blogenlust
10.12.2004

Frontline of the War on Terror


Despite popular belief, Iraq is not "the frontline of the war on terror." That honor goes to the western tribal provinces of Pakistan. This Asia Times article is a good source of recent information regarding Pakistan's attempt to reign in al Qaeda. I found one part particularly telling:
The blueprints for Pakistan's anti-terror operations are prepared by the US, and they do not reflect local conditions, especially in the tribal areas. For instance, it is a ground reality that apart from perhaps a very few, there are no longer any foreign elements in Pakistani territory. Initially, foreigners lived in South Waziristan, but they were then shifted to areas that are not technically part of Pakistan. This was relayed to US forces. After shifting the foreign militants to Afghan areas, whether it is Darey Nishtar or areas near Razmak, Pakistan should have announced that since militants no longer lived in Pakistani territory, it would abandon its operations in the tribal areas and man checkposts and guard the borders, and leave the foreign militants for US and Afghan troops to deal with. But Pakistan did not do so, and continued futile operations in the tribal areas, succeeding only in bombing locals and raising their anger even further. [...] When Pakistan launched its serious operations on these networks, several returned to the tribal areas in search of a safe haven. In a matter of a few months they regrouped and restored their financial links with the outside world, and initiated recruitment drives for fresh blood. As a result, hundreds of jihadi cells have been born and they have produced for the first time a "Pakistani al-Qaeda" with the sole aim to create maximum anarchy through any form of violence. They want the country to face maximum destabilization, and their supporters in institutions like the army will then have the chance to dismiss the present leadership of President General Pervez Musharraf and take over power. And unlike in the past, when the Pakistani establishment - despite its denials - had close contacts with jihadis, today's new breed of jihadis remain largely anonymous, just waiting for their chance to strike.
I swear, about the only thing we need more than a destabilized Iraq, is a destabilized Pakistan ("pssst. They have the bomb!").