Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beyond the Khyber pass

President Bush has vowed to hunt bin Laden even in Pakistan, according to a news story from Breitbart. "US President Geoge W. Bush said in an interview said he would not hesitate to track down and kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other terror operatives even if it meant hunting them down on Pakistani soil. "We would take the action necessary to bring them to justice," said Bush in an interview with CNN television. Very well, but did the peace deal between the Pakistan and the Taliban offically condone sanctuary for Osama? Bill Roggio has been warning for some time that while the media keeps warning that the sky is falling everywhere the US has deployed troops, the floor may have actually collapsed in Pakistan, which is safely protected by the subtle webs of diplomacy. CNS reports:

President Bush said Thursday the U.S. will keep a close eye on a peace agreement signed between the Pakistan government and Islamists in a remote frontier region where fugitive al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is believed to be located. At the same time, the president said in an ABC News interview, he did not believe the deal would provide "safe haven" to terrorists. ...

But critics of the agreement are worried about such a scenario. The deal signed earlier this week in Pakistan's restive North Waziristan region is interpreted by some as allowing foreign terrorists to remain in the area on condition they remain peaceful.

Counterterrorism consultant Daveed Gartenstein-Ross said the deal "essentially cedes authority in the North Waziristan tribal region to the Taliban and al Qaeda." ...

The agreement, which aims to end two years of violence in the area, was signed between President Pervez Musharraf's government and seven Islamists representing a Pakistani grouping which calls itself Taliban and has close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan.Dawn reported that the venue for the signing ceremony was "heavily guarded by armed Taliban."

The signing ceremony was guarded by the Taliban? That sure looks like a good sign. One thing that near-myoptic focus on Iraq has deprived us of is perspective. The key question which those who advocate a return to containment have never answered fully is if propping up "stable" regimes is such a good idea, as opposed to "democracy", how come the Jihadis describe local dissatisfaction as their primary recruiting tool? Maybe the universe of solutions is a number larger than a bit.


Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/20/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Foreign troops in Afghanistan will not be able to end attacks by Taliban militants unless "terrorist sanctuaries" outside the country are destroyed, President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday, in a clear reference to Pakistan.
NATO troops are battling to quell the heaviest bout of violence in Afghanistan since 2001 when U.S.-led forces overthrew the Islamic-fundamentalist Taliban, which had been sheltering Osama bin-Laden and his al Qaeda organization.
Another in the "Islam is the Problem" series.

9/20/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Aww gee that spreading democracy thing is working so well. Look at all the allies we have...

9/20/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Wretchard you are so naive! Jihadis didn't really exist until GWB came into office. ;)

Anyway, "propping up stable regimes" CAUSED local dissatisfaction, therefore the US is ultimately to blame.

No wait! Disavowing past policy and the simplistic remediation of past policy thru naive idealism gave rise to jihadis....No wait!

9/20/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wake up, the West is losing.
The American imperium, Selbourne argues, “is in a state of confusion”. Its time will pass, just as Rome, Byzantium and the British Empire fell away. The West is losing the battle against Islam for the “same reason the British lost the American colonies. They had insufficient forces, their counsels were divided, and they underestimated their opponents”.

The Losing Battle With Islam is a blistering critique of the West’s response to Muslim militancy. Publishers in London were far too “pusillanimous” and “PC” to take it on, says Selbourne indignantly. But in America, a nation with greater “intellectual vigour”, Prometheus Books stepped into the breach and it will be published in September. The Losing Battle with Islam: Books: David Selbourne

9/20/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


Seriously. People talk about this containment/diplomacy thing as if it were invented right after GWB invaded Iraq. Whether it is better than "spreading democracy" is a serious issue. What is fair to say is it has its upside. But it has its downside. Anyway, the first modern attempt to repudiate containment belongs to Jimmy Carter, who saw in continued support for the Shah a prolongation of the "failed policy" of propping up strongmen. So he stood aside to let Khomeini through. And for good or ill, the rest is history.

As I argued earlier, is a false dichotomy to say "past policies have failed" therefore anything new we dream up will succeed. But it is equally false to say, what you tried doesn't seem to work therefore the only viable path was the failed policy of yesteryear.

I think finding shortcomings and fixing them is probably a neverending process. To the question: is it fundamentally correct to try and nurture viable governments in the Middle East, the answer it seems to me is absolutely. Bernard Lewis points out that many of the evils we now face in the Middle East are of relatively recent vintage, and most of the worst caused by Europe. He does this not to fix blame, but to argue that we are not up against some eternal, unchanging Middle East, but problems of relatively recent and manmade provenance; and that what can be done by one can be undone by another.

9/20/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


I wish someone would write a book examining how Islam is faring in competition with the rest of the Third World. My guess is: miserably. If you subtract the oil factor, the rest of the world, notably China and India have leapt ahead. In a world without the West, Islam would steadily be losing ground in every wordly sense. Worst of all, other Third World countries don't have the burden of guilt which paralyzes the West.

Given enough time the West will simply deal itself out of the game, like a psychotic person carrying on a guilt-ridden dialogue with himself. Much of the "brilliance" of Islamic strategy is nothing more than taking credit for the self-inflicted wounds of the West. Ok. Enough already. Let's commit suicide and leave Russia, China and India to deal with Islam. Just exactly how long would they last?

9/20/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

I have said it before - this is a huge opportunity for the US. A proven technique against terrorists is to give them a sanctuary for a year or two. it worked on the Shining Path in Peru. Let them feel really safe in some area, then attack.

The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is said to be porous. I hear that 30,000 feet above the mountains of the Hindu Kush, the pores will admit a stealth bomber in both directions.

9/20/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Regarding the value of sanctuaries to guerillas, recall that Mao marched 6,000 km across China to get to one. Smart guerillas will be gone before you bring the hammer down, having enjoyed the R&R in the meantime.

9/20/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Islam will continue to grow and spread just like all other violent beliefs and tyrants have in the past, ether America will collapses from the duty of being everywhere at once and responsible for everything (stops trying to cure and fix all) or a big hot shooting culture war erupts in the good old WWII style that the US and 90 percent of the non-Muslim population will back.
Freedom and Democracy can not compete head to head with the violence and thuggery of Islam, where ether one converts or dies, there is no history of Freedom (American style Democracy) ever over coming the violence that is displayed and produced by Islam, there is no historical account of a Islamic nation electing a Christian, Jewish, Hindu, etc government to rule, Islam only stopped spreading when the West armed itself for major battle and then Islam was stopped because it ended up on the losing side both times.
Truth, Justice and Human dignity (rights) mean nothing to a Muslim except form one to another.

9/21/2006 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Wretchard said:

"To the question: is it fundamentally correct to try and nurture viable governments in the Middle East, the answer it seems to me is absolutely."

It seems to that that is not only AN option, but the ONLY option left to us. Other than leaving the region and hoping the resultant chaos will eventually lead to something better.

Which begs the question, Wretchard, which so many have answered in the negative; Is Islam capable of such a transformation? I seem to be one of the few optimists.

9/21/2006 04:08:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

One way to think about both the peace deal between the Pakistani government and the Islamists in Waziristan, and President Bush's comment on hunting down Bin Ladin in Pakistan, that I have not seen posited anywhere is this:

Perhaps this is a very clever way for Musharraf to give the US special forces a quiet free hand in the Wazirstan region: if the area has been turned over to the Taliban-allied tribes, then the Pakistani army will not be there to have to confront any US or Coalition troops who operate in the region. It gives Musharraf some plausible denial cover when we get the big guy, or take out some bases.

Neither Bush nor Musharraf are stupid. On its face the Waziristan deal is so stupid and "in your face" that one cannot imagine Musharraf doing it without expecting the wrath of the US. Which leads one to suspect he's discussed it with the US, and that he got a green light - or at least no threats - to go ahead. Why would the US not protest it if there weren't something in it for us? No reason. Hence, there is more here than meets the eye. I await the outcome of these developments with a certain only slightly troubled equanimity.

9/21/2006 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger Richard H said...

Maybe we could look at this semi-independent Waziristan as "not-Pakistan." We have important diplomatic relations with Pakistan. Do we have any with "not-Pakistan?" It would seem that one could do what one needed to do to achieve healthy diplomatic relations with this instance of "not-Pakistan."

9/21/2006 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...


Actually, other have sumised this over at The Fourth Rail

However, I think you have said it better than most.

Bill Roggio has nots responded to the speculation. I suspect that he would classify it as wishful thinking.

9/21/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Egiat said...

Is it possible President Pervez Musharraf's peace agreement recognizes the Waziristan region as a separate entity from the rest of Pakistan? If this is the case, would Musharraf have any responsibility to intervene - if the Waziristan region were to be attacked by a foreign entity?

9/21/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

Wretchard 9/20/2006 07:33:55 PM
“Let's commit suicide and leave Russia, China and India to deal with Islam. Just exactly how long would they last?”

I am answering your question just in case you asked it more than rhetorically. Based on their hystory to date I think that India might not be able to overcome the problem considering that Pakistan was once part of India and they still have a large and growing muslim population) but I have no doubt that both Russia and China would not end up losing the battle.

9/21/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

The long question is whether this spot treatment of radicalism will enable the West to affect change to a largely unwilling Islam. Certainly there are those within Islam that would embrace liberalism but they are so overshadowed and oppressed that their voices are not heard.

There has to be a tipping point where the resources of the willing (US & few others) are spent down and a decision must be made to pull the plug on the whole idea of coercing these out of the middle ages.

It seems to me that it is at that point where the west is most vulnerable.

So the big question is: Is it a chance worth taking? Our host thinks it is since the alternatives seem so ghastly. But the alternatives are the easy way out and one must think about history after...

9/21/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Based on their hystory to date I think that India might not be able to overcome the problem considering that Pakistan was once part of India and they still have a large and growing muslim population) but I have no doubt that both Russia and China would not end up losing the battle.

Russia hasn't done terribly well in Chechnya after they've spent a TON of money and lost a lot of men there. I'm not sure what it would take to get China involved. They seem to be more oil-dependent than we are so maybe they'd be moved to take a stand if the Arabs tried another oil embargo.

I think it would take a united effort including USA *and* Russia *and* China to be most effective. And that would necessarily also mean no more pussy-footing around about human rights and Geneva conventions and nonsense like that.

Not to mention dealing the UN (and France on the Security Council) totally out of the equation.

9/21/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Griswel said...

To what extent was Pakistan motivated by the fact that the American public has obviously lost its nerve?

Clearly, American resolve is not what it was when Pakistan risked civil war to avoid conflict with the US. They have simply returned to their default position - saving themselves.

Opposition has consequences.

9/22/2006 09:18:00 AM  

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