Conspiracy Theories

'Where's the body?'

The Taliban's official statement says the death of "Sheikh Osama" has not been confirmed or denied "by the sources close to Osama bin Laden". WSJ quoted a Taliban commander in Afghanistan as saying, "When the Americans killed Mullah Dadullah (Taliban's chief military commander) they publicly showed the footage..."


Residents of Abbottabad too cited the absence of a body; they felt it was a conspiracy against Pakistan. Haji Liaquat, an Abbottabat shopkeeper, was quoted as saying, "This is just a drama to show how Pakistan is protecting Osama." and Owais Khan, a lawyer, as "They're just making it up. Nobody has seen the body."

'Long dead anyway'

In Egypt, bank manager Mohammed Ali, 38, believes bin Laden really died five years ago. The US had been hiding the news, he reportedly told WSJ, "to continue taking money from Gulf countries and to keep everyone afraid". Cairo resident Magdy Suleiman agreed, "There are a lot of doubts. Why did they catch him now?"

'Osama who?'

In Riyadh, where bin Laden was born after his family had migrated from Yemen , there has been a long-standing theory anyway that the al-Qaeda chief ever existed. "To be honest, I've never been convinced that there was such a person as Osama bin Laden," Osama al-Obeid, a Saudi banker, said in a Riyadh cafe.

Why the theories

A researcher attributes the theories to a pervasive anti-American sentiment. "It's not so much about bin Laden as it is about the US. The US has provided its narrative to the world; and the natural reaction of many people is to cast doubt on whatever the US says," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at Brookings Centre, Doha.

"I can't answer every conspiracy theory. You can have as many conspiracy theories as you wish. He's dead. It's good."

... contd.

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