March 21, 2007

THERE HAS TO BE A SOVEREIGN (via Ali Choudhury):

40 killed in Waziristan clashes: Death toll on the rise as fighting continues (Zakir Hassnain, 3/21/07, Daily Times)

More than 40 people were killed and several wounded in clashes between local and foreign militants on Tuesday in the Azam Warsak and Kaloosha areas, west of Wana in South Waziristan, said officials in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan. [...]

The reason for Tuesday's clashes was reported to be differences between local tribesmen and foreign militants over the law and order situation. Both blamed each other for the increasing crime rates and deaths in the area.

42 Uzbeks among 58 dead: Fierce clashes in S. Waziristan (Ismail Khan & Alamgir Bhittani, 3/20/07, Dawn)
Forty-two Uzbeks militants and 16 tribespeople were killed in two days of fierce clashes in the volatile South Waziristan tribal region, government and security officials told Dawn.

They said another 27 Uzbek militants had been captured by tribal militant commander Maulvi Nazir. [...]

The government, it appears, has chosen to take a back seat and allow tribal dynamics to play out to deal with the situation, fearing that any intervention to side with tribespeople or militants supporting the action against foreign militants could discredit the whole campaign.

�Let the tribespeople deal with the situation. That�s the best way to deal with the problem. There is a groundswell of support for action against Uzbeks and any attempt by the government to intervene in support of the tribal action would actually discredit it. There is tribal sensitivity involved here,� the official said.

The latest flare-up, the second this month, occurred after the killing of an Al Qaeda-linked Arab identified as Saiful Adil last week. His body was found abandoned in the outskirts of Wana.

Maulavi Nazir, a top pro-Taliban militant commander in Wana region, suspected Uzbeks for their involvement in the murder.

The security official said a foreign militant and his tribal escort carrying blood money to the widow of Saiful Adil were also attacked on their way which added fuel to the fire.

Maulvai Nazir had strained relations with Uzbek militants due to their alleged involvement in local crimes, decided to take them on, banking largely on popular support for his action, government and security officials said.

The officials said militant commanders were now clearly divided over the issue with some supporting the Uzbeks.

Musharraf tells militants to surrender (Daily Times, 3/21/07)
President General Pervez Musharraf warned militants on Tuesday that they should lay down their arms, otherwise "they will be eliminated and allowed to exist no more".

"Where does decency stand on the way to blowing up gas pipelines and railway tracks? These elements are opposed to development and want their hegemony to prevail. I warn them to surrender, otherwise they will be eliminated and they will not be allowed to exist any more ... these miscreants are minimal in number, and we will deal with them. If they want to fight, I know (how) to fight more than them," said Musharraf while inaugurating the Gwadar deep-sea port here on Tuesday. Port operations began with the unloading of cargo from three ships.

He said that 2007 would be election year, and called on people to reject extremists, and "vote for my associates ... if they stay, there will be development".

Someone is going to have to either establish law and order or depopulate the region. Better they do it themselves, but....

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2007 6:56 AM

Well, it's good to see clarity with respect to the obligations of neutrality.

If only we could see the Com-symp peace-creeps apologize for their slanders concerning our incursion into Cambodia. Don't hold your breath.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 21, 2007 1:30 PM