Topic: War on Terror
In W.'s final SOTU speech he said: "The mission in Iraq has been difficult and trying for our nation. But it is in the vital interest of the United States that we succeed. A free Iraq will deny Al Qaeda a safe haven."
The NYT reported on Sunday that JCS Adm. Mike Mullen would be making a trip that day to Islamabad to visit with our bastard in Rawalpindi Pervez Musharraf and his apparent Heir Apparent army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Mullen said he was exploring "news ways" to work with Musharraf & Co. to "improve the fight against terrorism." Huh uh, that's what CIA director Mike Hayden said, too; only his new way involved sending US Special Forces into the Waziristans, a proposition which Musharraf forcefully rejected.
According to many press reports US officials are expressing some "frustration" with the ever more tenuous security situation in Pakistan, hence the almost daily visits of a top US officials to Islamabad. DNI Adm. Mike McConell told Congress last week that he was convinced the next AQ attack on the US would have its origins in Pakistan.
He said AQH had, "regenerated its core operational capabilities needed to conduct attacks in the homeland." By its use of the safe haven in Pakstan's border areas they have created a "staging area" for attacks into Afghanistan "as well as a location for training new terrorist operatives, for attacks in Pakistan, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the United States". [Atimes]
But no matter what the Americans seem to say to Musharraf, no matter the amount of arm-twisting -- and probably threats of bodily harm upon his physical person by Dick Cheney -- he doesn't seem to be getting the message.
A case in point is the new peace treaty he just signed with Baitullah Mehsud last Thursday. Yes, you read correctly, yet another deal with Mehsud. US officials are said to be "frustrated" with this latest development. The Pakistanis deny they've made a deal, but the previous fighting going on between the Pakistani army and Mehsud's forces have stopped.
Isn't this the same guy who made $540,000 off of Musharraf in 2005 to pay-off his buddies in al-Qaeda? Wasn't he the one who made a deal with Musharraf in September of 2006 also? Baitullah is the guy who this past August held 250 Pakistani soldiers hostage, beheading 3 of them, right? When Musharraf declared his state of emergency to fight terrorism by rounding up peace activists and judges, he released 25 militants to Baitullah at the same time -- who are probably as we speak training suicide bombers or something equally messed up.
ATimes reports: "The ceasefire deal, brokered by Taliban commanders Sirajuddin Haqqani and Maulvi Bakhta Jan, is face-saving for both the militants and the security forces and provides them with breathing space; they had reached a stalemate in South Waziristan. . . The Afghan Taliban see the ceasefire as the ideal opportunity to step up their preparations for their annual spring offensive - they rely heavily on the Pakistan border areas for manpower and provisions."
Well, no kidding!
I can see why Musharraf remains in one piece, no suicide bombers going after him: He's too good to the Pakistani Talibs. Mehsud may be crazy, but he's not stupid. You don't go around blowing up your meal-ticket.
Naturally, it’s a mutually beneficial set-up; Mehsud & Co. keep up the scare in the unadministered territories, keeping US officials up nights, Musharraf turns around and says he's the only one the Americans can trust to deal with them, a line they keep swallowing hook, line and sinker and then he pays-off the Talibs while giving them quarter whenever things get too heavy for them. A virtuous circle for all concerned, except for the next vicimts of Al-Qaeda's attacks in the West.