( – promoted by buhdydharma )
The Long War, formerly known as The War on Terror, is moving on to Pakistan. The Bush Administration has been warned, apparently to little avail, as it appears Bush wants to ratchet up his war, perhaps for political reasons, as we move toward the presidential election.
Gareth Porter, writing in Asia Times Online, tells us that the Bush Administration has been warned by The National Intelligence Council (NIC), that the launching of commando raids by US troops into Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province region carries a high risk of further destabilizing the Pakistani military and government.
For those unfamiliar with the NIC, additional information is available on their website linked above:
The NIC is a center of strategic thinking within the US Government, reporting to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and providing the President and senior policymakers with analyses of foreign policy issues that have been reviewed and coordinated throughout the Intelligence Community.
Our work ranges from brief analyses of current issues to “over the horizon” estimates of broader trends at work in the world.
Territorial Sovereignty is defined as “the exclusive right of a state to exercise its powers within the boundaries of its territory”. Pakistan has pledged it will defend its territorial sovereignty.
On 3 September US special operations forces based in Afghanistan carried out a helicopter-borne ground raid by commandos in South Waziristan (in Pakistan) which reportedly killed 19 people, most of whom were women and children. According to both the Washington Post and the New York Times, as per Porter’s article, top officials indicated this was only the beginning of wider campaign of raids against al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in the frontier area of Pakistan.
There were differing reports on how many people were killed. The provincial governor claimed 20 civilians, including women and children, died. Army and intelligence officials, as well as residents, said 15 people were killed.
Habib Khan Wazir, an area resident, said he heard helicopters, then an exchange of gunfire.
“Later, I saw 15 bodies inside and outside two homes. They had been shot in the head,” Wazir said by phone. He claimed all the dead were civilians.
Pakistan has condemned the raid and the Pakistani Foreign Ministry called the strike “a gross violation of Pakistan’s territory” and that it could “undermine the very basis of cooperation and may fuel the fire of hatred and violence that we are trying to extinguish.”
Former DIA officer, Patrick Lang, for the Middle East at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said he understands that the intelligence community issued a “pretty clear warning” against the commando raid. “They said, in effect, if you want to see the Pakistani government collapse, go right ahead,” …this according to Porter’s article.
There have already been four attacks this month inside Pakistan either by US drones or by US special forces. Thus it is clear that the US has already opened up a war theater in Pakistan.
Asia Times notes that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier has moved into the Persian Gulf and that it is part of a new task force, separate from the USS Abraham Lincoln, which will allow the US to increase air sorties in the South Asian war theater.
Pakistan, under president-elect Asif Ali Zardari, is on board with the US’s war strategy, but, to the surprise of Islamabad and with potentially devastating consequences for Pakistan, the US has trained its guns on the “good” Taliban based in Pakistan with deep connections to the Pakistani establishment.
In Monday’s drone attack, several missiles were fired at an Islamic madrassa (seminary) and the house of powerful Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani in Dandi Darpa Khail in the North Waziristan tribal area near the border with Afghanistan.
Jalaluddin, the spiritual leader of the Haqqani network and legendary figure in the Afghan mujahideen in the fight against the Soviets in the 1980s, and his son, Sirajuddin, the operational head of the most powerful component of the present Afghan resistance, had left the area. Most of those killed were woman and children from the families of the Haqqanis.
That the US set its sights on the Haqqanis is perplexing, and – given the failed outcome – indicates that it struck with inadequate, if any, input from Pakistan.
And so it goes. The killing continues. There are few on the US political scene who will object, in fact most voice support for taking the war to Pakistan.
As for me, this is a continuing re-run. There are no limits to American arrogance and ignorance in a never sated lust for power and global dominance. The bullying, the death and destruction will continue indefinitely because there is no one, and no organized group of people, with the power, the influence, the courage and the willingness to stop it.
We will have our long war and most Americans will barely notice.