October 2, 2010

WHERE THE WAR ENDS:

CIA Escalates in Pakistan: Pentagon Diverts Drones From Afghanistan to Bolster U.S. Campaign Next Door (ADAM ENTOUS, JULIAN E. BARNES And SIOBHAN GORMAN, 10/01/10, WSJ)

The U.S. military is secretly diverting aerial drones and weaponry from the Afghan battlefront to significantly expand the CIA's campaign against militants in their Pakistani havens.

The shift in strategic focus reflects the U.S. view that, with Pakistan's military unable or unwilling to do the job, more U.S. force against terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan is now needed to turn around the struggling Afghan war effort across the border. [...]

Although the U.S. military flies surveillance drones in Pakistan and shares intelligence with the Pakistani government, Pakistan has prohibited U.S. military operations on its soil, arguing they would impinge on the country's sovereignty. The CIA operations, while well-known, are technically covert, allowing Islamabad to deny to its unsupportive public its involvement with the strikes. The CIA doesn't acknowledge the program, and the shift of Pentagon resources has been kept under wraps.

Pakistan has quietly cooperated with the CIA drone program which started under President George W. Bush. But the program is intensely unpopular in the country because of concerns about sovereignty and regular reports of civilian casualties. U.S. officials say the CIA's targeting of militants is precise, and that there have been a limited number of civilian casualties.

U.S. officials said there is now less concern about upsetting the Pakistanis than there was a few months ago, and that the U.S. is being more aggressive in its response to immediate threats from across the border. [...]

The U.S. military has been focused on trying to persuade the Pakistan army to step up its actions against militants in the tribal areas. That effort led to operations in some areas, but not North Waziristan, which is used by the Haqqani militant network to mount cross-border attacks and is believed by U.S. officials to be the hiding place of senior al Qaeda leaders.


While blowing up bad guys is fun, it's obviously just a tactic, rather than a strategy.

The problem is that neither we nor the Paks will face up to where this all ends. The Tribal Areas are simply not a part of Pakistan's sovereign territory and they're never going to be. The sooner we recognize them as an independent state or states and impose responsibility upon them -- for what happens within whatever political borders we decide upon -- the more clarity will be brought to the battle.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 2, 2010 7:23 AM
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