The Red Harvest
Pakistan Uncut is following operations against the rebellious Red Mosque in Pakistan. He has background, links to news items, pictures, maps and video. From the sound of it the Berkeley student movement, even in its salad days, had nothing on this.
The shootout erupted after six months of tension over the activities of the hardline Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, which has kidnapped several Chinese and Pakistani civilians as part of a freelance anti-vice campaign.
Students carrying Kalashnikovs and wearing gas masks took up positions behind sandbags and dirt bunkers chanting “Jihad! Jihad! (Holy war)”, as police in riot vans fired volleys of tear gas.
At least one of the blogs I've looked at is cheering the assault on, basically taking the attitude that "it's about time". But, as you might expect, the sympathizers of the militants in the Red Mosque are feeding the fight. Adniki (hat tip: The Noisy Room) reports that reinforcements are flooding in from all over.
The 'crack' III Brigade of the Pakistan Army's 10th corps is likely to be mobilised against jihadists reported to have entered Islamabad in droves and to have joined forces with militant Islamic students from the Lal Masjid, according to well placed sources.
The mosque and the two madrassas (religious schools) attached to it - one for men, the other for women - have been at the centre of a months-long standoff with the Pakistani authorities. Armed students at the mosque and religious schools linked to it have defied the authorities for months in a campaign for Islamic Sharia law.
Like Iraq, the affair is unlikely to end until the the opponent can send no more reinforcements. With Pakistan's Northwest Frontier crawling with Taliban and al-Qaeda and the fact that this confrontation was long in coming, I would be truly surprised if the Red Mosque weren't reinforced or if diversionary attacks were not launched against the Pakistani government. A massive source of enemy reinforcements is very near at hand, and I wonder, how "crack" the Pakistani forces really are. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.