Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It has become clear that the Afghan war is now the Pakistan/Afghan war.

The US is now blowing up houses in Pakistan proper as well as the border regions. Supposedly, this last attack killed a top al-Qaida honcho, hence it dovetails nicely with Obama's campaign promises to pursue al-Qaida into Pakistan, whatever the Pakistanis might think.

One might think it better to allow the incoming administration to make decisions that might further destabilize Pakistan, rather than present them with a fait accompli, but it seems Gen. Petraeus has taken Obama at his word.

However, that is not the only escalation going on. Syed Saleem Shahzad of the Asia Times reports on attacks on NATO convoys in Pakistan:
The attacks have been so incessant that Asia Times Online has learned that 530 containers loaded with armored personnel vehicles, military trucks, Humvees, arms and ammunition have not yet been delivered. They were sent four months ago from Jabal-i-Ali in the United Arab Emirates to Karachi. Clearly, if this continues, NATO's war effort will be severely compromised.
Convoys are now being escorted by Pakistani troops which is both expensive and reduces troops for other activities. And NATO wants final say on all action:
NATO will therefore lead all actions, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan. This is not too popular in Pakistan. Last week, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, visited Islamabad to brief parliamentarians, but several of them, including those of the dominant Pakistan People's Party and Federal Minister Raza Rabbani, refused to attend.

They called the meeting a serious breach of Pakistan's sovereignty as no military official of another country is supposed to approach parliamentarians without the Foreign Office's mediation.
Pakistan is very weak at the moment, and will not be able to resist NATO pressure, if only for financial reasons. However, emotions sometimes trump self-interest. NATO and the US continue to play with fire.


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