The Mythos Of Obama And Osama

With his death, Osama bin Laden's name and story will forever be correlated with that of Barack Obama.
Last Modified: 02 May 2011 15:16
Osama bin Laden's death will forever be linked with Obama's name [GALLO/GETTY]

Obama and Osama. Two names that will henceforth be coupled.

The hunter, Obama, is leader of the most powerful and feared nation on earth.

Osama, the hunted, was leader of a borderless state – a non-state actor – and probably the most feared religio-political association of the modern world since the rise of the Ismaili Hashashin assassins between the 11th and 13th centuries.

Obama and Osama may rhyme, but that is not their only correlation.

The Pygmalion syndrome

A Pygmalion resides in both of them. They are, to an extent, sculptors.

In turn, these two sculptors, Obama and Osama, are examples of how extraordinary men – when struck by the power of ideas, ideals and dreams, regardless of the cause – go on about sculpting their Galateas – their statues, dummies or puppets.

Each is in love with a statuesque vision, a set of ideals or dreams that they have sought to breathe life into.

Otherwise, how can one explain why a man who could have nymphs, Bentleys, yachts, and everything money can buy opts for the "illusionary" – to paraphrase Marx – rewards of the hereafter?

Osama could have opted for Al-Walid bin Talal's lifestyle. This is where he puzzles. It has to be the power of faith.

Not unlike Osama in complexion and "otherness", Obama dazzles. A hyphenated US citizen par excellence rises to occupy the White House.

Neither his colour nor his paternal roots, nor possibly the suppressed Islamic identity, have stopped him from mastering the art of political sculpture of self and public.

Obama and Osama as icons

They are, however, iconic for different reasons. Both, inevitably, are constructed in a variety of discourses. What is constructed is also de-constructed according to one's bias.

Indeed, the two men belong to two diametrically opposed worlds and world outlooks. But both are social constructs, and their iconic status conjures up a spectrum of human feelings, ranging from love to hatred, admiration to suspicion.

Only very recently, Obama had to defend his "American-ness" to doubters, and very recently his birth in response to Donald Trump.

When "Holy War" was championed in Reagan's war-by-proxy against the former Soviets in the killing fields of Afghanistan, Osama was proudly embraced as a Saudi hero.

Post 9/11, he was disowned, and his Yemeni lineage marked a new discourse aimed at re-inventing, or re-writing, bin Laden's identity.

Both men sought to breathe life into their respective Galateas. For Obama, his core principles are a mix of left and right, centrism and progressivism, laced with liberalism.

Osama's Galatea is a sculpture whose ivory is an eschatology and exegesis plated with a Salafi-Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

Archaeology of power

Whether Pygmalion or Narcissus, Obama and Osama share a realist's vision of how power is wielded.

As a result, Obama's state and Osama's base (literally, "Qaeda")-less state shamelessly deploy violence. Both are thus in love with a Galatea that is caught in an unstoppable archaeology of death and war-making.

Regardless of victimhood or guilt, both are victims of the ideals and ideas they are in love with, and in their pursuit – a Godly transcendence or the deity of modernism and capitalism – they construct myths, guards, weaponry, and languages to match.

These are the ornaments of power with which they adorn their Galateas.

True, Osama is guilty of mass murder. The 3,000 lives killed heinously, and his mis-reading of Islam confound Shia and Sunni.

Those Muslims who celebrated bin Laden's acts of mass murder are guilty by association. The doctors of Islam should have declared the age of war between Islam and the abode of non-Islam as null and without foundation in the Quran, or in many an exegesis in diverse schools of Islamic thought.

Osama's Galatea was sculpted, conveniently, out of a love with the ideal of "defence" of the "Umma", the global Islamic community.

To that end, he sculpted not an object of love, but maybe a counter-barbarity pitted against the barbarity that he thinks the capitalists, the secularists and their clients heaped on his "Umma", as if he were the "commander of the faithful".

Obama, ex-officio commander-in-chief, another type of faith, may be not as guilty as his predecessor in the grotesque violations of human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan, but sculpted his own barbarity out of the rallying myths (for country, sovereignty, compatriots, God, liberalism, democracy) – a brand of "love" – in the name of civility.

Countries had to be invaded (under Bush) and maintained by Obama, an incarceration system had to be invented (Guantanamo Bay), also still continuous under Obama – and a senseless war against "terror", authored by the neo-cons and sustained, in the name of a similar idea of love for country, and its sanctity.

Contemplate, not celebrate

Many Muslims did celebrate when Osama inflicted pain on the US. That was wrong. Many more did not. Today there is a reversal of roles: Americans celebrating as the news of Osama's killing was made public.

The killing of Osama was a secret the Obama administration did well to hide from the world till after Will and Kate's wedding in Britain.

US citizens are free to celebrate as much as they like. But they are also presented with a chance to contemplate. American lives – regardless of numbers – must be placed in terms of value and worth on equal footing with those of all humans regardless of colour, ethnicity, nationality, or creed.

When their elected governments support dictators – Mubarak, Ben Ali, Abdallah Al-Saleh, even Gaddafi – arm them, shield them with undeserved legitimacy and funding, they must contemplate the consequences of the governments they democratically place in the White House.

Of those consequences, the torture regimes, deaths, exiles, exclusion, and war by proxy – in Gaza and Lebanon - the invasion of Iraq and attendant regimes of secrecy, rendition flights, incarceration – in which Americans are guilty directly or by association in the killing of non-American lives.

Their celebration will be more meaningful only if they heed the evil of indifference or ignorance of their successive elected administrations, with varying degrees and under different circumstances, of the acts committed in their name for myths that they cherish and love – but rarely reflect upon.

Celebration of fallen enemies – without self-reflection – may be no more worthy than celebrating a victory at a football match.

Osama no more – Islam is not Osama

Arab revolutions erupted and triumphed in Tunisia and Egypt, partly burying Osama's Galatea. To an extent, they demonstrated in a vivid way that the "abode of Islam" is not blood-thirsty but freedom-thirsty.

But now Osama lays a soulless body, a trophy, already being paraded as a symbol of a hollow victory. Another body amid the countless fatalities in a senseless hubris and duel in which there are no innocents.

Osama's death should – and one prays, will – give Arabs and Muslims a reprieve from chaos and violence, and a moment to take stock that Osama's journeys delivered them against the Soviets but shackled them to systems of language, incarceration, profiling, and violence neither they nor the US and its allies can ever win.

In his stead there are new voices and forces of Islam which are pushing the boundaries of freedom to their most logical conclusion: an Islam in love with new conceptions of Galatea – of toleration, good government, humane treatment of fellow citizens, transparent governance, fair and free competition, gender-friendly politics, and fair slicing of the economic cake. To show that Muslims are in love with a beautiful Islam.

In his stead rises Essam El-Iryan, Abd Elmounim Abou El-Futuh, and Mohammed Mursi among others, suggesting new possibilities for the linkage of Islam and the vision of politics from a Muslim perspective.

Not an end but a new beginning

For now, one chapter has been read in the book of US-Arab relations. In this chapter, Obama killed Osama.

For Osama, as is written in the holy Quran: "Say: The Angel of Death put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: Then shall ye be brought back to your Lord." There awaits his judgment.

For Obama, he killed Osama – legally or not is not the point.

The point is that this moment will form a meaningful moment only if the ghosts of hatred, hubris, and violence are laid to rest – with Osama – and the endless witch-hunt for the timeless terrorist Muslim or Osamas re-incarnate is reflected on for the sake of permanent reconciliation and collective healing – and a collective Galatea is sculpted of new futures, new understanding, and new possibilities…

Larbi Sadiki is a senior lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, and author of Arab Democratisation: Elections without Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009) and The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-Discourses (Columbia University Press, 2004), forthcoming Hamas and the Political Process (2011).

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Timeline Live blog: Death of Osama Bin Laden

By Al Jazeera Staff inon May 2nd, 2011.
Show oldest updates on top

Leader of Al-Qaeda is dead following US operation in Pakistan.

(All times are local in Doha GMT+3)

In depth: Osama's death 'a good career move'? - Analysis: Killing the alibi - What next after bin Laden death? - Zeroing in on bin Laden

  • 2:39am

    Barack Obama, the US President, will be visiting the site of the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, AFP reports that Pakistan will be launching a full inquiry into the "intelligence lapse" that allowed Osama bin Laden to live in Abbottabad undetected.

  • 2:15am

    The White House has released photographs of President Barack Obama discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden with his national security team.

    File 26081

    File 26101

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  • 2:06am

    CNN reports that President Obama watched the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, along with his national security team and key advisors, live from a room in Washington DC.

    In a press conference, John Brennan, the US president's deputy national security advisor, said:

    "We were able to monitor on a real-time basis the progress of the operation, from its commencement, to its time on target, to the extraction of the remains. We were able to have regular updates to ensure that we had real-time visibility into the progress of the operation."

  • 1:50am

    John Brennan, the US deputy national security advisor to President Obama, has been speaking with the media in Washington DC about the Abbottabad raid. Here's an excerpt from that press conference.

  • 11:21pm

    A photo of a battered and bruised dead corpse of Osama Bin Laden is fake, the Guardian says.

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  • 10:25pm

    Robert Fisk on the latest developments re: Osama Bin Laden's death and what it means in the larger "fight against terrorism".

  • 9:35pm

    Is it legal to kill Osama Bin Laden? Foreign Policy explores the murky territory.

    The murky legal framework of the war on terror complicates things somewhat. While the U.S. government would never condone the extrajudicial killing of a most-wanted fugitive like Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, the United States maintains that senior members of al Qaeda are "enemy combatants" and therefore not subject to civilian due process. Some vehemently disagree with this interpretation, but if a CIA drone pilot had bin Laden in his sights, it's unlikely that his first call would be to a lawyer.

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  • 9:01pm

    Aerial views, released by the United State Department of Defense May 2, 2011, shows before (L) and after (R) views of the compound that Osama bin Laden was killed in on Monday in Abbottabad, Pakistan; via Reuters.
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  • 8:35pm

    A drawing, released by the United State Department of Defense May 2, 2011, shows the compound that Osama bin Laden was killed in on Monday in Abbottabad, Pakistan; via Reuters.

    File 25856

  • 7:39pm

    AFP reports that US forces administered Muslim religious rites for Osama bin Laden aboard an aircraft carrier Monday in the Arabian Sea, an American official said after the raid that killed the Al-Qaeda leader.

    Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed. The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag.A military officer read prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat-board... (and) eased into the sea. The ceremony began at 0510 GMT and ended some 50 minutes later aboard the aircraft carrier which is stationed off the coast of Pakistan to help US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

  • 6:30pm

    Hillary Clinton issues a statement on Osama Bin Laden's death.

  • 5:51pm

    Tech Crunch tracks the series of tweets from the guy who unwittingly live-tweeted the raid on Bin Laden

    File 25811

  • 5:43pm

    Head of the Palestinian dissolved government Ismail Haniya has decried the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and described the man as an Arab Muslim Jihadist, despite the differences in viewpoints among the Arab and Muslim worlds on al-Qaeda’s role.

    Speaking at a meeting with Palestinian journalists in his Gaza office, Haniya said the assassination was a continuation of the US policy of repression in the region.

    In Somalia, Sheikh Hassan Tahir Owais, the leading figure in Shababal Mujahidin in Somalia said the jihadist mission would never be put off by Bin Laden’s death, while so many people had died for the same cause.

    Head of the Iranian parliament national security committee and foreign policy, Ala-addin Brojardi said killing Bin Laden was not a great victory for the US.

    The timing of the Bin Laden’s killing operation and the US announcement of it, was aimed at justifying the argument for keeping permanent US military bases in Afghanistan, Brojardi added.

  • 5:20pm

    No statement was issued by al-Qaeda to confirm or deny the death of Osama Bin Laden via forums used by the organization for disseminating al-Qaeda statements and messages by its leaders.

    But the AFP has quoted an al-Qaeda member in Yemen as confirming after contacts he said he had made with colleagues in Pakistan, the news that al-Qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden was killed. w

    A website named “Shumoukh al-Islam” has posted a comment by Asadul Jihad Ithnein who is viewed as being very close to al-Qaeda, he mourned Bin Laden, saying, the battle against international tyranny would never end by the death of Bin Laden whom he described as Assadul Islam (God’s Lion)

    But Assadul Jihad did not confirm Bin Laden’s death, while other al-Qaeda members called for calm in dealing with the news, prior to the release of an official statement by the organization.

    Many respondents have called for revenge if the news was authentic, reasserting that the message of jihad would never be defunct by the death of Bin Laden.

  • 5:11pm

    It is reported that three other males and one female were also killed in the 40 minute raid on the house Osama Bin Laden was staying in.

  • 4:40pm

    Hillary Clinton issues statement on Osama Bin Laden's death:

    This has been a broad, deep, very impressive operation. We must redouble our efforts. In Afghanistan we will continue taking the fight to al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their allies ... In Pakistan we are committed to supporting the people and government"

  • 3:39pm

    The FBI has updated its list of Most Wanted terrorists to note that Osama bin Laden is dead. Its website - with details about bin Laden and the $27 million being offered in rewards - now includes a large red-and-white "deceased" label atop bin Laden's photograph.

    Nine other highly sought after terrorists are still included on the FBI's list, including bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

  • 3:16pm

    The US special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the al-Qaeda mastermind, not capture him, a US national security official told Reuters.

    "This was a kill operation," the official said, making clear there was no desire to try to capture bin Laden alive in Pakistan.

  • 3:08pm

    An Indonesian Islamist group has hailed assassinated Osama bin Laden as a "martyr" who championed Islam against America. Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) spokesman Son Hadi told AFP:

    If it's true Osama bin Laden is dead, then he died a martyr. He fought for Islam and he fought for the lands colonised by America. Al-Qaeda didn't die with him. Jihad will not be dampened just because he's dead because jihad is a command of the religion, not of individuals.

  • 2:59am

    Saudi Arabia, the country of bin Laden's birth, hopes his killing will help the international fight against terrorism and stamp out the "misguided thought" behind it, the Saudi state news agency said.

    "An official source expressed the hope of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist al Qaeda organisation would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism," the news agency said.

  • 2:32pm

    Iran says the death of bin Laden has removed "any excuse" for the United States and its allies for deploying forces in the Middle East under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

  • 2:17pm

    The Palestinian group Hamas condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying that this was a "a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood".

    Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden's al-Qaeda and Hamas, but said:

    We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.

  • 1:57pm

    The death of bin Laden was greeted with near-silence on Monday from Gulf Arab states, including his birthplace Saudi Arabia.

    By mid-afternoon, the only official comment from the Arabian Peninsula came from Yemen, bin Laden's ancestral homeland, where an official speaking on condition of anonymity hoped the killing would "root out terrorism throughout the world".

    Saudi Arabia's official news agency merely noted that the United States and Pakistan had announced bin Laden had been killed in a US military operation in Pakistan but gave no clue to Riyadh's thinking.

    The foreign ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, attending a meeting of Gulf foreign ministers in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, all declined to comment on bin Laden's death.

  • 1:50pm

    NATO Secretary-General statement on Osama bin Laden

    I congratulate President Barack Obama and all those who made the operation against Osama Bin Laden possible. This is a significant success for the security of NATO Allies and all the nations which have joined us in our efforts to combat the scourge of global terrorism to make the world a safer place for all of us.

    NATO made clear that it considered the September 11 attacks on the United States an attack against all Allies. We remember the thousands of innocent lives lost to terrorist atrocities in so many of our nations, in Afghanistan, and around the world.

    As terrorism continues to pose a direct threat to our security and international stability, international cooperation remains key and NATO is at the heart of that cooperation. NATO Allies and partners will continue their mission to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security. We will continue to stand for the values of freedom, democracy and humanity that Osama Bin Laden wanted to defeat.

  • 1:38pm

    Japan, a key US ally, welcomed the death of Osama bin Laden and said it would step up security at military bases in case of possible reprisal attacks. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said:

    We welcome this significant progress in counter-terrorism measures, and I pay respect to the efforts by the officials concerned, including those in the United States and Pakistan.

  • 1:25pm

    Libyan rebels, fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, broadly welcome the news of the death of al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden.

  • 1:23pm

    Afghanistan's president lauded bin Laden's death as a serious blow to terrorism and argued that the strike in Pakistan proves the real fight against terrorists is outside his country's borders. President Hamid Karzai told an assembly of district government officials in Kabul, as the hall erupted in applause:

    This is a very important day. Maybe you have already heard on the television or on the radio that American forces have killed Osama bin Laden, delivering him his due punishment.

  • 11:35am

    Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will have to answer to God for having killed many people and exploiting religion to spread hate, the Vatican said.

    Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that while Christians "do not rejoice" over a death, it serves to remind them of "each person's responsibility before God and men".

    Osama bin Laden, as everyone knows, had the grave responsibility of having spread division and hate among people, causing the deaths of an innumerable number of people and exploiting religion for these purposes.

  • 11:30am

    Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told AFP in an interview that the US killing of Osama bin Laden, not far from the Pakistani capital, was a "great victory".

  • 10:54am

    Pakistan's foreign ministry says the death of bin Laden shows the resolve of his country and the world to battle terrorism. Pakistan's first official statement about the operation to kill bin Laden said Monday's raid was a US operation.

    Bin Laden was killed an a luxury house in the town of Abbottabad not far from a Pakistani military academy, raising questions over whether Pakistani may have known of his whereabouts. The statement did not address those questions.

  • 10:50am

    Al Jazeera's Andrew Coombes took this picture outside the White House after the "Bin Laden is dead" announcement:

    File 25691

  • 10:46am

    After bin Laden was killed, senior administration officials said the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said.

    Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said.

    So the US decided to bury him at sea. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters, did not immediately say where that occurred. (Associated Press)

  • 10:43am

    Osama bin Laden's body was taken to Afghanistan and later buried at sea after he was slain in Pakistan. (New York Times)

  • 10:37am

    Britain has told its embassies to review their security for fear of reprisals following the killing of bin Laden, Foreign Secretary William Hague said. Hague told BBC Radio 4:

    There may be parts of al-Qaeda that will try to show that they are still in business in the coming weeks as indeed some of them are.

    I have already this morning asked our embassies to review their security, to make sure that vigilance is heightened and I think that will have to be our posture for some time to come.

  • 10:28am

    This is a picture gallery of some reactions around the world to the death of Osama bin Laden.

  • 10:22am

    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said that US soldiers should be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Essam al-Erian, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's governing body, told Reuters:

    With Bin Laden's death, one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world has been removed. It is time for Obama to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end the occupation of U.S. and Western forces around the world that have for so long harmed Muslim countries.

  • 10:00am

    The Western-backed Palestinian Authority said that the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces was "good for the cause of peace". PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said:

    Getting rid of Bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods -- the violent methods -- that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world.

  • 9:47am

    Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga, thanks America and Pakistan for bin Laden's killing, saying that it was positive for Kenya.

    Kenyans are happy and thank the US people, the Pakistani people and everybody else who managed to kill Osama. Osama's death can only be positive for Kenya but we need to have a stable government in Somalia.

  • 9:34am

    The killing of Osama bin Laden is "good news for all men in the world who think freely and are peaceful," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

  • 9:23am

    Americans cheer outside the White House in Washington after US President Barack Obama announced live on television the death of Osama bin Laden. [Reuters]

    File 25671

  • 9:20am

    Said Agil Siradj, chairman of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, says bin Laden's death will help restore Islam's image as one of people, not violence.

    But he believes terrorism will continue as long as there is injustice against Muslims.

  • 9:14am

    Sohaib Athar, a resident of Abbottabad, tweeted from his account (@ReallyVirtual) when the raid on Osama bin Laden probably happened. Here are some tweets:

    A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S” (posted 10 hours ago)

    Since taliban (probably) don't have helicpoters, and since they're saying it was not "ours", so must be a complicated situation #abbottabad (posted 9 hours ago)

  • 9:00am

    Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazley prepared this report:

  • 8:46am

    At least two Pakistani television stations broadcast pictures of what they called unconfirmed images of Osama bin Laden's bloodied face after the United States said he had been killed.

    This picture was uploaded on Twitter by user Shaheryar Mirza:

    File 25651

  • 8:43am

    The dollar rebounded from three-year lows and US crude slid more than 1 per cent on after news that Osama bin Laden was killed reduced the perception of security risks facing the United States.

  • 8:37am

    A leading US Muslim organisation welcomed the killing of bin Laden, saying he was a threat to America and the world. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement:

    We join our fellow citizens in welcoming the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been eliminated as a threat to our nation and the world through the actions of American military personnel.

    As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam. In fact, in addition to the killing of thousands of Americans, he and Al-Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide.

  • 8:30am

    India said the killing of Osama Bin Laden was a "victorious milestone" in the war against terrorism but urged the world to continue battling militancy, a statement from the foreign ministry said.

    The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood. The struggle must continue unabated.

  • 8:16am

    Thousands have flocked to Ground Zero to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden, alleged mastermind of the devastating September 11 attacks on New York nearly 10 years ago.

    New York's police chief Raymond Kelly called the death of bin Laden a "welcome milestone" for the families of the 3,000 victims of the 2001 strikes by Al-Qaeda.

  • 8:13am

    Abbottabad is named after a colonial officer, so the 'Abbott' is the same as the Western pronunication of the name.

    'abad'= aa-baa-d. Low 'a's, as in the British pronunciation of 'class'.

  • 8:00am

    This background on the operation to kill bin Laden was given to Al Jazeera by a senior US offiicial:

    On June 2, 2009 the President signs a memo to Director Panetta stating “in order to ensure that we have expanded every effort, I direct you to provide me within 30 days a detailed operation plan for locating and bringing to justice Usama Bin Ladin…”

    In the lead up to this operation, the President convened at least 9 meetings with his national security Principals. Principals met formally an additional five times themselves; and their Deputies met 7 times. This was in addition to countless briefings on the subject during the President’s intelligence briefings; and frequent consultations between the NSC, CIA, DoD and Joint Staff. The President was actively involved in reviewing all facets of the operation.

    The President made the decision to undertake the operation at 8:20am on April 29th in the Diplomatic Room before he left for Alabama. In the Dip Room were Donilon, Daley, Brennan and McDonough. Donilon then prepared the formal orders and convened the Principals at 3pm to complete the planning.

    May 1 -- staff worked pretty much all day today on the operation. Principals have been in the Situation Room since 1pm.

    2:00pm the President met with the Principals to review final preparations.

    3:32pm the President returned to the Sit Room for an additional briefing.

    3:50pm the President first learns that UBL was tentatively identified.

    7:01pm the President learns that there’s a “high probability” the HVT was UBL.

    8:30pm the President receives further briefings.

  • 7:00am

    US president Barack Obama said Osama bin Laden, the most-wanted fugitive on the US list, was killed on Sunday in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, about 150km north of Islamabad.


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