Counter-Terrorism: Jackpot Fever Threatens Bin Laden

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March 19, 2010: Recently, U.S. UAVs made three attacks in one day in Pakistan’s tribal territories. The Hellfire missiles were hitting targets in North Waziristan, where Taliban and al Qaeda forces are taking shelter with Pushtun tribes that are, at best, neutral in the war between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Taliban. One of the dead terrorists is believed to be a key leader, Hussein al-Yemeni. He was believed as the planner for the attack on a CIA base across the border last December, which killed seven CIA personnel.

Pakistani and American intelligence is getting a lot more information out of North Waziristan, as the local tribal leaders are reluctant to go looking for informers, and tribesmen are less fearful about providing (for a fee) information. The tribal leaders fear that the army could still advance into North Waziristan, and after seeing how badly the Taliban were beaten in South Waziristan, and elsewhere in the tribal territories, they really want to avoid another round of fighting.

Thus the U.S. is getting more target information for their UAVs, which are seen constantly over the area. Pakistani aircraft are also up there lot, but they rarely open fire. In addition to data on where terrorist leaders are, there are also reports of lots of armed Arabs, and other armed foreigners (al Qaeda). Such a large concentration of armed Arabs seems to indicate the presence of the top al Qaeda leaders (bin Laden and al Zawahiri). These guys don’t just have to fear the armed UAVs, but also local tribesmen who might decide they can get away (alive) with collecting the huge rewards (over $25 million each) for the top al Qaeda leaders. The problem with such rewards has been the difficulty of getting away alive, with your extended family, to collect the money. That would mean going into exile, and always living with the danger of some vengeful al Qaeda zealot coming after you. But al Qaeda doesn’t look as fearsome as it used to, nor does the Taliban. But there are still a lot of Pushtuns who honor the tribal code. Which requires guests to receive sanctuary. But the tribal code also encourages you to make yourself, and your family, rich.

 

 

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