First Israel & Colombia; Now Sri Lanka & PakistanThe latest headline reads: At least 124 dead as bombs target Bhutto in Karachi. No one is surprised. In July at least 70 died during the battle for control of the Red Mosque in the middle of Islamabad. In September 29 are killed in a twin bombing in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan Is learning a painful lesson. Musharraf has hoped that turning over Waziristan to the Taliban/Al Qaeda will mean peace for the rest of Pakistan if not for Afghanistan or Europe. To his chagrin, the opposite happened. Creating a terrorist safe haven in Waziristan ended up also undermining the security all of Pakistan.
Musharraf ordered the army back to the Northeast territories. The army was not happy with the assignment. A BBC reporter who entered the Taliban territories to interview a captured Pakistani army commander. He said he tried to negotiate but his negotiators took him and his men hostage. Efforts to secure their release dragged. The air force was called in to bomb the Taliban strong holds causing 250 (innocent?) fatalities.
What now? Will the humiliating assassination attempt of Bhutto lead to a Pakistani decision to execute a plan for an all-out war on the militants? as Syed Saleem Shahzad reports?
An all-out battle for control of Pakistan's restive North and South Waziristan is about to commence between the Pakistani military and the Taliban and al-Qaeda adherents who have made these tribal areas their own.
According to a top Pakistani security official who spoke to Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity, the goal this time is to pacify the Waziristans once and for all. All previous military operations - usually spurred by intelligence provided by the Western coalition - have had limited objectives, aimed at specific bases or sanctuaries or blocking the cross-border movement of guerrillas. Now the military is going for broke to break the back of the Taliban and a-Qaeda in Pakistan and reclaim the entire area.
Do not hold your breath. It has been 5 years since I first asked Will terrorist leopards change their spots if given their own territory to roam? The results of the Israeli and Colombian experiments led me to conclude that alas, no. The carnivores are unlikely to become herbivors. As the terrorists livelyhood and glory depend on continued violence, the possession of a territory merely strengthens and emboldens them. I went on to suggest that Sri Lanka would probably replicate the Israeli and Colombian experience. Indeed, the Sri Lankan "peace process" collapsed. Why? Because the Tigers "feared that peace and economic development would weaken" them.
At these moments, the Sri Lankan navy is engaged in a major sea battle with the inventors of suicide bombings, the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). The Tigers have a significant naval force that they use for attacks and to smuggle weapons into the area under their control in northern Sri Lanka.
Opening an anti-terrorist conference the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said:
One must be conscious that helping combat the LTTE, foreign governments are not only helping Sri Lanka but also acting on their own self interest.
Why the note of appeal? Because regardless of the futility and high price extracted by the repeated efforts to get the leopard to change it spots, so called experts continue to urge Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Colombia and, of course, Israel to turn over territory to the terrorists. Indeed, failing to do so leads to media vilification and isolation by the "international community." The post modern shunning of outright victory is creating an ever growing number of endless wars. Starting an "insurgency" is a fruitful business. In other words, the road to the current hell is paved with good intentions.