Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

making progress? « Previous | |Next »
May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden had become a mythic figure in the Western imaginary and the Islamic one, even though only a minority of Muslims wants such a theocratic dictatorship advocated by Al-Qaeda--- a return to the medieval Muslim caliphate (a combination of pope and emperor). His death is being celebrated in the West as a victory in the decade long war on terrorism--it's a feeding frenzy of commentary. The Americans have their revenge and retribution. It is symbolic event; a cathartic moment.

MoirA OsamaBenLaden .jpg

However history has moved on in that the uprisings that have shaken the Middle East region, from Tunisia, Egypt to the ongoing protests against the Assad regime in Syria, have not involved significant Islamist activity – let alone the violent jihadi and clash of civilization between Islam and the West ideas promoted by Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and their associates. The largely peaceful mass movements want parliamentary democracy in that they articulate their desires using categories such as the nation, the people, liberty and democracy.

So the movement Bin Laden founded has already failed: there has not been a broad fundamentalist revolution that would topple existing Arab governments and usher in a unified Islamic caliphate. Al-Qaeda has been almost completely irrelevant to the popular upheavals that have dominated regional politics.

The Australian government is quick to say that Australia will "stay the course" in Afghanistan to "get the job done" so that Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists again. The war on terrorism can be won say the neocons.

Yet it is Pakistan that provides the safe haven. The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID), Pakistan's powerful security and spy agency, are effectively providing the terrorists with protection and they also support the Taliban in Afghanistan in order to block Indian influence. So the Afghan Taliban and their associates have been able to operate unimpeded from Pakistani soil. What will happen to these Afghan Taliban leaders now?

Al Qaeda isn't the real reason the US is having a hard time in Afghanistan, it has nothing to do with its difficulties with Iran and little to do with Israel and the Palestinians.The anger at various aspects of U.S. policy in the Middle East continues to drive anti-Americanism in the region, and this makes it more difficult for the US to protect its imperial interests in that part of the world. The US is not seen as a benign hegemon whose regional dominance is to be welcomed.

It looks as if the post 9/11 national security state (with its security queues and surveillance) is here to stay for quite some time, even though the NATO counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan is dissipating.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:40 AM | | Comments (27)


I wonder the reasons why Pakistan decided to give him up. Perhaps with recent events in other countries they have seen the value of order and not chaos. Perhaps as China is growing we are starting to see teams change a little.

The story gets curiouser and curiouser. The official version suggests either there is no co-operation whatsoever between the Pakistan intelligence services and the USA, or that Pakistan has states within the state that can operate without any effective interference by the official state. Either way it reminds us how fragile might be the concept of Pakistan as a nation. The thought of it going the way of Iraq or Lebanon or Libya is pretty scary. Random American missiles and helicopters flying in killing people are unlikely to improve the situation, no matter how good of an excuse for a party they give the folks back home.

Even more remarkable is this burying at sea stuff. I mean WTF?? It's almost as if Obama wanted to create an environment where new conspiracy theories could flourish (and of course they have already started). Maybe he thought the birth certificate story worked well for him so why not give the fruitcakes something new to work with? However the studied insult will no doubt hit thousands of potential Muslim militants, with predictable results in the form of hatred of America and a lust for revenge. Why such an outcome was regarded as preferable to a normal burial in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia is a mystery. Are they really that scared of the man's symbolic power?

I wondered a similar thing Les. Except I wondered why the Americans chose right now to do this. After the royal wedding but in good time for the election probably.

Pakistan must have known about the is inconceivable that US helicopters could have penetrated so deeply into Pakistani airspace without being detected by the Pakistan army and air force.

The US is saying it did it alone in order to protect the Pakistan Government from a backlash. Pakistan is a battlefield--since 2001 more than 30,000 have died here in terror and counterterror violence; slain by bombs, bullets, cannons and drones.

Yes good point Lyn. Its unlikely that Obama will get re-elected on the same wave of good feeling that he rode in on. This time he will need the redneck vote too.
I am sure it was timed after the wedding if they new his whereabouts in August.

On a lighter note I here Elton is playing at his funeral. He'll be singing "Sandals in the Bin"

I must admit the last paragraph is taken up straight away in the opening comments of Les and Ken L.
For my part, I go along with the notion that the US bypassed the Pakistan government and committed their assasination of someone living in the territory of another country, which must be problematic from both a legal and ethical point of view.

The US assassinated Osama bin Laden (a summary execution) and is triumphant. Osama bin Laden has become a martyr. His stature has increased.

It's time to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan. The American have got their man.

The war on terrorism must continue narrative is premised on a very old goodies and baddies story: an evil enemy with sleeper cells and "tentacles" throughout the world--a terror network--- whose sole aim was the destruction of western civilisation.

A looming apocalypse. Civilization is at stake. Thats why we must fight in Afghanistan.

The problem we have now is that there will be a new leader that will need to establish himself. The second in command seems most likely is he isnt killed too by (somebody). Then the death of Bin Laden must be avenged and it will have to be something major.
I think we are not at the end of anything but back at a new beginning. No-one will be withdrawing from Afghanistan just yet. Perhaps the opposite.

It's become very clear now that this was a cold-blooded assassination, with no serious attempt to arrest Osama and bring him back for trial. Maybe that was the deal with Pakistan to stop Osama telling the world what he's been up to in Islamabad for the last 10 years, who knows. But after all the predictable gotcha stuff has subsided, it will be interesting to see the long-term ramifications. At the very least, one would expect a hardening of anti-Americanism in Pakistan, a country whose willing co-operation is vital to the occupation of Afghanistan.

Australia is not fighting Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

It is fighting the Afghan Taliban ie., it is involved in a civil a war in a foreign country. The use of the word 'terrorism' or 'extremism' is being used to disguise how the enemy has been redefined.

The details are changing with almost every new bulletin. He used his wife as a human shield, no he didn't. He was armed, no he wasn't. Pakistan knew and helped, Pakistan didn't. We'll probably have to get used to not knowing. It's a conspiracy theorist's dream.

Whatever the truth, and regardless of who takes revenge for what, the people of Pakistan are the most likely to suffer in the fallout.

They are all the bad guys arent they Annon. Perhaps your comment should of been directed to Sue.

Well... they're not all the SAME bad guys... are they?

That's a weak argument, Les. The same sort of bogus argument that was used to justify the attack on Iraq. And that adventure, having nothing to do with Al-Qaeda, has cost tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis their lives.

Of course they are all the same mars. Haven't you seen the 9 news today. LOL.

You could be right, Les. After all 9 was one of the first to air that magnificent Osama death photo. Who would dare doubt such a resourceful news team?

So the story is that American helicopters fly into Pakistan, carrying a team to kill the world’s most wanted terrorist and then fly out undetected.

That story has produced a stunned silence from the military and its intelligence service that can be interpreted as embarrassment, even humiliation.

The question is: can the military defend Pakistan’s borders from attack?

Pakistan also has to explain why it said it had not been aware of the presence of the leader of Al Qaeda in Abbottabad, just 35 miles from the Pakistani capital.

the US thinks in terms of good Afghan Taliban and bad Afghan Taliban.

The good Afghan Taliban are those it can do business with---talking with the Americans because they are simply guerrillas fighting against occupation forces in Afghanistan.

The bad Afghan Taliban are those it can't do business with, those who are in favour of a global jihadi

Without a doubt the killing of Osama bin Laden was a joint Pakistan-US effort and that all logistics were arranged inside Pakistan.

What is entirely possible is that though Pakistan's military command was aware that the operation targeted a high-value suspect, it was completely unaware that it was in fact Bin Laden until this was announced by the Americans after the al-Qaeda leader had been shot dead by US Special Forces.

This is the most realistic scenario. al-Qaeda is going to target Pakistan and it has been resuscitated as a specter hovering over the collective unconscious of the West. The "war on terror" goes on forever.

Will there be a shift of the war theater from Afghanistan to Pakistan? Will a previous efforts for reconciliation between Pakistani militants and Pakistan be sabotaged? Will all militant's guns turn towards the Pakistani military establishment?

I have a real hard time accepting the "oooh, now the militants are going to lash out and get revenge" line.

Surely if crazy Rasheed and angry Shahid
had the ability, resources and intent to inflict death and destruction on their "enemies" they would have done so by now. Why would they have held back? Why would they wait until the world was EXPECTING a reprisal attack?

It may be that the Pakaistani ISI attempt to ramp up the violence, in order to convince the U.S. to leave sooner rather than later now that America’s accomplished what it set out to do.

But, given the current political climate, that makes absolutely no sense, Gary.

One glance at the triumphalism rampant in the US should convince anyone that the US is still itching for a shootout.

the triumphalism could mean that the jobs done as far as the American public are concerned.

Things have been tough in the U.S. Perhaps there is a bit of "When there's music they get up and dance......." going on as well.

I suspect the American public will have a hard time knowing if the job is done.... especially since they've never really been told what the "job" is.