Kill One, Ten Will Replace Him

Operation in North Waziristan will not eliminate terrorism

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

Waziristan FATA

War on terror against Muslims was the brainchild of Zionist Jews and Neo-Cons and executed by George W. Bush administration. The war was fought by US led coalition forces and Pakistan security forces and counseled and guided by US-NATO military, Pentagon, CIA-FBI combine, Hamid Karzai led Northern Alliance regime in Kabul, Maliki regime in Baghdad, and RAW, Mossad, MI-6, RAAM. Pakistan which was treacherously made the frontline line state was sidelined in policy matters.

By the time Obama took over from Bush in January 2009 security situation in Afghanistan had turned chaotic and circumstances in Iraq were unsatisfactory. However, outgoing US leadership deceptively portrayed to the world that war in Iraq had been won and it was Afghanistan which required further grinding. In view of heightened anti-Americanism, Obama used his color and half-Muslim background as a deceptive weapon to create a wedge between Muslims by trying to win over moderates in Muslim world through sweet talk and false promises, which he never meant to honor.

Indo-Israeli lobbies once again prevailed upon new US leadership to review its war policy. In their view Pak-Afghan border region had turned into the hub centre of terrorism and without eliminating the heartland, terrorism would never get defeated. The US was advised to shift centre of gravity of war to Afghanistan by dispatching additional 21000 troops from Iraq, frame a new Af-Pak policy and focus entirely on Pak-Afghan border region. Irreconcilable Pashtuns on both sides of Durand Line and Pakistan as a whole were to be bled white and eliminated. Egged on by the thought of victory, the US became more assertive and demanding towards Pakistan. It was only when the operation launched in Helmand in July 2009 failed miserably and coalition forces suffered heaviest casualties that reality overtook fiction and alarm bells were sounded by Gen McChrystal.

NATO commanders had already predicted that Afghan war had almost been lost and victory was not possible. Rising

The Tribals of Waziristan

demand from home audiences in USA and western countries for ending the futile war and return of soldiers to their homes together with fast melting economy of USA and low morale of coalition troops were some of the factors which impelled Obama to reluctantly cede to Gen McChrystal’s request for additional troops. To appease the opponents of troop surge, he added that troop withdrawal would commence from mid 2011 onwards.

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Having made up their minds to exit, the big question arose whether coalition forces would be in a position to withdraw safely and that too gracefully given the rising strength of resistance forces and their heightened level of anger against foreign troops who had wrought havoc upon them for the last nine years. Pathetic state of affairs of Afghan National Army and the police and loss of credibility of Karzai regime due to poor governance and corruption scandals were other factors that worried them. The Indo-US-Israeli nexus could not make any worthwhile gains in their secret efforts to break Taliban-Al-Qaeda alignment and to divide the Taliban. Peaking of anti-Americanism throughout the Muslim world was yet another worrying factor which could not be ignored.

It was amidst mounting unrest and the US running out of options that it became conscious of the worth of Pakistan. Bogged down in the marsh of Afghanistan, it was Pakistan that could possibly pull it out. Having recognized the significance of Pakistan, the US officials grudgingly put a check on their haughtiness. Having drubbed Pakistan on various accounts and pushed it hard to do more; the US leaders ceased its offensive policy in February last and apparently became considerate. Praises were lavishly heaped on Pakistan for the good work done by Pakistan in fighting war on terror and rendering huge sacrifices. Pakistan was assured its grievances would be attended to genuine needs met. Strategic dialogue was held with Pak officials in Washington to bridge the trust gap. Another round of talks will be held in Islamabad in September.

In the wake of pledges made, analysts in Pakistan projected Pak-US relations in positive light and it was generally opined that coming times would witness much improved ties. This change in US attitude had not occurred on account of moralistic reasons or that its conscience had become alive, but due to rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. Since Obama had declared the withdrawal date of coalition troops from Afghanistan, the US was pressed for time. Given the obtaining situation, safe exit seemed difficult without the active assistance of Pakistan. Above all, their plan to first weaken the Taliban through use of force and dividing their ranks and then negotiating with them was not possible without Pakistan’s cooperation.

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After a very brief spell of goodwill and understanding the US has reverted to its old track of two-faced policy, one face threatening and coercing Pakistan and the other eulogizing good efforts of the Army and expressing encouraging words. Hillary Clinton’s vitriolic statement in the wake of Times Square incident came at a time when it was being perceived in Pakistan that the US had changed its heart for the good of Pakistan. Faisal’s case is being stretched and sensationalized by trying to find his connection with Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan (NW). Hardly had Pakistanis begun to get over Hillary’s threat when Washington Post, a mouthpiece of US regime said that the US military leaders were reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan if there was an attack on American soil emanating from FATA. Ground assault is being contemplated against suspected target in addition to ongoing drone strikes.

Bruce Riedel has urged US Administration to provide more arms and technological assistance to Pakistan and then ask it to do more. He said US offensive options against Pakistan in current timeframe are severely limited since military option is impracticable in the backdrop of Pakistan having nukes and the will to defend; he adds that application of economic sanction may not be possible since more than three-quarter supplies to US-NATO troops in Afghanistan pass though Pakistan Territory. He contends that US dependence on supply routes gives Pakistan a lot of leverage on the US. In his view maximum use of drones is the only viable option available. Thus far, 43 drone attacks have taken place in Waziristan with bulk in NW.

Hawks within power centres of the US advocate liberal use of drone attacks in all parts of Pakistan. They argue that considering the miserable plight of Pakistan, its rulers have no option but to do Washington’s bidding. Riedel suggests that unilateral action by US military would be justifiable in case Pakistan doesn’t agree to launch an operation in NW, but he hastens to add that it wouldn’t be practical. In his analysis recommended course is to keep pressing to do more. David Kilcullen, Andrew Exum and Gen Petraeus however disagree with use of drones saying it is making things more complicated since majority of victims are innocent civilians. From 2006 to 2009, out of 700 killed, only 14 were terrorists.

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The US softness towards Pakistan remains proportionate to latter’s ability to deliver in counter terrorism. As long as Pakistan is productive and remains useful to US for the service of its interests, it will be subjected to a mix of reward and punishment to keep it on its toes. The day it loses its utility value and becomes a liability, carrot will be withdrawn and only stick used. Whenever it becomes a bottleneck or a danger to its regional interests, America will not refrain from using the military option either singly or in concert with India and Afghanistan. Expansion and training of Afghan forces by US-Indian trainers are not designed to counter internal threat only but also to be in a position to pose a threat on Pakistan’s western border.

Apparently NW has become the main concern of the US but in actuality it is not so, since the plot makers know that terrorism will not get eliminated after a successful operation in that region. They have already lined up several other battlegrounds for the future to push the Army from one killing ground to the other till it gets fully pinned down, mauled and exhausted and its military hardware becomes technically unfit due to excessive use. That will be an ideal time to close the tap of military aid in which the US is adept so as to deprive armed forces of vital spares to fight a regular war.

Duplicitous policy of USA has kept our timid rulers in harassed and confused state. Instead of taking serious note of its odious tirade and dangerous designs, they are all the time worried how to keep the US mollified. This submissive policy encourages USA to remain on the offensive.

The writer is a retired Brig and a freelance defence and security analyst.