Sunday, February 15, 2004

from deep in the heart of texas
I occasionally regret letting my subscription to Stratfor lapse, but then I'm reminded of why I did it. From their latest weekly analysis (no link).

The issue now is simply one of timing. The Afghan-Pakistani
border currently is difficult to navigate: Mountains plus winter
equals no tanks. Once spring arrives, however, the United States
can roll in and -- in theory -- nab all the appropriate
personalities, just in time for the Democratic National
Convention in July. If the Bush administration can pull it off,
more Democrats than Howard Dean will be screaming.

The plan is not quite as neat as it seems. Northern Pakistan is
rugged territory, but people actually live there and like it.
Most are none too pleased with what the United States has been
doing across the border in Afghanistan of late. This region,
dubbed the Northwest Frontier Territories, is heavily Pushtun and
is rife with al Qaeda supporters. Rolling into it would not be
pretty.

In the hopes of heading off what would likely be a bloody U.S.
intervention in Pakistan, Musharraf is trying to make the case
for a major Pakistani military offensive against al Qaeda and its
supporters in these tribal areas.


OK, so in order to push for final victory against al-Qaeda to fit the US electoral timetable, the President of Pakistan will obligingly launch a civil war. Failing that, or if the proposed offensive fails, the US army will launch a full scale invasion oif one of the world's most ungovernable places to winkle out the jihadis, which task will be completed just in time for the US political conventions.

I'm all in favour of unconventional wisdom, but I think it's time the Stratfor boys left Texas.

However, there does seem to be growing momentum behind the idea of invading Pakistan at some stage. The prospect hasn't gone unnoticed by local analysts. Their considered response: come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

The tribal areas has seen many occupiers. They are classic practitioners of Liddell Harts strategy of indirect approach. Their guerrilla tactics are far more subtle than that of Mao, Ho Chi Minh or Che Guevara. They apply Mao without knowing what he had written. They apply Sandino's Nicaraguan tactics which brought US Marines to grief without ever having heard of him. They are warriors par excellence.

For each militant handed over the tribals gain goodwill from greedy political agents who they deceive and thus succeed in sheltering 50 militants. There is a method in the apparent outward collaboration of the tribals. They cannot be overawed by a telephone call or bought by a million dollar retainer.