Joe Biden and Robert Gates opposed Abbottabad operation, Asif Zardari termed Osama’s death as “very good news”

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Former US President Barack Obama has revealed in his new book that vice president Joe Biden and defence secretary Robert Gates opposed the [Abbottabad] raid but after the operation, the then President Asif Ali Zardari had termed the death of Osama bin Laden as ‘good news’.  In his new book A Promised Land, he made revelations about the death of Osama bin Laden in the Abbottabad operation.

He wrote in the book that he planned an operation against Osama bin Laden in 2011 but it was kept secret. The United States had two plans against Osama bin Laden, one to send naval personnel to Pakistan and the other to launch a short-range drone strike. Barack Obama said that at the time, Vice President Joe Biden was opposed to sending Navy personnel to Pakistan, and Joe Biden advised me to be patient, while Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was also against the Abbottabad attack.

Obama wrote about the death of Osama bin Laden, saying that there was some relief when the al-Qaeda leader was killed, but immediately after the operation, he called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. They happened. Barack Obama said that when he told former Zardari about the operation, he congratulated and supported him. Former President Asif Ali Zardari had called Osama’s death “very good news”.

Picture taken on December 14, 2011, the then US President Barack Obama (R) meets with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.

The US president said that former president Asif Ali Zardari was clearly emotional over the phone call. Zardari said that his wife Benazir Bhutto was killed by al-Qaeda-linked militants. The Pakistani government supported us on the issue of Afghanistan.

Barack Obama has claimed in his memoirs that breaking the news to Pakistan of a US raid into Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden was easier than he had expected as the then president Asif Ali Zardari understood the US position. The book — “A Promised Land” — was released on Tuesday and gives a blow-by-blow account of the raid by American commandos that killed the world’s most wanted terrorist on May 2, 2011 inside his compound in Abbottabad.

Obama wrote that he knew ordering a military strike inside an allied state violated its sovereignty but he decided to go for it as he did not want to miss the chance to take out the Al Qaeda leader. “Whatever we chose to do in Abbottabad, then, would involve violating the territory of a putative ally in the most egregious way possible, short of war- raising both the diplomatic stakes and the operational complexities,” he wrote.

The former US president revealed that his two closest aides, the then vice president Joe Biden and defence secretary Robert Gates opposed the raid. The revelation shows why Obama released the book after the Nov. 3 elections as it would have hurt Biden, who is now the President-elect.

This official White House photograph shows US President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice-President Joe Biden (L), US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates (R) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R) along with members of the national security team, as they receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the situation room of the White House in Washington.

After the raid, Obama called many American and world leaders, including the then president of Pakistan. Asif Zardari “showed genuine emotion, recalling how his wife, Benazir Bhutto, had been killed by extremists with reported ties to Al Qaeda,” Obama wrote.

“I expected my most difficult call to be with Pakistan’s beleaguered president, Asif Ali Zardari, who would surely face a backlash at home over our violation of Pakistani sovereignty,” he wrote.

“When I reached him, however, he expressed congratulations and support. ‘Whatever the fallout,’ he said, ‘it’s very good news’.”

Obama then asked his military chief, Mike Mullen, to call his counterpart in Pakistan.

“Mullen had put a call in to Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and while the conversation had been polite, Kayani had requested that we come clean on the raid and its target as quickly as possible in order to help his people manage the reaction of the Pakistani public,” he said.

Obama said he ruled out involving Pakistan in the raid because he believed that certain elements inside Pakistan maintained links to the Taliban and perhaps even Al Qaeda. He wrote that when it became increasingly clear that Bin Laden was living in a hideout in Abbottabad, he decided to go for the kill.

“Based on what I’d heard, I decided we had enough information to begin developing options for an attack on the compound. While the CIA team continued to work on identifying the Pacer, I asked Tom Donilon and John Brennan to explore what a raid would look like,” he wrote.

“The need for secrecy added to the challenge; if even the slightest hint of our lead on bin Laden leaked, we knew our opportunity would be lost. As a result, only a handful of people across the entire federal government were read into the planning phase of the operation,” he said.

Although he acknowledged that “Pakistan’s government cooperated with us on a host of counterterrorism operations and provided a vital supply path for our forces in Afghanistan,” he decided not to share the information with Islamabad.

“The fact that the Abbottabad compound was just a few miles from the Pakistan military’s equivalent of West Point only heightened the possibility that anything we told the Pakistanis could end up tipping off our target,” he added.

Obama and his spouse reportedly obtained $65 million as advance from their writer for his or her memoirs. The book, released worldwide on Nov 17. “A Promised Land” ends with 2011 and the following quantity is to select up after that. For that purpose, Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t determine within the e book.

Pak-India relations

Obama writes that the quickest route to national unity in India is expressing hostility toward Pakistan.  “Expressing hostility towards Pakistan was nonetheless the quickest path to nationwide unity” in India, he writes. As if India shouldn’t develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent to Pakistan’s N-bomb, he writes, many Indians take “nice pleasure within the data that their nation had developed a nuclear weapons program to match Pakistan’s, untroubled by the truth that a single miscalculation by both facets might threat regional annihilation”.

He can not keep off the temptation to put on stereotypes, though he begins off acknowledging that “in lots of respects, modern-day India counted as a hit story, having survived repeated changeovers in authorities, bitter feuds inside political events, varied armed separatist actions, and all method of corruption scandals”.

“The transition to a extra market-based economic system within the 1990s had unleashed the extraordinary entrepreneurial abilities of the Indian individuals — resulting in hovering development charges, a thriving high-tech sector, and a steadily increasing center class… and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s financial reforms lifted tens of millions out of poverty”, he writes.

However, reverts to stereotype: “Regardless of its real financial progress, although, India remained a chaotic and impoverished place: largely divided by faith and caste, captive to the whims of corrupt native officers and energy brokers, hamstrung by a parochial form that was resistant to vary.”

Role of Manmohan Singh

The book also includes a pen portrait of former Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, whom he first met at the 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh. When Obama met Singh again during his visit to India in November 2010, Singh told him that he feared “rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of Hindu nationalist BJP”, the main opposition party at the time.

Obama described Singh as “a gentle, soft-spoken economist” who engineered the modernisation of his nation’s economy. Obama quoted Singh as saying that the “call of religious and ethnic solidarity can be intoxicating” for politicians, particularly in a country like India, which was still racked by poverty, wealth inequality, violence and ultra-nationalism.

Obama noted that “many Indians (took) great pride in the knowledge that their country had developed a nuclear weapons programme to match Pakistan’s, untroubled by the fact that a single miscalculation by either side could risk regional annihilation.”

“Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life. Expressing hostility towards Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity,” Obama wrote.

“Most of all, India’s politics still rev­olved around religion, clan, and caste.” But Obama also acknowledged that “in many respects, modern-day India counted as a success story, having survived repeated changeovers in government, bitter feuds within political parties, various armed separatist movements, and all manner of corruption scandals”.

But “despite its genuine economic progress, … India remained a chaotic and impoverished place: largely divided by religion and caste, captive to the whims of corrupt local officials and power brokers, hamstrung by a parochial bureaucracy that was resistant to change,” he added.

Commenting on the prevalence of violence in India, Obama wondered if “violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism, and religious intolerance” were “too strong for any democracy to permanently contain”.

The former US leader noted that those who believed in violence “see­m­­ed to lie in wait everywhere, ready to resurface whenever growth rates stal­led or demographics changed or a charismatic leader chose to ride the wave of people’s fears and resentments”.

Obama also praised Singh’s ascent to prime minister’s office, noting that he was from an “often persecuted Sikh religious minority.”

He claimed that “more than one political observer” told him that Sonia Gandhi had “chosen Singh precisely because as an elderly Sikh with no national political base, he posed no threat to her 40-year-old son, Rahul, whom she was grooming to take over the Congress Party.”

“Somehow, I was doubtful” if Rahul Gandhi was capable of “preserving the Congress Party’s dominance over the divisive nationalism touted by the BJP,” he wrote.

Rahul Gandhi

Obama described Rahul Gandhi as “smart and earnest,” with good looks” but noted that “there was a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject.”

Obama wrote that India had “always held a special place in my imagination.” Analysing this fascination, he said: “Maybe it was its sheer size, with one-sixth of the world’s population, an estimated two thousand distinct ethnic groups, and more than seven hundred languages spoken.” But “more than anything, though, my fascination with India had to do with Mahatma Gandhi. Along with Lincoln, King, and Mandela, Gandhi had profoundly influenced my thinking,” he added.

Obama mentioned that his Indian and Pakistani college friends, who “taught me to cook dahl and keema and turned me on to Bollywood movies” also stirred his interest in India. But this, he wrote, could not hide the huge issues India faced as the world’s second most populated country.

“Across the country, millions continued to live in squalor, trapped in sunbaked villages or labyrinthine slums, even as the titans of Indian industry enjoyed lifestyles that the rajas and moguls of old would have envied,” he writes in his new memoir. “Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life.”

The ascent to prime ministership by Singh, a member of “typically persecuted Sikh non secular minority,” he writes, “generally heralded as a trademark of the nation’s progress in overcoming sectarian divides, was considerably deceiving”.

“Multiple political observers believed that she’d chosen Singh exactly as a result of as an aged Sikh with no nationwide political base, he posed no menace to her 40-year-old son, Rahul, whom she was grooming to take over the Congress Get together,” Obama writes.

However, Obama is smitten with Singh, whom he describes as “sensible, considerate, and scrupulously sincere” and “man of unusual knowledge and decency” with a white beard and a turban that “to the Western eye lent him the air of a holy man”.

He writes that with Singh, he developed “a heat and productive relationship” and cast agreements for cooperation on counterterrorism, international well-being, nuclear safety, and commerce regardless of a forms’s historic suspicion of the US”.

Already in 2010, after they had a personal chat with out their aides earlier than a dinner, Obama signifies that Singh had premonition of the rise of the BJP and Obama writes that he too “puzzled what would occur when he left workplace”.

“In some way, I used to be uncertain” that the baton could be handed on to Rahul Gandhi in response to his mom’s plan “and preserving the Congress Get together’s dominance over the divisive nationalism touted by the BJP”.

He says it wouldn’t be Singh’s fault and wonders if “violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism, and non-secular intolerance” have been “too sturdy for any democracy to completely include”.

Maybe in a dig at Donald Trump, who succeeded him, he writes that “they appeared to lie in wait in every single place, able to resurface each time development charges stalled or demographics modified or a charismatic chief selected to trip the wave of individuals’s fears and resentments”.