Why Osama Still Remains At Large?

During the long cold-war America fought against the Soviet Union , it devised many means to defeat its enemy. Along with fighting the war on the economic front, America also used its technological advantages to accelerate the demise of its staunch nemesis.

America used its U-2 spy planes over the Soviet territories to see what the Communists were doing on their soils;  it kept it sub-marines close to its enemy�s shores to monitor�s its naval activities. Through a vast array of clandestine activities, it kept a tap on the Soviet Army�s preparedness and movements.  It infiltrated the KGB to counter its activities as well as to learn about what the Soviet leadership had on its mind.

Undoubtedly, America had technological and economic advantages over the Soviet Union . America used them in all conceivable ways for effectively marginalizing, and shadowing its Godless enemy. One modern gadget it used was the high-powered cameras mounted on its spy planes and satellites.

Through the lenses of these cameras, Americans watched from thousands of miles away what the pedestrians on the streets of Moscow were reading in the newspapers of their country. It was an edge that America boasted of, and which it highlighted through well-orchestrated leaks to its newspapers and magazines.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union did not stop America from enhancing its technological advantages. Rather, it continued to improve upon, and develop better, equipment and means to maintain its already-existing advantage over the rest of the world.  As a result of its continuous national efforts, America is today in a better position to know, see and observe what might be happening even in one of the remotest corners of our globe.

If what I have stated above is true, then the question arises: Well, when America is as powerful and as technologically advanced as people believe it is, then why has it not been able so far to detect and catch Osama bin Laden, the number one wanted terrorist of the world?

The above question assumes a greater importance, when we consider the following factors:

a. Osama is a six+ foot tall man. He is lanky and speaks in Arabic He has specific features of his own. Even small children, living in the remote places of the world, have seen his photographs.

b. Being a militant, Osama (if he is still alive) must be living in the company of a large entourage. He has his die-hard followers, commanders, soldiers and body guards.

c. Osama and the members of his entourage need shelter, food and other necessities of human lives. His position is different from that of a single man; the needs of a single man are small and he can keep himself hidden from the prying eyes of man, and of the airborne cameras, for a very long time.

Now, let us compare Osama�s situation with that of Saddam Hussain of Iraq :

a. Unlike Osama, Saddam was an ordinary-looking Iraqi.

b. During his 35-year rule over his country, he had made a lot of people subservient to him and to his needs. Apart from his Republican Guards, there were many civilians who were willing not only to protect him from harm; they were also prepared to die for his sake, when he was in power. This statement of mine should not be taken to imply that he was free from enemies; in fact, a vast majority of Iraqis wanted him dead, but without any ability to go against him and his tyrannical regime.

c. According to information we have, Saddam had much more resources at his disposal to buy protection with from some of the people of Iraq in order to avoid his capture by the American forces than Osama is or was able to spend on his and his followers� protection.

If what I have stated in the above alphabetized paragraphs is true, then the question arises: Why the Americans have failed so far to catch Osama, when they were able to catch Saddam Hussain in a relatively short time, with a degree of ease?

The answer to the question lies in two different scenarios. One relates to Saddam: Though he dispensed numerous favors to a large number of the Iraqi people when he was in power, he failed to win their sympathy and following due to his brutal actions of the past. In fact, most of the Iraqis hated him from the core of their hearts.

Therefore, when he fell from power, and was being hunted by the American forces, even his former Iraqi sycophants refused to provide him shelter and protection he was desperately in need of. Even when he had nowhere to hide himself in, but a foxhole, his lone companion betrayed him for 25 million dollars the Americans had offered on his head.

The second scenario relates to Osama bin Laden: Unlike Saddam Hussain, Osama is a hero for a greater number of Muslims. They believe that in collusion with the Jews, the Christian world is after them, and that the enemies of Islam want to destroy it by force. This perception brought them closer to Osama, and in him, they see the survival of their religion.

Consequently, Osama is a soldier of Islam for those Muslims amidst whom he might be hiding himself now. Driven by their religious belief, they must be providing him not only with shelter; they may also be providing him with everything he and the members of his entourage need in their daily life.

This scenario explains why the American satellites, drones and other spying methods have failed so far to detect Osama�s whereabouts. I believe he has been living among his Muslim admirers, thus making his exposure to prying eyes unnecessary. Until they give him up, or refuse to meet his daily needs, it would be very difficult, and risky, for his American pursuers to apprehend him some time in days ahead.

How about the containment of the jihadi movement of the Muslims? I will deal with this explosive issue in my next article.

June 26, 2004


Mohammad Asghar writes from USA. 

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