Why does this matter, if as suggested by officials Saad was an unimportant small fish with a big name? It may not, but it may matter quite a lot depending on the fish story one chooses to believe. Obama is currently pondering his decision on Afghanistan. If Saad bin Laden is alive and well in that country (one of the estimated 100) then it might say something about the state of AQ there and their relationship with neighboring states like Iran, recently accused by unnamed US commanders of helping the Taliban.
Of course, some claim the unnamed commanders are named Dick Cheney. And that's the problem with all of this stuff, it's hard to separate the information from the disinformation. Maybe that's why it's taking Obama so long to move.
Looking around the web for information produces mostly opinion, but some of it is interesting. Here's a purported friend of bin Laden the elder saying Saad's still alive, among other things:
Intelligence officials said bin Laden’s third-oldest son played an active role in establishing a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.That would have been a neat trick from his jail cell in Iran. Or house cell, whatever. Here's another morsel from binny's friend:
He said he thought it was likely that Saad was leading al-Qaeda from Iran.Which is to say Iran was involved with AQ, or at least the Iraq branch. Sensational and all, but it could easily be disinformation by a radical Sunni designed to set up western attacks on Iran.
"I agree that he played an important role in Iran. He has good relations with Iranians and he speaks very good Persian. Plus, he has the trust of his father as well as Ayman al-Zawahiri and Sheikh Aboul-Yazid, the second and third men in al-Qaeda, respectively," he explained.
Saied said he believed Saad is currently in Afghanistan since the situation is improving there and there would be no need to remain in Iran.
Here's another expert who believes poppa Osama is still alive, and his son might be alive, too:
Unless Pakistan or the U.S. provides proof I would question this report. While the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies use phones and walkie-talkies, they, and Pakistan, are expert in the art of dissembling. The Taliban know when Predators appear overhead. They know the U.S. listens in on their conversations.Ouch, that would be an inconvenient truth but very close to most of Obama's talking points from the campaign through August.
Al Qaeda and the Taliban fight together, but the Taliban are in charge. Contrary to what Petreaus says, al Qaeda is still in Afghanistan. Saeed bin Laden could have been there.
After Saad's reported death Time magazine scrounged up some 'western intelligence officials' to weave a tale about how Bush refused to swap Tehran some MEK terrorists for Saad and other AQ types. It's a murky article, every bit as believable as the ones above, but it quotes Peter Bergen with the following:
(capturing Saad bin Laden) "would have been a great propaganda victory" for the U.S., greater than his death could be. Adds the Western intelligence official: "Think of how Americans would feel about Guantánamo if one of Osama's sons was among the detainees."Well yes, but think about how they'd feel about Gitmo had Saad been captured or swapped in early 2009. Would Obama be able to close the facility with a bin Laden present? He must have known quite a bit.
Assuming the Time story is Bush-bashing bunk does that mean this kind of thing could be real?
Saad served as a messanger between his father and the Quds Force of Iran. al-Qaeda used verbal messangers to avoid communication through cell phones and the internet.OK, assuming Saad didn't leave back in 2006 to do contract work for Hizballah why would the Iranians cut loose an AQ guy acting as a human connection between Mahmoud and bin Laden? Seems risky. Yet recent reports of his departure have not come from bedoin blogger but from none other than Mike McConnell, the stoic former director of National Intelligence. Some of his parting words:
Saad bin Laden "has left Iran," said Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell at a farewell press briefing. "He's probably in Pakistan."Wonder if Dennis Blair and crew still believe it? Or wait, Saad was killed on their watch. Problem solved.
He suggested that Saad bin Laden's likely new location would make it easier for the United States to catch him because U.S. intelligence officials have better relations with Pakistani leaders. Postings on a jihadi Web site have also suggested Saad bin Laden has returned to Pakistan.
Anyway, so we're told Saad is dead, just like his father died back in 2002, back when analysts were speculating that Saad himself had taken command of AQ.
If you've come this far it's fairly obvious we've been going 'round in circles here. Exactly how this relates to Obama's decision about Afghanistan and Pakistan, as opined upon above, is perhaps beyond the scope of common understanding. Surely some uncommon folks in high places understand it very well, though, and we can all hope one of them is Barack Obama, peace prize be upon him.