Diverging Reports on Whether Pakistan Will Allow U.S. Access to Osama bin Laden's Wives

Bump and Update: CNN reports a U.S. official has confirmed that the other two wives in the Osama bin Laden compound are, as I have been speculating for a few days, Khairia Saaba otherwise known as Umm Hamzah and Siham Sabar, also known as Umm Khalid. CNN reports a Pakistani intelligence source has told them today that Pakistan will allow the U.S. to interview (interrogate) the wives only if their home countries approve. (Yemen and Saudi Arabia are the home countries.) The AP reports differently, and says Pakistan will allow the U.S. to question the wives.

Original Post: Pakistan to Send Bin Laden's Widow Back to Yemen

The U.S. may not get its wish to interrogate the 29 year old widow of Osama bin Laden, Aml Ahmed Abdul Al-Fatah Al-Sada of Yemen. Pakistan officials say she will be returned to Yemen after they complete their questioning of her.[More...]

Dr. Diyar Khan, Deputy Ambassador of Pakistan to Yemen, has told the Yemen Times that the embassy in in Sana'a (Yemen) has been told by officials in Islamabad that all of bin Laden's relatives held after the raid at the compound would be repatriated after Pakistan's initial questioning of them has been completed. Al-Sada's family members have also spoken to Pakistani officials who relayed the same information: she will be returned to Yemen at the end of her hospital stay.

On al-Sada's marriage to Osama: A member of al Qaeda in Yemen, Sheikh Rashad Mohamed Saeed Ismail, also known as Abu Al-Fida, spoke to the Yemen Times by telephone and explained how the marriage was arranged. It's an interesting story, if true. He says Osama asked him to find a quiet, religious girl and he thought of her and in 1999, relayed the proposal to her, explaining "how he lived moving from one place to another, being pursued by the Americans.” Once she approved, he asked her family for approval. A week later, the family accepted, and she then traveled, with older sister, a male member of her family, and Ismail to Kandahar for the wedding, which took place when she was 18.

We traveled from Yemen to Pakistan and from there to Kandahar on our real passports, and no one stopped us for questioning because it is our right to move anywhere,” said Ismail.

Back to the wives and children at the compound: The media, both here and in Pakistan, is still either contradictory or silent on the names of bin Laden's other wives and children who are in custody. Some say two wives are being held, some say three. There's no mention of whether Khalid's mother or Hamza's mother is among them. As far as I can tell, as I explained here, they are the only two logical choices.

Hamza's mother is Khairia Saaba otherwise known as Umm Hamzah. Khalid's mother is Siham Sabar, otherwise known as Umm Khalid. Hamza was Khairia Saaba's only child. Siham Saber had four children with Osama, one of whom was Khalid. Both are from Saudi Arabia and are teachers, reportedly with advanced degrees.

If Hamza's mother was at the home, where is Hamza? Early reports said he was one of those killed or captured, but the U.S. denies removing anyone from the compound except Osama. Pakistan says it recovered four bodies, Osama's son, the courier, the courier's brother and one of their wives. Was it five, and Hamza was killed along with Khalid? Is that why officials aren't naming the other wives, because one was his mother, and it would lead to questions about what happened to Hamza?

I can't imagine Khalid's mother, who is highly educated, would agree to be interrogated by the U.S., having lost both her husband and her son in the U.S. raid. Same for Hamza's mother. Is the U.S. planning on forcibly bringing them to the U.S. for interrogation? Will it claim they provided material support to terrorists by cooking and cleaning for Osama?

As to the other children who were present, how many were Osama's? From what I can tell, Khalid's mother, Siham Sabar, married Osama in 1987 and had four children: sons Khalid (1989) and Amir (1990) and daughters Kadija (1986), and Aisha (1992). (There may be one additional daughter but no one seems to have a name or other information for her.) Hamza, born in 1991, as mentioned above, was an only child.

The next two children, Iman and Bakr Bin Laden, were both were in Iran until recent years, where they went after 9/11. Their mother is Osama's first wife, Najwa Al-Ghanem. Bakr left last year, reportedly to join his mother in Damascus. Iman ran away the year before that and was later returned to her mother in Syria. It's doubtful they were at the compound.

The Saudis agreed to repatriate Iman if she wanted to live there, so any other Saudi wives and their children are probably also welcome to return.

The 12 year old, Sa'fia, who reportedly saw her father get shot, is the daughter of Osama and his fifth wife, Yemeni Aml Ahmed Abdul Al-Fatah Al-Sada.

Other children present (in addition to children of the courier brothers) were probably Osama's grandchildren, whose mother is Fatima (Fatma), one of whom is named Najwa. Khalid and Hamza also had wives and children. Were those children present at the compound? It's not clear if Fatima there. Could she be the daughter killed in a drone raid?

Why is the media not being given names besides those of wife number 5, Aml Ahmed Abdul Al-Fatah Al-Sada, and her daughter Sa'fia? I suspect it has to do with Hamza and another brother, Saad, whose reported death in 2009 by a drone in Pakistan was never confirmed. Both are wanted for their own alleged terror activities (more here and here), and it seems like both the U.S. and Pakistan don't want information about them getting out. Surely someone in the media must be asking these questions.

< Pitchforks and the Very Serious Persons | India Releases Dossiers on LeT Handlers in Headley-Rana Case, Exposes ISI Connections >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    The wives of OBL (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:15:19 AM EST
    Trying to understand the mind of a woman who marries a guy after he says, BTW, I'm an international fugitive marked for death by the world's most brutal killing force and we'll move around a lot to stay steps ahead of the bullets or drone missiles, hopefully...wow, you're talking about some very damaged people.  The women who marry killers in prison and never get to physically touch them, hell, that seems downright logical next to this.  I understand the suffocating religion and violent sexism, I understand how phucked up complex the human mind is, but the simple and basic and vital element of self-preservation seems quite absent.  The culture of afterlife fundamentalism does not lend itself, in whatever culture or form it takes, to healthy self-awareness and intellectual maturity.

    And I agree, J, there is something, probably a lot of somethings, being kept from us about who exactly was there.

    Interesting the cleric first obtained the (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:41:15 AM EST
    consent of the female to the marriage, then got the ok of her parents.  Not the usual order of things.  

    Plus:  will U.S. raid the hospital to capture those from the compound who are still in the hospital but purportedly to be re-patriated?


    OT, but BTW (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Dadler on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:13:49 PM EST
    Yeah, and then there's Laura Bush. (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:04:34 PM EST
    rimshot, please (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:14:47 PM EST

    Maybe OBL's wives used (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by observed on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:22:55 PM EST
    valium (too?)

    Or Pepsi enemas (none / 0) (#9)
    by Dadler on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:35:52 PM EST
    One can only imagine the unique dysfunction in that home.

    I bet OBL was a Real Housewives fan.


    Ever see the movie "Casablanca"? (none / 0) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:25:49 PM EST
    Lovely film (none / 0) (#10)
    by Dadler on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:37:01 PM EST
    I get it.  And I don't.  Way it goes sometimes.

    I've lost track (none / 0) (#8)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:28:44 PM EST
    Why is it we think both Khalid and Hamza were in the house?

    And why would the government be trying to cover up Hamza's death if he were in the house and had been killed?

    What if they DID take someone alive? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:39:02 PM EST
    There's a reason. Not that I think this is it, or that I have any clairvoyance, just that my government has little to no (closer to no) track record of forthright honesty.

    Hurry and submit a script so we find (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Mon May 09, 2011 at 01:09:31 PM EST
    out PDQ via Hollywood what really happened.

    Because there have been (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 09, 2011 at 05:11:58 PM EST
    reports he was there and reports that he was taken by the commandos along with Osama. Some reports say he was taken alive (for interrogation) while others say he was killed and his body was taken. The U.S. has denied both, but it first reported it killed Khalid, then Hamza, then switched back to Khalid.

    OK, thanks (none / 0) (#16)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:42:47 PM EST
    Given that the reports are from chronically unreliable sources and that it seems to me entirely reasonable that the U.S. folks would have had some confusion about which son was there, plus the huge improbability of the SEALs grabbing either an extra body or a live guy with little to no intelligence value other than bin Laden himself, I'm betting there was no second son on the premises.

    But we'll likely never find out for sure one way or the other.


    Hamza (none / 0) (#12)
    by star on Mon May 09, 2011 at 12:49:51 PM EST
    could have been taken alive..propably govt does not want to inspire any terror activity to get Hamza back ???.
    there is ambiguity about Khalid and Hamza from day one and I have to think it is with reason.
    Safia did say SEALS took OBL and one other son. Also I believe had the other chopper not stalled, there would have been enough space to bring back more witnesses/prisoners/family members..  

    There are also reports (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 09, 2011 at 05:12:44 PM EST
    the chopper was shot down, and others that it crashed.