Thursday, May 05, 2011

The killing of Bin Laden- implications for Sri Lanka

There are serious issues that are raised by the circumstances of Bin Laden's death and they concern Pakistan, a country regarded as a friend by the Sri Lankan regime. The relevant facts are:

1. He was killed in Abbottabad, pretty little town in North East Pakistan that is also home to the Pakistan Military Academy.

2. He was living in a large semi-fortified compound that to some observers resembled an ISI safehouse. Neighbours claimed that the current occupants moved in some five years ago.

3. Bin Laden suffered from kidney failure and required regular dialysis. There was no dialysis equipment in the house he occupied so he had to receive regular treatment from outside. Although the city boasts of 21 hospitals (it was a centre for treating casualties from the Kashmiri earthquake) the fact that he was not noticed raises the possibility that he received treatment at the military hospital located in the town.

The awkward questions raised by these facts are:

1. Bin Laden was being sheltered by the Pakistani military or some rogue elements within the military. Given the long period during which he has held there whoever did so had have at least a few fairly senior people involved.
2. The political leadership (and the military) claims they were unaware of Bin Laden's whereabouts. If the political leadership was indeed unaware then the question needs to be raised as to whether the political leadership has control over the military. If the military leadership were also unaware this raises the possibility of rogue elements within the military at a fairly senior level.

Pakistan was supposedly a strong US ally helping them in the Afghan campaign, it now looks that they were either helping the enemy all along or that the state has no effective control over its military, either possibility being equally disturbing.

Pakistan's economy is in shambles and large amounts of US aid help things along. The US is under internal pressure to cut aid and if this happens then the state may be weakened further.

India has long accused Pakistan of assisting guerrillas and insurgents in Kashmir and elesewhere. They were also accused of complicity in the Bombay train bombings and in the later Bombay hotel attacks. The suspicious circumstances of Bin Laden's hideout will only strengthen the view that Pakistan is a sponsor of terror in India. The two countries have already fought three wars, the last in 1971.

To make matters more complicated, both countries now have nuclear weapons and the fallout from such a conflict will affect all its neighbours. Sri Lanka's relations with India are frigid, India is already suspicious of the cosy relationship with China, taking a line seen as pro-Pakistan now would be the worst thing we could do. Attempting to pay a 'Pakistan' card to try and gain leverage over India, on say the Darusman Report, would be disastrous.

Countries where the Great Game was played out generally ended up hosting proxy battles between the protagonists. This was the fate of Afghanistan, having toyed with India and China Sri Lanka should tread carefully to avoid a similar fate.

Update: NDTV just reported at 18.05 local time that there was firing at an Indian border post and that Indian forces have retaliated.


Anonymous said...

An interesting foreign policy conundrum for SL. I was also wandering about this Dialysis thing though it had not been mentioned in the recent spate of news following the death.

On the grounds that the house would have had heavy surveillance over the past few months, I can't beleive Osama ventured out as it would have been easy to catch him then. So I wonder if this machine was in the house. After all he could afford one!

Jack Point said...

Anon, thanks for dropping by

He could have certainly afforded one, but if it was not there, then the implication is that the authorities were indeed sheltering him.

Lets see if any further news breaks on this.

rakees said...

The news spread by media that Osama suffered from kidney failure was a canard. Al-Quida refused it several times. The latest news is that Osama has re-appeared on a video footage aired by AL-Jazeera Arabic version. So what Americans are doing is just BULLSHIT!

Anonymous said...

Now we know that the CIA safe house around the corner certainly had him under surveillance for months. As it is most likely he never went out and there is no indication of a dialysis machine, the implication of his needing dialysis seems to be a false info we have been given in thepast. Unless of course he had a kidney transplant which is also likely!!

The theories abound!!!