October 20, 2009
Asia Times

A New Battle Begins in Pakistan

Syed Saleem Shahzad

ISLAMABAD - Despite serious reservations, Pakistan's military at the weekend began an all-out offensive against the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

The deployment of about 30,000 troops in South Waziristan, backed by the air force, shifts the main theater of the South Asian battlefield from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

That Pakistan has become a focal point was underscored on Sunday when six Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commanders were killed, as well as 37 other people, in an attack in Iran's restive Sistan-Balochistan province. . . .


"Afghanistan, Pakistan: Obama's War," The Wisdom Fund, March 28, 2009

"Energy Wars: The Destabilization of Baluchistan," The Wisdom Fund, July 12, 2009

"'We'll Know Success When We See It' - Afghan War Could Last 'For Decades'," The Wisdom Fund, August 3, 2009

[Two million people fled the Swat Valley during this summer's offensive against the Taliban. Now a new exodus is expected as the government prepares to step up its fight against the extremists.--Hasnain Kazim, " New Refugee Wave Expected Pakistan Prepares Offensive on Taliban Stronghold,", October 15, 2009]

Declan Walsh, "Strange bedfellows: Islamists and army join forces against insurgents," Guardian, October 22, 2009

David Ignatius, "Waziristan's history of resistance will test Pakistani Army's resolve," Daily Star, October 24, 2009

Jeff Huber, "AfPak: Illegal, Immoral, Fattening,", October 30, 2009

[In the mountains of Waziristan, the army claims to have recovered passports of extremists with links to the September 11 and Madrid attackers.--Omar Waraich, "Pakistan strikes deep into al-Qa'ida territory,", October 30, 2009]

[Questions about U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan - conducted by the CIA - dogged Clinton's visit, and it was the one issue on which she had no answer in her otherwise forthright response to criticism.--Saeed Shah, "Pakistanis to Clinton: War on terror is not our war,", October 30, 2009]

[But the Pentagon, make no mistake, knows exactly how to play its New Great Game in Eurasia. Balkanization of AfPak - the break-up of both Afghanistan and Pakistan - will engineer, among other states, an independent Pashtunistan and an independent Balochistan. Empire of Chaos logic is still British imperial divide-and-rule, remixed; and, at least in theory, yields territories much easier to control.--Pepe Escobar, "Welcome to Pashtunistan,", November 6, 2009]

[ . . . a Gallup poll revealed that Pakistanis see the US as a bigger threat (59%) than India (18%) or the Taliban (11%). Why should Beijing stake its "all-weather friendship" with Pakistan to salvage America's reputation?--M K Bhadrakumar, "US's dalliance in Beijing is short-lived,", November 21, 2009]

[At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan--Jeremy Scahill, "Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan," Nation, November 23, 2009]

Scott Shane, "C.I.A. to Expand Use of Drones in Pakistan," New York Times, December 4, 2009

[While the U.S. military, aided by a fawning press, may seek to disguise the reality of the RPV program through catchy slogans such as "warheads through foreheads," in reality it is murder by another name. And when murder represents the centerpiece of any national effort, yet alone one that aspires to win the "hearts and minds" of the targeted population, it is doomed to fail.--Scott Ritter, "Our Murderers in the Sky,", December 10, 2009]

[The US contractor Blackwater is operating in Pakistan at a secret CIA airfield used for launching drone attacks, according to a former US official, despite repeated government denials that the company is in the country.

The official, who had direct knowledge of the operation, said that employees with Blackwater, now renamed Xe Services, patrol the area round the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan province.--Declan Walsh and Ewen MacAskill, "Blackwater operating at CIA Pakistan base, ex-official says," Guardian, December 11, 2009]

[Pakistan could function as an energy corridor linking the oil fields of Iran and possibly even Iraq with the Chinese market by means of a pipeline that would cross the Himalayas above Kashmir. This is the so-called "Pipelinestan" issue.--Webster G. Tarpley, "Obama Declares War on Pakistan,", December 11, 2009]

"Al-Qaeda 'not behind Pakistan bloodshed': US militant," AFP, December 12, 2009

Greg Miller and Julian E. Barnes, "Drone attacks may be expanded in Pakistan: U.S. officials seek to push CIA drone strikes into the major city of Quetta to try to pressure Pakistan into pursuing Taliban leaders based there," Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2009

[The most likely outcome is the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan.--S. Amjad Hussain, "Will Obama's troop surge turn tide against Taliban and al-Qaeda," Toledo Blade, December 14, 2009]

Declan Walsh, "US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids in hunt for al-Qaida," Guardian, December 21, 2009

Marjorie Cohn, "Obama's Af-Pak War Is Illegal,", December 21, 2009

[ . . . the agency is in effect running a war in Pakistan--Mark Mazzetti, "C.I.A . Takes On Bigger and Riskier Role on Front Lines," New York Times, January 1, 2010]

"44 US drone hits in Pakistan killed 700 civilians in 2009,", January 2, 2010

"PAKISTAN: US government must allow Jacobabad air strips to be used for relief operations for 700,000 flood-affected people," Asian Human Rights Commission, August 19, 2010

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