ROVING EYE Obama/Osama rock the
casbah By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
The Sheikh he drove his Cadillac He
went a-cruisin' down the ville The Muezzin was
a-standin' On the radiator grill The
Clash, Rock the Casbah
irrelevant. It may be a rockin' Hollywood thriller
- an Osama/Obama double bill (directed by Kathryn
"Hurt Locker" Bigelow). But the targeted
assassination - allegedly with an iconic American
bullet to the head - of Osama bin Laden on Monday in
fact only matches the
irrelevancy the larger than life jihadi Godfather
had sunk into.
United States President
Barack Obama may have turned the boogie sound on
his 2012 re-election - bookmakers are giving him
1.75 - way beyond the reach of a circus freak show
featuring specimens such as mama grizzly Sarah
Palin and billionaire bully (with a fox in his
head) Donald Trump.
But was it "justice" -
as Obama claimed? Justice - up to the age of the
drone - implied a crime scene, evidence, courts,
due process, a jury, a judge and a sentence.
Former President George "war on terror" W Bush, in
his bluntness, was closer to the mark: this was
more like "US revenge".
he can't take it At first sight, Bin Laden
was not a casualty of war. He was a casualty of an
irresistible push for democracy and social equity
- the great 2011 Arab revolt. Bin Laden, the
proponent of a restored caliphate, shunned
parliamentary democracy. History had made him
irrelevant as much as al-Qaeda had been made
irrelevant even before the Arab revolt - in
geographic, political, cultural and social terms.
American exceptionalism and Western
hysteria notwithstanding - the in crowd say
it's cool/to dig this chanting thing -
al-Qaeda and its declination of affiliates,
off-shots and copycats are condemned to remain
dwelling like ghosts in the periphery of the
Muslim world, with a new generation of leaders
directing the odd shoe or underwear bomber.
What's spookier is how the al-Qaeda
narrative has been resuscitated as a specter
hovering over the collective unconscious of the
West. With the dangerous poetic metaphor of Bin
Laden's body now rockin' an aquatic Casbah at the
bottom of the Arabian Sea. The White
House/Pentagon/CIA did not want a "shrine"; the
shrine now happens to be diluted in waters
patrolled by the US and not far from those shores
where the House of Saud is conducting a harsh
counter-revolution against the yearning for a
It's as if the carefully
staged, too good to be true, non-martyrdom of bin
Laden was in fact opening the doors to a new breed
of hell - with Washington and the West betting on
their self-fulfilling prophecy; al-Qaeda will
react "with a vengeance" (American style?), there
will be blood, a lot more blood, and the Arab
world will revert to barbarism instead of dreaming
of democracy, as in the crowd caught a whiff/of
that crazy Casbah jive.
Welcome to the
resurrection of al-Qaeda as a death blow to the
great 2011 Arab revolt.
We ban that
boogie sound There are plenty of reasons
not to take at face value what may eventually be
revealed as one of the most sophisticated psy-ops
of the young 21st century.
four-helicopter, elite navy SEALs team, under the
command of Central Intelligence Agency director
Leon Panetta, may have taken Bin Laden out. But
the Pentagon narrative of an American golden
bullet is as wobbly as the King telling the
boogie man/you have to let that raga drop. Bin
Laden had always said he would die as a
shaheed - a martyr, fighting for his cause,
and he would not surrender. One of his bodyguards
would have come up with the bullet, under his
command, when Bin Laden concluded that by order
of the Prophet he would have to ban that
Spinning crossfire in
Washington in the early hours led to the usual "US
officials" stressing the Pakistani Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI) was kept out of the loop - as
they would certainly tip Bin Laden about the
operation, while Pentagon types insisted Bin Laden
was killed a week ago in a drone strike (the
jet pilots tuned/to the cockpit radio blare).
Others spun that leads from the ISI itself led US
Special Forces to the site - and then Washington
used its own sources to confirm, "receive
clearance to strike from Pakistan" and well, rock
GEO TV in Pakistan played a
completely different mix. ISI types spun that the
operation was in fact Pakistani - conducted after
an army helicopter was shot down (Pentagon types
also mentioned it) and a search party then got
involved in a firefight. Pakistani troops helped
cordon off the compound. They arrested a few Arab
women, kids and armed Arabs who then confessed Bin
Laden was there; that led to another firefight in
which Bin Laden was killed. Two US helicopters
then flew to the site and carried away the body of
Bin Laden. According to this version, the fire in
the compound was caused by the crashed helicopter.
The US "firefight" account is also murky.
According to Obama's description, there were no US
casualties; that doesn't sound like much of a
"firefight". This may have been a heavily defended
compound, or just a compound where US forces were
holding Bin Laden.
The CIA is spinning
this was a kill operation. That's also shaky.
Capturing Bin Laden alive - just as with Saddam
Hussein - would have been the ultimate minaret of
humiliation, and a much juicier public relations
coup for the White House. That may explain
Washington's zeal to dispose of his body in the
Arabian Sea as soon as possible - to the despair
of many a sharia law specialist.
compound was burned to the ground. Conveniently -
just as in 9/11 - there is no crime scene, and no
body. This would be rejected in any CSI script
conference. The whole world awaits an
incontrovertible photo of the body as well as the
results of the DNA test.
And sooner rather
than later - as with Saddam - some informant will
reveal there was nothing Hollywood about the kill;
it all came about as an enterprising individual
decided to finally bag the $50 million reward.
There's only one destination this almighty leak
may have come from: the Pakistani ISI. And if that
is the case, army chief General Ashfaq Kiani - a
Pentagon darling - had to issue the final
imprimatur. His "reward" will be the stuff legends
are made of.
Degenerate the faithful
Bin Laden was the quintessential product
of Cold War US foreign policy; the unholy alliance
of Washington, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Bin
Laden was never charged by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation as guilty of perpetrating 9/11;
there was never any direct evidence. Even
uber-neoconservative Dick Cheney, former vice
president, over the years admitted on and off that
Bin Laden was not connected to 9/11.
about on the ground "intelligence". It took
Washington no less than 3,519 days since 9/11 to
find Bin Laden "dead or alive", as John Wayne Bush
promised, only 240 kilometers east of the
mountains of Tora Bora, his last confirmed
location in December 2001. Bin Laden would have
been a really otherworldly entity if suffering
from kidney disease, diabetes and low blood
pressure, and in need of dialysis, he had managed
to survive in a musty cave for almost a decade.
Abbottabad, a two-hour drive north of
Islamabad, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is a
hill station in a valley very close to Azad
("free") Kashmir. It's a sort of mini-Colorado
Springs, complete with a cinema (the Taj) and,
more crucially, the Pakistani equivalent of West
Point. No caves around it, and, also crucially, no
raucous tribal areas - where the CIA drone
campaign is spraying a lot of "collateral damage"
under the pretext of fighting "al-Qaeda".
The capture of Bin Laden could have
happened in fact as early as August 2001. At the
time, back from Afghanistan, I had heard in
Peshawar that a US commando was ready to go inside
Afghanistan and snatch Bin Laden in his compound
in Kandahar. As much as Bush lobbied for it,
then-president Pervez Musharraf vetoed it, saying
he would not want to be responsible for a civil
war in Pakistan.
Then, after 9/11,
Washington practically ordered the Taliban to hand
over Bin Laden. As the Taliban ambassador in
Islamabad told us at the time, Mullah Omar asked
for proof of Bin Laden's guilt. Bush refused -
after all, as the FBI knew, there was no concrete
evidence. Subsequent Bin Laden videos "accepting"
responsibility for 9/11 were revealed to be fakes.
The Taliban even agreed to hand over Bin
Laden to Saudi Arabia - one of the three Taliban
sponsors alongside Pakistan and the United Arab
Emirates (UAE). King Abdullah refused. It's in
fact Khalid Sheikh Muhammad - arrested by
Pakistani intelligence, and who will spend the
rest of his life in Guantanamo - who has claimed
total responsibility for 9/11; and he never
accused Bin Laden of anything.
crazy Casbah sound The more we look at it,
the targeted assassination of Bin Laden shows
facets of that famous children's toy, the
Major powers playing this
game - the US and Saudi Arabia - have finally
decided they no longer needed a bogeyman
conveniently resurfaced on and off to justify
anything, from lack of democracy to brutal
crackdowns or even drone attacks gone wrong. But
why right now?
Let's start with the power
vacuum in Pakistan. There's a serious split inside
the ISI, between the ISI and part of the army, and
between the army and the government. That can only
mean chaos. What the Pentagon might dub Operation
Osama Sunset marks the crucial shift of the top
"war on terror" theater from Afghanistan to
Pakistan. The "war on terror" goes on, ramped up,
bound to rock all Casbahs. A bewildered Islamabad
doesn't seem to know how to profit from it,
especially now that it burned the precious Bin
Then there's the House of
Saud. Bin Laden was taken out just as Saudi Arabia
was bending the uplifting narrative of the great
2011 Arab revolt to profit a counter-revolution
narrative of a Sunni/Shi'ite sectarian war, a de
facto renewed Cold War between "good" Saudi Arabia
and "evil" Iran. Washington was playing all along
with the House of Saud.
This House of Saud
diversionist tactic is a serious attempt to shift
the focus from the fact that the great 2011 Arab
revolt threatens exactly medieval regimes such as
Bahrain's and the House of Saud's. The corrupt,
Western lackey House of Saud was the key motivator
of Bin Laden's anger and outrage that shaped his
Yet under the current Bin Laden
hysteria, the House of Saud can easily sing The
King called up his jet fighters/he said you better
earn your pay/drop your bombs between the
minarets/down the Casbah way, ramping up its
hardcore repression in the eastern provinces and
in Bahrain and lavishly bribing tribal leaders in
Yemen to form a next pro-Saudi government.
Washington for its part also used the
diversionist tactic to distract/puzzle Arab
popular opinion as an Anglo-French-American
intervention, marketed as "humanitarian", struck
yet another oil-rich Muslim country, Libya.
Besides, Washington also applied new polish to the
old tactic of isolating/containing Iran.
As for the pathetic CIA-infested,
al-Qaeda-linked Libyan "rebels" who have hijacked
Cyrenaica's legitimate protests - and who welcome
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing
of their own country - they now want the US to
take out Muammar Gaddafi (NATO is already working
on it). Rock the Casbah is the way to go.
Pious Saudi Arabian millionaires have
always been a key source of bundles of cash for
al-Qaeda. No wonder there may be a horde of new
breed Bin Ladens ready to rock the Casbah in Saudi
Arabia - and they will, hopefully inside the
Al-Qaeda's ideology is based on
two pillars; the current governments in Muslim
lands are un-Islamic and oppressive; and they are
pro-American (correct on both counts). Where
al-Qaeda got it wrong was the method to reverse
this situation; thus its strategic defeat by the
great 2011 Arab revolt.
Petraeus, who was the Pentagon supremo in
Afghanistan, is about to become CIA supremo - with
Bin Laden's head as trophy and his hands free to
rock multiple Casbahs via all-out targeted
assassinations and assorted black ops. The whole
reason for the US to invade Afghanistan in 2001
was to get Bin Laden "dead or alive". He's now
dead and in the bottom of the Arabian Sea.
Yet the US won't leave Afghanistan. US
Secretary of States Hillary Clinton is already
monopolizing the narrative saying the war on
al-Qaeda, as in "war on terror", goes on forever.
Official US policy as the best jihadi recruiter
Bin Laden could have hoped for goes on unabated -
as in the same panoply of soldiers, mercenaries,
CIA killer teams, killer drones, contractors and
"diplomats" costing trillions of dollars.
There would be only one realistic way of
possibly bringing this madness to a close, as in
the oil in the desert way/has been shaken to
the top; killer drones or targeted
assassinations of the whole House of Saud. Pity
that unlike bin Laden, who went rogue, the sheikhs
will always take cover by posing as "our" fanatic