Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Waziristan awakening?

Most people would file this under a yawner because there's no bleeding involved of US troops. But The Astute Blogger gets the hat-tip for this puppy. It seems that the same tribal elements that led to the Anbar Awakening is happening in Pakistan. From DAWN via AFP:

Thousands of armed tribesmen of South Waziristan met here on Wednesday, vowing to organise a Lashkar to hunt down Al Qaeda-linked militants blamed for killing nine of their kinsmen.

The tribal jirga in Wana came three days after militants stormed two offices and killed nine tribal elders of a government-sponsored peace committee.

The jirga ordered tribesmen from every household belonging to the Wazir tribe to come to Wana with arms to prepare for action, a local official said.

“One man from each house should come to Wana with a gun at 10am on Thursday to plan our defence and act against those who are responsible for disorder,” tribal chief Malik Ghaffar told the gathering.

Wazir tribe chief Maulvi Nazir, who earned fame after he drove out hundreds of Uzbeks from the region last year in bloody clashes, is expected to address the Lashkar on Thursday.

He did not turn up at Wednesday’s meeting but had earlier blamed Baitullah Mehsud, a local Al Qaeda commander and leader of the rival Mehsud tribe, for the killing of the peace committee members.

Residents have reported that announcements have been made on a public address system asking Mehsud tribesmen to “leave Wana to avoid losses”.

Baitullah Mehsud is accused by the government of masterminding a spate of suicide attacks in the country, including the December 27 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi. Mehsud has denied any involvement in the killing.

Local sources told AFP his tribe was preparing a jirga to negotiate with the Wazir tribe to avoid a confrontation.

This comes on the cusp of us sending 3000 more Marines to the border to reinforce the Brits in light of recent attacks. It looks like the tribes in Pakistan are fed up with al Qaeda as much as the Sunnis and Shias are in Iraq, and as much as the Afghanis are. Unfortunately we're having to pick this up because NATO nations haven't met the requested 7000 troops called up to deal with a possible Taliban offensive in the spring. That offensive never seemed to occur last year, but given the failures of al Qaeda in Iraq, it's a distinct possibility this year may be different.

And then again, if it doesn't appear, then we'll know that we hurt them enough in Afghanistan (the last such run-in involved Taliban and al Qaeda forces fleeing) and in Iraq (where coalition and Iraqi forces agree that al Qaeda is all but wiped out). With such setbacks, it's a prime moment for us to seize the offensive, especially if we can lend any help to the tribes we can. Musharraf is ramping up pressure on the jihadis by launching a brand new offensive. And given that Pakistanis are fleeing, this doesn't look like the a-typical Musharraf offensive of old that folds after a week. He is our ally, and nothing says that the rhetoric he may have heard over here during the primaries, and the president's own journey to the region, didn't play a role in this about face. Also, the assassination of Bhutto may be prompting a good amount of this pressure.

Musharraf knows the jihadis were involved. He knows it was a mistake to cook up the phony story about her hitting her head on the window frame. To save face, his own skin, and any possibility of continued US support Musharraf may feel he's painted into a corner. He may finally take the threat he faces seriously. He knows that if he's ousted, we'll waste no time moving in should jihadis seize power. There's no way in Hell we're going to let them get their hands on nuclear weapons. He's had a good run in Pakistan, and he doesn't want to jeopardize it in any way.

Publius II


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