His Final Moments

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Tariq’s surma-rimmed eyes gleamed cold and hollow. He had known Tariq for ten years, enough to know that he was serious. Dead serious. ISI handlers of high value assets usually are. And Tariq, Tariq was one of the best. He had to be. After all he was Tariq’s asset.

On hindsight, he felt he should have seen this coming. It had been a horrible weekend from the very start. On Friday, there was that horrible royal wedding which he had to endure sitting with his youngest wife. She had kept sobbing and ooh-oohing “so cute” throughout, an experience worse than having a camel bite your balls. And he knew what was like, having experienced it many years ago. He had reminded her that she too was married to a prince. But somehow she didn’t seem to be too pleased by that observation. Saturday, the weather had been horrible and the kababs had been over-cooked. But nothing could have prepared him for this shocker on Sunday morning.

‘I am sorry. We have to lay you off. Or in your case, lay you out.’

He tried to sweep away the rising tide of panic. “I thought we had an arrangement Tariq. You guys pretend to hunt me. The US pays you millions for that. You use it to buy candy, perhaps a few guns. Some of it goes to the Kashmiris and some of it goes into protecting me so that you can get the next installment. From time to time, you guys kill some shepherd and pass him off as Al Qaeda’s No 3 man.  I thought this was all going well. Why do you want to get rid of the golden egg now, of all times?

Tariq adjusted his military cap, impatiently. ‘See that’s the problem. You have become so isolated from the world. Forgive me for saying this but that you are now a fossil, Like Simi the White. That arrangement you talked of that was with the old boss, the Mushy General. The new boss wants to do things different. And he has to. The world has changed sir. The US wants to withdraw from Afghanistan steadily and they cannot do it without answering to one question to their people “So what have we achieved?”

If you are killed, then they have that answer. Perfectly concise. And simple enough so that the dumbest can get it. You know the ones who enjoy Justin Bieber.

And this provides  their president an “achievement” before the next elections, and trust me sir he needs a few if he wants to win. For us too, in the ISI, getting the US to leave would be good. We are sick and tired of this war, sick and tired of the problems in transporting opium past those predator drones. The Yanks laying off a bit is exactly what we want. To be honest sir, the US has cottoned onto our little game of jihadi blackmail for a long time. It just couldn’t have gone on.  When we give you to them, we will get a bagful of chips which we can then cash in for more diplomatic pressure on the Indians on Kashmir and Afghanistan and more arms and ammunition for us.

Plus we need the Taliban back on our side—this good and bad distinction shit no longer works. Remember why the US went after Taliban in the first place? They were fine with those people when they acted as agents for that Indian plane we hijacked. Nothing really terrorist about that, in the eyes of the Americans. It was when they put their ass on the line for you that the US went after them and “Taliban” became a dirty word. With you gone, the Taliban will once again be rehabilitated by the US (perhaps under different names), past sins will be forgotten, and we can get back to doing what we brought them up for—controlling Afghanistan and later on Kashmir.’

He was angry now, spluttering with rage. ‘ You think you guys are going to get away by hanging me out to dry. Does your boss have any idea of my value, what I mean to the Islamic world?Do you think your countrymen are going to let you get away with handing their biggest hero over like that? And even forgetting that, who will be your jihadi master-mind?’

Tariq kept his cool. ‘With due respect sir, you were a jihadi master-mind, around the time when people thought Christina Aguilera would be the future of music and that Parthiv Patel would be India’s wicketkeeping-batsman superstar. Perhaps it’s because you cannot show your nose to the sun. But the fact is you have lost a lot of your operational influence. We have better brains now, people whose names the Yanks don’t know, who manage the business well. No one much watches your videos too any more—- why there were more downloads of the Asmit Patel-Ria Sen sex video than your latest missive. Your significance, if anything, is merely that of a symbol—and a symbol becomes more powerful when the man behind it is dead..’

‘So what you are saying is that you have found your Sachin, Pollard, Rayadu, Harbhajan and Malinga and that I have become a Shikhar Dhawan who you can comfortably let go.’

‘Couldn’t have put it better myself. Just because Ronald McDonald’s dies doesnt mean McDonald’s closes down ! Just because Heffner dies doesnt mean boys will stop playing….’

Tariq coughed, somewhat apologetically.. ‘You see, sir, you were always a foreigner. You have always had Palestine and the US as your focus. We here care just about Kashmir and the destruction of India. In all these years, you never did much about Kashmir did you except one or two words in your speeches? We had to do 26/11 all-by-ourselves with no  input from you or your near foreigner friends. And it went off bloody well too if I may say so.

So just put yourself in our shoes, what value do you have for us in this the new world order? The stage has been set for your demise already. Mr 10% has already taken 2.5 million, the 10 per-cent off your booty. The Taliban are on the path to rehabilitation. Within some time, Al-Qaeda  with their Palestine focus shall wane in Pakistan to be replaced by more India-facing Jihadi groups, baksheesh from the US will come in ting-a-ling and we will resume our activities in Afghanistan and then in Kashmir with Taliban friends freed up from having to fight the US.’

‘You have made a mistake. The good Muslims of this country won’t forget your treachery.’ He was hyper-ventilating now, the warm spit drooling down the side of his mouth.

‘We have that managed. This will be spun as an entirely Yankee operation—-we Pakistanis had no idea you were here. And so of course telling the Americans and cooperating them does not arise. There might be some anguish on the streets but don’t worry it will be directed at the Yanks and at the moron President. If he gets bumped off as a result, all the better.’

His head slumped onto his chest. They had figured this out pretty well. ‘So what happens now?’

‘ They will come soon. They will run about like they do in the movies, no American will be injured, bullets will fly and that will be that. Some people may ask how come the Americans faced so little resistance inside the mansion, considering how strong your security perimeter has always been. They might say that this shows that we gave you away. But those won’t be too many people.’  Tariq said, smiling for the first time.

He felt sick, sick to the base of his stomach. And scared.

‘Can’t you get me off, for old times sake? I mean at least let me know who wins DID Champs—Team Jalwa or Team Josh and whether KKR makes the play-offs? Please.’

‘Sorry no can do big-man. The deal has been made. It has to be on a Sunday to make the Monday morning headlines. Bad news on Friday night, good news on Sunday night—-remember? So today and now it has to be.’

Tariq turned towards the door and stopped. With his back towards him, he said, in a hushed whisper, ”Good-bye sir.’ Then he walked away briskly, before breaking into a half-run.

He sat silent, hearing and not hearing, counting now the seconds till they would burst in. Images of two buildings floated in his mind, of people, their faces twisted in fear, running about or calling their loved ones one last time, of metal melting, of flames, of men and women waiting for their inevitable death, terrified and alone.  He had seen these images before. Every time he had told himself—they had deserved it, those infidels. They had deserved the wrath of God. But then why was he today, just like them, waiting helplessly..waiting for the end?

No answer came. The deafening sound of a hovering helicopter blotted out his final thoughts.

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145 thoughts on “His Final Moments

  1. so you think Pakis knew about the operation before?? I dont think so. These guys just did their own thing and informed later.

  2. Nandhini,

    Let’s see. When the US crack team goes in they find Osama and his family and no serious resistance. Really? Is the most wanted man in the world so ill-protected unless his handlers actually wanted him to be bumped off? Remember the last time the US caught him in Tora Bora, fierce fighting from his posse pushed off the US. That’s how well he used to be guarded. Please do not swallow the Pakistani propaganda that they did not know.

  3. After an overdose of cricket commentary, after some top 4/5 shit lists, glad to see a decent post from you .. Welcome back o greatbong

  4. Amongst all conspiracy theories floating around, this one rings the truest or at least as true as “how it came to be” stories can go.

    Kudos.

  5. In reference to Anonymous (May 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm) comment – And the shit spewing people are back.. as spineless as ever ‘coz they don’t even have the guts to use their real names.. but of course, have an opinion on everything. And just need a place to vomit it. Welcome back to you too!

  6. Nandhini,

    Think about it for a minute- this a was a helicopter gunship orchestrated attack. Helicopters had to fly over land, whether they came from Afghanistan or through sea, they had to go over large swaths of Pakistan airspace. And helicopters can’t really avoid airspace for that long.

    That Pakistan didn’t know about is as much of a lie as Pakistan having no clue that Osama was in their country, or that they had no hand in 26/11 or other assorted homely terrorist activities in India.

  7. Vintage Arnab – in a gripping style that is so reminiscient of the ghost-story he once wrote.

    By the way, if anyone here is dreaming that bumping off OBL is going to end Jihadi terrorism, then remember Rakta Beeja? The more the Divine Mother bumped off Rakta Beejas, the more Rakta Beejas sprung up in the millions.

    That’s when the Divine Mother went straight for the source that inspired the creation of Rakta Beejas…and you know how the battle ended.

  8. Great post.

    The possibility that Pakistan knew where he was all the time and milked the Americans for 10 long years sends a shiver down my spine, whenever I thinik about it or someone re-iterates it. This is like raising and harboring a bunch of serial killers and making money by becoming an FBI informant, watching 10 years of bodies to pile up before giving them up. They should come up with a new name for this kind of global mafia-game. The signs were all there. Michael Shouer(sp??), ex- the CIA agent was telling long time back about how Osama Bin laden was let go after getting this close to him. I loved the way Obama downplayed Pakistan’s role, and said “one nation under God” in the end.
    He knows when to pander to the Atheists, when to pander to the “prayer circles”, when to be insult the American flag and when to show his patriotism.

    The last paragraph actually made me cry.

    I sense a lot of sadness behind the humour of this post. I wish you would write a serious op-ed in Huffington post or NYTimes.
    This is what India needs. Pakistan has biggies like Wolf Blitzer, Christina Amanpur to advocate their case, even their bald-faced lies. India has no advocates.

  9. great writing skills. Reminds of short stories by Saki.

    But why will Pakistan military allowed the sacrifice to be made in a big city like abbotabad? So I feel that ISI was not sure about the operation. So not sure if America will pack their bags anytime soon.

  10. Arrrghhh… I was hoping for a funny take on Osama-mama getting whacked. Like Iowahawk’s supremely hilarious take on Zarqawi’s death and heh heh “afterlife”.

    Anyway, nice take. If it were true kinda sweet of them to tell their ol’ Sheikh before hand, eh? Like those 70s-80s Bollywood movie cabaret dances (just before the climax) where the villains bond (over a half naked aunty bursting at the seams) just before the hero and his doomed side-kick crashes the party.

    PS: On Rakta-Beeja (and Osama Bin Laden and US Special Forces and Indians together in the mix), anyone read that excellent Virgin Comics Asura Analogue issue called “Virulents”? MUST READ!

  11. I am commenting after almost 4 years (but have been a regualr follower)….the reason is that this is one of your best……..right up there with “Die Sourav Die” (which was my first article on your blog) and “And Justice for all”.
    Only the delusional idiots at TOI and likes will believe this (OBL in Pakistan) will lead to sanctions/strict actions against Pak. What is most likely going to happen is what you describe in the above dialogue….and I shudder.

  12. ok, I just thought that they didnt trust Pakis enough and kept the operation a secret.
    Now I am wondering what excuse will they use to milk money from US and make bombs!!!

  13. This could almost be true. Infact NSA or the CIA could be checking as to who revealed the exact plot to @greatbong. Well written

  14. Captain Haddock – I wish you could see some of the apologetic behavior at CNN when tough questions were asked about Pakistan. Even Wolf Blitzer was feeling bad for grilling Pakistan Ambassador to US, and allowed to the conversation to meander a bit [solely my opinion].

    Nandhini – Nah, if they kept the operation secret, it was only because of security reasons. NYTimes now claims that Pakistan scrambled jets after hearing of explosions. Too much of a risk on US’s part to not let Pakistan know, for if Pakistan engages US troops, politically all hell would break loose. As far as aid is concerned, here’s Zardari/Gilani’s story – we played nice, you got your man, now give us our money, or the big bad India will take us over.

  15. @GB True true….I wonder if diggy raja will ask BSNL for the records for his incoming phone calls?

    On a serious note

    I think …. personally, this will be the begginning of the end of extremist terrorism (Insert politcally correct word here). Many of the north eastern terrorist groups met a downfall like this.

    Not a good example but ULFA leadership was systematically taken down by IA (Operation Rihno) and the GOI getting top leadership extridated from bangladesh and burma. Except for Paresh Bhaura. He remains in china (last heard).

    But then Ulfa was not a religious movement like Al quida. Only time will tell.

    What are your thoughts.?

  16. If we are going to believe conspiracy theories, we might as well believe that 9/11 was the work of Mossad and 26/11 was the work of RSS.

    I am not saying that some Pakistanis weren’t aware of Osama’s presence so close to their capital, but talking about giving him up, pre-arranged good news for Sunday night etc is going a step too far, imo.

    And oh, you don’t have to insert your tweets verbatim into your posts. For those who have read the tweet earlier, it becomes a repetition and the inclusion also seems forced thus spoiling the flow of the post.

  17. Mohan,

    As a long-time fan of your astute comments, I wanted to know “Do you have a blog?” I am sure that with the genius that oozes out of your finger-tips you must have one. GB is not allowed to use his tweets and several other of your astute bits of literary criticism come from the top drawer of Ravi Shastrian judgement. I also applaud your marvellously fluid, literal understanding of fiction. One might thing that the last book you read was “A B C D” for kids.

    Again I would be very curious to read your own work,considering for the last three years you have continously said “You are a horrible writer” to GB in various forms. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought of you to be a jealous old man who sits in some cubicle thinking “Damn I wish I could write like that.” I know better and that’s why I am so curious to read your brain droppings…err…outpourings.

    Admiringly yours,

    Mohan ka Meera.

  18. Anon: Point taken :-) No, I am certainly no match for GB – be it in writing, creativity, intelligence, observation, memory, or anything. I am not ashamed to admit that either.

  19. Mohan,

    The point isn’t that you cannot measure upto his writings. Measuring up to someone’s standards is not a pre-requisite for criticism, otherwise none of us may criticize cricketers for instance. With you, it’s ceaseless relentless criticism of GB, usually of the level of “You should not use your OWN tweets”. To elaborate, on a post like the Arundhati post or on this one, which more or less everyone agrees are brilliant, you will often be the only one (or one of two) who will say “it was bad”. When one does that, one shows not a desire to be critical but merely displays an ugly, jealous, warped face, which is rendered uglier by the fact that you cannot say a kind word ever. One would think that someone who cannot appreciate a single post of a blogger, would not visit that blogger’s blog. That too you do. This makes me conclude that the reason you do so is just to be disparaging.

    Since you seem so free in handing our criticism to others, hope you can take this criticism of you with the same equanimity that you expect from the object of your ebullient bile.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mohan Ka Meera

  20. ” ‘ You think you guys are going to get away by hanging me out to dry. Does your boss have any idea of my value, what I mean to the Islamic world?Do you think your countrymen are going to let you get away with handing their biggest hero over like that? And even forgetting that, who will be your jihadi master-mind?’” – Questions worth 100 posts.

    Thank you.

  21. At the risk of being banal, i say, this is simply an excellent piece of writing although after a long gap.

    While the world was busy building conspiracy theories, GB’s mind was at work constructing this superpost!

    Cheers, mate for this post and oh yes, on OBL’s death too :-)

  22. USA killed an old horse,OBL was on dialysis already.Retired,enjoying pension plans for his american job.
    was not brought to trial.And talk of kasab being treated as a jamai-babu here.
    while pak stands exposed,Fearing all-jal-jira will strike again to stoop the world to its precipitating malaise.

  23. saint dies in puttu,then devil dies in pak.
    quake brings royal wedding,world cup.’at next??

    2011 is here indeed.

  24. ” camel eating balls” bwahaaa…
    OBL was sissy enuf to use wife as a shield.
    now usa should wait for grisly retaliation.

  25. Wow GB!!!.. ur back with a bang..of late i’d stopped enjoying ur posts as they lacked creativity and witticism (if tat is a word..)..e.g. the top 5 richest fictional character post… but thisi is classy..please stay like this n dun ruin urself trying to make a buck pulishing books or hobbnobbing with litterati..they will spoil u…

  26. Great post GB..one of the best to come out after OBLs death.

    My 2 penny’s worth:

    One thing I would be interested to know is that who owned that house. I’m sure someone can dig up some sort of trail that will lead somewhere, either to ISI or Pak Army?

    It could very well be owned by a “non-existent” (non-state) actor, but even getting that on record would show that the roots run deep in Pakistan.

    Also why can’t we run a proxy media campaign in the west against Pak? Give their media some evidence, some scoop. Public opinion is sensitive to such topics, and sustained pressure may result in some change in west’s foreign policy?

  27. the pakis had to know about him .. but was it the government? the army? ISI? kya pata .. bade logon ki baatein hain .. let’s see what happens next

  28. pakistan are one of the worst liars………do they really think anyone is going to belive that us milatry conducted an operaion in pakistan without anybody informing them

  29. Nice post GB…I wouldn’t say the last few were bad because they weren’t bad!

    @Ankit No point in digging to find the owner of that house…Pak may well, lie and say it belonged to CWG Hero – Suresh Kalmadi :)

  30. What an amazing post! I feel the same – OBL was just one of them – it is a bigger game brewing up there and the big guys are still around. Worse fear is that if Daddy continues to aid our neighbours and we don’t take a firm stance – we will face worse things in years to come.

  31. Reading you for the last one year but commenting for the first time. In one word…BRILLIANT!
    We all know what’s happening, and for me it was funny listening to Obama speak with such solemnity yesterday.I started thinking about how much of our history is actually fudged and how much is true? What do the History books mean to our students who study them? Who knows what news is allowed to leak and what is kept under wraps forever.
    Await more such posts from you.

  32. Dear GB,

    Excellent post as usual. Don’t pay any attention to detractors who don’t have an ounce of talent and keep on giving you backhanded compliments like this a very good post after a very long time and so on. Keep writing.

  33. Funny.
    Yesterday at a VHP of America public gathering in front of the White House, a couple of people (mostly random American tourists) congratulated the participants with comments like “OBL is just the tip of the iceberg”, “India should have been allowed to take Pk out”, “you guys have been telling us for a long time”..kind of comments.

    So perceptions are changing, but the problem is, does India actually have the balls to deal with Pk?

  34. Taliban/Al-Qaeda getting corporatised:
    They decided to do away with promoter/founder driven strategy & branding & move on from the phase where a single person defines their existence, presence & brand recall. ‘Pros’ & institutional investors in mgmt. control now.
    p.s. aah…Infy too doing the same. Inspirations galore :)

  35. Can I please see a death certificate? or atleast something that confirms this guy was killed in gunfire? For all you know he might have died of excessive bowel movements a year back or maybe two or maybe three. They are touting this as a better than some major spy operation with Obama being the obvious hero. WTF

  36. Absolutely fantastic writing. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. And, though Arnab has added to humour on his take on the episode, one should not lose the perspective that it may well be very close to the truth.

    One could go on arguing that those PAF radars are after all US made and they could have been easily jammed by the Americans before the operation. However, it is tough to believe that an operation that lasted for 40 minutes just outside the PMA could have happened without Pakistan’s knowledge.

    Today, the BBC is running the story of ISI admitting its ‘intelligence failure’ and how embarrassed it is about it as the banner. You can easily pick up some points there that adds some strength to what Arnab basically tried to say.

    I think he has got it almost 100 percent right.

  37. One of ur best; Would hav loved to read an ‘IPL post’ , esp with a certain someone havin made a comeback to the tournament! ;)

  38. Great post Arnab..Respect!
    Remembered the old saying after the day long news commentary on Pak’s role and the Pakis denying their involvement..
    Q – When can you figure out that a Paki is lying?
    A – When his lips move.

    Have closely seen hundreds of these worthies in the UK (what you correctly call a Pak/Bangla colony!) and the above Q/A rule applies to at least 99.9% of them!

  39. Yesterday, I listened to a well-made NPR report that was titled something like “A brief history of Osama Bin Laden”, that documented the whole US-vs_Osama journey starting from 80s to last Sunday. Later, I saw TV news shows from Bill O, Hannity, Wolf Blitzer, Andersen Cooper and Brain Williams to see all sides of the story. I heard Musharraf’s voice in one of the news reports condemning America for breaching Pakistan’s national security and soverignty.
    I still have to see what the main pakistan officials are saying about this.

    Looks like Fox and NBC are openly calling out Pakistan on their unreliable support while the others are being diplomatic.

    I am torn between these two explainations.

    1. As the media concluded, Osama Bin laden was a captive of pakistan’s military for the last 6 years and US intel had an eye on that location(The Luxury compounded house with tight security, right next to their military base!). Khalid Mohammed and his cohorts confirmed this after some persuasion. On Sunday, Obama and co. carried out a top secret operation.

    OR

    2. As you have concluded, Pakistan simply pulled the plug on a once-important-now-useless-man-behind-the-franchise. They helped USA without taking the credit, hence saving their reputation as a “US-Ally and torch-bearers of Islam”. American authorities knew that Osama is no longer important, but they killed him to get their symbolic victory.

    Hmmm???

    You win!

    Great analysis btw. Your sense of humour is wonderful.

    As other posters have pointed out, the last paragraph is brilliant.

  40. Like GB said, whole operation looks fake to me. Blackhawk choppers crossed highly volatile border and flew undetcted for hundreds of miles, attacked a building rihgt next to a military installation, fire fight went on for 40 minutes… all this don’t make sense.

  41. hmmmm …. good article after a long time I must say. This was as good as the Kolkata Kasai …..

    Ankit brings out a valid point though. We need to know (the public) the details of the ownership of that house where he was kept. Clearly this was a staged encounter with no causalties on the CIA side.

  42. Now this is a comment I just have to make and sorry if it is a bit off-topic. It is about the many of the comments made here at RTDM which, as a long time reader of GB, I have begun to find irritating.

    There are some geniuses here who have their distinctive identities like Kishor and Mohan. Both of them are absolutely transparent in their own way and reading their comments have a train-wreck appeal. So this comment of mine is not addressed to these people, please keep commenting as you do.

    For the rest, here is the problem. What’s with this “Great article after a long long time” comment?I find a number of comments here saying exactly this, which means “This is good but you generally write shit.” What’s funny about this is just a few weeks ago, GB wrote this awesome post on Arundhati Roy and the World Cup. There also we got exactly the same “Great article after a long long time” ! If I go back through Gb’s archive, every post has these “Great articles after a long long time” comments, usually prefaced with a “I normally do not comment” [to be read as I am too important to comment]. So does ‘three weeks’ constitute a long long time I wonder?

    The problem is we have SO MANY people here who find it difficult to say something nice about GB, but yet come to RTDM regularly. Even when they have no option, perhaps because of public pressure of remaining comments, to praise they will say (like this Dibyo chap here) your last “n” number of posts were bad i.e. even when I say something good, I am saying more is bad.

    I am sorry if I offended anyone with my comment. I still had to say it though.

  43. Ankit wrote:
    “Also why can’t we run a proxy media campaign in the west against Pak? Give their media some evidence, some scoop. Public opinion is sensitive to such topics, and sustained pressure may result in some change in west’s foreign policy?”

    Response:
    You think India is sitting around twiddling its tumbs. Indian Govt does make enough efforts and spends enough resources to expose the reality and intentions of Pakistan. That is one thing even the most pseudo-secular politicians find acceptable and are willing to do, without worrying about their vote-banks.

    But the war of the 21st century is as much a battle of perceptions as a battle of stock markets and bullets and beliefs. Constantly complaining, moaning and bitching about Pakistan only gets us that far. (and India has maxed out its credit on that). Here is why.

    1. Geopolitical games are played with a delicate mixture of cunning, maturity and daring, in varying proportions. An overdose of any one of these leads to a failure in achieving the desired objectives and all entities have THEIR and only THEIR OWN interest in mind when they play them. India despite having overwhelming superiority over Pakistan, has for the past 60 years pussy footed around them. Even during the height of the Cold War, in a bi-polar world, India has always been very hesitant to deal with Pakistan with a firm hand. The World understands that India (read Hindus), does not have the will to deal with Pakistan in a decisive manner, and going by historical evidence, may never have that.

    2. Everyone knows that Pakistan is a rogue entity with nuclear arms. They also know that Pakistan’s ideological background and the divine inspiration behind its creation, allows it the will and the irresponsibility to carry out desperate acts, without thinking about consequences. That level of daring that Pakistan brings to the geopolitical games, provides it an undue advantage and attention, that mere protestations cannot nullify.

    3. Despite being a nation of warring ethnicities, islamic sects and silsilas, Pakistan is percieved to be an important part of a billion and half strong Islamic world spread halfway across the globe. India on the other hand is pecieved to be a ever shrinking (partitioning) landmass of a billion Hindu, which has always been unsure of its capablities and uanaware of the geopolitical advantages, it can reap out of its economic strength and geographical positioning.

    At the end of the day, there is always a difference between those who have the balls to pull off a Kursk, Entebbe or a Geronimo (real or percieved), and those who bitch and bawl in front of those who pull off Kursks, Entebbes and Geronimos. Soft power can only take us so far.

  44. A friend of mine once told me -half in jest- that he could claim the huge bounty that the US had placed on Osama.In very prescient words-now that it is in retrospect-he said, all he had to do was to get hold of the address of GoC,Rawalpindi and Osama would be found next door.

    It is almost as if the world has entered a charmed phase-president Obama,who could have done with a big boost given his sagging numbers,gets to have his Kennedy moment; the Paksitanis get rid of what has now become a strategic liability and the Al-Qaeda gets the best promo for its new recruitment drive-all at one go.

    As an Indian, what strikes me as cruel on the part of our “mai-baaps” is the criminal indifference to the plight of the “aam admi” -who they all claim to be votaries of- under relentless terror attacks and had it not been for 26/11 when the terrorists crossed the invisible red line and perhaps for the first time targeted the ‘shining half’ of India- attacks targeting railway stations,buses and other such ‘low value’ targets would have gone largely unnoticed-or at best been reported as a footnote.While it would be naive,nay foolish, to expect Pakistan to act against the likes of Hafiz Sayeed or for that matter to abandon sponsoring terrorist groups what is equally foolish is to expect the West to do our job for us.

    The West and in particular the US has no love lost for either Pakistan or India, and while Pakistan at present is a strategic partner and non-NATO ally; India with its huge markets offer an even more tempting destination.Americans,like everybody else,tend to vote with their purses and if given a concrete choice between “maimed,mutilated and moth-eaten” failed state on the one hand and a lucrative market with a potential middle class that equals or exceeds the US population, the choice would be obvious.

    To engender such a seismic change, India has to act on several fronts starting with the de-bastardization of it’s foreign policy presently held captive in thrall of the adherents of a religion whose very mention would be enough to brand me a right wing fanatic extremist.While it would be hoping too much to expect our politicians not to hijack Indo-Pakistani bilateral relations at tremendous cost to the nation, all for the coveted title of ‘statesman’ handed out by touts disguised as ‘intellectuals'; a consistent policy of disengagement from Pakistan in all forms of bilateral contacts till concrete,verifiable and openly stated criteria are satisfied would do more to foster a constructive Indo-Pak relationship than all the ‘Aman Ki Asha’s,Bus Rides and ‘Pappis and Jhappis’ combined.

    The Pakistani army complex having gotten the better end of this bargain might be laughing all the way to the bank,but things this time around might be a tad different given that the core of Al-Qaeda come from arabic speaking countries where they view the average Pakistani as a lesser form of life-only slightly better than the Kaffir-and this certainly would not go down well with that constituency.Having created the Frankenstein monster it would only be justice were the monster to turn on the Pakistani establishment near to hand to teach them a lesson for the betrayal rather than aim at the ‘big Satan’ who at the moment is a bit beyond reach.

  45. @ Arnab: There is no doubt that your posts are so well written that they require no cheap publicity stunt or anything of that sort. You definitely know that the no. of readers who don’t post/ rarely post comments are far greater than those who post. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like your writing or they consider themselves too important to write. I have never seen you complaining about it.

    In your last post when you deleted some comments because those were offtopic I liked your argument. But, when I saw some “anon” guy continuously writing offtopic but you are doing nothing about it I somehow suspect your intensions. I feel like asking a questions … dada ki mosaheb pushchhen naki aaj kaal? Sorry for being rude, but somebody arguing at your behest repeatedly with a strange sense of superiority over others seems like a spoilsport to me. Decision of keeping/deleting comments is ultimately yours. I posted my real name & location because I hate being anonymous especially when I ‘m criticizing someone.

  46. @Tejaswy

    In Phantom comics, there used to be an Old Jungle Saying: “Diggy Raja Ka Naam Lo, Aur Diggy Raja Haazir”. ;)

    All Diggy Raja wants is some respect for the terrorist. Surely, we can respect that sentiment. See: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Eye-on-UP-polls-Digvijay-slams-Osamas-sea-burial/articleshow/8147868.cms

    The next thing you know, CID Diggy will overwork his brain to see how he can blame the RSS for the shooting death of Osama Bin Laden. ;)

  47. This bloody outcome of Osama’s killing was on the cards the moment the hijackd airliners struck WTC. It was only a question of when. And even if he had survived just the first anniversary instead of almost to the 10th – Osama was already cocking a snook at his enemies.
    Which begs the question – who exactly was he fighting against as from most reports it was pretty much everybody!!

    The big question of South Asia is of course Pakistan – it boggles the mind that he could have stayed in the Pak Army’s backyard without their knowledge. Pakistan is akin to India in that your neighbors know whatever happens in your house before you do so an obvious safe house (with 12 feet walls what else would one call it!) inside the cantonment could not be built without their help. And since he was supposed to require regular medical attention which the local garrison hospital could provide without public knowledge. the sooner the world recognizes Pak as a failed state with only the accouterments of nationhood the better. Remember in the financial world too, it was the Pak origin BCCI that proved a totally fraud company.

  48. Pinaki,

    The comments from the mosaheb ami puschi (your language is of course very civilized ) are relevant because they are made about comments made IN THIS POST. Just like yours is. They are not comments about different topics like Sai Baba or the abusive foul-mouthed comment about Sourav Ganguly I just removed. Which is why I have also not removed your comment.

  49. Agree with you. This whole “capturing” Osama thing is just another clause in the US-Pak friendship. Brilliant post this, Arnab. One that should be on a newspaper editorial.

  50. Fantastic post! I don’t usually pass around forwards/links amongst friends but this one I absolutely have to. When I read stuff like this I always wish I had taken up writing instead. Hopefully will add a few more readers to your blog when I pass this on to my pals.

  51. After a long time of lull and sober writing you come out with a classic. People forgot this guy and even make jokes about him but cmon he was a BAD guy and your style actually lets people remember the same.

    Diggy should be taken next before dawood is :D Good for india.

    PS: I dont think pak will get screwed over. They just knew it but didnt act. Better to get billions rather than have OBL die of old age

  52. Pakis’ game is up. Their duplicity is exposed. It’s now a pariah state just like North Korea and Myanmar. Their political and military leaders are laughing stock as their lies are completely exposed.

    I want to believe all of this. But something tells me there’s more to it than what meets the eyes. It’s all too good to be true. ISI will not lose it so easily. i agree that it’s ISI that has been sheltering AQ leaders all along but i think they decided to let US take OBL out now as they have milked him as much as they could. No doubt after taking another fat payment for this. Pakis have not lost anything really. They colluded with US and yet maintain the “we didn’t know anything about this operation” story. Thus keeping a plausible deniability for Taliban. There is no real cost to Pakistan. They may orchestrate a bombing or two and blame it on “TTP” and some civilians will die. But considering all the gains, this is a small price for Pakistan to pay.

    This ha**** nation, which should have never come to existence, has to go. The world cannot have this terror sanctuary in its midst.

  53. Osama is dead?

    Yes!

    Where’s the body?

    We threw it in the ocean!

    Jack, have u done your
    homework?

    Yes!

    Where is it? ..

    My dog ate it! ;)

  54. @Sabalil, “I want to believe all of this. But something tells me there’s more to it than what meets the eyes. It’s all too good to be true.”
    There is no doubt about that.

    The (US)media stories are focusing on Al Queda, Pakistan, the complicated US foreign policy with pakistan, happy endings, closures for American victims and the president who killed America’s worst enemy etc etc

    A couple of times, they briefly mentioned Pakistan’s friendship with China. A CIA official said that they (USA) can’t afford to leave ANYTHING behind in any operation conducted on Pak soil because, chances are it will be reverse-engineered by Chinese before they know it! and also how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Osama were tipped off whenever they informed pak officials in the past. Today they are saying that they(navy SEALS) have retrieved a LOT of important data IN THE COMPOUND.

    My wild guess is that, Killing Osama covertly was an excuse to retrieve some earth-shattering information that ISI spies would have otherwise shared with China. Recently a CIA agent was imprisoned in pakistan. This must have something to do with it.

  55. GB is right. It seems to be just a deliberate attempt by the Pakistanis to provide a reason for US to negotiate with the Taliban and leave the region. And all things considered, its not a bad idea either– its a win-win for both sides.

  56. Arnab,
    Do you think Obama will follow the timetable for drawdown in Afghanistan?
    Assuming no major Jihad attacks happening until next year, do you think his popularity with this capture (11% hike), will last him until 2012?
    After the capture of Saddam, Bush went up by 8% and then slid back within a month.

  57. Good thing I put it up so long ago. Else people would accuse me of copying from Rediff.

    Utsav, No idea about the time-table thing. If things stay quiet, I presume he will. There is nothing for the US to safeguard there—no oil, no threat of Iran coming in and taking over (like it was in Iraq). It had become a prestige thing and the US has made its point. Now Pakistan will get money on the sly for this, one big pay-off for the turkey delivered .

  58. Regarding your last paragraph – There is a parallel theory (proposed by people like Michael Moore) that the entire episode of 9/11 was staged. I am not sure to how much extent OBL was actually involved in 9/11.

  59. Arnab You got so many fans out there that praising you seems almost superfluous … but still … GREAT POST!!! And hey Mohan and Mohan ka Meera – Guys please keep it going, I m lovin it :)

  60. “They looked from Obama to Osama, then Osama to Obama, and then Obama to Osama again. But already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  61. Nice write-up, GB. The only problem with this theory is, why would Pak give up OBL in a cantonment town like Abbottabad, knowing fully well that its military would become, either the laughing stock of the world or be seen as hand-in-glove with the Taliban? The only explanation would be, “It doesnt care.” But, I find that very hard to believe. It would have been much more easier for them to backstab OBL somewhere in North Waziristan and then gloat over how its intelligence had been right all along.

  62. Hi Arnab,
    Could you please post something on Satya Saibaba?
    Though I feel most of your writings are with sarcacism with a message, but I think, you can write very sensible topics too.
    Even if we don’t consider the “miracles”, “godmanships” of Saibaba, at least he is in the hearts of millions due to his social activities.
    Regards,
    Hari.

  63. Dhananjay,

    The reason the Pakistanis moved Osama to Abbottabad was to keep him fully under their thumb. If Osama had been kept in NWFP or FATA, he would have around him his bunch of fanatical tribesmen who would put up a ferocious fight should anyone try to harm their idol. This is exactly what happened during the botch-up at Tora Bora when his personal detail put up a furious fire-fight and the Pakistani Army didn’t cooperate as much as could be expected. So what the ISI did was remove Osama from his posse, people even they could not control. They brought him to Abbottabad purely so that they can get rid of his personal detail (“We cannot keep your posse of tribesmen in this area without attracting attention”) and extract him from surroundings in which he would hold the power. They could have tried to remove him to the NSWFP/FATA before handing him to the Americans but that would be an extremely risky move. Osama may have smelt a rat and he still does have friends who could have helped him vanish.

  64. Spine-chilling- because the aftermath predicted could as well be true. The politicians here will obviously do nothing , we are left to protect with ourselves. High time – we NEED a proper leader. GB, I would vote for you if you were to stand up for elections here…..

  65. The religion of peace followers in Kolkata pray for Usama soul’s “peace”. The same Imam had declared ranson for the head of Tasleema Nasreen, without any criticism from Trinamool/Congress and the Leftists.
    ——————————————————–
    Kolkata, May 6 : Muslim devotees in large numbers assembled at a mosque in central Kolkata to participate in a special Friday prayer meeting for ”peace of the soul” of slain al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.

    The Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque at Dharamtalla, Maulana Nurur Rehman Barkati, presided over the special prayer for ‘peace of the soul’ of the al Qaeda leader killed by the US forces in Pakistan.

    ”The prayer was organised for peace of the soul of Bin Laden as he was not given a proper burial,” All India Minority Forum president Idris Ali, who particiated in the prayer, said.
    –UNI

  66. http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/05/06/pakistan-military-knew-about-bin-laden-raid-well-in-advance-of-attack/

    Evidence is now emerging that the Pakistani government and military not only knew of America’s plans to launch an attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound far in advance, but assisted the United States in the effort.

    According to GlobalPost, the Pakistan government’s willingness to continue the narrative that they were caught totally by surprise is in response to their fear of a popular backlash among the Pakistani people were they to know that their government and military had helped the Americans execute the raid.

  67. Worth thinking why there we no American injuries.
    Even in Operation Entebbe, there was one Israeli death and 5 injuries.

  68. @ Bali
    Do you think US will reveal, if any opertive recieved cuts and bruises (or any other non-lethal injuries) during this operation.

    As for casualties, you may want to consider,
    1. The attack was a surprise for the targets, and in complete darkness, giving very good situational advantage for the operatives.
    2. From some accounts, they had used stun grenades on first contact.
    3. The US operatives were most likely wearing body armor and kevlar helmets (unlike Indian special forces during Mumbai Jihad attacks when they were poorly equipped and had pathetic logistics).

    Logistics have come a long way from Entebbe. The only severe threat that US operatives faced, would have been from Pakistani forces (if they were gaurding the compound) or from Pakistani Airforce (if they had decided to intercept the helicopters). Since none of these happened, it seems quite logical that the operation was a success.

    Had one of the helicopters not had a hard landing (and was eventually detroyed), the US oepratives would have extracted Usama’s wives and more material from the compound.

  69. This incident ironically highlights one of the primary differences between Pakistan and Hindustan (Bharat/India).

    Nobody is safe in Pakistan…even Osama Bin Laden.

    Everybody is safe in Hindustan…even Ajmal Amir Kasab. ;)

  70. American ( and partly European) foreign policy which lead to 9/11 (more or less in chronological order):

    .Support of Jihadi groups in Afghanistan – along with Saudi Arabia – to undermine USSR´s control in the region;

    . Complete disinterest for Afghanistan – along with the international community – after the withdrawal of USSR troops which left the country at the mercy of dacoits and tribal rulers;

    .In the wake of such events Taliban rise to power and corner Ahmad Shah Massoud´s – the only credible and moderate leader for Afghanistan – army ;

    .Massoud turns up at the European parliament to warn the international community about the threat posed by the Taliban to world peace, explaining in clear words how Taliban are protecting terror groups planning attacks against western nations. Who cared? No one;

    .Ahmad Shah Massoud writes a letter to USA again warning about the consequences of neglecting the terror activities carried out by Al Qaeda – in Afghanistan – with the support of Taliban;

    Result:9/11 attacks

    .”Clueless” USA invade Afghanistan to search the mastermind of 9/11 attacks, even though its clear Pakistan fund the Taliban movement to keep Afghanistan out of Indian influence – an Indo-Afghan friendship is something Pakistanis have tried to avoid due to fear of getting “locked” between two “hostile” nations;

    .Bin Laden supposedly escapes American troops in the Tora Bora region. I suspect he was receiving full protection from the ISI (Pakistani intelligence) like Mullah Omar and other Al Qaeda militants arrested in Pak, because the Taliban movement is financed by Pakistan since it´s inception;

    .Finally USA decide to lie about Saddam possessing mass destruction weapons and US puppet friends – Britain, Portugal and Spain – give unconditional support – moral as well as logistical – to invade Iraq inspite non existent evidence of any such weapons, outright violation of international laws and clear disapproval on the part of important countries like Germany, to invade Iraq;

    .Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, American soldiers and Europeans die because of the illegal invasion of Iraq by USA;

    .Europeans pay the price of supporting the war in Iraq, in the form of bombings in London and Madrid. We should have condemned this invasion just like we condemned 9/11. But us – Europeans – didn´t and suffered the consequences;

    After 10 years Bin Laden´s whereabouts are finally traced in the same country which kept the Taliban movement kicking – by funding and assisting it – and hosts major terror organisations and most wanted terrorists: Pakistan.

    From the very start the solution to fight terror lied in dealing with Pakistan – one of the root causes of international terrorism. Not Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Of course, Pakistan was no “problem” but an “ally” that would continue to sponsor terrorism by diverting billions of dollars of US aid to it´s malicious activities, thus giving legitimacy to USA and it´s European allies to carry on with their double games: assisting terror sponsors – Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – condemn terrorism and invade sovereign muslim nations – for cheap oil – with lame excuses, such as: “they have weapons, they support Al Qaeda”; allegations proven wrong in later years. Never mind if the “strategic allies” – as USA define Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – are creators of world terror. The former sponsors cross border terrorism against India and shelters terror groups. The later is the birthplace and current source of the radical wahabi school of Islam, taught in religious schools – the maddrassas – across Pakistan and other muslim nations;

    And history repeats itself. The so called “democratic” nations are once again supporting rebel groups in Libya – does US support of Jihadi groups in Afghanistan, creation of taliban and Al Qaeda ring a bell? – to throw out Kadhafi and get access to oil. Maybe they truly care for the human rights of Libyans or maybe Libya has oil. Or maybe Somalians, Ethiopians and other oil free countries are peace heavens or don´t deserve human rights.

    As I write this Pak receive 300 million dollars from USA. I say good luck to Americans and it´s European puppets to fight terror, world over. Aiding unknown Libyan rebels and Pakistan is THE way.

    American friends, please don´t ever forget to protect and befriend Saudi Arabia as well. Afteral, your no 1 “ally” in the region is politically different to Libya or Iraq under Saddam. Infact, Iraq and Libya have always been the birthplace and source of the wahabi ideology of radical Islam – taught in maddrassas across Pakistan and Afghanistan – not Saudi Arabia: the global peace seekers.

    Clearly, the “war on terror” should have been fought in Pakistan and SA from the very start. But Saudis supply cheap oil and Pakistan must be financed to keep terrorism active. This in turn provides legitimacy to invade oil producing countries like Iraq, under pretense of fighting terror and protect their human rights. So what if USA steal the “human rights” of Saudis by ensuring the Saudi monarchy – historical friends of USA and violators of several human rights: non existent freedom of expression,stoning of people to death, basic rights of women like driving… – rule the kingdom, as long as cheap oil is supplied?

    This war on terror is about looking after national interests. Arrest or kill some terrorists and create many others to serve the greater purpose, i.e access to oil. Rest is propaganda and pure nonsense.

  71. @Rajiv, Well said indeed. And I agree with your take – except that its very easy to say hey don’t build Taliban to fight off Russia – 20 years later New York will burn – theres no one in the world who can predict global events 2 decades in advance.

    Is the NATO-US support for Libyan rebels a tactically good long term strategy ? Heck no one can answer that Rajiv. All one can do is ask what is doable given the current circumstances and your needs for the next 5 years. US foreign policy and indeed every country’s foreign policy is essentially maximizing gains over the next immediate 5 years – 10 if the policy luckily happens to be good. But thats about it.

    As for US concern of human rights – OK – when everyone is well fed you do start to value human life more – but if you think there can be a nation or a super power that act truly moral – you are mistaken. Is this all about oil – absolutely – but what else is new ?

    IN a world of finite resources and a growing population (10 billion estimated) – it is naive to think you can live in relative plenty without costing others. If Iraq, SA and Pakistan seem to be used by the US and Europe for oil – and events here seem immoral. Take a look at Africa – no one gives a rats ass who kills who in Africa – why? Africa is not sitting on seas of oil – or at least hasn’t justified the cost for the west to be bothered.

    Just accept that US – the reigning superpower of today – has its own interests in EVERY move – so what? So does everyone else. Tomorrow it might be China or India – who ever rises to be a super power is going to do just that – look after its own ass – only difference is that you have more sway when you are a super power.

    – Sanket

  72. @Sanket

    I´m not critisizing US for supporting rebel groups in Afghanistan in those times. Its the “disinterest” shown by Americans and the international community for Afghanistan, after the withdrawal os soviet troops which saddens me. I agree with you that every country – super power or not – acts in it´s best interests. But Americans and the world has systemetically ignored the thread posed to world peace by Pak sponsored militant groups operating from Afghanistan. And everyone paid the consequences of such neglect.

    Besides, I still maintain my point that its not right to invade Libya. Big players in the international scene such as Germany and Russia have disapproved any sort of interference in Libya.

  73. @ Rajiv
    How do you think US should have shown “interest” in Afghansitan, after the Communist dictatorship was overthrown by Islamists and the Soviet Union withdrew?

    What are the ways that you think the “interest” could have manifested itself?

  74. In the interests of USA and International community (I have not singled out USA) Ahmad Shah Massoud should have been given support because he was the only moderate and credible leader. Taliban came to power only because Afghanistan lacked security and they were the only political option that brought security in the country, which is why they gained public support for a while. But once the people of Afghanistan expirienced the radical ways of Taliban they despised it.

    Many warnings were signalled to the international community about the activities carried out by Al Qaeda under Taliban protection. It was the continuous neglect of such thread which culminated in the 9/11 attacks.

  75. @Rajiv
    You have to realize that post Industrial Revolution, most Western “hunter-grabber” geopolitical powers had written off the destructive power of Islamic Jihad.

    From the Western world’s point of view, the haunting memories of Medieval eras had been forgotten and the power of socio-political subterfuge had been replaced by the efficiency of techno-economic superiority. The lessons of the Constantinople, and Tours were forgotten.

    After the colonization of Asia/Africa and the eventual defeat of Turkish Caliphate during the First World war, the geopolitical “hunter-grabbers” of the world had completely relegated Islam-following entities; from brutal and unrelenting enemies baying for World domination, to the strategic chess pieces in their great game of world colonization.

    Unfotunately, it took a Sept 11, to awaken them to the reality.

  76. Take a look at this video GB… almost makes it credible that these people had no idea Osama was living in their midst… :D

  77. hav u seen d youtube videos dat say d 9/11 was a conspiracy cooked up not by osama but by US as a ruse to go after oil laden nations. dose videos r pretty convincing, much more dan all d eye moistening stories about not a US life being lost in d final osama rendezvous. now, if dose videos r really chances r high dat dis entire operation was a fake publicity gimmick. i found d whole thing too filmy, troops being secretly raised and statements of der families taken s to how proud dey r bout der husbands’ work- beats a karan johar movie, s far s i m concerned, both in d adrenaline drama s well s d fakeness dat usually characterises dese dramas.

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