Osama bin Laden’s Death as Obama’s Lever for Muslim Brotherhood Rule

White House procrastination in ordering the death of Osama bin Laden spans three US presidencies.
In the four years from 1996 until 2000 (one year before the 9/11 attacks on American), the CIA director of the day George Tenet and the heads of the agency's Counterterrorist Center-CTC, produced no less than ten plans for eliminating him.
President Bill Clinton rejected them all. He was completely caught up at the time in a major effort to bring about a final Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Even in the face of intelligence warnings that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was into his last preparations for war on Israel, Clinton and his advisers decided to put the al Qaeda operation on hold lest his death inflame Muslims worldwide and put a spoke in the peace process which topped his agenda. The US president calculated that once a peace accord was in the bag and the looming war averted, America's standing in Muslim eyes would be solid enough to withstand the earth tremors raised by taking out bin Laden.
But his timing was out. The Palestinian (intifada) war was launched in September 2000 and raged until Arafat's defeat and death in late 2004 four years later. In that time, Bin Laden and his followers imbibed much innovative terrorist tradecraft from the Palestinians which they put to use in the coming decade, such as how to rig car bombs, assemble explosive vests for suicide bombers and hijack airliners, which they later wielded as weapons of mass destruction.

Bush targeted Zarqawi in Iraq, Clinton prioritized Palestinian-Israel peace

His successor George W. Bush declared war on Al Qaeda after the 9/11 terrorist atrocity claimed nearly 3,000 American lives. His handling of bin Laden had three stages.
In the first, trom 2001 until 2004, no reliable intelligence was available on the Al Qaeda leader's whereabouts. In 2004, a year after America's invasion of Iraq, Bush shifted the onus of his counter-al Qaeda strategy to Iraq and focused on targeting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the organization's head of its operation in that country.
The US president reasoned that the Jordanian Zarqawi was the most brilliant operations commander al Qaeda had ever fielded. Unless he was destroyed, he would be certain to succeed Bin Laden, who appeared to be weakening. The al Qaeda leader was thought to be grooming the Jordanian to succeed him over the head of his Egyptian lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri.
In June 2006, American forces managed to kill Zarqawi, so ending an exceptionally savage two-year career.
The previous year, the Americans received their first tip about the villa compound where Bin Laden was living in Pakistan.
Still, for the next two years, President Bush decided to press on and finish laying the foundations for an American victory over al Qaeda in Iraq, bringing it to fruition in 2007 by means of the famous US troop surge.
That victory, the Bush White House was convinced, would seriously diminish al Qaeda's top man and reduce him in the coming years to spending all his time moving from one hideout to another on the run from pursuit.
Technically speaking, Bush got it right. But in practical and historical terms, he missed a great opportunity to finish the arch-terrorist for good and make good on his premature "Mission accomplished!" boast.
Like his father, President George Bush Sr., who in 1991, failed to follow through on the Gulf War by taking Baghdad and removing Saddam Hussein, the son George left a toxic loose end hanging and ready to snap back.

Osama bin Laden's death as a lever for US-Muslim reconciliation

When Barack Obama followed the second Bush into the White House in January 2009, his mind was fixed on three overriding ambitions: He determined to show Americans and the world that war was not the only way to solve international conflicts and promote American interests; multilateral diplomacy must take the place of armed conflict. Another was to achieve a historic US-Muslim reconciliation alongside the demise of radical Islamic terror, first and foremost al Qaeda's war on America.
Unlike Clinton and Bush, Obama decided that eliminating Osama bin Laden would serve his goals, provided he could make it the lever for his outreach to the Muslim world. But like Clinton, he made a permanent Israel-Palestinian a cornerstone of his policy.
Two months ago, on March 6, the Washington Post offered a pointer to President Obama's overall vision:
"The roots of the (US) policy shift (in the Middle East) go back to Obama's first days in office and his feeling that America's relationship with the Arab world was broken," the WP reported. "Though Obama seemed to be accommodating the region's authoritarian leaders, in August 2010, he issued Presidential Study Directive 11, asking agencies to prepare for change. This document cited 'evidence of growing citizen discontent with the region's regimes' and warned that 'the region is entering a critical period of transition.'
The president asked his advisers to 'manage these risks by demonstrating to the people of the Middle East and North Africa the gradual but real prospect of greater political openness and improved governance.'"

This was an astonishing public admission, which was first cited by DEBKA-Net-Weekly in Issue 485 of March 18 (Obama's New Mid East Strategy Stalls). It implied that Washington was steering the Arab revolt, or 'Arab spring', through Obama's Presidential Study Directive 11.

Presidential Study Directive 11 gets going

Our Washington sources note that when, early Monday morning, May 2,Obama announced Bin Laden's death, he spoke of the first lead to his whereabouts (in the Abbottabad villa) reaching him last August:
"Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to Bin Laden," he said – although Wednesday, May 4, the Pakistanis said Washington was informed of this intelligence with low intensity as early as the beginning of 2009 and with greater intensity starting from September 2010.
What is important to note here is that August was month that Directive No. 11 was issued and therefore a watershed date for President Obama.
Bin Laden's death like the Arab Spring were not ends in themselves, but steps towards the objective on which the US president has set his sights.
Our Middle East sources report that this objective, word of which has begun circulating around intelligence circles in the region, has been brought to the notice of the Saudi royal family, the military junta in Cairo, the presidential palace in Damascus and the Israeli Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem: President Obama's ultimate goal is to confer on the Muslim Brotherhood the legitimacy to assume power.
After Osama bin Laden's elimination, Obama is raring to go forward to fulfill the vision outlined in his Study Directive 11 and raise the Brotherhood to power-sharing status as a force for Islamic moderation able to counteract Al Qaeda-type radicalism.
Middle East sources find evidence of the US president's impatience in the Palestinian unity pact Mahmoud Abbas for Fatah and Khaled Meshaal for Hamas signed in Cairo on May 4 for ending their four-year Palestinian feud. This pact consummated a key component of the Obama master plan.

Separating the extremists from the moderates

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the pact as "a mortal blow to peace and a victory for terror." In private conversation in Cairo, our sources quote Abbas asking his Egyptian hosts rhetorically: Why are the Israelis complaining to me – they should complain to Obama. Hamas is an offshoot of the Egyptian and Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood branches. "I am only acting out his guidelines by helping the Brotherhood's integration in Middle East governance."
In Syria, President Bashar Assad is not just fighting a popular uprising against his repressive regime; he is desperate to crush the Muslim Brotherhood which would rise in the wake of the opposition's victory and wreak its revenge for the slaughter his father President Hafez Assad inflicted on its members in Hama 39 years ago.
(See the separate item in this issue on the conflict in Syria.)
While Presidents Bush and Clinton declined to incorporate the al Qaeda leader's demise in their active policies, for Obama it was of pivotal importance. He was also keen to show American soldiers performing the deed.
Obama was sending out a signal that Muslim pragmatists and extremists would be treated very differently by his administration: While the former would be encouraged, any radical circles in the Muslim Brotherhood trying to move into the positions of power his policy had carved out for their movement would receive short shrift – witness, Osama bin Laden's fate.
More than one Middle East ruler is disquieted by what is seen by some as a dangerous bee in the American president's bonnet, fearing he may not realize that by putting his hand in the Muslim world, he is playing with fire.

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