Stories about Osama

With or without Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden may have died on May 2, 2011, but his relevance to global jihad and war against terror had ceased the day al Qaeda got its first recruits. Today, not only the graduates of religious seminaries, but also the urban middle class youth in Pakistan and most Middle Eastern countries is steeped in radical ideas and us-against-them thinking. This, more than the hunt for Osama, should have been the cause of concern for the Coalition of the willing. With Osama gone, they’ll have Ayman al Zawahiri and after him, someone else. The top slots on their list of most-wanted men ...

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I will not dance on Osama bin Laden’s grave

I have been in the US for the past two years and in this time I have felt culture shock twice – the first, when I first arrived, and then again on the night of May 2, 2011. Any supporter of peace would feel nothing but hatred for Bin Laden and his organisation, and I do hate him or I thought I did. But, Sunday night when everyone was out on the streets celebrating, chanting “USA” and firing fireworks, I felt like an outsider. I couldn’t join in – partly because it still felt wrong and partly because I realised instantly that ...

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Obama-Osama dilemma: I choose Edhi

The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death was broken to the world by US President Barack Obama on Sunday. However, the covert operation to kill Bin Laden was undertaken thousands of miles away in an upscale town of Pakistan. On paper, it seems fitting that the country where Bin Laden was hiding should have taken part in the secret operation, but with regards to this particular incident, the US simply did not trust Pakistan.  CIA director Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that Pakistan could jeopardise the mission and “alert the targets” if Islamabad took part in the mission. Many will ...

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Power and perception: Is Pakistan losing the PR war?

Over the past week the possibilities of soft power, and the limitations of hard power, were on display. On the April 29, 2011, the royal wedding galvanised a global audience. The pomp and pageantry, archaic rituals, curiosity and relevance of the global archetype of a commoner marrying a future king, insured that Britain was able to showcase its best china. Now, the British economy is barely growing. Unemployment is on the rise, taxes are up, benefits are being cut, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening and real incomes have actually fallen over the past few years. However, ...

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Bin Laden is dead, but I want more

Osama Bin Laden is dead, but you knew that already. You’ve heard about it a million times by now and probably swapped inane conspiracy theories back and forth. It seems like a great moment in history doesn’t it? The most wanted man in the world, a six feet plus Arab who evaded and dodged the world’s most powerful military and intelligence sources for over a decade has finally been hunted down like a common criminal and eliminated once and for all. Pakistan awoke to the news with surprise. It seemed so surreal, so theatrically staged. Obama proclaimed the news with ...

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Should Justin Bieber replace Osama bin Laden?

Okay, so now that big bad Osama bin bad hair day is dead the question that all of us are asking is “who will be taking over as the head of al Qaeda?” The position definitely requires charismatic leadership and the ability to strategize but if the group is to stay relevant they may want to think about a new kind of leader. Here are my suggestions: Justin Bieber: Who better to lead a bunch of frustrated, young kids with way too much spare time on their hands in an ultimate battle of good against evil? Bieber is (insanely) passionate, has a (zombie-cult) ...

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13 worrying facts about Pakistan and terrorism

1. Abbottabad is a military town that is home to three Pakistan Army regiments and thousands of military personnel and that is dotted with military buildings. The land mostly is owned by the Pakistan Army and retired army officers. 2. The house Osama lived in was 800 yards from the gate of the Kakul Military Academy, an army run institution where top officers train. The compound, which is worth $1 million, was surrounded by 12 to 18 feet high walls topped with barbed wire. 3. The map of the regions shows sections of nearby land marked as “restricted area,” indicating that ...

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Media madness: Revisiting Osama’s ‘fortress mansion’

As details come pouring in about the OBL raid and the secret hideaway readers and viewers around the world are getting increasingly baffled. ‘How is it possible that the Pakistani government was unaware of this massive mansion with fortress-like walls?’ ask puzzled writers, bloggers and heads of state. ‘Pakistan has a lot of explaining to do!’ And that, too, in a garrison area close to the country’s version of a ‘Sandhurst’-like military academy, as London’s entertaining The Daily Mail puts it. It’s time we helped out the international media with some background information, before public perception of Pakistanis falls to ‘big, ...

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We, the survivors of Osama

It has been almost a decade since 9/11 and now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, politicians will have meetings, intelligence services will brief each other, armies will re-strategise – but what will the rest of us do? We, the survivors of terrorism, the people who mourn loved ones on a daily basis and the people who live alongside drone attacks and bomb blasts – do we rejoice or do we look back over the last ten years and try to remember a world before all of this? My heart feels heavy – because even as I write this I know ...

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Conspiracy Bin Laden: Is he really dead?

Osama is dead. (Or is he alive?) The US killed him in a special forces operation. (Or did they only get his look-alike?). He was America’s bitterest foe. (Or was he was an American agent?) Laden’s body was spirited away and buried at sea to avoid his burial place becoming a militant shrine (Or is he actually in captivity and the entire exercise is a psychological warfare ruse designed to confuse Al-Qaeda while the US interrogates him?) No, the truth must be that Osama died many years ago and the latest reports are only meant to put Pakistan in a tight ...

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