Friday, October 13, 2006

The World's Most Clever Leader

As much as I support him, it isn't George W. Bush. No, the world's most clever leader is undoubtedly General Pervez Musharraf, the current President of Pakistan. He's certainly more clever than you or I. You don't rise up to the top of the military through the intelligence service and then depose your president just at the moment of your dismissal without great smarts and an even greater capacity for betrayal.

Musharraf is under attack by all sides, from within his country and from without, by both democrats and Islamofascists and many people in between. The Islamists want him dead. The West doubts his commitment to the Global War on Terror. Currently, he is being severely criticized for essentially surrendering the province of North Waziristan to the Taliban: the Taliban controls the area and in exchange it promises to kick out "foreign" militants and not to attack government troops.

Indeed, Pakistan is accused of supplying the Taliban itself:

Nato's report on Operation Medusa, an intense battle that lasted from September 4-17 in the Panjwai district, demonstrates the extent of the Taliban's military capability and states clearly that Pakistan's Interservices Intelligence (ISI) is involved in supplying it.

The predictable result of this apparent victory by and resupply of the militants is their immediate push to expand their area of control into nearby Afghanistan. But let's see how this push has developed so far:

Hundreds of Taliban reinforcements in pick-up trucks who crossed over from Quetta – waved on by Pakistani border guards – were destroyed by Nato air and artillery strikes...The Taliban repeatedly massed in large formations, and was destroyed at a ratio of 100 to 1

Let's re-write the story a bit: having failed to flush out the Taliban from their holes and fortresses in North Wazirstan, the Pakistani Army resorted to deception and channelled the Taliban into open fighting on the battlefield, where they were utterly decimated by NATO airpower and troops.

See how clever Musharraf is? He didn't even have to have his troops do any of the fighting. Did they report on Taliban movements? 100:1 kill ratios don't happen without effective military intelligence. Musharraf could always blame it on those magic Predator drones, right?

So is Musharraf on our side, after all? Yet Bill Roggio reports:
Al-Qaeda and the Taliban continue their campaign to eradicate any opposition to their rule in North Waziristan. Two more "spies" have been assassinated in North Waziristan...This is yet another violation of the Waziristan Accord.

and the Telegraph article points out
Nato is now mapping the entire Taliban support structure in Balochistan [south of Waziristan], from ISI- run training camps near Quetta to huge ammunition dumps, arrival points for Taliban's new weapons and meeting places of the shura, or leadership council

I can't be certain where this is going. The Global War on Terror is about defeating terrorists, and repeated defeats on the battlefield are an important element. Will Musharraf continue to push terrorists into the battlefield? Will Musharraf continue to support the domestic expansion of the Taliban and its allies? Will he eventually declare Waziristan and Baluchistan to be in revolt or even independent countries, and thus invite the West to invade and subdue his enemies? Only Musharraf knows, and maybe he hasn't yet decided these questions.

Or will Musharraf be assassinated, with effects unknown to all? That question alone is enough to make potential assassins hesitate. So Musharraf gets to live yet another day. A very clever man indeed.

Update, 11/1/06

So he did it - Musharaff's army supposedly attacked a madrassa in Bajaur province, reportedly killing 80 armed militants. However, the rumor on the street is that the U.S. did it with armed drones, and the government of Pakistan is only pretending it is responsible for the attack. Why am I not surprised?

For a little background on what these madrassas are like, read last year's blog entry on Holy Warrior Education - a visit to Taliban chief Mullah Omar's madrassa.

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