Bin Laden on a Silver Platter
See Chris Cobar Article List at bottom of page.
Why We Should Expect Another 9/11
We’re now through the travesty of the Oklahoma City Bombing. We may declare it either homegrown or not so homegrown; it’s a judgement call.
In order to effectively understand what happened and when, we will have to take a short refresher course in Sudanese politics. The good news: there are no quizzes.
One of the poorest counties on the ‘Dark’ Continent, the Sudan was ethnically split into two parts: the Muslim north and the Christian/Animist south. When Shari’a was invoked and instituted in 1983, civil war broke out in the South. It has continued sporadically, in-between the droughts and famines, ever since. It was costly, and more importantly, it was bad for the slave trade, a primary generator of revenue.
On June 30th, 1989, the National Islamic Front hosted a coup d’etat and seized control from the elected government. The coup had been engineered by their chief cleric, sub-Rosa ruler and all around fanatic, Hassan al-Turabi.
This is the fellow who rolled out the red carpet for bin Laden’s arrival. Sadly, the country was getting poorer and poorer by the day. The slave trade was really down, having lost over a million potential applicants to either famine or war.
Like Libya, their reputation reeked. Both the U.S. and the U.N. had imposed sanctions, which did not improve their economy. Foreign companies were not allowed to invest. The national till was almost empty.
The Sudan had already tried to get Ramzi Ahmed Youssef to assassinate Slick Willie in the Philippines in 1994.
On June 26th, 1995, President Mubarak of Egypt attended a summit of the Organization of African Union (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Egyptian Jihadists, recruited by bin Laden operatives, in collusion with authorized agents of the Sudanese government, attacked his motorcade. An updated version of the O.K. corral ensured. After the dust settled and the lead cooled, five attackers were dead and 3 captured.
It all came out in the wash. The Sudan had been busted – globally. This was one of those events that could not be denied. They sucked it up and reviewed their strategy.
Dissension ran rampant in the Khartoum crowd. The fundamentalist Speaker of the Legislature, bin Laden’s buddy – al-Turabi, did not play well with the more moderate President.
The radical way had not worked. Perhaps a non-radical approach would. It was worth a try. By this time, the Sudan had little to lose.
The Sudan was trying to get its act together. Rehabilitation was the new rule of the day.
On the evening of February 6th, 1996, the departing American ambassador, Tim Carney, having been withdrawn in protest by the American government, dined at the home of the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Othman Taha.
Over hors d’oeuvres, Minister Taha served up Osama bin Laden on a silver platter as the main course. The Sudan would hand over bin Laden to America, no strings attached.
Since the Sudan had already handed over ‘Carlos the Jackal’ (a.k.a Ilich Ramirez Sanchez) to France on August 14th, 1994. It was safe to conclude that their offer was genuine.
Tim Carney returned home and dutifully delivered the message from Minister Taha to the White House. This informal offer was followed up by a formal offer, personally delivered by the Sudanese Defense Minister, Elfatih Erwa, on March 8th. Both were declined,
By this time, bin Laden was already firmly linked to the Somali insurgence, beginning in 1992 and the killing of army personnel there, the 1st World Trade Center Bombing, Operation Bojinka and the November 13th Riyadh Bombing which killed 7 and left 60 wounded. How much more evidence did we need?
However, we must not forget that 1996 was a presidential election year. Slick Willie and Hillie were obsessed with retaining their current residence. Nothing and no one would interfere with this goal. Slick Willie was running against Bob Dole, a certified American war hero. Slick Willie’s entire military history was wrapped up in 2-S deferments while he played at Oxford. He could not be ‘seen’ negotiating with a “rogue” state. It would have been bad for his image.
Compounding ignorance and arrogance with stupidity, Slick Willie applied diplomatic and economic pressure on the Sudan and forced them to deport bin Laden. Bin Laden chartered several cargo planes, loaded up three of his wives and assorted families, a hundred of his closest friends and retainers and flew off to Afghanistan on May 18th . He settled in Jalalabad, just down the street from Mullah Omar, his Taliban buddy. The 8th century was back to stay.
In the Sudan, at least we would have had a cooperative source of information. We could have received reports, but no, that was not going to happen – Slick Willie wanted as much distance between himself and bin Laden as possible. After all, it was an election year. Unfortunately, we, the American people, paid the price, repeatedly.
Thanks for your comments, please keep them coming –
Until next time,