Saturday :: Mar 20, 2004

Forget Getting Al Qaeda's Number Two - Musharraf Is Gaming Us


by Steve

Well, all the hype of the last several days about the closing net around Al Qaeda Number Two man Ayman al-Zawahiri seems to be nothing but that: hype. After hearing for days from both US and Pakistani sources that Pakistani forces were closing in on capturing or killing al-Zawahiri, it turns out that the Pakistanis and Rummy himself are backing away from such assertions today, and now think they are closing in on a Chechen or Uzbek militant leader rather than al-Zawahiri. Worse yet, while the media hypes this operation as a potential turning point in the war on terror, the Pakistani border is still quite porous right under the noses of the Pakistani military.

For an administration that claims to have a far better anti-terrorism strategy than the Clintonites, that claims it needed months to improve upon the plans given to it by the Clintonites, and which has now had three and a half years to fashion a global plan to work with allies to root out Al Qaeda, why are we still relying upon the Paks to do our work for us instead of doing it ourselves? It needs to be remembered that we already lost Bin Laden once in the mountains of Tora Bora over two years ago because Rummy allowed these same Pak military leaders and locals to go after Bin Laden, instead of insisting that our Special Forces do the job with local help. Sure, folks will say that having us do it ourselves will doom President Musharraf with those who have tried to kill him twice now, but Musharraf will be a target whether or not he or our troops capture the Al Qaeda leadership. The only way Musharraf can navigate this minefield between keeping the US happy and staying alive with his Islamist opponents is to let us think he is helping us with the war on terror while actually doing nothing to get al-Zawahiri or Bin Laden himself.

After seeing Ahmad Chalabi play the PNAC cabal into toppling Hussein for him so that he can take over the country and forge ties with Iran, why is it not possible that Musharraf himself hasn’t learned from this example and is playing the Bushies as well? He has already gotten the US to give him a pass for letting Dr. Khan give the North Koreans the bomb in exchange for this supposed help in getting the Al Qaeda leadership. (Of course, given Bush’s hand in letting Dr. Khan get away with this activity, it was self-serving for Bush to “allow” this.) We have given Pakistan special military status and pissed off India while doing it. Now it turns out that not only is the border still porous, but the current offensive may not bag Bin Laden or al-Zawahiri after all.

Getting the Al Qaeda leadership should have been the Number One priority of this administration since the day they came into office. It is now three and a half years and many bombings in Europe and the Middle East later since Bush came to power, and yet we are no closer to getting these guys. In the mean time, Al Qaeda has grown and gotten more dangerous while we still let the Pakistanis fumble this job instead of doing it ourselves.

Musharraf is gaming us. Exactly how serious are we at getting Al Qaeda?

Steve :: 2:57 PM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!