This same question came up in the early Bush years, when John Gibson of Fox News asked what the Saudis would do about a situation. This was in the days before 9/11, of factional in-fighting between King Fahd’s brothers, one of whom was a hard-shelled Wahhabist, while the other, (and now king) Abdullah, was a reformer and a friend and ally of the Bush family.
I wrote then that there were at least two Saudi Arabias. Gibson agreed.
The same is true today in Pakistan. There is no Pakistan and never was. At least not as we think of America. In tribal societies (Ayn Rand would call them “primitives”) there are only circles; circles of friends, circles of blood (family), circles of thieves, circles of common purpose, etc, none of which have any particular allegiance to the national reality named Pakistan that has a reserved parking place down at One UN Plaza.
The true nation is a long time in its creation, for it requires the consensual merger of family, clan or tribe into a folk (volk), all with a common identity, into a larger whole. It is a reciprocal understanding.
Pakistan only goes back to 1948, same as India.
In the Middle East, with the possible exception of Egypt and maybe Iran (Persia), both for other reasons…Islam has done little to foster national identities, for it has always clung to the Middle Ages form of royal entitlement, finding it easier to establish and bind God’s law through kings rather than persuasion and reciprocal understandings. Thus it has fostered the same sort of royal shenanigans there…regicide, fratricide, factional fighting among half a dozen brothers and sons and cousins, almost all from different mothers, scheming women all seeking a better seating for their sons around the king’s dinner table…we read about in the histories of Europe from the fall of Rome to about (you guessed it) 1776.
It’s really no more complicated than that. There is no Pakistan. Nor is there really a “government” of Pakistan, for even inside their government there are only these circles.
So every time a member of the press asks what Pakistan knew, or when it knew it, they are fostering a lie that began as far back as the founding of the League of Nations which then admitted national entities that were anything but.
A nation looks like this, with its groups (circles) for the most part, inside the larger whole. Here, even most criminals think they are American:
They almost always overlap, which is where you find mutual cooperation. Need to know.Â Bin Laden may have bribed a few, he may have enticed a few more over to his side with religion; there are all sorts of things that would have gone into how bin Laden could build this compound and remain behind it for a few years.
Some knew a little, none (most likely) knew it all.
But Pakistan knew nothing.