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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Let us suppose, for a moment that Osama Bin Laden had something to do with the events of September 11. Let us suppose, also, that he understood how the United States government would react. Let us suppose that he, like those who actually implemented the September 11 attacks, were concerned with Saudi Arabia since most […]

Where’s Osama?

by Nelson P. Valdés

Let us suppose, for a moment that Osama Bin Laden had something to do with the events of September 11.

Let us suppose, also, that he understood how the United States government would react.

Let us suppose that he, like those who actually implemented the September 11 attacks, were concerned with Saudi Arabia since most of the parties involved were born there. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is important because: a) it has a strategic amount of oil on which the US depends, b) the Saudi royal family is split, one faction supported the Taliban and the other is thoroughly corrupt c) Mecca and Medina–the two sacred places of Islam, happen to be in Saudi Arabia.

So where could Osama bin Laden be today? Afghanistan? Hardly.

Assuming that bin Laden and associates will use their many years of guerrilla war experience, then they should understand the military value of symbolic actions and the use of the global mass media.

Imagine the symbolic value of Osama bin Laden within Mecca.

Let us consider the benefits from Osama bin Laden’s perspective:

The moment it is announced that Osama bin Laden is inside Saudi Arabia and in the most sacred Mosque of Islam, havoc will follow. The U.S. war effort will have to be reassessed. If the war on Afghanistan was unleashed to capture bin Laden, then — will a war be waged against Saudi Arabia as well?

Probably the stock market and the price of oil will not escape such news either. The political stability of Saudi Arabia will be a black box that no one could decipher.

The Saudi government would be compelled to act, yet would be frozen by the political consequences of taking proactive military measures at Mecca or Medina.

The United States government would be tempted to use its military forces within the Arabian peninsula but indecision could be expected, for immediate action could create very serious consequences throughout the Muslim world.

The potential political and economic crises confronting the United States government could unleash a major debate within the ranks of U.S. conservatives on what to do. It is doubtful that the consensus of waging war could be continued.

It would not be surprising if recriminations surfaced within the country as people asked about the capabilities of the “intelligence” community.

The world community could conclude that the policy makers in the United States, including its intelligence agencies, had totally mishandled the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy.

What ensues thereafter would be certainly hard to imagine.

Nelson Vald?s is a professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico.