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.
Unfortunately, the dangers associated with relying upon such manifestly unreliable “allies” are greatly compounded by official Washington’s own version of the double game. At the same time successive administrations have waged what President Obama called Sunday “the war against al-Qaeda,” cabinet officers, law enforcement personnel, military leaders, and intelligence operatives have systematically engaged in “outreach” to the Muslim-American community via known U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood front organizations. In so doing, these groups have been legitimated, enabled to engage in successful influence operations, and emboldened in their bid to achieve the same end-state to which al-Qaeda and other violent jihadists aspire: our submission to shariah.
Now, we know (from, among other sources, evidence entered into evidence uncontested in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism conspiracy trial in Texas) that the Brotherhood in the United States has as its mission “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” Accordingly, after the first round of prosecutions in that case were successfully concluded, the U.S. attorney in Dallas sought permission from the Justice Department to indict several senior Muslim Brotherhood figures who had been previously listed as unindicted co-conspirators.
Washington’s version of the double game is evident in the Justice Department’s rejection of that request. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged that his department had taken that step, but claimed that he was simply following the lead of the Bush administration before him. The fact that the Bush 43 team was also guilty of playing the double game is no excuse. That is especially the case since, as former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy has decisively explained, in the aftermath of the convictions of the first five Holy Land defendants, the case for charging Omar Ahmed of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other alleged co-conspirators is considerably stronger today than it was back in 2004.
Abraham Lincoln famously observed that “a house divided cannot stand.” The same can be said of a government or nation that seeks simultaneously to defeat an enemy and assist it. The United States cannot safely rely on other nations who behave in that fashion. And it certainly cannot continue to behave that way itself.