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05 May 2011

Osama Bin Laden- Death has no strategic implications



Pakistan is in a state of war and so is the Untied States of America. Pakistan has a military strategy and so does the US. Operation Neptune Spear, authorized by President Barack Obama and executed by the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, was a momentous episode in that war.
America’s war strategy, before Operation Neptune’s Spear, was all about an honourable exit from war-torn Afghanistan. America’s war strategy, post-Osama, is still all about an honourable exit from war-torn Afghanistan. Pakistan’s war strategy, before Operation Neptune’s Star, was all about securing Rawalpindi’s influence over Kabul. Pakistan’s war strategy, post-Osama, is still all about securing Rawalpindi’s influence over Kabul.
Dazzling success of Operation Neptune’s Spear has now given Obama an additional stick to beat Pak Army succumb to America’s strategic objective of an honourable exit. America wants Pak Army to hurt the Haqqani Network to an extent that America could then negotiate with the Haqqani Network from a position of strength. America also wants Pak Army to afflict enough pain on to the Lashkar-e-Taiba so that America could look towards securing an honourable exit.
In essence, there’s a dangerous tug-of-war with Admiral Michael Mullen’s war strategy on the one side and General Ashfaq Kayani’s war strategy at the other end. Admiral Mullen, because of Osama’s location of death, has now expanded his arsenal manifold. General Kayani, again because of Osama’s location of death, will now be on his back foot.
The war is not only being fought in the physical battlefield but continues in at least three other fields — political, psychological and ideological. In the political battlefield, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, towing the military line with intent to weaken the political government, has demanded President Asif Ali Zardari’s resignation. 
The facts on the ground are that Osama’s elimination will have little or no impact on Pakistan’s underlying political calculus. Sooner rather than later, Pakistan’s politics will move back to pre-May 2 mode whereby the army will continue to move its pawns to keep the civil government on its toes while the PPP will continue to play its own game of survival through political alliances.
Operation Neptune’s Spear has been the biggest psychological defeat for Pakistan’s ISI. America is now demanding the names of ISI’s top operatives who may have known Osama’s location. 
The game is on for a sacrificial lamb. In 1993, Lieutenant General Javed Nasir, who had managed to unite all the warring Afghan factions, was later removed from the ISI under American pressure (because of his “alleged non-cooperation in the US efforts to re-purchase the unused Stinger missiles from Afghan mujahideen”). Right after 9/11, America sought-and got-Lieutenant General Mehmood Ahmed’s removal from the ISI (for being “too close to the Taliban”). At the end of the day, the ‘wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid’.