Topic: War on Terror
While the world gets its panties in a bunch about the North Korean bomb, there'a a little spot of bother in Pakistan that ought to be looked into. As we know, our good friend Pervy Musharraf is supossedly holding al-Qaeda and the Talibs at bey in W.'s "war on terror." That's good because Pakistan also has the bomb -- after developing it unbeknownst to us -- and if this so-called "Islamic Bomb" were to get into the wrong hands . . . well, lets not even think about it.
As bad as the DPRK thing is, Pakistan falling apart is a much more serious threat. The Atimes reports this week that the recent discovery of a rocket launcher in Rawalpindi, the Pakistani military head quarters town, has led to the discovery of a coup plot involving uniformed members of the Pakistani military.
"According to information obtained by Asia Times Online, the coup plot was hatched in the Waziristan tribal area headquarters of al-Qaeda. The conspiracy was uncovered after a mobile phone used to activate a rocket aimed at the president's residence was traced to an air force officer. More than 40 people, both inside and outside the military, were subsequently arrested. The most alarming issue for the Pakistani establishment was not only the involvement of air force officers, but the apparent deep penetration of al-Qaeda into highly sensitive areas."
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao says this is all rubish: "It is totally baseless (the report), the Musharraf government is very strong and faces no threat. . . Why should there be a coup, the baseless report is someone's personal imagination. " Of course, who would want to kill Musharraf? This is just crazy talk.
Hidustan Times reports, though, that after the non-coup attempt became known, "Musharraf . . .instructed that a list be compiled of all retired officers who had been involved in any significant intelligence operations and were suspected of being sympathetic towards the Taliban."
A new Balochistan offensive?
The Atimes also reports that, "Word has filtered out that Islamabad will launch a major action in the next few days in the northwest and southwest (Balochistan). " This is an area pretty much run by the Taliban, so this offensive, if it comes, could blow the whole "truce" thing out of water. Here we apparently have evidence of another attempt by Musharraf to get the Talibs under control within his own borders after yet another coup plot. The last few times haven't been so successful, however, and as I recall he would up losing a bunch of troops and getting embarrassed in front of W..
Then there was the March 2004 offensive against Nek Mohammed, which led to the Pakistanis getting their asses kicked, vowing not to attack again and then paying for the Talib's expenses.
According to Musharraf in an interview for Frontline this was no humiliating defeat. Musharraf: "The agreement was that the militants either lay down arms or they are going to be shunted out of the place. And the locals are going to cooperate with the army in asking these militants to either get off Pakistan or lay down their arms."
What really happened according to Frontline was: "In April of 2004, tribesmen from across South Waziristan gathered outside the main madrassa in Shakai. Nek Mohammed agreed, according to the government, to lay down arms and register all al Qaeda militants living in South Waziristan. . . The government sent the 11th Corps commander to Shakai to bless the deal, General Safdar Hussein. . . He questioned why America had gone to war against the Taliban. . . He portrayed the Pakistani army as protecting the tribesmen from American bombs. . ."
And then the Pakistanis paid the Talibs off. In a Frontline interview, Ismail Khan, Journalist for Dawn Newspaper, said, "they were paid money also. This was part of the deal because some of these commanders had come up and said, 'Look, you know, we owed a lot of money to al Qaeda because we had borrowed money for logistics, for support.'"
Yes, you read it correctly, the Pakistani government paid the Talib's so they could repay their debts to al-Qaeda. And for all this what happened?
Frontline: 'The Shakai agreement broke down almost immediately. Nek Mohammed claimed he had never agreed to identify or hand over any al Qaeda militants. He pledged to renew his jihad against U.S. forces in Afghanistan."
Sound at all familiar?
Former ISI head Hamid Gul says the US had a hand in the coup that led to Musharraf coming to power. Kaumudi Online reports:
"Commenting on president Musharraf's book 'In the Line of Fire,' former ISI chief Hamid Gul said Musharraf has not stated in his memoirs that Washington was behind his military coup of October 12, 1999. 'It is absolutely true that America played a role in Gen Musharraf's take over of 1999,' Gul has been quoted as saying by Daily Times."