Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 03, 2008

An Invasion of Pakistan

For the first time (to my knowledge) U.S. troops made a significant ground attack on Pakistan territory. This will create a backlash either for the Pakistani government or for the occupation forces in Afghanistan:

The governor of North West Frontier Province, the chief administrator for the tribal belt, said three coalition helicopter gunships and commandos carried out an "outrageous" attack on a village.

"At least 20 innocent civilians of Pakistan including women and children were martyred," Gov. Owais Ahmed Ghani said in a statement.

Habib Khan Wazir, an area resident, said the incident occurred in a village called Musa Nikow. Wazir said he heard the sound of helicopters and then an exchange of fire between the assailants and other residents.
He said the dead included women and children and that all were civilians. He claimed that the attackers were American and Afghan troops, and didn't know if any of them had been wounded.

The U.S. spokesperson in Afghanistan is playing dumb and denies any involvement of regular U.S. troops. NATO/ISAF also denied to know anything about the incident. That points again to U.S. special force and Afghan commandos units that 'work' independent of the regular line of command.

The news over this will be drowned out by an unsuccessful attempt to shot the Pakistani prime minister. (Was this for show? Who would take two shots with a regular gun at an obviously armored limousine and expect to hit someone?)

Geonews confirms the U.S. attack:

WANA: Pakistani government confirmed that 20 people were killed in coalition forces' attack at Angorada area of South Waiziristan on Wednesday morning.
Earlier, Geo News correspondent Mushtaq Yousufzai tod four helicopters of coalition forces landed in Angaorada in the wee hours of Wednesday and started search operation.

Coalition troops killed nine people of a family of local tribesman Taj Muhammad. They further searched two more houses and killed four persons in one house and one person in another house. Five women and four children also included among the dead.

If this U.S. operation was done without a green light from the top Pakistani military and political leadership, it will create a diplomatic backlash from the Pakistan government and create further Taliban support by the Pakistani military.

It could well be that green light for such operations was given in a 'secret' meeting between the top U.S. and Pakistani military a few days ago.

If that is the case, the Pakistani military will not overtly act against the U.S. But if the Pakistani government is seen helpless over or allows such attacks, it will create an internal backlash by tribal forces against the Pakistani military and by political forces on the street against the Zardari administration.

A mixture of both scenarios is possible.

Are such attacks really worth their price? Does the U.S. really want a destabilized Pakistan as some believe?

Posted by b on September 3, 2008 at 12:44 UTC | Permalink


scott ritter speaks to this today on DN in how we did not go to war in Afghanistan to attack Afghanis, but to find OBL and AQ, but have since the GWOT has become all encompassing, Pakistan is a by product of that, and that the Bush admin has not as of yet been able to accomplish that mission, so in our frustration we are apt to violate yet another sovereign nation, and violating international law on a regular basis.

I personally wouldn't be surprized to see the Bush admin score at the last minute by "finding and capturing and killing an "OBL".

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 3 2008 15:20 utc | 1

I personally wouldn't be surprized to see the Bush admin score at the last minute by "finding and capturing and killing an "OBL".

That was tried. There is a piece in the archives a month or so back where I claim that Bush is again going after him.

The few comments more or less ridiculed me over that.

Today we get notice that the operation failed:

The Pakistani military has halted operations in Bajaur Agency in the northwest of the country, saying "the back has been broken" of the militancy there.
the operation failed in its primary objective, to catch the big fish so wanted by the United States - al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. This would have been the perfect present for Islamabad to give the George W Bush administration in the run-up to the US presidential elections in November.

Pakistan said they had Zawahiri in their sights, but he evaded them.
The Bajaur operation was a comprehensive joint show of power by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Pakistan forces as they were convinced that the al-Qaeda leaders and other senior Taliban militants were in an area spanning Kunar and Nooristan provinces in Afghanistan and the Bajaur and Mohamad agencies immediately across the border in Pakistan.

Posted by: b | Sep 3 2008 18:17 utc | 2

Very good links.

This is stunning.

Forgive me for linking to myself, just last year 13 July. I got part of it right, and part of it wrong.

I was right that the US was destabilizing Musharraf, and (implicitly) that Bhutto would not succeed as the new puppet , but what I got wrong is that this was through inadvertence. Bhutto is now revealed as a throwaway plan--a long shot they never really expected to work, merely worth the try. Whether destroying Musharraf was foolishness (viewed strategically) is perhaps still not sure; the new Islamic regime I imagined is not on the horizon either.

What I did not see at all is the deeper plan based on the paradigm described in Naomi Klein's "Disaster Capitalism," and its military counter-part. While the possibility has long been in mind, yet it seemed unlikely that simple destruction--creating social and economic chaos (more or less for its own sake, but more literally as preparation for corporate takeover)--has been their basic plan for "strategically important" regions all along. For one thing, deliberate chaos does not appear with success in history, and in modern times, has had some seeming failures.

Deliberate chaos is not in Sun Tzu. Rather the opposite.

Can deliberate chaos work? It worked in Argentina, short term, but seems to have failed with finality: At least, Argentina is pulling out of the US orbit and won't be coming back. It failed in all the countries of Indochina. It is failing in Lebanon, and after 7 and 5 years respectively shows no sign of succeeding in Afghanistan and Iraq. It looks to be failing in Nigeria, and may be failing in Somalia.

Kossovo is a seeming success. But the oil there is yet to be pumped out. Will it ever happen?

What everyone thinks are failures aren't: That is, they may look like failures, but they were deliberately intended, and US planners still think they will eventually get that oil pumped.

But as Jerome a Paris has pointed out, oil infrastructure is expensive to build and easy to wreck. Nigeria seems a perfect illustration of how vulnerable US strategy is. Chaos, though intended, still seems unlikely to yield success.

But success or failure is not the point. The point is that when evidence on the ground is compared with policy writings, what emerges is an inevitable conclusion:

Deliberate chaos is the basic, core policy of US strategy for all significant resource regions of the World.

Posted by: Gaianne | Sep 3 2008 18:52 utc | 3

Zardari has cut a deal with amerika but hasn't told his electorate yet.
He is already moving to pre empt political problems by throwing any opposition into jail.
Some may remember that when Musharraf was pressured to allow elections that included the old political parties he lifted all charges against Bhutto/Zardari after amerikan pressure. Zardari who had already done an eleven year prison term for corruption in Pakistan had many more charges to face, in Pakistan and abroad as did his wife Bhutto. Amerika believed this was enough of a lever to control bhutto/Zardari so in a typically cynical move amerikan goons pressured Musharraf into allowing their return to Pakistan.

This left Nawaz Sharif who had been illegally deposed when Musharraf staged his coup and who had fled after trumped up charges were brought against him, creating a ruckus about his not being allowed to participate in the election so after Bhutto's PPP had built up a head of steam Sharif was released from his exile/house arrest in Saudi (away from prying media) and allowed back into Pakistan, where against amerika's plans, his party did well enough become a major political force in the legislature once more.

However that is now being subverted by Zardari who is eager to get rid of any opposition while he kisses amerikan ass, lest the Pakistani people rally around the opposition and depose him.
So according to that bastion of free speech Rupert Murdoch's gutter rag The Australian, Zardari has decided to organise Sharif's re-imprisonment.

TEN days after he split from Pakistan's ruling coalition, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is again facing the prospect of prison after the National Accountability Bureau, now run by presidential frontrunner Asif Ali Zardari, reactivated corruption charges against him.
Now that Zardari appears to have succeded in his efforts to control Pakistan's judicial process by refusing to allow independent and ethical judges to regain their positions from which they had been removed by Musharraf, Zardari plans on using the judicial system to control political opponents.

Anyone familiar with the extent of Zardari's corruption will know how cynical this is.

Zardari is obviously determined to get his greedy paws on the $700 mill a year amerika was giving Musharraf, however his lack of control over the army means that this will cause great resentment amongst the military. They are being asked to die, worse be humiliated by continual amerikan incursions on Pakistani soil. The fact that there won't be much pay off for the corrupt amongst the senior officers (Zardari is far too greedy to share it around. This is why he comes unstuck every time). Inevitably the greedy faction of officers will combine with the majority ethical Pakistani nationalist officers and run Zardari outta town. That will leave Pakistan fairly fucked because that will be the fourth or fifth military coup Pakistan has suffered in 60 years. Citizens won't accept this quietly any longer. Anarchy will ensue. If the amerikans are desperate and crazy enough to think that is a good thing they are due for a lesson in the inability of a human to control any other. The outcomes will be bad for everyone.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 3 2008 20:37 utc | 4

I went to Dem Now to read transcripts of recent shows and today's--couldn't find any transcripts after 8/25/08.

Used to have transcripts come up with the current show (labeld "rush"). Has Dem Now had to trim costs and not do transcripts?

Or is there another place to look? I really appreciated the transcripts as they are more work friendly than trying to listen or watch programs. And quoting is much easier...

Anyone know about this? Just bcz of the conventions? Or a new practice?

Posted by: jawbone | Sep 3 2008 21:00 utc | 5

(Was this for show? Who would take two shots with a regular gun at an obviously armored limousine and expect to hit someone?)

I would guess either for show or perhaps an individual with personal grievences against the government (or the prime minister) and a lack of military training. Has the kind of gun been limited down (based on bullet-size)?

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Sep 4 2008 2:12 utc | 6

After reading Kleins book I have to agree with Gaianne.

But what should be clarified is that it is not mainly in the stage of chaos profits can be gathered, but rather in the state afterwards when an economically week society tries to reestablish themselves. Then the new rulers will get an offer that comes down to either economic isolation and the problems of retaining power that comes with it or fire-sale of most resources to specified companies with the prospect of the president and his closest men joining the really rich club. As Klein shows in South Africa, Poland and Russia the new leadership all choose the latter option.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Sep 4 2008 2:23 utc | 7

@ gaianne

Can deliberate chaos work? ... It looks to be failing in Nigeria

what leads you to believe that there's a strategy of deliberate chaos in nigeria - more specifically, the niger delta? western corporations have dominated the mineral rights & extraction/production/distribution there for half-a-century now and the leadership in abuja has always been very cool & abiding of that arrangement. the current president -- when he's not in a hospital somewhere -- is continuing a well-worn FG policy, largely on behalf of the west, in that respect. many other complexities involved in the situation there, though

sometimes i wonder if the FG & co isn't just trying to buy time until global climate change floods the rest of the coastline there, forcing the peoples of the delta to move & abdicate any rights they claim to the wealths there, thus ending that part of the dispute

i haven't read klein's book - does she use nigeria as an example to support her hypothesis?

the strategy of destabilization is very apparent in the case of somalia, but i don't see the evidence for it in the delta

Posted by: b real | Sep 4 2008 3:25 utc | 8

[T]he commando raid by the American forces signaled what top American officials said could be the opening salvo in a much broader campaign by Special Operations forces against the Taliban and Al Qaeda inside Pakistan, a secret plan that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has been advocating for months within President Bush’s war council. ... “What you’re seeing is perhaps a stepping up of activity against militants in sanctuaries in the tribal areas that pose a direct threat to United States forces and Afghan forces in Afghanistan,” said one senior American official, who had been briefed on the attack and spoke on condition of anonymity because of the mission’s political sensitivity. “There’s potential to see more.”

While most American troops in Afghanistan operate under a NATO chain of command, the Special Operations forces who carried out this attack answer only to American commanders.
After the attack, Pakistan lodged a “strong protest” with the American government and reserved the right of “self-defense and retaliation,” said the Pakistani military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.
By killing civilians, General Abbas said, there was now a great risk of an uprising by the tribesmen who supported the Pakistani soldiers in the border area. The tribesmen, who oppose the Taliban and support the Pakistani forces, will now be extremely angry, he said.

“Such actions are completely counterproductive and can result in huge losses, because it gives the civilians a cause to rise against the Pakistani military,” he said.
The Taliban commander, known by the nom de guerre Commander Malang, said the attack took place close to a Pakistani military position on the border and killed 15 people. But the Pakistani military took no action, he said.

NYT: American Forces Attack Militants on Pakistani Soil

Posted by: b | Sep 4 2008 5:08 utc | 9

does she use nigeria as an example to support her hypothesis?

I assume she does NOT use Nigeria as an example.

I was not trying to paraphrase Klein's book, but see where the strategy she describes might be being applied.

You might be right: Just wait until the delta floods. But the successful attacks on offshore rigs would make that approach less than sure: It would have to be a long-term strategy, and the US is running out of time.

the strategy of destabilization is very apparent in the case of somalia, but i don't see the evidence for it in the delta

How I see it is that Nigeria WAS under control, but as it starts slipping OUT of control it starts getting the chaos treatment.

Posted by: Gaianne | Sep 4 2008 5:29 utc | 10

B - from the piece you linked to:

The intelligence agencies, as Rubin heard from them, are not very happy to be part of electoral campaign

Looks like the British military aren't too keen on being enrolled in Operation Elect John McCain (Afghan Dept) either.

The UK gov were so keen to hide the discontent concerned about security they sicced the censors on the Murdoch press.

Posted by: Ron F | Sep 4 2008 9:26 utc | 11

does she use nigeria as an example to support her hypothesis?

No. In general her examples are few in contrast to what they could be, but her examples are studied in depth. In general I would say she focuses on the pillage of the middle and working classes in rather well off societies, with the exceptions of South Africa and the areas struck by the tsunami in 2006. So most of Africa is left untouched by her.

I do recommend the book, it is well-researched (as far as I can tell) and well-written. I could hardly put it down once I strated reading it.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Sep 4 2008 13:17 utc | 12

This is my first time on this blog or whatever you'd like to call it, I found this article on Google.

But, I think it is good we are finally going after Osama which was the original reason for the war.

Afghanistan was justified, and I think Pakistan is too,
but Iraq was not.

Posted by: Daren | Sep 4 2008 16:20 utc | 13

@ Daren

Following the same logic by which afghanistan and pakistan are justified, usa has been long overdue. i think the country should be broken up, and the pieces fed to the dogs.

Posted by: a | Sep 4 2008 17:30 utc | 14

Uncle Scam, OBL is dead (or so i believe. mind you they could find a look alike..)

In Afgh, and elsewhere, corporate take over, or anything in that line, requires a plan; chaos is but step one. The plan would have to include: a federation of some kind, opium / agri policy, banking, infrastructure, health (to mention just one last thing), strategies of control, all coordinated.

The coalition has no plans, they are even at cross purposes - many despise the American bombings, which just create more opposition. They all just stumble about and either try to lie low, or kill some ppl, or talk to some others; try to look good by splashing some Western money around, proudly calling it nation-building or trickle-down but in fact feeding waste and corruption. NATO and humanitarian war as irrelevant, and ridiculous, respectively. The ‘Taliban’ are Pashtun peasants for 20 hours out of 24.

In that landscape, physical and metaphorical, the impulse to use the only tools one has, armed might, and to blame foreign elements, is strong. Besides that, there are no real borders.

Posted by: Tangerine | Sep 5 2008 13:01 utc | 15

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