March 24, 2004

The al-Zawahiri Fiasco

"It featured all the trappings of a glorified video game. Thousands of Pakistani army and paramilitary troops played the hammer. Hundreds of US troops and Special Forces, plus the elite commando 121, were ready to play the anvil across the border in Afghanistan. What was supposed to be smashed in between was "high-value target" Ayman al-Zawahiri, as Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf enthusiastically bragged - with no hard evidence - to an eager CNN last Thursday. But what happened to this gigantic piece of psy-ops? Nothing. And for a very simple reason: al-Qaeda's brain and Osama bin Laden's deputy was never there in the first place"

Like oliver craner I am somewhat in awe of reporter Pepe Escobar. Here is some more:

"As in most latitudes in the tribal areas, most people carry a tribal-made Kalashnikov and have been raised in madrassas maintained by the JUI. Musharraf may now call them terrorists, but the fact remains that every mujahideen is and will be respectfully regarded by the locals as a soldier of Islam. Moreover, al-Qaeda jihadis who settled in Waziristan have managed to seduce tribals young and old alike with an irresistible deluge of Pakistani rupees, weapons and Toyota Land Cruisers.

"The Pakistani army is regarded as an occupation army. No wonder: it entered Waziristan for the first time in history, in the summer of 2002. These Pakistani soldiers are mostly Punjabi. They don't speak Pashto and don't know anything about the complex Pashtun tribal code. In light of all this, the presence of the Pakistani army in these tribal areas in the name of the "war on terror" cannot but be regarded as an American intervention. These tribes have never been subdued. They may even spell Musharraf's doom."

Out on the left people are convinced Bush will capture bin Laden in an October "surprise". And there is no question Bush and co would love to do just that. The question is are they competent enough? No way would I ever bet on these uncertainties, but if forced to I think I'd go for the "surprise" coming from the opposite side of this "war".

Posted by Abe at March 24, 2004 08:55 PM


They have the technology, but that means little where they're being forced to fight. Even less than in Vietnam. Also, it sort of seems likely that bin Laden is, in fact, on the other side of the border after all. But then, that's just what the resistence say. Who even knows? But, still, he's in a *relatively* small space: he can't be feeling comfortable.

And that's just the "man hunt".

Actually, it'll be impossible for the US to put a full stop to Taliban/mujahideen/tribal resistance in these areas. But the longer they're there the better they'll get (practice, intelligence etc.) The military is smarter and tighter than the days of Vietnam, and this fight has a tangible source and purpose, unlike Vietnam.

I don't know, bin Laden may well be in area, but I wouldn't bet too much on it. He might just as well be in a Beijing luxury hotel or a bungalow complex outside of Moscow. There are a hell of a lot of countries with a vested interest in seeing Bush lose in November. I wouldn't put it past one to take proactive measures to prevent any October surprises. And its not like he doesn't have any resources...

*First Comment:*
The west never uses the word (Mujahideen) in its literal context, Mujahideen are people who participate in a jihad and jihad mean to work for Islam.

*Second Comment:*
The hunt or not, this is all part of the political game being played by many players.
Let it not be forgotten that Bin Laden was send to Afghanistan by American CIA (or what ever the agency is) to support the Mujahideen fight against the Russians. Moreover till recently Mujahideen were very devotedly supported by the Pakistani (not so) intelligent agencies, it is just after this 9/11 that we have seen a 180 degrees turn around in the governments attitude towards Mujahideen.

The ground reality is that we the Pakistanis are confused on the situation, for the argument of the Mujahideen is some what right in its place. On other hand there are many religious scholars arguing that this is not the way to work in favor of Islam, it rather puts a negative image of Islam and gives a chance to these political dogs to mess with poor common people for there notorious political games.

Sorry for any grammatical mistakes.