Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 22, 2008

Who Is Behind the Bombing in Islamabad?

"What we cannot escape," one Pentagon policy planner told us, "is a confrontation with Pakistan.  Pakistan holds the key to success for us in Afghanistan."
Afghanistan: How Does This End?, Swoop, Sept 20, 2008

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If one wants to make sense of the big bombing that hit the Marriott hotel in Islamabad yesterday, one has to look at the bigger strategic picture.

If you believe the usually 'western' media, the U.S. is still an ally of Pakistan and India is still a neutral country. In reality the U.S. and India are allied in a war against Pakistan and China.

Foreign policy elements in India and the in U.S. see China as their respective big strategic enemy. But both want - for now - avoid an open conflict. The center of gravity in this silent war against China are the hydrocarbon reserves in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa and the transport routes for these.

The war in Afghanistan and the war in Pakistan can be seen as proxy wars between these three big powers over the energy issue.

China is developing the port of Gwader in Baluchistan on the south coast of Pakistan and transport routes from there into its mainland. The port will allow energy flow from Africa and the Middle East to China without Indian naval interference.

Just like China is in a strategic alliance with Pakistan, India is in a strategic alliance with Afghanistan. It is developing a road connection from Herat to a port in south Iran. While Pakistan supports some Taliban groups in their war against the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, India and the U.S. support other Taliban groups within Pakistan in fighting Islamabad.

The current aim seems to be to splinter Pakistan into smaller pieces.

Oh, that is not what the media say? The above is all baloney?

Attached is a collection of excerpts of recent news pieces and strategic papers. Skim through them with the above in mind.

From the U.S.:

[T]he Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent “Pashtunistan.” The Sindhis in the southeast, numbering 23 million, would unite with the six million Baluch tribesmen in the southwest to establish a federation along the Arabian Sea from India to Iran. “Pakistan” would then be a nuclear-armed Punjabi rump state.
Drawn and Quartered, New York Times op-ed, Feb 1, 2008

From India:

If ever the national interests are defined with clarity and prioritised, the foremost threat to the Union (and for centuries before) materialised on the western periphery, continuously. To defend this key threat to the Union, New Delhi should extend its influence through export of both, soft and hard power towards Central Asia from where invasions have been mounted over centuries.  Cessation of Pakistan as a state facilitates furtherance of this pivotal national objective.
...
With China’s one arm, i.e. Pakistan disabled, its expansionist plans will receive a severe jolt. Beijing continues to pose primary threat to New Delhi. Even as we continue to engage with it as constructively as possible, we must strive to remove the proxy. At the same time, it is prudent to extend moral support to the people of Tibet to sink Chinese expansionism in the morass of insurgency.
Stable Pakistan not in India’s interest, Indian Defence Review, Sept. 2008

From Pakistan:

Pakistani policy analysts are convinced that United States has been a duplicitous ally during the past seven years, using the sincere Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan to gradually turn that country into a military base to launch a sophisticated psychological, intelligence and military campaign to destabilize Pakistan itself.

The objective is to weaken the control of the Pakistani military over geographical Pakistan and ignite an ethnic and sectarian civil war leading to changing the status of Balochistan and NWFP, possibly even facilitate the break up of both provinces from the Pakistani federation.
Pakistan Reverses 9/11 Appeasement, Ahmed Quraishi, Sept 13, 2008

Various sources:

Mere rhetorical response to the mounting American gangsterism is no answer, when this adventurism has very deeper diabolical motivations to it.
...
It is for the failure of the retired general, who loved playing a slave to American warlords, to demand this action from the coalition forces in Afghanistan that our tribal region has become the lair of foreign-sponsored militants, who on the bidding of their masters have turned our once-peaceful tribal belt into a violent place and the rest of our country their killing field.
Mullen’s betrayal, The Frontier Post,  Peshawar, Editorial, Sept 19, 2008

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India is buying armaments that major powers like the United States use to operate far from home: aircraft carriers, giant C-130J transport planes and airborne refueling tankers. Meanwhile, India has helped to build a small air base in Tajikistan that it will share with its host country. It is modern India’s first military outpost on foreign soil.
...
“There seems to be an emerging long-term competition between India and China for pre-eminence in the region,” said Jacqueline Newmyer, president of the Long Term Strategy Group, a research institute in Cambridge, Mass., and a security consultant to the United States government. “India is preparing slowly to claim its place as a pre-eminent power, and in the meantime China is working to complicate that for India.”
Land of Gandhi Asserts Itself as Global Military Power, NYT, Sept. 22, 2008

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Armed with a permit for global nuclear trade, India's prime minister leaves next week for the United States and France hoping to seal atomic energy deals and discuss cooperation in defense and counter-terrorism.
Atomic trade high on India PM's U.S., France tour, Reuters, Sept. 19, 2008

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Senior Chinese military official Guo Boxiong pledged on Monday to further strengthen military exchanges between China and Pakistan.

In his meeting with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq PervezKiyani, Guo, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, appreciated the fruitful cooperation between both sides over the years.
...
China highly values its all-round strategic cooperative partnership with Pakistan, Guo said, vowing to join hands with the country to boost bilateral ties to a new level.

In response, Kiyani said his country treasures its traditional friendship with China and is ready to further boost cooperation with China.
China eyes closer military exchanges with Pakistan, Xinhua, Sept. 22, 2008

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Taliban insurgents have attacked an Indian construction project in the western Afghan province of Herat, killing 11 Afghan policemen and wounding several others on a weekend that saw most fighters lay down their weapons for U.N. Peace Day.
Indian construction project targeted by Taliban, Globe and Mail, Sept. 21, 2008

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Two local intelligence officials say troops and tribesmen opened fire when two U.S. helicopters crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan.
Intel officials: US copters cross Pakistan border, Reuters, Sept. 22, 2008

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Pakistani military forces flew repeated helicopter missions into Afghanistan to resupply the Taliban during a fierce battle in June 2007, according to a U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel, who says his information is based on multiple U.S. and Afghan intelligence reports.
U.S. Officer: Pakistani Forces Aided Taliban, Defense News, Sept. 19, 2008

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This U.S. media campaign has been going hand in glove for the past eighteen months with a wave of terrorism inside Pakistan targeting Pakistani civilians and government.  The blame for these acts was laid at the doors of something called ‘Pakistani Taliban’ which is, in major part, a creation of Indian and Karzai intelligence setups inside Afghanistan.
...
But the situation between Islamabad and Washington does not have to come to this. Islamabad can help tip the scales in Washington against the hawks who want a war with Pakistan. Not all parts of the U.S. government accept this idea and this must be exploited. Pakistan must make it clear that it will retaliate.
...
The only way to entrap Pakistan now is to either orchestrate a spectacular terrorist attack in U.S. and blame it on Pakistan, or to assassinate a high profile personality inside Pakistan and generate domestic strife that will make it impossible for the military to resist U.S. attacks.
Pakistan Reverses 9/11 Appeasement, Ahmed Quraishi, Sept 13, 2008

So:

  • Who could be/is responsible for yesterday's big bomb in Islamabad?
  • May China have, beside Taiwan, additional conditions for the big bailout that relate with Pakistan?

Posted by b on September 22, 2008 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

Comments

b - this is great, keep it up. A lot of time I nitpick at things but aggregating info like this is a real service.

Posted by: boxcar mike | Sep 22, 2008 1:06:11 PM | 1

Good insights and quite plausible. Though to which extent they can pull it off, or how things will really turn out are still hard to guess.
And, as I've thought for some time, there's the fact that non-Asiatic powers - and some Asiatic ones - know that an Indian-Chinese alliance would be quite formidable on the global stage, and make sure this won't ever happen - the way some Western powers, notably UK and to a lesser extent US, made sure in the 19th and 20th that Germany and Russia would never be allies, something which would have instantly turned the rest of Europe into mere satellite of the new axis.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Sep 22, 2008 1:20:24 PM | 2

Fisk:

First of all, back in 2001, we won the war in Afghanistan by overthrowing the Taliban. Then we marched off to win the war in Iraq. Now – with at least one suicide bombing a day and the nation carved up into mutually antagonistic sectarian enclaves – we have won the war in Iraq and are heading back to re-win the war in Afghanistan where the Taliban, so thoroughly trounced by our chaps seven years ago, have proved their moral and political bankruptcy by recapturing half the country.
...
And Obama and McCain really think they're going to win in Afghanistan – before, I suppose, rushing their soldiers back to Iraq when the Baghdad government collapses. What the British couldn't do in the 19th century and what the Russians couldn't do at the end of the 20th century, we're going to achieve at the start of the 21 century, taking our terrible war into nuclear-armed Pakistan just for good measure.

Posted by: b | Sep 22, 2008 1:27:27 PM | 3

Karzai’s security and intelligence network is populated with strongly anti-Pakistan officers. The Indians received an American nod to establish an elaborate intelligence and military training setup in Afghanistan. Indians and Karzai’s men are directly involved in training, arming and financing rebels and insurgents and sending them into Pakistan. There is a full backing for an ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan where China is building a strategic seaport.
more from Ahmed Quraishi 9/21 Islamabad Attack: Time To End Pakistani Role In America’s War

Karzai’s security and intelligence network is populated with strongly anti-Pakistan officers. The Indians received an American nod to establish an elaborate intelligence and military training setup in Afghanistan. Indians and Karzai’s men are directly involved in training, arming and financing rebels and insurgents and sending them into Pakistan. There is a full backing for an ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan where China is building a strategic seaport. There are reports that the Israeli intelligence, the Mossad, is helping the Indians and Karzai’s security in destabilizing Pakistan’s western parts. The Israeli ambassador in New Delhi admitted in February that Israel offered crucial help to India during the Kargil war in 1999 which was the only reason India managed to repeal what appeared to be a surprise Pakistani victory. The Israelis have built a close defense relationship with India ever since and are also helping India perfect its occupation methods in Kashmir.

Pakistanis don’t have evidence that shows direct U.S. involvement in this anti-Pakistan campaign. But the circumstantial evidence is more than overwhelming. Afghanistan could not have turned into a staging ground for anti-Pakistan covert operations involving several players with out Washington’s nod. U.S. military has also been deliberately attacking those militant tribals inside Pakistan who are pro-Islamabad, and sparing those militants who only fight Pakistani military. Also, U.S. government has refused to designate the ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan as terrorism. One very interesting piece of information that points the fingers to both India and U.S. is that these shady ‘Pakistani Taliban’ have focused their efforts in the past four years on attacking Chinese citizens and Chinese interests inside Pakistan. No U.S. or NATO citizens have been attacked.

Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 2:17:44 PM | 4

Little mentioned: Hamid:

Karzai is well-versed in several languages, including Pashto, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, English and French.[5]

From 1979 to 1983, Karzai took a postgraduate course in political science at Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Posted by: b | Sep 22, 2008 2:27:35 PM | 5

How about a plan that limits military, and trys to upgrade the lives of people in the remote villages? We know military intervention only makes us more enemies, time for a humantarian approach. Duh!

Posted by: Ben | Sep 22, 2008 3:07:58 PM | 6

Is this Ahmed Quraishi guy really reliable? Between annie @ 4 and b's post, he is getting quite a lot of exposure. Sounds like he goes over the top a bit. A youngish journalist, a bit excited.

I think we should hang back a bit on the conspiracy theories. The conflict as it stands in Pakistan is between the US and various strands of Taliban or other fundamentalists. And the question, will Pakistanis support their own nationals or turn against them as extremists? India is not much in it; they would want to make money on building projects in Afghanistan anyway - that's commercial. and India will do anything to do a bad turn to Pakistan.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 22, 2008 3:15:27 PM | 7

@Alex - Is this Ahmed Quraishi guy really reliable?

As a single source certainly not.

That's why I added the Frontier Post editorial. I could have added some ten other pieces from different Pakistani sources I stumbled upon in the last weeks that go into the same direction. The News, Dawn, The Nation - most Pakistani rags had something in this direction throughout the last weeks.

I also quoted the Indian (neocon) Defence journal that somewhat confirms those Pakistani 'conspiracy theories' as an Indian strategy. There is more of that in other Indian papers, mostly rabbit Hindi ones.

Qurashi is good at expressing that in sound, if angry, English.

Whatever - the motivations that are ground of these 'conspiracy theories' make strategic sense.

But the really important issue is perception. The NYT and others created the perception that Iraq was a threat and the U.S. attacked.

The perception in Pakistan now, widely held, is that India together with the U.S. attacks their homeland.

I do not see that perception narrated in the 'western' news even though it is very important as actions will result from it.

We can hang back on that, but then don't be surprised when the consequences occur.

Posted by: b | Sep 22, 2008 3:51:04 PM | 8

as communist china prepares to buy up capitalist umreeka, there are bound to be pre-conditions :)

seriously now. first this topic is massive, i can only touch upon a few points here.

first of all ahmed quraishi is known to be an isi mouthpiece. i tune into him in order to listen to what the isi and the pakistani establishment are saying on a particular topic. while i have seldom seen him to outright lie, but you often need to re-adjust the volume of some of the things that he says.

you can divide the "millitants" into four major groups. one is the criminal elements, they are guns for hire and work for anyone who pays them. the second is the afghan talibans who are fighting against the foreign occupiers in afghanistan. they are mostly in afghanistan and have very little operations in pakistan (mostly the supply lines etc). then there is the pakistan taliban, which is baitullah mehsud in wazirastan, fazalullah in swat etc. they have little to do with afghan fighting, these guys are fighting the pakistan government. and they are often not on the best of terms with the afghan taliban. and armed exchanges have even been reported between them. last but not least, there is the al-qaeda. this is a smaller core of idealogues who are mostly arabs.

to put it very crudely, the isi and the pakistani establishment have been supporting the afghan taliban. the indians-umreekans-afghan govt. have been supporting the pakistan talibans. the reasons are obvious. it is also known that the afghan talibans are getting russian and chinese weapons. there was an interesting piece recently about fighting with the pakistani taliban

Battle to be won or lost in Bajaur


...
Having suffered initial reversals, the operation is now on at full throttle. It has created a surrender-or-die situation for the militants and a now-or-never moment for the country’s security forces.

Predictably, the militants are using everything they have to hold their ground. Government and security officials say that they are baffled by the resilience and stiff resistance offered by the battle-hardened fighters, by their tactics and the sophistication of their weapons and communications systems.

“They have good weaponry and a better communication system (than ours),” said a senior official. “Even the sniper rifles they use are better than some of ours. Their tactics are mind-boggling and they have defences that would take us days to build. It does not look as though we are fighting a rag-tag militia; they are fighting like an organised force.”

who knows maybe they have pashtoon looking umreekan commandos fighting on their side. just like the pakistan army sneaks in their fighters with the afghan talibans.

the indian (re)built airbase in tajikistan has been closed down. this was a while ago. the russian dont want the indians to be there ever since india signed the nuclear agreement with umreeka. last i checked just a handfull (12 or 15) symbolic number of indian officers were to remain there.

gwadar. this is a keystone. at one time the chinese were planning to move their excess refining capacity from shanghai to gwadar. oil would come via tankers to gwadar, get refined, and pipelined to china. they are currently constructing road, rail and pipeline connections between gwadar and china. in my openion, gwadar-china connection is one of the main reasons (other than afghan ops) for the buildup of massive usuk pressure against pakistan for the last 2-3 years. saudi arabia is also interested in setting up a refinery in gwadar. besides, the arabs want to literally pull china down to the middle east. probably, in-order to counter balance umreeaka in the region, or better, get it off their heads. and last but not least russia is planning to come down to the middle east via iran.

So to your question: Would china attach the pre-condition of gwadar to the bailout?
my answer: Not just china, so would saudi arabia attach this condition.

Posted by: a | Sep 22, 2008 4:22:27 PM | 9

India is not much in it........ India will do anything to do a bad turn to Pakistan.

which is more accurate?

alex, fool posted Quraishi's "Pakistan Reverses 9/11 Appeasement," last week and i bookmarked it since it was so full of info that seemed to sync w/the baluchistan info b had posted. i noticed when i linked to it from b's post it leads directly to his site. some of his writing is fascinating.

nov 07

For reasons not clear to our analysts yet, Islamabad has kept quiet on Washington’s involvement with anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. But Pakistan did send an indirect public message to the Americans recently.


We have indications of Indian involvement with anti-state elements in Pakistan,” declared the spokesman of the Pakistan Foreign Office in a regular briefing in October. The statement was terse and direct and the spokesman, Ms. Tasnim Aslam, quickly moved on to other issues.

This is how a Pakistani official explained Ms. Aslam’s statement: “What she was really saying is this: We know what the Indians are doing. They’ve sold the Americans on the idea that [the Indians] are an authority on Pakistan and can be helpful in Afghanistan. The Americans have bought the idea and are in on the plan, giving the Indians a free hand in Afghanistan. What the Americans don’t know is that we, too, know the Indians very well. Better still, we know Afghanistan very well. You can’t beat us at our own game.

Mr. Bugti’s armed rebellion coincided with the Gwadar project entering its final stages. No coincidence here. Mr. Bugti’s real job was to scare the Chinese away and scuttle Chinese President Hu Jintao’s planned visit to Gwadar a few months later to formally launch the port city.
......

U.S. intelligence and their Indian advisors could not cultivate an immediate replacement for Mr. Bugti. So they moved to Plan B. They supported Abdullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban fighter held for five years in Guantanamo Bay, and then handed over back to the Afghan government, only to return to his homeland, Pakistan, to kidnap two Chinese engineers working in Balochistan, one of whom was eventually killed during a rescue operation by the Pakistani government.


Islamabad could not tolerate this shadowy figure that was creating a following among ordinary Pakistanis masquerading as a Taliban while in reality toeing a vague agenda. He was rightly eliminated earlier this year by Pakistani security forces while secretly returning from Afghanistan after meeting his handlers there. Again, no surprises here.

SMELLING A RAT

This is where Pakistani political and military officials finally started smelling a rat. All of this was an indication of a bigger problem. There were growing indications that, ever since Islamabad joined Washington’s regional plans, Pakistan was gradually turning into a ‘besieged-nation’, heavily targeted by the American media while being subjected to strategic sabotage and espionage from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, under America’s watch, has turned into a vast staging ground for sophisticated psychological and military operations to destabilize neighboring Pakistan.

During the past three years, the heat has gradually been turned up against Pakistan and its military along Pakistan’s western regions:

The American media has now begun discussing the possibility of Pakistan breaking up and the possibility of new states of ‘Balochistan’ and ‘Pashtunistan’ being carved out of it. Interestingly, one of the first acts of the shady Maulana of Swat after capturing a few towns was to take down the Pakistani flag from the top of state buildings and replacing them with his own party flag.

i recommend for the best of the article. he is a news anchor in pakistan and presumably well known and well connected. i agree w/b, if this is what many pakistanis think, i want to hear about it. from the hundreds of comments it appears some people take him very seriously.

Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 4:32:35 PM | 10

ahmed quraishi had a weekly show running on the ptv (state tv). but the show got stopped when the current govt. took over in march.

Posted by: a | Sep 22, 2008 4:50:31 PM | 11

I hate it when this thread descends into personalities. It takes nobody anywhere and obscures the light this blog is trying to shine on the less illuminated parts of the planet.
How does making unsupported allegations about one of b's sources aid the search for the truth of foreign involvement in Pakistan?
As we see the distraction of defending Quraishi diverts the thread from the main thrust of b's argument.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 22, 2008 5:04:15 PM | 12

Source analysis is vital, I regret, DiD. You have to know whether to believe something or not. It is not a matter of personalities.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 22, 2008 5:12:24 PM | 13

Spot on Alex. Credibility and verifiable sources are crucial for any meaningful debate.

Posted by: gordon | Sep 22, 2008 5:44:59 PM | 14

alex, perhaps you could point out something specific about the allegations you take issue with. then we can focus on that, instead of who said it.

think of all the information we got leading up to the iraq war. why is it a 'conspiracy theory' to assume that may be happening again. it is the same actors carrying it out, the neocons, the msm. what are the chances they have all changed their ways and now we are supposed to trust what they tell us?


Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 5:48:48 PM | 15

annie.

sorry I haven't got much time tonight. I have some dissertations to finish reading. maybe time for the most questionable point: the role of India. I don't know how much India is really trying to destroy Pakistan, but I do know about the ongoing rancour between the two ever since independence. If there's a problem it's always the fault of the other, even if it's not at all clear. Muslims in India were masscred in large numbers for the supposed death of some Hindus. Many Hindu politicians make their living from creating fear of Pakistan and Indian Muslims. All this needs to be taken into account, and the reports filtered, before one suggests that India is really taking part in a conspiracy to break up Pakistan. It could be true, but there's also a lot of exaggeration. In the febrile atmosphere this week it is easy to get caught up by scares of grand conspiracies. Frankly, I think the US has just lost its capacity to run grand politico-military schemes in the Islamic world, thanks to what b has just been so wonderfully revealing to us.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 22, 2008 6:09:23 PM | 16

This link to the "new" Middle East map lends support to waht b is saying. Take a look at waht happens to Pakistan in the new map.

http://www.oilempire.us/new-map.html

Posted by: ndahi | Sep 22, 2008 6:12:34 PM | 17

re 17. that's precisely what I was saying. These ideas are old and dead. Imaginings inside the bunker under the White House, which are no more than dreams by men who never visited the outside world anyway. (I don't count the Green Zone as the outside world; they only talk to other Americans there).

Posted by: Alex | Sep 22, 2008 6:24:31 PM | 18

In the febrile atmosphere this week it is easy to get caught up by scares of grand conspiracies.

i guess i am completely baffled as to how one could perceive this bombing as anything less than a 'grand conspiracy', no matter who did it. we went from 'conspiracy theory', to 'grand conspiracies', what's the difference? do you mean you think we should take a deep breath and wait til the 'experts' finish some investigation?

i'm content to follow the money, where ever that is.

before one suggests that India is really taking part in a conspiracy to break up Pakistan.

this indicates they are promoting it.

here's some news out of india circa 06.

Balochistan no longer wants to remain part of Pakistan: Mengal Islamabad, July 10: Baloch nationalist leader and former Chief Minister of Balochistan, Sardar Ataullah Mengal has said that the situation in the province has deteriorated to such an extent that people no longer want to remain a part of the Pakistani federation.

“Things have gone to a point-of-no-return. People have sensed the issue on their own instincts and extreme hatred has developed in their minds about the rulers. I have never witnessed such extreme hatred ever. I have also perceived that they do not wish to be allied to the Federation any more,” Online News quoted him in an exclusive interview as saying.

He further said that the sacrifices made by the Balochis would not go in vain and they would emerge victorious in this battle of might.

"Thousands of Balochis are laying down their precious lives for the defence of their ‘homeland and culture’, pitted against an incomprehensible and powerful adversary like government but I am sure that Balochi people will emerge victorious amongst this battle of might and enemy".

He said the federal government has tried every trick in the book to quell the popular uprising against its unjust policies and in this regard given a free hand to the agencies to carry on their dirty work of abduction, murder and terrorism. Worse still, these agencies have not been made answerable for their actions.


“The ‘agencies’, have been given unlimited and free choice to abduct, murder or terrorize anybody at their free will, almost like an "imperial agency", not even answerable to courts of law or Allah himself. As a result thousands of persons in the Province have been abducted, murdered or terrorized with impunity. This is even worse than British Raj days, and a close comparison would reveal that those were still the days of freedom of expression, while today we have slipped back to days of serfdom,” he said.

He said these acts had created so much hatred among the masses towards the government, that the very concept of Pakistan had become alien to them, now.

“The government has created a sense of hatred among masses far beyond just the government itself; to (the very concept of) Pakistan itself! This would simply mean that Pakistan and Balochistan would never be able to co-exist,” he added.

"President General Pervez Musharraf and his "agencies" are responsible for pinning the final nail into the "coffin of Federation. There are no more solutions left,” he further said.

Baloch air strikes aimed at nationalist leaders: Mengal

Alleging that Pakistan security forces want to wipe out Baloch nationalist leaders through a series of air strikes, a prominent leader of the tribe has said any future negotiations between the government and rebels would only be held under the mediation of the United Nations or European Union.

Chief of Balochistan National Party (Mengal) Sardar Akhtar Mengal said the "increase in bomb attacks in the Bugti and Marri areas are meant to target Baloch nationalist rebel leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and his associates and called upon of the international community to take note of the situation."

alex, when you come back perhaps you could answer for me if you think anyone is involved in a conspiracy to break up pakistan. the baluch seem interested albeit it is framed differently. call it a conspiracy to gain liberation. operation baluchistan freedom?


Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 6:48:27 PM | 19

sorry forgot link

Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 6:49:46 PM | 20

that's precisely what I was saying. These ideas are old and dead.

IOW, the motivations for the long war have changed?

Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 6:51:31 PM | 21

Imaginings inside the bunker under the White House

how about the pentagon? guess i am not clear on your setting.

Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 6:54:00 PM | 22

I love b's work.

In a previous post b linked a USA embassy press statement about an extremely frank conversation between Admiral Mullen and Pakistan's Prime Minister. I think the Admiral did too much shouting and swearing and not enough listening.

This may not have been have been a message from the USA to Pakistan but the other way around. (We need to see who actually was killed.)

Pakistan is now Australia's biggest geo-political threat. If Pakistan fails, it could generate more refugees than the combined populations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia panicked over 500 boat people, what will we do about a million?

Posted by: Bokonon | Sep 22, 2008 8:09:30 PM | 23

I love b's work.

In a previous post b linked a USA embassy press statement about an extremely frank conversation between Admiral Mullen and Pakistan's Prime Minister. I think the Admiral did too much shouting and swearing and not enough listening.

This may not have been have been a message from the USA to Pakistan but the other way around. (We need to see who actually was killed.)

Pakistan is now Australia's biggest geo-political threat. If Pakistan fails, it could generate more refugees than the combined populations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia panicked over 500 boat people, what will we do about a million?

Posted by: Bokonon | Sep 22, 2008 8:09:52 PM | 24

bbc , right on schedule

US to step up action in Pakistan

Tensions show no sign of abating in the Afghan-Pakistan border area

The US has vowed to work with Pakistan to "redouble efforts" to fight extremism after a devastating bomb attack on the Islamabad Marriott hotel.

Posted by: annie | Sep 22, 2008 8:26:47 PM | 25

There have been suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in Pakistan for years - including multiple attempts on Musharraf's life and the killing of Bhutto. Were these also the work of the alleged U.S.-backed Taliban? Why on earth would we be working to create chaos Pakistan?

Moreover, why are Pakistani op-eds considered reliable primary sources for these kinds of explosive allegations? Hysterics, conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims of American involvement in this or that mischief are what passes for public discourse in some parts of the world. I find it extremely hard to believe that the U.S. is sponsoring terrorist bombings of hotels in Islamabad.

Posted by: Matt | Sep 22, 2008 8:44:58 PM | 26

I find it extremely hard to believe that the U.S. is sponsoring terrorist bombings of hotels in Islamabad.

I agree, Matt. A hotel is small potatoes and beneath U.S. sponsorship. If it was U.S. sponsored, it would have been more like the Pakistani version of the World Trade Center.

Posted by: Stand Down | Sep 22, 2008 8:59:18 PM | 27

why are Pakistani op-eds considered reliable primary sources for these kinds of explosive allegations?

that would be about as ridiculous as reading an american's view of what's happening in america.

I find it extremely hard to believe that the U.S. is sponsoring terrorist bombings of hotels in Islamabad.

cool. why don't you tell us your impression of american intervention in chile. or gualemala. by all means impress apon us how america never has carried out these kinds of operations. especially in places like vietnam. or iraq. or nicaragua. we are moral above all. that is what separates us from the terrorists. we only react to terrorists threats, we don't create them.

Posted by: home of the brave | Sep 22, 2008 10:57:40 PM | 28

Matt # 26--

Why on earth would we be working to create chaos Pakistan?

Too easy: See the posts above on White House and Pentagon planning. The basic concept is laid out in Naomi Klein's description of Shock Doctrine/Disaster Capitalism. More specifically, it is a sub-strategy of America's War for Oil to pry oil-rich Baluchistan out of Pakistan and into direct US control.

Stand Down #27--

Well said! :D While it is too soon to tell who is behind the Marriot bombing, consider this: Was the Marriot a symbol of Pakistani national pride or of foreign, infidel cultural-invasion? The answer would provide important clues about who did it and why.

Posted by: Gaianne | Sep 22, 2008 11:25:19 PM | 29

don't forget the terrorist cia's 1985 beirut car bombing

Posted by: b real | Sep 22, 2008 11:29:33 PM | 30

Why Did George Bush let Abdullah Mehsud Go?
tinyurl.com/5xsukm

Can Terrorists be 'Reprogrammed'?
tinyurl.com/3svu58

"He’s supposedly seething with anti-Americanism. But after crossing the border and returning to Pakistan, his first mission is to kidnap and kill a Chinese engineer."

Posted by: denk | Sep 22, 2008 11:46:04 PM | 31

remember meiring the bomb maker ?

Posted by: denk | Sep 22, 2008 11:53:51 PM | 32

When I wrote : Foreign policy elements in India and the in U.S. I intentionally did not say that all US. foreign policy elements were behind this 'conspiracy' - only some (important) 'elements'.

According to Gareth Poter the CIA and Special Forces have pressed for more action against Pakistan.

UN ambassador Khalizad (and PNAC member) has run his own show with Zardari and Karzai and was recently admonished for it by state department folks in the NYT.

There is no all-coordinated U.S.policy on Pakistan which is a big reason for the problem.

But for now the neocon cabal seems to be in the lead.

Posted by: b | Sep 23, 2008 12:30:56 AM | 33

cluelessjoe
**there's the fact that non-Asiatic powers - and some Asiatic ones - know that an Indian-Chinese alliance would be quite formidable on the global stage, and make sure this won't ever happen **

"I fail to see that it is not in the Australian interest to see the Chinese and the Indians at each other's throats."

Posted by: denk | Sep 23, 2008 12:40:52 AM | 34

thnx b real, news to me.

There is no all-coordinated U.S.policy on Pakistan which is a big reason for the problem.

what could be coordinated is a few rouge actors acting on behalf of behind the scenes people of influence (w/private contractors) creating a scenario the 'good americans' can rally against.

I intentionally did not say that all US. foreign policy elements were behind this 'conspiracy'

follow the money

the less people in on a covert ops, the better. it only takes two to make it a conspiracy. or ten.

Posted by: annie | Sep 23, 2008 12:44:21 AM | 35

Right on time to my 33 - NYT: Bush Administration Reviews Its Afghanistan Policy, Exposing Points of Contention

WASHINGTON — Four months before President Bush leaves office, his top civilian and military aides are conducting four major new reviews of the war strategy and overall mission in Afghanistan, which have exposed internal fissures over American troop levels, how billions of aid dollars are spent, and how to cope with a deteriorating security situation in neighboring Pakistan.
...

Posted by: b | Sep 23, 2008 12:45:26 AM | 36

A very misleading WaPo headline: U.S., Afghans and Pakistanis Consider Joint Military Force

Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States are discussing the creation of a joint military force to attack insurgent sanctuaries on both sides of the rugged Afghan-Pakistani border, a senior Afghan official said yesterday.

Afghan Defense Minister Rahim Wardak said he had proposed the idea and it was discussed last month at a meeting of military officers from the three countries that focused on the border problem.
...
Pakistan's government is considering the plan, Wardak said. "They say they are looking at it."

The only source for this is Wardak, a long time U.S. asset. I doubt that Pakistan is seriously considering this.

Posted by: b | Sep 23, 2008 2:19:41 AM | 37

Dawn, one of the leading papers in Pakistan editorializes the 'conspiracy theory':

Also on the agenda is the president’s meeting with Mr Manmohan Singh. The Indian prime minister has, no doubt, written to his Pakistani counterpart expressing his condolences over the Islamabad bombing, but the allegations against Pakistan by Indian officials, dragging this country into the New Delhi bombings, have vitiated the atmosphere. President Zardari has to do some plain speaking and give Mr Singh the Pakistan government’s perception of the Indian intelligence’s perverse role in fomenting trouble in Fata and supplying money and arms to militants for terrorist activity in Pakistan. Islamabad believes that with the Afghan authorities fully in the picture, the Indian consulates in Jalalabad, Kandahar and Kunar have become an operational centre for anti-Pakistan activity. It is New Delhi’s responsibility to remove Pakistan’s misgivings.

Posted by: b | Sep 23, 2008 2:48:25 AM | 38

Our problem with Pakistan is that they aren't going after the militant base areas in the FTA. We launch cross-border raids against said bases and Pakistan objects. We're justifiably annoyed that after seven years, hundreds of casualties and billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan they're being distinctly unhelpful. Nowhere in that story is there room for a U.S. conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan. An unstable Pakistan wracked by civil war does not further any U.S. objectives: in fact, it's exactly the opposite of what we want to see.

Op-Eds and editorials are just that: opinion. Journalists and commentators pen speculation, hypotheticals, and plain old hysterical nonsense all the time in the Western press. In the Quraishi piece we see stuff like this:

Pakistanis now also have damning evidence that shows that Karzai’s security apparatus, which is heavily infested with Indian security and intelligence advisers, has been directly supplying weapons and money to clusters of thugs masquerading as ‘Pakistani Taliban’.

Evidence so damning that the Pakistani government refuses to draw attention to it. The author goes on to assert that the Taliban would never "indulge in senseless violence" in Pakistan, when their record of such behavior in Afghanistan is well-known to the world. And then we come across this:

The U.S. role is certainly suspicious. Starting in early 2007, the U.S. media unleashed an organized demonization campaign against Pakistan that was unprecedented in the history of Pak-U.S. relations. U.S. media made a concerted effort to create world hostility against Pakistan and spread ‘anti-Pakistanism’ globally.

This is something you saw constantly in the Iranian psyche through the 70s and 80s, and you see it in the Pakistani psyche today: a massively inflated sense of their own importance in the eyes of world, and specifically of the U.S., far beyond anything that exists in reality. America's role and objectives are not at all "suspicious." Over the period described, the situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating and the U.S. media has been reporting on Pakistan's failure to offer up any meaningful assistance, despite being an "ally." The idea that America is trying to foment "anti-Pakistanism globally" is just bizarre. We care about Pakistan to the extent they help or hinder our war in Afghanistan: no more, and no less. Quite clearly it serves our interests to have a military strongman in power (see Musharraf) who will either fight our war in the tribal areas, or stand aside and let us do the fighting. Otherwise, nobody cares. Nobody cares about the oil in Baluchistan or furthering the wet dreams of Indian defense commentators. We didn't care for the decade before 9/11 and we won't care once we're out of Afghanistan. This flows from a determination to see America as responsible for all the evils in the world, rather than Pakistan's own mess of social pathologies and crippling national problems, compounded by corrupt and ineffective leadership.

Pakistan itself has a long record of encouraging terrorism and militancy in the region, directed at India, the Soviet Union (with American aid), and later the pre-Taliban government in Afghanistan. If they're looking to place blame or establish the source of all this, perhaps they ought to look in the mirror.

Frank assessments of Pakistan's crippling instability do not imply that we're actively seeking or encouraging such instability; cherry-picked op-eds packed with unsubstantiated, hysterical allegations do not determine reality, and India's national obsession re: Pakistan does not translate into American geostrategy.

Posted by: Matt | Sep 23, 2008 2:49:47 AM | 39

Tariq Ali in the Guardian: Casualties of another war

Within Pakistan, some analysts argue this is a carefully coordinated move to weaken the Pakistani state by creating a crisis that extends way beyond the frontier with Afghanistan. Its ultimate aim, they claim, would be the extraction of the Pakistani military's nuclear fangs. If this were the case, it would imply Washington was determined to break up Pakistan, since the country would not survive a disaster on that scale.

In my view, however, the expansion of the war relates far more to the Bush administration's disastrous occupation in Afghanistan. It is hardly a secret that President Karzai's regime is becoming more isolated each passing day, as Taliban guerrillas move ever closer to Kabul.

When in doubt, escalate the war, is an old imperial motto. The strikes against Pakistan represent - like the decisions of President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, to bomb and then invade Cambodia - a desperate bid to salvage a war that was never good, but has now gone badly wrong.

It is true that those resisting the Nato occupation cross the Pakistan-Afghan border with ease. However, the US has often engaged in quiet negotiations with them. Several feelers have been put out to the Taliban in Pakistan, while US intelligence experts regularly check into the Serena hotel in Swat to meet Maulana Fazlullah, a local pro-Taliban leader.
...

Posted by: b | Sep 23, 2008 4:14:49 AM | 40

we had seen it coming all along

Posted by: denk | Sep 23, 2008 4:22:50 AM | 41

Matt, with due respect, to my mind the bombing was an obvious gain for the US position. The Pakistani nation is aghast at missile strikes on its territory. We struck a week ago and then one of our generals said we'd respect their territory and then another day later there was another strike. At that juncture you've got to expect that the Paki govt is wondering if it can carry forward with pro US policy, taking US billions in exchange for various activities. BUT, I don't think anyone can credibly say they know who was to blame, because all players could have been - it is in the interests of those who want to weed pakistani taliban out of the north of the country, and it could have been a reprisal from the same for US attacks.

Posted by: aumana | Sep 23, 2008 4:39:20 AM | 42

From b's post/linked article above:

or to assassinate a high profile personality inside Pakistan and generate domestic strife that will make it impossible for the military to resist U.S. attacks.


Zardari, Gilani were to dine at the Marriott on blast day

Monday, 22 September , 2008, 23:02

Islamabad: The entire Pakistani leadership, including the President and the Prime Minister, had a brush with death as an iftar dinner they were to attend on Saturday at the Marriott was shifted to a different venue in a last- minute change of plans before a suicide bomber rammed his truck into the hotel gate.

Disclosing this two days after the deadly bombings which left 53 people dead, the Pakistani Government said it would have been "a great catastrophe" if the top leaders had been at the hotel when the bomber struck the popular five-star hotel.
...

"The suicide blast was aimed at targeting the political leadership but the government foiled the malicious designs of the terrorists by changing the venue of the dinner," he said.

So if the venue was changed due to suspicions, why was no extra care taken to protect the hotel?

Posted by: Hamburger | Sep 23, 2008 5:44:14 AM | 43

@43

as i said earlier, this statement was a complete lie, and almost criminal.


Hotel was not booked for VVIPs’ Iftar party: Hashwani

The Post Report

LAHORE: The owner of the Marriot Hotel, Sadaruddin Hashwani, has refuted the statement of Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik that the hotel was booked for the president and prime minister's Iftar party.

Talking to the BBC, Hashwani said the hotel did not have the capacity to accommodate 900 parliamentarians, therefore, such a booking was out of question.

He said everyone was asking him the same question but he had already made it clear that no booking for the prime minister's Iftar party was made with the hotel.

Posted by: a | Sep 23, 2008 5:54:09 AM | 44

@44

I didn't/don't see your previous post. It sure is being pushed, for whatever reason — was "reported" last evening on CNNI.

The article I linked to referred to a dinner for the "leadership"

"The National Assembly Speaker had arranged a dinner for the entire leadership for President Asif Ali Zardari, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and armed services chiefs at the Marriott that day," Interior Ministry spokesman Rehman Malik said.

"The President and the Prime Minister changed the venue to the Prime Minister's House.

The article you link to says: "Talking to the BBC, Hashwani said the hotel did not have the capacity to accommodate 900 parliamentarians, therefore, such a booking was out of question."

So 900 parliamentarians ate at the PM's house?

Something doesn't add up.

Posted by: Hamburger | Sep 23, 2008 7:06:47 AM | 45

Wow,
"the ability to sustain multiple wars on multiple fronts"
yep, right out of the ol' P.N.A.C. playbook....
When it walks like a duck....
I was having trouble connecting the dots until reading this little ditty.
Makes perfect sense. May the Creator help us all...

Posted by: Pandoras out.... | Sep 23, 2008 7:40:10 AM | 46

Times

No one ever laid a finger on the Fakir of Ipi. You don't beat these people, you deal with them.

Posted by: alabama | Sep 23, 2008 8:20:23 AM | 47

Thanks to all for an interesting, although necessarily inconclusive thread.
All the major players have active and sophisticated intelligence agencies, each capable of creating an impenetrable smokescreen of disinformation. Most of us, alas, don't even have a "scorecard" to help us remember which source is a reliable mouthpiece for what puppeteer, so thanks to those who have shed some light on such matters

The protagonism of the U.S. neo-cons here is entirely in keeping with long term Jabotinskian-Likudist hostility to Pakistan, up to now the only nuclear armed Islamic state.
Partitioning of Pakistan into several ethnic substates would be a continuation of the policy so brilliantly prosecuted (from the Israeli point of view) in Iraq. Moreover a "greater Baluchistan" could be a double edged sword to be wielded against both Pakistan and Iran. Presumably India is capable of distinguishing it's best interest from that of Israel, a feat which seems beyond the capability of the United States.

All of this crack-pot realism has the distinct air of war games played around wall maps by little boys whose martial fantasies far exceed their capacity for compassion or creative innovation.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 23, 2008 8:25:30 AM | 48

In reality So called "WAR ON TERROR" is a WAR ON MUSLIMS!
i.e.CRUSADE ON MUSLIMS!
REST BS

Posted by: S.Balu | Sep 23, 2008 8:34:26 AM | 49

hamburger, i read yesterday in a couple reports about this denial of previous reservations. can't remember where but it had no mention of any 900 guests or any excuse as to why they weren't accommodated. here is another from cnn

Marriott: No Official Dinner Planned On Day Of Islamabad Blast

ISLAMABAD (AFP)--The management of the Marriott Hotel on Monday denied an official statement that top Pakistani leaders were due to have dinner at the hotel but cancelled before a devastating suicide bombing.

Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik earlier told reporters that Pakistan's president and prime minister were to have had dinner at the Marriott on Saturday, when it was bombed, but the venue was changed at the last minute.

"There was no reservation from the government side," Jamil Khawar, spokesman for hotel owner Sadruddin Hashwani, told AFP.

"I have checked with the management and the hotel administration, no booking had been made for an official dinner on that day," he said.

here is a longer version from 'the international news' out of pakistan w/the subtitle "Malik says eleventh hour decision to change venue saved leaders; hotel management denies"

this sounds rather fantastic to me.

“The suicide blast was aimed at targeting the political leadership but the government foiled the malicious designs of the terrorists by changing the venue of the Iftar-dinner hosted by the National Assembly speaker from the Marriott Hotel to the Prime Minister House,” he said while talking to journalists here.

Agencies add: Rehman Malik said the “whole leadership was saved” by the switch ahead of Saturday’s devastating attack, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and military top brass.

i am not finding any report from the bbc confirming this '900' figure (as all reports reference AFP) but there are many stories circulating the globe w/ fantastic headlines such as the one from australia 'Was Pakistan's president to dine at bomb-hotel?' and 'Leaders 'in narrow escape' etc.

it doesn't make any sense tho, if they had been tipped off about a bombing why didn't the government triple up security at the hotel?

Posted by: annie | Sep 23, 2008 9:17:17 AM | 50

alabama can you check your 47 link?

Posted by: annie | Sep 23, 2008 9:19:10 AM | 51

Starting in early 2007, the U.S. media unleashed an organized demonization campaign against Pakistan that was unprecedented in the history of Pak-U.S. relations

matt.. far beyond anything that exists in reality. America's role and objectives are not at all "suspicious." Over the period described, the situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating and the U.S. media has been reporting on Pakistan's failure to offer up any meaningful assistance, despite being an "ally." The idea that America is trying to foment "anti-Pakistanism globally" is just bizarre.

i think your reaction seems bizarre. we have been hearing from presidential candidates, including speeches/debates during the primary, that pakistan should be the new front. from my link @10 the 07 'The Plan To Topple Pakistan Military' report from Quraishi sites the weekly standard quote.

"A large number of ISI agents who are responsible for helping the Taliban and al Qaeda should be thrown in jail or killed. What I think we should do in Pakistan is a parallel version of what Iran has run against us in Iraq: giving money [and] empowering actors. Some of this will involve working with some shady characters, but the alternative—sending U.S. forces into Pakistan for a sustained bombing campaign—is worse.” Steve Schippert, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2007.

the weekly standard is the neocon mouthpiece d'jour and here they are calling for the arrest and death of isi agents. how is that not alarming? if pakistan's political elite were calling for the death and arrest of cia members might one get the impression they were hostile to our country?

plus, who are we to decide what countries sovereignty are to be dismissed because of 'failure to offer up any meaningful assistance' to OUR war? and your reasoning is prefaced w/'U.S. media has been reporting on Pakistan's failure'?? the US media was the lapdog of the neocons in the last war. you don't show respect for allies by bombing their territory. if the US wanted to have meaningful progress wrt 'terror' w/the help of the pakistani leadership it seems logical they would work out a plan together that would benefit both sides and move forward together, not start bombing them and harassing them and chastizing them to come on board. so while you may not agree, the 'just bizarre' won't fly. again, if pakistan were calling publicly for our intelligence agents to be arrested and killed, it would be bizarre if our official response wasn't to consider them anti american.

Posted by: annie | Sep 23, 2008 9:44:24 AM | 52

Cui Bono? Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars fought by American soldiers. As the U.S. commits war-crimes abroad, that same gov't commits treason at home by eliminating habeas corpus, using the judiciary to steal private lands, banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon, Facebook and Wikipedia, conducting warrantless wiretaps and engaging in illegal wars on behalf of Israel. Soon, another false-flag operation will occur (sinking of an Aircraft Carrier by Mossad) and the US will invade Iran. Then we'll invade Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, then ....
Final link (before Google Books bends to gov't demands and censors the title):
America Deceived (book)

Posted by: Larry T | Sep 23, 2008 10:51:22 AM | 53

It works for me, Annie. Here's the unlinked version:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4793398.ece

Posted by: alabama | Sep 23, 2008 11:11:24 AM | 54

http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/106172-0/

enjoy!!!

Posted by: shaman-0 | Sep 23, 2008 11:28:53 AM | 55

Over at the Exile, the War Nerd has been blogging this for several days now.

At this time, confusion is the normal state of things, as each of several sides is spinning its story. So we watch and wait--and sift. Meanwhile, as he says, watch those official denials. Sometimes (not always, of course) they are the surest token that something is true.

Posted by: Gaianne | Sep 23, 2008 3:44:47 PM | 56

No point of guessing! The "master race" with the help of cia morons have done it!

Posted by: Boris | Sep 23, 2008 8:15:39 PM | 57

Pakistanis say suspected US drone shot down

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistani soldiers and tribesman shot down a suspected U.S. military drone close to the Afghan border Tuesday night, three intelligence officials said.
...
The United States challenged the account. "We're not aware of any drones being down," said a senior U.S. official, who speaking on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of disputing a U.S. ally in the war against terrorist groups.

Pakistani news says U.S. drone crashes, U.S. denies
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A pilotless U.S. aircraft crashed in northwest Pakistan's South Waziristan region on Tuesday, Pakistani news channels reported, but American officials denied the United States had lost any drones.
...
Dawn News, one of several channels reporting the incident, said security forces found wreckage of a drone near the village of Jalal Khel, 8 km (5 miles) from Angor Adda and 3 km (2 miles) from the border.

Posted by: b | Sep 24, 2008 1:30:36 AM | 58

@58

pakistan has started counter psy-ops.

Posted by: a | Sep 24, 2008 2:23:30 AM | 59

I don't know how this report fits into the picture, but "mere coincidence" doesn't seem like the most likely explanation. It would be easy to launch several conjectures, but since they would be only conjectures I see no point in doing so. One obvious question does arise: what was a Naval Cryptologic Technician doing in land-locked Islamabad? O'Bryant's rank and age suggest that he was certainly not the officer in charge of whatever support of Operation Enduring Freedom was in progress at or around the hotel.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 24, 2008 2:33:05 AM | 60

I am from Pakistan and in Pakistan and for what it's worth, in my opinion Ahmed Quraishi is a third rate joke. I am really surprised so many in the west take him seriously. Though I see a lot to agree with in the above post, the mention of Ahmed Quraishi certainly takes away a lot from the credibility of the argument. He is a nut job. See for example Why Would ‘Terrorists’ Want To Decapitate Anti-US Leadership In Pakistan?. We've not had a more pro-US leadership as he himself wrote a few days earlier(Welcome To CIA-Sponsored Democracy ). In July he gave us this URGENT ALERT: U.S. Attack Nears, U.S. Embassy Closes Peshawar Consulate. I am still waiting.... He still wants us to believe Pakistan kicked Indian butt in Kargil. He's a Musharraf lover who thinks anyone opposing Mush is sick. He claims Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is a fascist and has no trouble calling for execution of all lawyers taking part in the movement for restoration. He was the one shouting democracy is not the answer for Pakistan and asking Mush not to resign.

Scan through the topics on his homepage and you will see what a whack job he is. To me he seems to be on military's payroll...

He "fair and balanced" -- FoxNews style...

Posted by: nota | Sep 24, 2008 12:16:55 PM | 61

US says Pakistani forces fire on helicopters

NATO helicopters fired upon by Pakistani forces Thursday were U.S. military aircraft operating inside Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

"They were U.S. helicopters," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters at a briefing. "The flight path of the helicopters at no point took them over Pakistan."

Posted by: b | Sep 25, 2008 11:47:38 AM | 62

Pakistani and American Troops Exchange Fire

The clash started after the Pakistanis fired shots or flares at two American helicopters that Pakistan says had crossed its border.

The two American OH-58 Kiowa reconnaissance helicopters were not damaged and no casualties were reported.

But American and Pakistani officials agreed on little else about what happened.

American and NATO officials said that the two helicopters were flying about one mile inside Afghan airspace to protect an American and Afghan patrol on the ground when the aircraft were fired on by troops at a Pakistani military checkpoint near the Tanai district in Khost Province. The officials said small-caliber arms were used.

In response, the American ground troops shot short bursts of warning fire, which hit well shy of the checkpoint, and the Pakistanis fired back, said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a spokesman for the United States Central Command.

But a spokesman for the Pakistani Army, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, said Pakistani forces fired warning shots at the American aircraft after they crossed into Pakistan’s territory in the area of Saidgai, in the Ghulam Khan region of North Waziristan. “On this, the helicopters returned fire and flew back,” General Abbas said. The general’s statement did not address the account of ground fire.

Local residents said that one of the two helicopters had entered inside Pakistan territory by about a mile, while the other hovered on the Afghan side of the border.

Posted by: b | Sep 26, 2008 1:59:07 AM | 63

**Scan through the topics on his homepage and you will see what a whack job he is. To me he seems to be on military's payroll...


Posted by: nota | Sep 24, 2008 12:16:55 PM | 61 **

for all i know , he might be from the isi as alleged elsewhere.
but his analysis of cia black ops in tibet [41] and pakistan [31] are highly plausible.

Posted by: denk | Sep 27, 2008 11:49:46 AM | 64

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