Not everyone is happy that Osama bin Laden is dead. It’s a bleak day for Hamas, for example. Reuters reports that the prime minister of what Hamas laughingly calls a “government,” Ismail Haniyeh, said “We condemn the assassination and killing of an Arab holy warrior. We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.” Surely the woman bin Laden tried to use as a human shield was proud to serve as a weapon in the arsenal of such a mighty warrior caste.
Reuters quotes “a veiled woman” living under the Hamas government who said she thought reports of bin Laden’s death were a lie, adding “God willing, he will continue to conquer the West.” Perhaps she, too, can serve as a body shield for some sniveling al-Qaeda coward one day.
Another Palestinian called the commando raid against bin Laden “a very criminal act. This is not a victory. If they assassinated bin Laden, there will be others stronger than him: politicians and military people.” Sounds like a New York Times subscriber. The conventional wisdom during the Bush years was that fighting terrorists only makes them stronger, and killing one just inspires ten more to take his place – a process limited only by the supply of women and children they can hide behind.
It should be noted that representatives of Fatah, the other major faction among Palestinians, hailed the death of bin Laden as “good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods — the violent methods — that were created and encouraged by bin Laden and others in the world,” to quote a Palestinian Authority spokesman.
Another source of sour grapes over the death of bin Laden is Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, who claims bin Laden’s death in Pakistan proves that American actions in Afghanistan were somehow unjustified. “Again and again, for years and every day we have said that the war on terror is not in Afghan villages, not in Afghan houses of the poor and oppressed,” Karzai declared. “The war against terrorism is in its sources, in its financial sources, its sanctuaries, in its training bases, not in Afghanistan.” Okay, man, whatever. I guess our forces in Afghanistan will be moving along now. Enjoy the Taliban!
Karzai also told the Daily Telegraph of London that Pakistan “had to have known of bin Laden’s location and been hiding him.” He’s on firmer ground with that charge. The mansion where bin Laden came to justice is located in an upscale neighborhood near the Pakistani capital. Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh, asked: “Does Pakistan want the whole world to believe that the intelligence agency of a nuclear state did not know Bin Laden was there?”
Pakistan’s old adversary India has also been raising some uncomfortable questions. According to Reuters, its home ministry said it was concerned “terrorists belonging to different organizations find sanctuary in Pakistan.” There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Pakistan to do something like that, once the “ding-dong the witch is dead” euphoria settles down.
Reaction from Pakistan has been somewhat muted. The Foreign Ministry released a businesslike statement, in which no high fives can be detected: “In an intelligence driven operation, Osama bin Laden was killed in the surroundings of Abbottabad in the early hours of this morning. This operation was conducted by the U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. forces, wherever found in the world.” U.S. policy will be the big story for another couple of days. Then it will be time to talk about Pakistani policy.
Update: The Taliban misses Osama, too. The UK Guardian relays this statement from a Taliban commander: “The killing of Osama bin Laden will bring no change to jihad. Osama is the leader of al-Qaida and he is a powerful man in jihad. Losing him will be very painful for the mujahideen, but the martyrdom of Osama, will never stop the jihad. We will continue our fight until we liberate our lands from the Kafirs.” He also said the Taliban was planning a major operation to avenge bin Laden’s death.
Update: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf: “America coming to our territory and taking action is a violation of our sovereignty. Handling and execution of the operation is not correct. The Pakistani government should have been kept in the loop.” To quote the great Michelle Malkin: Boo freakin’ hoo.
Update: Speaking of Pakistani unhappiness, ABC’s Jake Tapper reports, “At the end of the operation, Pakistan’s military scrambled fighter jets looking for the US helicopters. Who knows what could have happened if the Pakistani planes had reached the US helicopters — but they didn’t.” The mind reels at the repercussions from a Pakistani jet shooting at Seal Team Six.