Iraqis killed) and the barely justifiable war in Afghanistan were enough to harden attitudes. As it turns out now, the Iraq war was not about weapons of mass destruction, but to destroy Iraq and Israel’s other neighbours to make it safe. Such acts do not make anyone popular, even if it is the United States.

Now that Osama is dead (for the third time), we presume that this time the news is true. He could be dead, but the situation that created him (American-Israeli aggression) is still as it was. That means any rejoicing is pre-mature.

What strikes me is the truth that Osama alive got George W. Bush his second term in the White House and Osama dead is going to ensure the same for Barack Obama.

War is not merely an instrument of foreign policy, it also helps conduct domestic policy. It would be pertinent to remember that when pressure against President Bill Clinton mounted in the United States for his philandering with Monica Lewinsky, he ordered missile strikes against Iraq. That was to deflect attention from internal “affairs”.

With precedent like that we cannot find faults with Mr Bush or Mr Obama for cashing in on Osama, live or dead.

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