How Washington legitimized the raid against Osama bin Laden

L'opération héliportée qui a permis de tuer Oussama Ben Laden a été menée le 2 mai 2011 à Abbottabad (Pakistan).

The helicopter operation that allowed to kill Osama bin Laden was conducted May 2, 2011 in Abbottabad (Pakistan) Photo credit:. Pete Souza / AP

A few weeks before the operation, four legal advisers working for the Obama administration are in the greatest secrecy resolved the legal problems raised by this mission.

They were held incommunicado five weeks before the operation. According to New York Times , four legal advisors to the Obama administration were charged in March 2011 to study on what legal grounds could rely Washington to conduct a raid against Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. These revelations precede the upcoming release of the book Power Wars written by journalist Charlie Savage daily. The four persons were working in the utmost confidentiality. In order not to jeopardize the mission, the US Minister of Justice Eric Holder, has also not been kept informed of their work. Lawyers missioned by the Pentagon five memoranda drafted to justify the mission, particularly if it were to go wrong.

For the intervention of Navy Seals in the residence of the head of al-Qaeda, in Abbottabad, raised many questions. The first of them was to determine under what circumstances the United States did not violate the territorial integrity of Pakistan. Because Washington was concerned that the operation did fans if Islamabad was previously warned. In a memo, the details New York Times lawyers have in fact exploited the legal uncertainty surrounding Article 51 of the UN Charter. Thus, to assert the right of self-defense, experts have argued that Pakistan was unwilling or unable to remove the threat emanating from its territory. If this doctrine called “Unwilling or Unable” is disputed by many countries, the United States has nonetheless again used to justify intervention in Syria.

No quarter

The hypothesis of a surrender of bin Laden would have been quickly evacuated. According to officials interviewed by the daily, President Barack Obama was later specified that although the main objective of the operation was to kill the leader of al-Qaida. Lawyers were then studied several scenarios where bin Laden could be killed even if he seemed to act of surrender. In his book No Easy Day , former soldier Matt Bissonnette said that, during their training, the Navy Seals were instructed not to play Bin Laden if he was naked. The suite was even more blurred. If he was captured alive, lawyers recommended to transfer on a military ship to undergo an interrogation. However, his place of detention was not determined.

The question of burial was it, paid in advance. The lawyers had given their approval for the disposal of the body. According to them, it obeyed the Muslim funeral rites as required by the Geneva Convention. The ceremony lasted about fifty minutes would have taken place in the early morning on the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson , in the Arabian Sea. The body was washed, covered with a white linen cloth, placed in a weighted bag before being tipped into the sea. After the facts, the specialists of Muslim rites had been skeptical about the process used. The lawyers had also recommended to contact Saudi Arabia, where Bin Laden was born, to see if they agreed to host the remains. But according to New York Times , the country would have declined the proposal.

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