Blog: Pakistan Intelligence, Military Complicit in Bin Laden’s Hiding
Dr. Scarcelli says he is sure that the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and perhaps the military were at very least complicit in Bin Laden’s hiding. Many analysts, knowing the circumstances and the evidence surrounding Bin Laden’s death, are of the same opinion. The ISI and Pakistani military have been allied with the Taliban for decades. There are, in fact, certain officers within the ISI who also operate as trainers at Al Qaeda camps. As one of the sharpest intelligence networks in the world, it is almost inconceivable that the ISI did not know of Bin Laden’s whereabouts.
Of course, that does not mean that the government, or the president for that matter, were aware of this. The ISI has the capacity to operate independently of the Pakistani civilian government and could have held this information from them. Given the fact that Bin Laden lived so close to a military school and compound, this is actually a reasonable proposal. It is not unlikely that someone in the government knew, but to suspect that the entire government knew, and to suspect that the president knew, may be presuming too much. The death of Bin Laden may bring to the surface old rivalries between the military and ISI factions and the civilian government. Pakistan, already a country divided, has become even more heated in light of Bin Laden’s death and more divided than they already were.
For the United States, there are not a lot of options available. It is obvious that letting nuclear Pakistan become a failed state is not a plausible option. Funding cannot be terminated. It would only make bad problems worse. Yet the ISI is unlikely to drastically alter its allegiances. Most recently, Pakistan allegedly released the name of a supposed CIA operative that was directing CIA operation in Pakistan, and so presumably oversaw the SEALS operation. That, Dr. Scarcelli says, was Pakistan’s way of getting back the United States, however meaningless it may be in comparison. Yet for the United States, Dr. Scarcelli agrees, there is little one can do except avoid being naive about the issues surrounding Pakistan. The ISI and many military factions may be decidedly anti-United States. Yet that does not mean that the US does not have any audience inside the Pakistani government. It does suggest that as suspicious as we were before this incident, we should be more suspicious after. At the same time, we should try to ensure that the divisiveness inside Pakistan does not disintegrate into civil war. We cannot, therefore, marginalize any large sector of the military or ISI.
Dr. Scarcelli also brings up that fact that it seems almost impossible that Pakistan is uninvolved with the Afghanistan drug trade, the prosperity of which is in part due to the lengthy conflict in that country. In a sense, one might conclude, the longer violence reigns in Afghanistan, the longer Pakistan will have an economic incentive to be complicit in that violence. And again, there are factions loyal to the Taliban and factions loyal to Al Qaeda. Violence in Afghanistan, however, cannot simply be solved with an influx or a withdrawal of troops.