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Monday, June 20, 2005

Sanctuaries in sovereign states

CIA director Porter Goss makes the outlandish claim that the U.S. has any respect for the sovereignty of foreign nations, after forcing regime change in at least three sovereign nations and criminal meddling in several others (Venezuela and the Ukraine, for example).
In an interview with TIME magazine published Sunday, Goss said part of the difficulty in capturing bin Laden was "sanctuaries in sovereign nations."

The magazine asked Goss when bin Laden would be captured.

"That is a question that goes far deeper than you know," he said. "In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links. And I find that until we strengthen all the links, we're probably not going to be able to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice.

"We are making very good progress on it. But when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.

"We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community.

Asked whether that meant he knew where bin Laden is, Goss responded: "I have an excellent idea where he is."
Of course, the U.S. is one of the weak links in the war on terror, refusing to hand over confessed and convicted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela for trial. I'm glad, I guess, that Goss is showing some respect for international law--it just seems so unusual coming from this administration.

The article suggests that Goss war referring to "the rugged mountainous border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan." Ted Rall suggests that Osama is probably in Kashmir, and that the Bushies don't really care about finding him:
Neither the Talibs nor Northern Alliance sources I spoke with while covering the war in Afghanistan in November 2001 put much credence in the Tora Bora story. "Everyone knows Osama went to
Kashmir," an Al Qaeda POW told me. "He took the road north from Rawalpindi. That's where they always go."

Indeed, Pakistani-controlled Kashmir is topographically and politically more hospitable to bin Laden than the Pakistani-Afghan frontier regions targeted by joint U.S.-Pakistani military operations since 2002. Massive, craggy mountains separate bandit-ridden canyons where road signs mark routine ambush points. Tribal authorities allied with exiled Talibs fighting a proxy border war against India operate with so much impunity that recruiting centers for Al Qaeda and other "banned" Islamist parties operate openly out of storefronts. Pakistani troops rarely venture into the "Northern Areas"--not that their pro-Taliban officer corps would order them to do so. For these reasons Islamist militants fleeing eastern Afghanistan traditionally leave via Kashmir.

Of course bin Laden may have chartered a plane from Kashmir to Yemen or elsewhere. But if I were hunting for Osama, I'd start there. If I were serious.