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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Did the Saudis (order Pakistan to) sell out Bin Laden?

Osama Bin Laden apparently lived in Pakistan for much of the past ten years. With all due respect to President Obama's pride in the US forces who got Bin Laden, it should be obvious to all that the United States suddenly found Bin Laden now because someone chose to turn him in. But who? Asia Times' Spengler blog believes that Bin Laden's activities in Yemen were threatening Saudi interests, and therefore the Saudis ordered the Pakistanis - who may yet be the principal Sunni ally for Saudi Arabia - to turn Bin Laden in.
In short, while al-Qaeda had drawn funding from both Saudi and Iranian sources, in present circumstances its activity tended to serve Iranian rather than Saudi interests. Support for terrorism, moreover, is a two-way street: precisely because Saudi Arabia was "a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda", Saudi intelligence knows something about the recipients of their money.

The Saudis, moreover, have an interest in cleaning up the terrorist associations of the Pakistani military. As the Saudi cold war with Iran grows increasingly hot, Riyadh may look towards Islamabad for military support. Asia Times Online has reported that the Bahrain National Guard already is recruiting Pakistani mercenaries. (See Pakistan ready for Middle East role, April 2.)

And there is speculation that Saudi Arabia in a pinch might ask for Pakistani troops, and also that Riyadh might source nuclear weapons technology from Pakistan to counter Iran's nuclear program. Where else might the Saudis go for support in a war with Iran? The Saudis cannot trust the United States. King Abdullah reportedly was enraged that Obama pulled the rug out from under Mubarak, a longstanding American ally. And they cannot trust the Turks, who have become the region's spoiler.

Pakistan's military capacity and urgent need for money make it the Sunni power most amenable to Saudi interests. That is one more reason to clear the deck of unreliable elements like Bin Laden.

Ironically, Bin Laden appears to be a casualty in the great Arab breakdown of 2011. We can only guess as to the details of his demise, and may never know the entire truth. But it is a fair conclusion that he was crushed between the tectonic plates now shifting in the Muslim world.
Read the whole thing.

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At 10:40 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

It wouldn't be surprising if the Saudis quietly tipped off the US to Bin Laden's whereabouts. He outlived his usefulness and was a threat to the Saudi regime as long as he remained alive.

The fact he was a citizen of their country takes on added significance in the light of Sunday night's events.


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