I waited. I could afford to wait to write this 48 hours since the limited dots of information on the fall of Osama bin Laden have not increased.
For a momentous moment like this, the way America have gone ahead in disposing off their prized catch of the decade in complete obscurity – with so much politics, money and what not attached – has raised more suspicious eyebrows than the jubilant Americans on the streets.
And those eyebrows will remain up since the US media has failed to grill basic questions from the White House staff:
Excuse my French but nobody buys the logic of show of sensitiveness towards Islam from the Americans, so why was there no picture of the slain OBL?
DNA tests have been conducted. Where is the copy of that? Is it so fast to do that within hours from the scene of action?
There are reports of women and children at the time of ‘firefight’ and them being hospitalised. Where are those crucial live eyewitnesses?
Let us not debate why the burial in the sea but isn’t it a coincidence that the sea route is the most convenient way to dispose off evidence forensically?
Matched by the further coincidences that the fall came when the issue and search had almost become irrelevant like in Saddam Hussein’s case. There have been seven reports in the past of Osama’s death and none denied by the man himself who was suffering from kidney problems so much that he was hospitalised on the eve of the 9/11 attacks. There have been fake tapes too.
Isn’t it a coincidence that America was also getting frustrated with the quicksand that is Pakistan and that with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and strengthening of ties with India, the stakes were not much in any case.
Which brings one to another theory: What if Osama has been dead for long?
The moot point also is how long was OBL at Abbottabad assuming Americans knew of this location since August. The key word here was ‘tentative’ that Obama found the intelligence on April 29 when he signed the order.
What need not be debated here is that it was a complete US operation and some secrecy in not showing the body is understandable considering even if OBL was indeed found the use of air bases and the flying of Navy Seals violated international air space laws.
Yet Obama has admitted to the operation. Also to a certain extent I can even fathom that the display of their catch may have been avoided initially so as not to offend Muslim clerics and not provoke jihadis to get another 9/11 as an angry response. This may sound laughable but OBL did succeed in instilling that fear in the psyche of many.
In that context and juxtapose that with the American dilemma in the subcontinent where Pakistan is a problem and yet part of the solution, one thinks Obama has decided to bite the bullet.
As recently as last week America has gone to the extent of saying ISI is a terrorist group. In the bigger picture break of protocol and diplomatic relations is a small price or virtually negligible that USA had paid in return for a huge chunk of goodwill back home.
Let’s try and plot out the scenarios against the above questions for each of the two theories before we jump the gun and press the What Next trigger.
If Osama was dead already: The US followed the courier brothers and must have easily found out if messages were coming in and out of Laden, who would be running a huge organisation like Al Qaeda were he be fit. But he has been not operational for much time, a fact well-known.
Now the question for Obama arises, should he reveal his findings and in a way admit that the whole of world’s intelligence could not determine OSL’s death, something that Al Qaeda has also successfully managed to keep it hidden for reasons that give a good indicator of their dependability on their icon.
But if he chose to gamble and staged the win over the bad, his rankings would soar with his polls on his first term due any time now. Only Al Qaeda’s top brass would be able to call his bluff then and that could be again a reason why Obama looked so serious even in his big moment of glory.
If it was indeed Obama: Then the only reasons one can think of are that either America was scared or apprehensive on the fallout already or that they wanted to assuage the Pakistan leadership and give them as little uncomfortable moments.
Either way it is the Pakistan government who has now been embarrassed and the onus lies on them to be a responsible nation. That is asking for the moon from a country who never heeded to Mahatma Gandhi more than 60 years back and the rot has well set in.