Middle East

Was it Pakistan All Along?

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In a somewhat unnerving speculation, Jim Henley wonders whether Osama Bin Laden's plan all along might have had little to do with the United States–and everything to do with Pakistan's nukes.

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  1. Obviously, we need to invade both Iran and Pakistan immediately. Naturally, only a draft will supply the necessary number of troops, you libertarian smarty-pantses. My administration was right about that.

  2. OBL’s to do list sittin’ in his cave;

    1) Do 9-11.

    2) Make America all crazy by recording cryptic messages and releasing them to Al Jazera.

    3) Get Pakistani nukes.

    Freakin’ Genius.

    Wyle E. Coyote

  3. It seemed to me that the question was about influencing, and maybe eventually controlling, Saudi Arabia. …but yeah, the question about their interest in influencing and maybe controlling a nuclear Pakistan was out there too.

    Makes me think of the old question about Ginger or Mary Ann. …my answer was always “both”.

    Control of Mecca, control of the Saudi oil fields, I think that was his main goal.

    I’m not saying he wouldn’t have come after us even if we hadn’t been in Saudi Arabia, but I think being in Saudi Arabia made sure we stayed at the top of his list.

    Once the Iranian Revolution no longer posed the threat it had and once Saddam Hussein was well contained, who was the United States protecting the Saudi government from?

    Yes, at a time when North Korea was getting whatever it wanted, just by throwing temper tantrums, why wouldn’t he want to protect himself with nukes? …and the proximity to the people who controlled those nukes, as well as the sympathies of some in the Pakistani military, made securing them all the more plausible.

    But why choose. He wanted both. Why wouldn’t he want both?

  4. OBL’s secret plan

    1. Bring down twin towers
    2. Get chased around Afghanistan and Pakistan
    .
    .
    .
    100. Profit

  5. Fair enough, I guess, but I still think he’s been dead for years, and simply releasing old tapes every so often.

    You can look like you know what’s going on in the future if you speak vaguely enough. Just look at the popularity of horoscopes!

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was his intention, but not seven years after the fact. There was a serious risk of the govt of Pakistan being overthrown by al-Qaeda when they were first cooperating with us immediately after 9/11. I had a teacher who thought that was bin Laden’s plan at the time.

  7. Seems a little like one of those things that make sense given knowledge of what has occurred in the past seven years.

    Wasn’t it commonly thought that OBL thought that the U.S. would do nothing, and that’s what he aimed for – to show that we were a “paper tiger”?

    Now after history has unfolded we say that he really thought we would overkill it and have 200,000 troops in two different Muslim countries, bogging us down so he could get Pakistani nukes.

  8. that whole story reeks

    I already posted my thoughts over there, but the short of it is that OBL and his ilk have always been more interested in undermining the apostate regimes in Arab countries than acquiring nukes and starting WWIV with the west.

    Pakistan is less the goal than fomenting dissent against the western-aligned (egypt/saudi) and hereditary/familial dictatorships (syria/jordan) in the arab states. Oh yeah, and getting rid of seculars like Saddam… Thanks USA!

    What pakistan offers for OBL is a hideout and opportunity to again fuck with western allied muslim leadership. Nukes not needed.

    Personnally I think the ISI wacked Bhutto without Musharaffs go-ahead, and he’s scared shitless because he’s not sure who did make the call. I suspect it was more driven by conservative Islamic nationalists than ‘jihadists’ of the international flavor… who may support each other at times for convenience sake, but not to be confused as the same groups with same interests and goals. I really dont think pakistanis are about to hand over their Nukes – which are pointed mainly at India – to some group of psycho thugs who want to blow up Hollywood or something. They LOVE their nukes and the prestige it gives them. They dont see themselves as a ‘rogue state’ a la North Korea, and want to be treated as equal authority as india in the region. The Nationalist types in pakistan would be the last to ‘pass their nukes’ (a weak concept at best – as they are mostly designed to be delivered by medium range missles?) to people they couldnt control.

    The idea of the suitcase nuke is still mostly a myth at the moment. Im not sure the pashtuns think arabs are their long-term best friends either – more partners of convenience.

  9. I guess you guys all missed the video where Osama demanded a million dollars and then changed it to a billion when he realized he looked like an idiot.

  10. Fair enough, I guess, but I still think he’s been dead for years, and simply releasing old tapes every so often.

    Fucker is like Tupac!

  11. Wasn’t it commonly thought that OBL thought that the U.S. would do nothing, and that’s what he aimed for – to show that we were a “paper tiger”? ?

    Some people thought this, but the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance, on 9/10, combined with bin Laden’s view of Afghanistan as the place where mujahadeen defeat superpowers, suggest very strongly that he expected us to invade.

    Still, Henley’s piece seems like finding shapes in the clouds. I guess I can see the elephant if I squint, but I can see the pony, too.

  12. no joe, thats a Ponyphant.

  13. Still, Henley’s piece seems like finding shapes in the clouds.

    Official Agreement With Joe moment.

  14. A lot of this analysis attributes a high degree of cynicism to bin Laden that I don’t find convincing. Such figures are usually effective at attracting followers precisely because they believe every cockamamie word that comes out of their own mouths.

    My impression has long been that bin Laden & Co. genuinely believed that 9/11 would be the Islamic “shot heard ’round the world”–the thing that would ignite the supposedly enraged Muslim masses to overthrow their secular governments and facilitate the creation of an Islamic superstate. I have no doubt that bin Laden truly believed he could recreate the Caliphate on the backs of the “Islamic Street” if they were given the proper motivation.

    As it turned out, of course, all he got out of it was a handful of volatile Palestinians dancing in the streets of Palestine and New Jersey, along with a massive U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that forced him on the run and impaired his operations. He didn’t benefit from the invasion in any way I can see, and only seems to pursued his Pakistan strategy out of necessity. That’s assuming he’s actually in control of any of it.

    His 9/11 strategy was a tremendous failure, since it only showed that the Islamic peoples lacked the fire to do much of anything about anything except engage in tribal war against each other.

    None of which excuses our attempts at nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, those seem as silly and naive as attempting to create an Islamic revolution by blowing up a couple of office buildings.

  15. I like Jim a lot, but I agree with joe and RC here.

  16. all he got out of it was a handful of volatile Palestinians dancing in the streets of Palestine and New Jersey

    To be fair, the guys in New Jersey were just amazed that lower Manhattan was a bigger environmental disaster than New Jersey.

  17. Crap it seems plausible to me……maybe he’s having his Muad Dib moment and thinks that by threatening Saudi Oils fields he can sweep away the existing power structure, ascend to the Saudi throne and dictate terms.

    Shit, everything seems plausible to me these days!

    Oh yeah and I agree with Joe too!

  18. Osama’s a pimp–he never could’ve outfought Giorgio. But I didn’t know until this day that it was al-Zawahiri all along. . . .

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