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In Life and in Death Bin Laden Divides US and Pakistan -- Foust

In Life and in Death Bin Laden Divides US and Pakistan -- Foust

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The Atlantic

It sounded like a Michael Bay movie: a daring raid, deep inside Pakistan, to kill the world's biggest terrorists at a mansion in a Abbottabad, a small town in Pakistan. Yet even as crowds gather outside the White House for a raucous, late-night celebration, many questions linger, particularly for the already-troubled U.S. relationship with Pakistan
The Atlantic

It sounded like a Michael Bay movie: a daring raid, deep inside Pakistan, to kill the world's biggest terrorists at a mansion in a Abbottabad, a small town in Pakistan. Yet even as crowds gather outside the White House for a raucous, late-night celebration, many questions linger, particularly for the already-troubled U.S. relationship with Pakistan

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Published by: The American Security Project on Sep 21, 2012
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03/30/2014

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 In Life and in Death, Bin Laden Divides U.S.and Pakistan
By Joshua FoustMay 2 2011, 7:00 AM ET 51 
Osama bin Laden was killed in a mansion near a military academy not unlike Pakistan's West Point. Are we better off not cooperating with the country when it comes to fighting al-Qaeda?
 It sounded like a Michael Bay movie: a daring raid, deep inside Pakistan, to kill the world'sbiggest terrorists at a mansion in a Abbottabad, a small town in Pakistan. Yet even as crowdsgather outside the White House for a raucous, late-night celebration, many questions linger,particularly for the already-troubled U.S. relationship with Pakistan.In his speech announcing bin Laden's death, the President offered some interesting details: Over the years, I've repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knewwhere bin Laden was. That is what we've done. But it's important to note that ourcounterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound wherehe was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacksagainst the Pakistani people.Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistanicounterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And goingforward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and itsaffiliates.That is, Obama waited until tonight, hours after the raid was conducted and Osama bin Laden'sbody collected, to tell the President of Pakistan that it took place. After the news broke, a "senioradministration official" told reporters that the administration deliberately waited until after the raid was conducted to tell the Pakistani government about it.The U.S. and Pakistan are at a low point in their relationship. In January, Raymond Davis, acontractor working for the CIA, shot and killed two men in Lahore, an incident that would both
 
reveal and worsen just how bad the U.S.-Pakistan relationship had gotten. The U.S. claimedDavis had diplomatic immunity and should be returned to U.S. custody; the Pakistanis disagreedand placed him on trial for the murders, ruling along the way that he was not, in fact, entitled toimmunity. As the trial dragged on, the streets of Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi were cloggedwith angry protesters declaring their desire to kill Davis. Only the last-minute payment of 
diyya
,or blood money, allowed him to leave the country.The CIA has disconnected its operations from Pakistani intelligence, to stunning successIn the years leading up to Davis' arrest, many Pakistanis expressed anger at the CIA's dronecampaign in their country's northwest, which they saw as a violation of their sovereignty. Whena CIA contractor - Davis -- was then arrested for killing two Pakistani men on the street, popularanger over the CIA's activities erupted in the streets.Immediately after Davis' arrest, many observers got the impression that the CIA and Pakistan'sintelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which typically collaborated on operationsagainst al-Qaeda in Pakistan, were not getting along.As recently as last week, Pakistani news was loaded with speculation about the rocky relationship between the U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies. The ISI is frequently accused of collaborating with al-Qaeda, while theCIA is criticized for operating the drones program outside the tight control of the Pakistanigovernment. Both are probably true.Over the last year, the CIA has operated inside Pakistan with increasing independence,infuriating the Pakistani government, which has insisted on oversight over all foreign operationson its soil. Now, less than five months after Raymond Davis' arrest, a U.S. special operationsteam has moved deep into Pakistani territory and killed Osama bin Laden. The location issignificant: Abbottabad, the town in the northwestern province of Khyber-Paktunkhwa where theCIA found him, hosts the Pakistani Military Academy. It is the Pakistani equivalent of WestPoint, where many Army officers are educated and trained. A senior Obama administrationofficial has said that the compound where bin Laden was killed was about eight times larger than the average home in the area, and built as recently as 2005. From the few reports we have so far,there were no Pakistani government forces involved in the nearly 40-minute firefight thateventually killed bin Laden.It is difficult to imagine how bin Laden could have been living at a mansion in a town knownprimarily for its large population of military officers without anyone noticing. Recently releasedsecret cables from Guantanamo, which identify Pakistan's ISI intelligence service as an active collaborator with al-Qaeda, make it even less believable that the Pakistani government did notknow precisely where Osama bin Laden was hiding. From the very limited information availableright now, it appears that the U.S. assumed the Pakistani government would have blown theoperation by telling bin Laden about it, so they chose to keep it a secret until it was all over andthey had a body to confirm the kill.What comes next? If there is a coherent story out of Pakistan from the past year, it is that theCIA has disconnected its operations from the ISI, to stunning success: not only have dronestrikes killed more terrorists, but now the U.S. has launched a raid to kill the most wantedterrorist in the world -- in town controlled by the Pakistani military. This is surely humiliating forPakistani President Zardari: he wasn't even given a courtesy call before the raid began.

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