Monday, October 12, 2009

Wazirstan update

An interesting analysis by the BBC's M. Ilyas Khan considers why the Pakistani army has not yet launched the operation in S. Wazirstan that seemed imminent this past summer.

He settles on two main reasons:

"Any action against the Baitullah Mehsud group [i.e. the Taliban group that was led by the late Baitullah Mehsud] in South Waziristan could draw in to the conflict militant groups based in the Wazir tribal areas of South and North Waziristan.

These groups are part of the al-Qaeda affiliated Haqqani network and have peace agreements with the [Pakistani] army.

They have so far concentrated exclusively on fighting inside Afghanistan, and many analysts consider their activities central to the army's perceived security interests in Afghanistan.

Any hostilities with them may harm these interests, analysts say.

Another reason may well have been the so-called Kerry-Lugar bill which promises $1.5bn (£0.95bn) in annual aid to Pakistan for the next five years. [This bill is for non-military aid and has been passed by both houses of Congress. It contains various conditions, some of which apply to U.S. security assistance as well as civilian aid. -- LFC]

The bill, which has been in the works for well over a year, has become hugely controversial recently due to some clauses that the military look upon as detrimental to its interests.

Last week, the army publicly denounced the bill at a time when the government was defending it, thereby sparking a rift within the political establishment....

But while the army considers its options for a re-think, attacks such as the one on its central headquarters in Rawalpindi on 10 October indicate that the options it has are indeed limited, and time is running out."

And throughout all this, the majority of the Pakistani army remains stationed, as far as I'm aware, on the border with India, unable to contribute directly to any operations in the west.


Anonymous said...

PRESIDENT Karzai is refusing to agree to a re-run of the Afghan general election, meaning that Karzai and his master President Obama are at loggerheads, at the same time as the Taleban are approaching the gates of the Afghan capital!

Karzai’s spokesman yesterday said that the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) was itself rigging the election results in order to force the election re-run that the imperialist powers are demanding.

At the least Karzai – after paying out millions of US and UK aid money in bribes to various local leaders to secure votes – has just not got the cash to go through the same process again.

Meanwhile, the US is refusing to take a decision on whether to send up to 40,000 more troops until the election is re-run and power is shared between Karzai and his rival Doctor Abdullah Abdullah, with the US continuing to pull the strings of a ‘united government’.

The plan then is that this new government will open its doors to any Taleban who can be persuaded to change sides, for an exchange of a quantity of gold, after which national unity can be proclaimed and the US can get on with the war that it has just started in Pakistan.

That this is not the democratic Afghanistan that Bush, Blair, Brown and then Obama announced that they were building is obvious.

They said that this Afghanistan was worth the loss of the lives of tens of thousands of Afghan men women and children, and hundreds of imperialist troops.

Now they are openly seeking to ditch the head of state that they fought a war to impose on the Afghan people. They want to change its figurehead, so both government and opposition can unite, and then open their doors to any Taleban that can be persuaded to join it.

The US and UK want to remain in Afghanistan because of its strategic position amidst the oil and gas fields of central Asia. Their sole concern has nothing to do with democracy or democratic governments. It is to have a government that will tolerate its presence, for a fair price.

If Karzai will not go, the democratic imperialists will have to organise a ‘democratic coup’ to rid themselves of Karzai and his supporters, to bring in the new order.

However it is not only in Afghanistan that the US is being tested, stretched and exposed.

General Petraeus is in Islamabad organising the current Pakistani offensive against the people of Wazirstan, with 30,000 Pakistani troops fighting thousands of Wazir tribesmen and their allies, in their mountainous territory.

The Wazirs know every inch of their mountains which are ideal for mobile warfare against large numbers of conventional forces.

With the winter snows just weeks away it will be a graveyard for the invaders.

The critical nature of the situation for the imperialist powers in Afghanistan and Pakistan is recognised in Washington. White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, said last week that Obama is waiting to see whether there is an Afghan partner worth fighting for before he makes any decision to commit more troops.

The US top military leaders are already in Pakistan overseeing the operation in Wazirstan. This can very quickly go wrong and leave the US with little alternative but to send thousands of troops into Pakistan to aid its ally, in what is already becoming a civil war.

Where the US goes the British ruling class will follow. Britain faces being sucked deeper and deeper into the Afghan-Pakistan quagmire, from which it will be difficult, if not impossible to extricate itself, and which will become more and more expensive as far as the costs of the war and the morale of its armed forces.

At the same time, at home, the government will be waging a war against the enemy within, the working class and its Welfare State.

The UK trade unions must support the Afghan people and demand that all UK troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan and Pakistan at once!

LFC said...

I don't know where your information is coming from, but the headlines I see indicate that Karzai will accept a run-off.

Much of the rest of this comment, w its references to imperialist powers, oil and gas, "the working class" -- as if the working class were a monolithic entity -- and "the ruling class" -- ditto -- represents in my view a crude, reductive, simplistic analysis that I believe is not borne out by the facts.

I do not intend to get into a lengthy debate on this, esp with an anonymous commenter unknown to me, and I reserve the right to delete future comments if I feel this blog is being used as a mouthpiece for some group's particular message.

Anonymous said...

'but the headlines I see indicate that Karzai will accept a run-off.'
you should have gone to specsavers my friend....

LFC said...

Karzai did agree to the run-off and then his opponent withdrew.

Anonymous said...

so you dont think that the withdrawal of Karzai's only opponent was a little too convenient, and that it took so much coercion by
Obama, Brown and Kerry to get him to agree to a rerun...?

LFC said...

I don't know (how's that for honesty?); I haven't followed the developments of the last week very closely. The basic dilemma facing US/UK/ISAF, i.e., the absence of any obviously good policy options (any that seem fairly sure to work and that won't have drawbacks), remains.