Johnny Cash isn't the only one giving us the finger.
So, a couple days ago the Department announced a cool ten million dollar bounty for Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. You can read the reasons why here:
The Republic of India has issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against Saeed for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Additionally, the United States Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated National under Executive Order 13224. Saeed was also individually designated by the United Nations under UNSCR 1267 in December 2008.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2001. In April 2008, the United States designated Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a Foreign Terrorist Organization; similarly, the United Nations declared Jamaat-ud-Dawa a terrorist organization in December 2008.
Saeed is a bad actor who no doubt deserves all the retributive justice that U.S. taxpayer's money can buy.
But the problem is that Saeed lives in Pakistan, which supports Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and openly gives him asylum. He is not hiding; on the contrary, he has a high public profile. Who do we expect will turn him in, and to whom?
Foreign Policy's Passport blog took notice of this strange situation today in Hafiz Saeed to America: Come and get me!:
It was already a bit bizarre when the United States offered a $10 million reward on Monday for information leading to the capture of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba who is accused of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
After all, Saeed isn't exactly in hiding. As the New York Times reported yesterday, he lives in a well-known compound on the outskirts of Lahore and appears frequently at public rallies throughout Pakistan. (You can send my $10 million check to 1899 L St. NW., Washington D.C. 20036. Thanks!)
But things reached the level of high farce today when Saeed held a press conference essentially daring U.S. authorities to come arrest him:
The 62-year-old former engineering and Arabic professor appeared on stage at a specially convened press conference in the Flashman Hotel, close to the headquarters of the Pakistan army in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
“If the United States wants to contact me, I am present, they can contact me. I am also ready to face any American court, or wherever there is proof against me,” he told reporters in the hotel named after a fictional colonial hero.
“Americans seriously lack information. Don’t they know where I go and where I live and what I do?” he said. “These rewards are usually announced for people who are hiding in mountains or caves. I wish the Americans would give this reward money to me.”
There was evidently some U.S.-India diplomacy behind the oddly timed reward U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman announced the bounty during a visit to New Delhi. But it still seems a little odd to essentially highlight Washington's inability to apprehend a suspected terrorist living in plain sight in a country that's ostensibly a U.S. ally.
Obviously our relations with India played a big part. But, you have to wonder why anyone would think that a reward offer would help us there. Will the Indians fail to notice the futility of that gesture?
Or, maybe the reward offer is our attempt to 'name and shame' the Pakistanis for harboring Lahkar-e-Tayyiba? Would that work with the Pakistani government? Can I even suggest such a thing with a straight face? Actually, no.
Cash and Dylan had a really excellent song in Wanted Man. Please click on the embed and listen to it. It just needs one more little stanza.
Wanted man in Washington,
Wanted man in Manhattan,
Wanted man in ol’ New Delhi,
Not so much in Pakistan