Thursday, September 11, 2008

Playing for Keeps in Pakistan

After seven years of Musharraf's shell game, the stakes are getting serious as American Special Ops forces are carrying out ground assaults against terrorist safe havens inside their borders without the prior approval of the Pakistani government.

The Bush Administration has finally done what critics, including Barack Obama and Joe Biden, have long been urging, but the public charade still goes on.

"Pakistan's "territorial integrity...will be defended at all cost and no external force is allowed to conduct operations...inside Pakistan," huffs Chief of Army Staff Gen. Parvez Kayani, who succeeded Pervez Musharraf after he stepped down.

"American officials," reports the New York Times, "say that they will notify Pakistan when they conduct limited ground attacks like the Special Operations raid last Wednesday in a Pakistani village near the Afghanistan border, but that they will not ask for its permission.

“"The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable,' said a senior American official who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the missions. 'We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued.'

"The new orders reflect concern about safe havens for Al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan, as well as an American view that Pakistan lacks the will and ability to combat militants. They also illustrate lingering distrust of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies and a belief that some American operations had been compromised once Pakistanis were advised of the details."

But the deathbed conversion of the Bush Administration will leave the next president with the unsolved problem of protecting American interests without arousing enough hostility in Pakistan to topple the new government in favor of radical Islamists.

Now that Musharraf's three-card monte is over, the real diplomatic and military game can begin.


Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Special Ops and covert ground assaults are one thing. Targeted air-strikes are another. And it was the latter that both Bush AND Obama threatened earlier this year. THAT woild be very incindiary, in my opinion.

Ravinder Makhaik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravinder Makhaik said...

US may have its limited objective of trying to take out Osama Bin Laden and gang but the intrusion that it makes into a sovereign nation with Islamic credentials will only leave behind a bigger trouble than what it intends to settle.

Unless the US can make the new government toe its line of action, Pakistan it being driven up the wall and will have not option but to give in to fundamental forces sitting on the fence.