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Pakistan vows to defend its frontiers after deadly US raid

 
 
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 06:00 pm
Two reports on the US attack on Pakistan (3rd September 2008)- The first a basic report from Islamabad and the second a comment from Gary Leupp (Counterpunch)

Both deserve attention


Pakistan vows to defend its frontiers after deadly US raid

Published: September 5 2008

Pakistan vowed to defend its territory against foreign intrusion yesterday as anger mounted after a raid on a border village, which US officials later confirmed had been carried out by their special forces.

"We have a resolve and we have national consensus in Pakistan to defend our territorial integrity," Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the foreign minister, told parliament. "We will not compromise on any violation of our sovereignty."

Reuters quoted US Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirming that the raid was conducted by US special operations forces. They were targeting suspected al-Qaeda operatives, signalling a possible intensification of US efforts to disrupt militant safe havens in Pakistan.

The Bush administration has not officially acknowledged any involvement in the Wednesday attack on the village of Angor Adda that killed up to 20, including women and children, according to Pakistani officials.

However, senior Pakistani diplomats said the raid had strained relations with the US in spite of earlier undertakings that the new government would continue cooperation with US and Nato forces fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

"This was a complete botch-up. The Americans went wild upon receiving what has turned out to be very faulty intelligence," said one Pakistani diplomat.

Opposition leaders used the occasion to condemn the government for its failure to defend Pakistan's interests.

"The government must defend our frontiers. America has disregarded all norms of law," said Javaid Hashmi, a senior leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The dispute over the raid comes ahead of tomorrow's presidential election in Pakistan, which is thought likely to be won by Asif Ali Zardari, widower of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and co-chairman of her Pakistan People's party.

Election for the president takes place through an electoral college that consists of about 700 members of the federal parliament and the four provincial legislatures. PPP strategists believe Mr Zardari will receive 400 to 500 votes, based on promises of support from members of other parties and independents.

Mr Zardari said in an article published in the Washington Post yesterday that he would work as president to defeat the domestic Taliban insurgency and ensure that Pakistani territory was not used to launch terrorist attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan. Yet western diplomats said that Wednesday's cross-border raid was likely to make the popular mood more hostile to the government as well as Washington.

By Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad
********************************************************************

THIS FROM COUNTERPUNCH

September 6 / 7, 2008
A Precursor to More War Crimes?
The September 3 Attack on Pakistan

By GARY LEUPP (Professor of History at Tufts University)

In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, September 3, three U.S. helicopters carrying U.S. Special Operations Forces swooped down onto the Pakistani village of Musa Nika, in South Waziristan, killing fifteen to twenty people according to early reports. The U.S. press noted that this is the first known ground assault of U.S. troops in Pakistan. The provincial governor said twenty civilians including women and children were killed. The Foreign Minister denounced the attack, declaring that “no important terrorist or high-value target” was hit. The chief spokesman for the Pakistani Army registered its “strong objection.” Gen. Athar Abbas declared that the attack could provoke a general rebellion of local tribes against his government, and threaten NATO supply lines from Karachi into Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister angrily declared that “no important terrorist or high-value target” was hit. The U.S. ambassador was summoned to receive Islamabad’s official protest.

This is heavy stuff. But this news got sidelined by the star coverage conferred by the mainstream media on Sarah Palin, whose ringing oration, dripping with ignorance and contempt for the world, brought down the house Wednesday night in that celebration of stupidity in St. Paul. That speech, authored by George W. Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully for whatever vice presidential candidate McCain selected, asserted among other things that Bush’s “surge” had prevented al-Qaeda from taking over Iraq. The message is clear: all U.S. military action is designed to protect the U.S. from al-Qaeda terror.

Why would the mainstream media, pronouncing “a star is born,” want to highlight the little news story about remote Waziristan? Palin was splashed all over the front page of the Boston Globe on Thursday; the Pakistan story was on page A-3. On Friday a follow-up AP story made page A-26. It emphasized how the raid had “complicated life for presidential front-runner Asif Ali Zardari.”

But this largely ignored event holds potentially horrifying significance. “Top American officials” have told the New York Times that this raid “could be the opening salvo in a much broader campaign by Special Operations forces against the Taliban and Al Qaeda inside Pakistan, a secret plan that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has been advocating for months within President Bush’s war council.” The plan of course enjoys the support of John McCain, who never met a warlike action he didn’t like, as well as his opponent in the presidential race. Barack Obama has been saying for over a year that is the U.S. has “actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets” in Pakistan and the chance to hit them, it should do so. The hell with Pakistani sovereignty! Why should such a detail matter after “we were attacked”?

Why should the outraged opposition of the Pakistani government constitute a major news story? Pakistan’s only a nuclear-armed Muslim country of 165 million people, which has at great cost to itself agreed---under duress, indeed the threat of being “bombed back into the Stone Age”---to abet U.S. objectives in neighboring Afghanistan. It’s just a country that having helped create and nurture the Taliban in order to stabilize Afghanistan, broke with that organization at the demand of the U.S. in 2001 and then found its frontier provinces flooded with Islamist militants fleeing across the border.

According to a White House “fact sheet” issued in August 2007:

o Pakistan has worked closely with the United States to secure the arrest of terrorists like Khalid Shaykh Mohammad, Abu Zubaydah, and Ramzi bin al Shibh. Pakistan has killed or captured hundreds of suspected and known terrorists, including Mullah Obaidullah, who ranked second in the Taliban hierarchy at the time of his capture.
o About 100,000 Pakistani troops are deployed in the region near the Afghan border, and hundreds of Pakistani security forces have given their lives in the battle to combat terrorism post-9/11.
o Pakistan provides vital logistical support to coalition forces in Afghanistan.
o President Musharraf has a comprehensive strategy that combines three critical components--strengthened governance, increased economic development, and improved security--aimed at eradicating extremism in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

No government has provided more assistance to Washington as it pursues its goals in Southwest Asia. No country has been more dramatically destabilized as the price of its cooperation. But not only does the U.S. political class take this disasterous compliance for granted, it wants to further emphasize Islamabad’s irrelevance by attacking the border area at will. It insults the sensibilities of a population that holds bin Laden in far greater esteem than the U.S. president. It provokes the powerful Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), originally the creation of the CIA, once a close partner with the U.S. in the project of destroying the secular pro-Soviet state that existed in Afghanistan from 1978 to 1993. (The ISI, a power unto itself, is already annoyed that Afghanistan, where anti-Indian Kashmiri jihadis used to hone their skills in training camps, has been cozying up to India.) Its embrace undermines any leader who seeks nationalist and religious credentials in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

“There’s potential to see more [attacks on Pakistan],” an unnamed U.S. official told the New York Times. Who do these people think they’re dealing with?

It is one thing to ignore the government of Iraq, placed in power by the U.S. invasion, when it says no to a permanent U.S. military presence, U.S. forces’ immunity from Iraqi law, or the privatization of Iraq’s petroleum resources. It’s one thing to laugh at al-Maliki & Co. and say, “Well, they don’t mean that,” confident that they’ll eventually knuckle under. It’s another thing to suppose that the Pakistanis, when they say “No,” mean anything other than “No” and will simply burn with quiet resentment indefinitely as U.S. forces violate their sovereignty. But that sort of insane arrogance stems naturally from the post 9-11 “us vs. them” mentality of U.S. leaders. Not just the neocons, mind you, but the entire political mainstream.

Pakistan, these leaders will note, is not doing enough to prevent militants from crossing over the border to attack U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. One should respond to this assertion with the following points:

* The U.S. is conflating Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. But these are not the same thing. (This is perhaps the most obvious but obviously neglected point of fact in the post 9-11 era.) The Taliban is an indigenous Afghan movement and--however unsavory--unquestionably enjoys a social base. Al-Qaeda is a mostly Arab force rooted in the U.S.-sponsored anti-Soviet Mujahadeen of the 1980s.
* Nobody in Afghanistan asked the U.S. to invade, bomb, or continue bombing Afghanistan for seven years. Nor did the Pakistanis.
* The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, against the advice and will of Pakistan, and the failure of that invasion to crush al-Qaeda, pushed al-Qaeda and Taliban forces into Pakistan. It’s likely the latter far outnumber the former.
* Pakistan’s government had never firmly controlled the frontier provinces or deployed large-scale military forces there in deference to the sensibilities of local tribes. Washington, oblivious to Pakistan’s realities, demanded that Islamabad suppress the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces that fled into the region. In effect, it demanded that Pakistan clean up a mess that the U.S. invasion had created.
* Pakistan’s efforts to obey Washington have taken a terrible toll on the Pakistani Army, solidified local resistance to the central government, and in fact produced a Pakistani Taliban rooted in the local Pashtuns who identify with the Afghan Pashtuns and have no use for the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan drawn by colonialists who never consulted with them in drawing the map.
* Faced with the prospect of a general tribal-based rebellion, Islamabad has cut deals with local Taliban-linked groups. Washington has expressed its disapproval, claiming such deals continue to allow militants to cross back and forth across the border attacking its forces and their allies in Afghanistan. Washington is, in effect, asking Pakistan’s government to risk civil war and its own collapse to prevent Afghans from attacking its forces in Afghanistan whose deployment Pakistan opposed in the first place.
* Washington is saying to this nuclear power, Pakistan: “You must obey!” And some in Pakistan are saying: “You do not know this region. You’ve responded to 9-11 by lashing out in all directions, creating enemies you never had before. You created this problem, our headache, in Waziristan and adjoining regions. And you make it worse by saying that since we’re not handling it to your satisfaction, you’re going to start landing your troops in our villages, shooting on our civilians. And you’re expecting us to say, ‘Ok, no problem, boss?’ You’re crazy.”

It is crazy, even for a cocky hyper-imperialist power, to manifest such arrogance and contempt. Such attacks on Pakistan say to the Muslims of the world: “You are the problem and we reserve the right to slaughter you, because back home, we have powerful politicians who respond to a mass base that thinks fighting you all is, as Sarah Palin put it, ‘a task from God.’ (USA! USA! USA! USA!) If you don’t agree with our program to restructure your region, supporting our misogynistic fanatical Islamists in the Northern Alliance as opposed to the Taliban misogynistic fanatical Islamists you used to sponsor, we’ll invade you and take care of the problem ourselves. (USA! USA! USA! USA!) Get used to it. It’s not just the Bush crowd. We’ve got Obama on board now too. We will strike Pakistani targets as we see fit. Screw international law, which we invoke when it serves our needs and ignore when it might restrain us. Nobody is allowed to cross any border to attack our brave Americans, no matter where we invade, or why. Just accept that, world, and avoid our wrath. (USA! USA! USA!)”

That’s indeed the message to Pakistan. If there were a free press in this country, honest education and genuine discussion, the people would recoil in horror from the crimes committed in their name and the premises---largely lies---behind those crimes. But we have none of that, just some posts on the internet. The outlook is grim.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Religion.
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 06:24 pm
@Endymion,
It seems a recipe for disaster has been concocted. I sincerely hope Obama's rhetoric is mere campaign talk and not something he would carry out (assuming he gets elected). McCain, I expect no better from.
Endymion
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 07:00 pm
@edgarblythe,
Hi Edgar
Thanks for posting
Here is the latest regarding Pakistan. I wish it were not so.

At Least 23 Killed as US Drones Attack School in North Waziristan
September 8, 2008

This morning two US Predator Drones attacked a small village two miles north of Miramshah in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, killing at least 23 and wounding 20 others. Ten of those killed were said by officials to be militants, although a previous official was quoted as saying “no foreign militant was killed” in the strike. At least four women and two children were reported among the dead and most of the wounded are also reported to be women and children.

The attack centered on a religious school founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a religious scholar and veteran commander of the US-backed mujahideen who fought against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Haqqani is well-connected in both militant and government circles, having been accused of ties with both al-Qaeda and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence by US officials.

Haqqani has recently been accused of a role in the bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, and was also allegedly linked to an assassination attempt earlier this year against Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Incredibly enough, the United States attempted to install Haqqani as Prime Minister of Afghanistan, a position which he refused citing the number of Afghans killed in the 2001 invasion. Haqqani was reportedly in Afghanistan at the time of the attack.

The strike comes just days after an earlier US drone strike on another village not far from Miramshah, but on the Afghan side of the mountainous border, killed at least five civilians. It also comes less than a week after US ground troops killed 20 civilians in an attack on a village in South Waziristan, an action which led to widespread condemnation from Pakistan’s government and military, as well as anti-US protests among the tribesmen in the area. Pakistan’s government recently cut off supply lines to NATO troops in Afghanistan though there was some disagreement, even within the Pakistani government, whether this was in retaliation for last week’s South Waziristan attack. So far the only comment came from Pakistan’s military, who admitted the incident had occurred and said it was investigating the cause.

compiled by Jason Ditz

To be honest, i can't think of a thing to say, except you have my respect, Edgar
for talking about this stuff. As for Obama - I remember when everyone was hailing Blair as the new democratic saviour here in Britain.
How can we trust any of them? That's what i want to know.
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 07:11 pm
Do you have links to the sources for these articles? I think I would like to know the source and perhaps see some collaboration before accepting it as the real deal.

Edit: Never mind I found several other postings on Yahoo et al but all seem to be repeating the same source. Still waiting for a bit more detail before drawing any firm conclusions.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 09:33 pm
@Endymion,
Looks as though the US is taking advantage before the new government can get situated.
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 01:13 am
@Foxfyre,
If you found only one source you obviously didn't look hard enough - i don't often paste without double checking the facts (which obviously will be disputed for years to come, no matter what) - It is I admit difficult sometimes, because there are restrictions - but for anyone concerned with what is happening around us, you don't have to look any further than half a dozen sites - including the Times in London, the BBC (both i consider avid pro-western)
The Independent and The guardian and even the New York Times !!
Not to mention the humanitarian sites

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/08/pakistan.afghanistan
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/footage-of-civilian-massacre-forces-inquiry-into-us-attack-923486.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/06/world/asia/06pstan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://search.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/search/results.pl?uri=%2F&scope=all&go=toolbar&q=pakistan+raids
http://www.antiwar.com/
http://www.commondreams.org/

There - and not one aljazeera link (which i left out as there were discrepancies even i could not miss, within their reporting)

Cheers
Endy
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 02:44 pm

From the BBC

Bush 'approved' Pakistan attacks
Thursday, 11 September 2008

President George W Bush has authorised US military raids against militants inside Pakistan without prior approval from Islamabad, the BBC has learned.

An unnamed senior Pentagon official told the BBC the classified order had been made within the past two months.

On Wednesday, the US's top military commander said the US was shifting its strategy in Afghanistan to include raids across the border into Pakistan.

Pakistan has said it will not allow foreign forces onto its territory.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7611287.stm
Steve 41oo
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 03:24 am
@Endymion,
Well its a war on militant extremists. They are in Wazaristan Pakistan Algeria Iraq Afghanistan Somalia and Bradford.
Endymion
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 05:27 am
@Steve 41oo,
Sheeeeet, dem boiys a soon be bombin Bradfoyd, n missin by a mile agin
(that's my slim pickens accent. I've just watched Dr Strangelove - Yeeehhhaa).

Thank God not everyone's lost their mind yet, however

NATO Won’t Participate in US Strikes in Pakistan
September 11, 2008

Yesterday, Admiral Mullen announce his new “comprehensive strategy” for the war in Afghanistan, the centerpiece of which is ratcheting up attacks in neighboring Pakistan. The American intelligence community has warned the administration against such attacks, saying they were destabilizing a nation perceived as a key ally in the broader war.

This strategy, typified by last week’s attack on a South Waziristan village by US helicopters and ground troops, was rebuffed by Pakistan’s military. Chief of Army Staff General Parvez Kayani declared yesterday that foreign troops would no longer be allowed to conduct missions on Pakistani soil, citing the rules of engagement which do not permit coalition forces to operate inside of Pakistan. Now, the American plan faces another obstacle in NATO.

During a news briefing, NATO spokesman James Appathurai agreed with Pakistan that NATO’s mandate ends at the Afghan border, and insisted that NATO forces would not take part in “ground or air incursions” into Pakistan.

http://news.antiwar.com/2008/09/11/nato-wont-participate-in-us-strikes-in-pakistan/

How long that will include Britain, remains to be seen. We have one arm twisted up behind our back and a hand squeezing our balls real tight - Brown is a soft fart in the wind and couldn't stand up to a sea breeze - so i guess it all depends on who squeezes hardest. Of course, we can't afford to piss off Russia here in Britain... or it's lights out for us
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 08:01 am
@Endymion,
Endy-

You are using the sex and fear stroke. I think you oversimplify to the point of absurdity. It doesn't help your general case you know.

Have you thought of a career in politics?
Endymion
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 11:45 am
@spendius,
what makes you think i'm trying to make a case?
maybe i'm just trying to stop from going crazy

Life IS absurd (at least, to me)


but i thank you for being honest

As for your last question - i presume you are being sarcastic
I ******* hate politics - politics is what has caused all the **** trouble in the world.
None of my stuff is about politics - it's about trauma
It's about knowing how it feels to be on the receiving end of undeserving violence and feeling a human duty to do what small thing i can to try and change that in the world.

I know how that sounds. But i don't ******* care.
I don't ******* care
I just don't want to see what happened in Iraq and what is happening in Afghanistan spread to Pakistan and on and on - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

http://bp2.blogger.com/_mHCAWDirEHQ/RdtBgV_U4cI/AAAAAAAAAbk/N-7Nt0Im4ZQ/s400/Operation+Iraqi+Freedom.jpg

edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 11:55 am
@Endymion,
And that goes for me, too.
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:09 pm
@edgarblythe,
It goes for us all. But human nature is animalistic isn't it. According to Darwin,
whose ideas will soon dominate a school near you.
Only the message of Jesus can save us. i.e. ban the manufacture, ownership and use of arms entirely. If you're not up for that you're having an "am I not a nice guy" tweeting session.

You can't suck on the milk of human kindness and live under the protection of bastards. Not if you wish to be taken seriously I mean.
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 02:43 pm
@spendius,
you really believe only the message of jesus will save us?

you, the arch cynic?

I find someof your posts very tiresome spendy. You're a clever fellow, stop playing games. please just for a while
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  3  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 03:01 pm
let me post a rhetorical and you guys answer me. A terrorist sets off a nuclear explosion in Pakistan. He is known to be hiding in the appalachians somewhere. We tell Pakistan you can't send in an invasion force or even a large Pakistani troop force to find this guy... it's a law enforcement manner at this time. We'll find him. 7 years later we haven't done jack and a huge contingent of Pakistani military, having had enough, lands on the beach at Wilmington to head for Asheville and deep into the mountains to bring him out themselves.... and also flyover planes that will bomb the appalachians in our airspace.

You approve of that? Is it okay? How do you think that would work out?
Steve 41oo
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 03:27 pm
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:

let me post a rhetorical and you guys answer me. A terrorist sets off a nuclear explosion in Pakistan. He is known to be hiding in the appalachians somewhere. We tell Pakistan you can't send in an invasion force or even a large Pakistani troop force to find this guy... it's a law enforcement manner at this time. We'll find him. 7 years later we haven't done jack and a huge contingent of Pakistani military, having had enough, lands on the beach at Wilmington to head for Asheville and deep into the mountains to bring him out themselves.... and also flyover planes that will bomb the appalachians in our airspace.

You approve of that? Is it okay? How do you think that would work out?

there are so many things wrong with this hypothetical argument that its not really worth responding to. sorry bpb.

but just one point, osama bin the lader has not yet let off any nuclear bomb, anywhere. and i see it as part my responsibility to ensure neither he nor his acolytes get the opportunity of doing so.
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 03:31 pm
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Quote:
You approve of that? Is it okay? How do you think that would work out?


How do you think it would work out?
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 04:44 pm
@Steve 41oo,
okay someone flies a plane into pakistan's largest most important building......now what do you say?
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 04:45 pm
@spendius,
I think we would slaughter the invading pakistanis like rabid dogs...wrap it all in the american flag and declare it a national holiday
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 05:06 pm
@Bi-Polar Bear,
That it was an accident. And that we are very sorry and will a few $bilion make it right or at the least bearable.
0 Replies
 
 

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