Osama Bin Laden and Dangerous Double Games

Americans have had a rude awakening. The military’s liquidation of Osama bin Laden a few days ago in a million-dollar, heavily secured compound close by a Pakistani military academy has brought home to many what had previously been understood by only a few: One of the nations officially deemed a key ally in the so-called “War on Terror” has been playing us for fools.

It is called a double game and here’s how you play it: First, you cooperate in some respects with the United States in countering the “terrorists” the Americans seek to capture, kill, or at least neutralize. In return, you get paid handsomely for it -- in the case of Pakistan, that translates into an annual U.S. allotment of some $3 billion and access to American intelligence, weapons, and political support. In parallel, however, you systematically sabotage the whole effort by cooperating extensively with our enemies, some of whom you support, more or less directly.

Pakistan happens to be a particularly egregious example of the phenomenon. For decades, Pakistani officials -- notably in Islamabad’s intelligence agency, the ISI -- have been tied to and supportive of Islamists at home and in neighboring nations. Without such assistance, the international campaign led by the United States aimed at liberating and securing Afghanistan would likely have been considerably more successful and vastly less costly.

Bin Laden’s hiding-in-plain-sight lair 35 miles from the Pakistani capital has become the most glaring example of an endemic problem: the safe havens and other forms of protection Pakistan has afforded to those seeking to murder Americans.  Denials, such as that of the Pakistani president in Monday’s Washington Post, are, to put it charitably, unpersuasive.

To varying degrees, U.S. allies elsewhere in the so-called “Muslim world” have also engaged in double games with us. For example, the Saudis have helped counter al-Qaeda inside their kingdom, even as they fund its operations and those of others, like the Muslim Brotherhood, who share the violent jihadists’ goal of imposing the politico-military-legal program known as shariah under a global ruler, the caliph.

Similarly, throughout his 30-year rule, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak maintained a cold peace with Israel and “cooperated” by sharing terrorism-related intelligence, for which his country received lavish U.S. funding and advanced armaments. Yet, he also allowed his state-controlled media, mosques, and educational system to fan rabid anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment. Thanks in part to this indoctrination, Egypt’s “awakening” is likely to translate into an open-ended nightmare, as the Brotherhood parlays such popular attitudes into an electoral mandate and then begins enforcing shariah.