Topic: War on Terror
The NYT reported recently that speculation is rife in Pakistan that our only friend there, Pervez Musharaff, may not survive his little tussle with Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. But, Carlotta Gall writes, so far there is a "a great silence" eminating from "the one place that may count the most: the barracks and the mess halls of the armed forces, the other great part of Pakistan’s ruling equation."
What will the army do? Have they had it up to here with Pervez yet?
It is not a good sign that one military officer she spoke to said: "He either goes the mango-crate way or he goes gracefully." The Mango crate referring to the supossed special last minute delivery of a box of mangos on Mohammad Zia ul-Haq's final plane ride full of poison gas.
But, of course, this was all before the Red Mosque issue. Now I bet Musharraf wishes all he had to do was wory about that damn judge. Australian Broadcasting has just reported that, apparently the army has stormed the Mosque:
"In the latest clashes at Pakistan's beseiged Red Mosque, two heavy explosions and gunfire have rocked the compound. Television footage has shown large chunks of debris from the perimeter wall blown above the treetops. Government forces rushed in on three sides and attacked the mosque compound. On two sides the compound was attacked by armoured personnel carriers and on one side by army rangers."
This comes just after Musharaff almost got another type of mango crate, in the form of AA cannon fire.
"Gunners fired after President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's plane took off from a military base on Friday in what one official described as a failed assassination attempt. Security forces quickly surrounded a house beneath the base's flight path in Rawalpindi . . . Two anti-aircraft guns and a light machine gun were found on the roof and the homeowner was taken in for questioning."
[Yes, questioning. I'm sure he will be very co-oprative.]
Now how the hell did someone get two anti-aircraft guns on a roof near an airport in Rawalpindi? No one noticed this?
I don't know, I'm thinking if there was a battery of AA on the roof of a house across from the White Hosue, someone would notice before W. went coptering off to Andrews.
Sounds like someone was either really asleep at the switch or some was just faining incompetence.
You know, it's too bad that the Bush administration doesn't have a Plan B for Pakistan, because it looks like Condi's luck is about to run out. I wonder who will inherit that brand new plutonium plant they're building at Khushab? The Talib's, perhaps? Ayman al-Zawahiri? No, he's too busy making videos . . . Maybe OBL himself?
Go North West young man!
The NYT's Gall writes:
"In the North-West Frontier Province there is growing frustration among military and intelligence officials over the rising lawlessness of Taliban militants, and the president’s apparent lack of concern and direction, senior officials say."
What they've really got to be thrilled about is the new deal Musharaff reportedly made with the US military. They too are frustrated with Pervez' lake of concern about the border.
According to Syed Saleem Shahzad in A-Times Online:
"Since last September, North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan have been pressing Islamabad for the right to conduct extensive hot-pursuit operations into Pakistan to target Taliban and al-Qaeda bases. According to Asia Times Online contacts, NATO and its US backers have gotten their wish: coalition forces will start hitting targets wherever they might be. . . Operations inside Pakistan might be carried out independently by the United States, probably with air power, by Pakistani forces acting alone or as joint offensives. In all cases, though, the US will pull the strings, for instance by providing the Pakistanis with information on targets to hit."
Operations might be carried out? I think we're way beyond that at this point, but it looks like Musharaff has thrown up his hands and has decided to turn thr problem over to us. This would seem to be a dangerous escalation by the US military, especially if things go south with Musharraf.
If the next thing we know the Special Forces are moving into Khushad, the forgotten war in Afghanistan would begin to look like the good old days. Hell, even Iraq might look better!