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Bush Made Pact That Allowed OBL Mission

From the UK’s Guardian:

Osama bin Laden mission agreed in secret 10 years ago by US and Pakistan

May 9, 2011

US forces were given permission to conduct unilateral raid inside Pakistan if they knew where Bin Laden was hiding, officials say

The deal was struck between Pervez Musharraf and George Bush in 2001 and renewed during the ‘transition to democracy’ – a six-month period from February 2008 when Musharraf was still president but a civilian government had been elected.

So this is something else Mr. Obama inherited from President Bush.

By the way, note that it was first reported by a British newspaper. (And this is probably as far as this report will go.)

The US and Pakistan struck a secret deal almost a decade ago permitting a US operation against Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil similar to last week’s raid that killed the al-Qaida leader, the Guardian has learned.

The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion.

"There was an agreement between Bush and Musharraf that if we knew where Osama was, we were going to come and get him," said a former senior US official with knowledge of counterterrorism operations. "The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn’t stop us."

Oddly enough, that appears to be exactly what happened.

Days earlier, Musharraf, now running an opposition party from exile in London, emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the raid, terming it a "violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan".

But under the terms of the secret deal, while Pakistanis may not have been informed of the assault, they had agreed to it in principle.

A senior Pakistani official said it had been struck under Musharraf and renewed by the army during the "transition to democracy" – a six-month period from February 2008 when Musharraf was still president but a civilian government had been elected.

Referring to the assault on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, the official added: "As far as our American friends are concerned, they have just implemented the agreement."

So this would seem to be yet another victory for the much derided ‘Cowboy Diplomacy.’

The former US official said the Pakistani protests of the past week were the "public face" of the deal. "We knew they would deny this stuff."

The agreement is consistent with Pakistan’s unspoken policy towards CIA drone strikes in the tribal belt, which was revealed by the WikiLeaks US embassy cables last November. In August 2008, Gilani reportedly told a US official: "I don’t care if they do it, as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it."

As drone strikes have escalated in the tribal belt over the past year, senior civilian and military officials issued pro forma denunciations even as it became clear the Pakistani military was co-operating with the covert programme.

Well, we are starting to feel better about Pakistan already.

The former US official said that impetus for the co-operation, much like the Bin Laden deal, was driven by the US. "It didn’t come from Musharraf’s desire. On the Predators, we made it very clear to them that if they weren’t going to prosecute these targets, we were, and there was nothing they could do to stop us taking unilateral action.

"We told them, over and again: ‘We’ll stop the Predators if you take these targets out yourselves.’"

Thanks again, President Bush.


The Associated Press certainly could not let this report stand. While they did not report the initial story, they were sure eager to rush out this denial:

Musharraf: No deal made to let US get bin Laden

By Munir Ahmed, Associated Press
May 10, 2011

ISLAMABAD – Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf denied Tuesday that his administration struck an agreement with the United States years ago to let American special forces kill or capture Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan.

The denial follows a report in a British newspaper that Washington and Islamabad reached a secret deal nearly a decade ago allowing the U.S. to conduct operations against bin Laden and two other top al-Qaida leaders on Pakistani soil.

"Pervez Musharraf has seen a media report, and let me make it clear that no such agreement had been signed during his tenure," said Musharraf’s spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry. "Also, there was no verbal understanding."

In a report published Thursday, The Guardian newspaper, quoting U.S. officials and retired Pakistani officials, said Musharraf and former President George W. Bush struck the agreement after bin Laden escaped U.S. forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001. If such a raid were conducted, the agreement was that Pakistani officials would publicly denounce the U.S. unilateral action.

"The Guardian report is baseless," Chaudhry said.

In an Associated Press interview in January 2002, Gen. Tommy Franks, who headed the U.S. Central Command at the time, disclosed a deal with Pakistan allowing U.S. troops in Afghanistan to cross the border in pursuit of fugitive extremist leaders, including bin Laden. Pakistan denied such a deal existed.

And, of course, General Franks wouldn’t know what he is talking about.

"If there is any such agreement, the Pakistan government should place it in the parliament, and if there was any agreement, the American government should make it public," Chaudhry told the AP from Dubai, where the country’s former military ruler is staying.

How can there be such an agreement, Mr. Chaudhry? You just said reports about it were "baseless"?

He added that during his tenure, Musharraf "always rejected the U.S. request about launching raids in Pakistan."

U.S. officials have said the Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden took his body with them when they left his compound, and the al-Qaida chief was buried at sea within the next 24 hours.

A message attributed to one of bin Laden’s sons, Omar, was posted on a militant website Monday criticizing the U.S. for killing his father, demanding evidence of his death and lambasting American officials for the way they disposed of his body.

Burying the al-Qaida leader’s body at sea "demeans and humiliates his family and his supporters and … challenges religious provisions and feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims," said the statement, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks militant websites.

In other words, Bin Laden’s son is saying, ‘You didn’t kill him. And you didn’t bury him right.’

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Bush Made Pact That Allowed OBL Mission”

  1. River0 says:

    This is a very real difficulty when dealing with the Asian mindset. They have a very hard time with contracts and promises. A deal is often not a deal with them. They constantly want to re-negotiate if they they aren’t doing as well as they think they should, or if they become envious.

    • Chase says:

      I am not so sure that is an Asian mindset.

      Ricky Henderson did the same thing when a few weeks after he agreed to a blockbuster deal with the Oakland A’s Kirby Puckett got a richer contract in Minnesota.

      And of course, Spike agreed to leave the Bush tax-cuts alone until 2012, but four months after the deal, started denouncing and threatening to again bring the tax cuts back to the chopping block. But, this morinistration probably doesn’t have the words “honest,” “integrity,” or “promise” in their lexicon. That, and there are always a lot of crossed fingers behind the petulant abuser’s back.

  2. tranquil.night says:

    The problem is they are doing more than just protesting in the general assembly, at least that’s the illusion.

    That outed CIA chief is staying put I hear, so who knows if he was really outed. Maybe it is just a bit of theatre, but it depends on if we got anyone in the regime with competence because as River indicates, there’s no reason for Pokestahn to honor this agreement on their own. Big if, and it’s definitely not Spike.

  3. canary says:

    What I recall following this, but more so once Obama got into office is that “we” Bush, knew that OBL was constantly moving around the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We watched Pakistan dance in the streets as soon as 9/11 happened. The deal was the U.S. could base in Pakistan and allow our troops to go in and out of Afghanistan on missions to try and catch him. Casualties in Pakistan were few. On occasion a battle would lead to Pakistan complaining we’d on accident killed a civilian. Media would say Pakistan exaggerated. We did make a payment per person of rare accidental deaths.

    Bush was not dumb and knew Pakistan people were aiding OBL. Bush said there would be no distinction
    between OBL or those who harbored him. The good side of this back when it started was that Pakistan
    would not kill our troops, and our troops had a safe haven, and nothing compared to what Obama
    started doing the moment he took office, within days of Obama taking his oath in office in 2009.

    Obama started droning the border within first days. McCain, who had just lost the presidential run, said Obama should not be droning the border like he was. That led smack into Obama’s $ Billion dollar payouts to Pakistan.

    It was Obama’s call and Obama’s call alone that this process changed. As he made it unrealistically clear that our military didn’t sneeze without his permission, and he would be running the war and giving orders.
    It was Obama who forced our troops to live and aid Afganistans that led to the highest death toll of our U.S. troops since our initial entering Afghanistan. No more in and out mission to keep our soldiers
    safe. Recall, Obama immediately spoke of not just withdrawing troops from Iraq, but after a humanitarian aid of rebuilding & modernizing Afghanistan, training their military, and police, that we were also leaving Afghanistan. West Point Speech and State of Union address. Obama created an entire new Rules of Engagement. He immediately after taking office banned our soldiers burning the poppy fields, their primary source of income.
    Obama made his own rules from the day he took office. Period. Make no doubt about it. Obama waited til fall and the weather becoming freezing beyond anything you can imagine to send troops after General begged since Mar of 2009 and Obama dithered and dithered. Obama got the oldest most seasoned intelligence officers blown up. That is intelligence we can never recover. Clinton had a problem with keeping his intelligence alive too. Refusing to meet with them. The Monica thing and all.

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