Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 29, 2008

News of 2010

In 2010 there will be an important visit by the Pakistani Prime Minister to Washington. The Prime Minister will discuss Afghan-Pakistani security issues with the President and ask for military aid to buy more F-16s to counter India.

The same week, based on Pakistani intelligence sources, NBC News will announce that a recent U.S. airstirke in the Pakistani-Afghan border region killed a dangerous terrorist known as Abu Khabab al-Masri.

How do I know? Consider this item from January 2006.

ABC News has learned that Pakistani officials now believe that al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert was one of the men killed in last week's U.S. missile attack in eastern Pakistan.

Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of four known major al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit in the village of Damadola early last Friday morning.
U.S. Strike Killed Al Qaeda Bomb Maker, Jan. 18, 2006

When the above news was distributed, Pakistan's then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was on his way to Washington DC to meet the President. That visit was in preparation of a deal to buy F-16s for the Pakistani air force. The deal was officially announced in June 2006.

Now lets flip to 2008.

One of al Qaeda's top chemical and biological weapons experts was killed in an air strike by a CIA pilotless drone in a remote Pakistani border region, senior Pakistani intelligence officials told CBS News Tuesday morning.

Intelligence officials investigating the Sunday night missile attack confirmed that Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri was one of six men killed and his remains had been positively identified.

"We now have a positive ID on the body. I can confirm to you that Al-Masri has been killed," a Pakistani intelligence official told CBS News on the condition of anonymity.
Officials: Al Qaeda's Mad Scientist Killed, Jul 28, 2008

Currently the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is visiting Washington and asking for more F-16s to fight India.

There is a good chance that the situation in 2010 will be similar to the one now. The Pakistani Prime Minister and the President will have changed by then, but the terror threat will be the same and the success of killing Abu Khabab al-Masri will be the same to. Pakistan will also need further F-16s to fight India.

Posted by b on July 29, 2008 at 12:03 UTC | Permalink


Well spotted B. This from the NYT on the subject:

The timing of the action caught [US] lawmakers off guard, prompting some of them to suspect that the deal was meant to curry favor with the new Pakistani prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, who will meet with President Bush in Washington next week, and to ease tensions over the 11 members of the Pakistani paramilitary forces killed in an American airstrike along the Afghan border last month.

The financing for the F-16s would represent more than two-thirds of the $300 million that Pakistan will receive this year in American military financing for equipment and training.

Last year, Congress specified that those funds be used for law enforcement or counterterrorism. Pakistan’s military has rarely used its current fleet of F-16s, which were built in the 1980s, for close-air support of counterterrorism missions, largely because the risks of civilian casualties would inflame anti-government sentiments in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

State Department officials say the upgrades would greatly enhance the F-16s’ ability to strike insurgents accurately, while reducing the risk to civilians. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Congress was weighing the plan, said the timing was driven by deadlines of the American contractor, Lockheed Martin.

From further down in the same article, this beauty:
Many Congressional officials remain unconvinced. “Using F-16s this way is like hitting a fly with a sledgehammer,” said one senior Senate Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the current negotiations.
I wonder how long it will take for that enlightenment to trickle down to the commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. Counter-terrorism operations using weaponry designed to destroy whole buildings and villages are counter-productive.

But then again, that is assuming that protection of innocent lives is high on the list of priorities those knuckleheads keep. Hiroshima has shown it isn't, and every stinkin war waged since has been a confirmation of this sad fact.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jul 29 2008 13:31 utc | 1

There is no practical use for the F-16. How did Joni Mitchell put it... "I was raised on robbery"

Posted by: Allen/Vancouver | Jul 30 2008 3:43 utc | 2

Well if we have to keep killing and capturing the same terrorists, the war will never be over.

Posted by: YY | Jul 30 2008 4:15 utc | 3

Pakis have exceptional uses for those F-16s... nothing better to beat back the Indian hordes crossing their eastern border than some air-to-ground ordnance delivered by the Falcon.

And, one wonders about its usefulness as a nuclear weapons delivery vehicle? Then again, making it any better may call into doubt a certain nation's commitment under the NPT eh?

Also, I'm sure the PLA Air Force technicians in Pakistan would LOVE to get inside a newly re-furb'd F16 and check out the newest gizmos Lockheed Martin put in there. Much easier to improve your own Sino-Pak J10 collaboration (and take home to your own lands)...

Of course, it is possible that the newly improved F16 will feature so super-secret US kill switch in the event Pakistan really does try to use them as nuclear bombers...


Posted by: ServingPatriot | Jul 31 2008 1:02 utc | 4

Maybe I was wrong my 2010 prediction: Al-Qaida confirms death of top bomb expert in apparent U.S. strike

Al-Qaida confirmed on Sunday that Abu Khabab al-Masri, a chemical and biological weapons expert, was killed along with three other militants in a suspected U.S. air strike on Pakistan's border region last week.

Masri, who carried a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, had been previously identified as the likely target of the attack on a house in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, according to Pakistani officials.

Posted by: b | Aug 3 2008 16:47 utc | 5

b, how do we know for sure that Al-Quida posted the message, or that it reports an actual fact? Any sightings of the actual corpse in question?

Posted by: alabama | Aug 3 2008 18:01 utc | 6

frankly i never know what to think of people 'signing' things on the internet. from b's link..

An Al-Qaida statement posted on Islamist websites said Masri, referred to as the "expert", had left behind him a generation of students who would avenge his killing.

The statement, signed by Al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, named three other militants killed alongside Masri on July 28.

meanwhile On August 3, 2008, al Qaeda confirmed that Mustafa Abu al-Yazid was killed.

Posted by: annie | Aug 3 2008 18:22 utc | 7

@alabama - that's why I wrote: Maybe I was wrong ...

You never know who is playing there ...

Posted by: b | Aug 3 2008 19:00 utc | 8

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