Dec 28 2007

al-Qaeda Succeeds In Killing Bhutto, World Plays To Their Tune, End Game Coming

Published by at 8:37 am under All General Discussions,Pakistan

It seems the final stage of the war is on, given the fact al-Qaeda has taken credit for the killing of Benazir Bhutto (and gave information about the bomber only the planners would know):

An al-Qaeda leader based in Afghanistan formally claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whom he described as a “most precious American asset.”

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, spokesperson for al-Qaeda, was quoted as saying that “We terminated the most precious American asset who vowed to defeat the ‘mujaheedin.'” The claim of responsibility came in a phone call from al-Yazid who is described as a “main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.”

The decision to kill Bhutto was made by al-Qaeda’s number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in October. The first attempt was made on Oct. 18 on her return to Pakistan and killed 140 people and injured scores more.

Meanwhile, the US Military in Afghanistan is on high alert for possible “high value targeting” by local al-Qaeda cells.

Reports from the region said several “death squads of mujaheedin” were constituted for a mission and one cell comprising a “Punjabi volunteer of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi killed Bhutto.”

It is coming up on our election season and al-Qaeda is hoping enough bloodshed will cause riots and chaos and spook America into retreating before we defeat Bin Laden’s butcher’s. Apparently the al-Qaeda has already convinced one of their useful idiots to start talking to the cameras, seems Ron Paul has decided it is America’s fault for the assassination and al-Qaeda was justified in killing her. PT Barnum was right about fools being born every minute, but some fools are downright dangerous. One thing is for sure, Paul will now be starring in just about all the next generation of al-Qaeda propaganda and recruiting films. He is the new hero of our enemies.

al-Qaeda had to do something to try and turn their fortunes around. Sadly they decided Bhutto would be that something. What is really sad is how the Pakistanis and a lot of the news media did exactly what al-Qaeda wanted. They blamed Musharraf or Bush or anyone But the actual killers. The reason for this is manifold, but the core reason is they fear al-Qaeda and want to appease it before they themselves get caught up. There is also a lust for power that comes with rationalizing away the fear of al-Qaeda by hiding it under hate for Bush (or whoever they decide is the “real” culprit).

It is truly stunning we have so many weak-kneed people in position of influence. Clearly the media needs and influx of spine, as do the Democrats. But while there are more willing to run away and cower than I expected, on the other side there even more willing to stand up and take al-Qaeda on. The military (and its supporters) far out number the hand-wringers lurking around the exists hoping to be the first to bolt if the violence breaks out nearby (unlike what we saw on 9-11 by the Americans and others swept up in those horrors). Clearly they plan to yell “I told you so” as their cry of retreat.

But while many voices are prepping to be siren song of defeat, I think most will understand no one is forcing al-Qaeda to be brutal killers. No one is holding a gun to their head and saying “make Hitler and the Nazis look good in comparison”. The reason al-Qaeda is causing this much disruption is I think because they are playing the wounded, cornered animal. I think they understand the forces being brought to bear in Afghanistan and Pakistan now surrounding them are their call to join Allah. I think they hope by killing Bhutto the noose will be pulled back.

The Japanese promised to all die, to the last child, before surrendering in WW II. It was their last ditch promise to wreak so much bloodshed that actually forced the US to use the atomic bombs. And that lesson seems to be lost on al-Qaeda. Thankfully today we don’t require the use of atomic bombs on such a rag tag, country-less bunch of thugs. But the lesson is still there – we won’t back down and the killing of Bhutto will only strengthen our resolve.

I suspect plans to deal with al-Qaeda are now being accelerated instead of shelved. And the place these plans target are the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). In fact, the area I am beginning to notice is the Kurram Agency in FATA:

According to local tribesmen, violence intensified after the arrival of a large number of militants from adjoining areas of North Waziristan and Hangu.

We have been demanding that the authorities must expel outsiders from the area, but no action has been taken,” said Akbar Ali, an elder of the Turi tribe.

It seems a lot of foreigners are showing up in the FATA – a region Musharraf recently speculated Bin Laden may be hiding out. It would be interesting to see if that speculation was meant to get Bin Laden to move (which I am sure he does with regularity) and expose himself. Is it a coincidence Musharraf speculates about Bin Laden being in nearby Bajaur Agency and then strangers show up in primarily Shiia Kurram? Coincidence?

Update: that one of the main suspected groups outside al-Qaeda (Arab foreigners in Pakistan it should be noted) is the Pakistan ISI. One thing to remember is Pakistanis are not Arabs – and there is no love loss between the two. The ISI may have undermined its credibility by allying with Arab terrorists to take out a well liked former Prime Minister. And what Prime Minister would allow ISI a role in security of the Prime Minister if they had a role in Bhutto’s assassination? Terrorists may have unleashed a lot of anger, but where that anger will settle out is still an open question.

Update: More here on the wide spread oppression of democracy in the FATA and NWFP regions of Pakistan by the Taliban and al-Qaeda. You’d think our ‘progressive’ news media would be covering these human rights abuses (they are of course busy blaming Bush and Musharraf for human rights abuses instead). Clearly the area is being threatened by violence, which will probably create the same grass roots backlash it did in Iraq’s Anbar Province when the jackboot of the terrorists became too much to bear.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “al-Qaeda Succeeds In Killing Bhutto, World Plays To Their Tune, End Game Coming”

  1. S says:

    There is an interesting take on Pakistan operation in the NY Sun per Eli Lake today. Basically asserts armor piercing bullets ripped apart Bhutto and it was multiple shooters assisted by a specops unit gone astray. Now CNN reports it was shrapnel. Interesting that this absolves the gov’t of providing the ballistics results in theory or at least gives them cover to say listen it wasn’t bullets at all. The very story stinks to the utmost.

    I frankly disagree with your assertion that the world over is in denial. It is reported however that the US is encouraging talks with Taliban and the Brits are also talking. While I agree that Rice will go down as one of the worst SoS in history if not the worst – she was under armed from the get go and sadly thrust into a position she is not nearly equipped to deal with. Sadly she is part of a talk first and then talk more state Department culture that will not change.

    All that said, I think the people who celebrate the new strategy in Iraq could just as easily say the US should pursue a realist agenda in the subcontinent. Why not? We either stay there and fight for a very very very long time or we reach some dirty accommodations or an acceptable status quo. This is unless you are suggesting we go in with nukes (I assume that is what you mean by the endgame) and turn the stones to glass. Sure that is an approach, but there are quite a few billions that might hit you on the recoil. Or are you saying we go into the tribal areas and settle it once and for all. I doubt that kills the hydra – unless we plan on occupying Eurasia, Southern Russia, the entire Middle East. And by the ay, we will be dealing with Iran’s natural enemies for them while emboldening them to continue to push the envelope. This is not nearly as simple as bomb the Tribal areas and root out Bin Laden. This movement will not die with Bin Laden. Check out the recent outgrowths in the Magreb/Algeria.

    Now all this must be financed as well. You will note that the fiscal position of the US is reaching a tipping point which is why people are so focused on the foreign treasury buying, the slow bleed to insolvency of the banks and the mountain of debt that has essentially inflated GDP to unsustainable proportions. Perhaps we should be thinking about all these commitments in the context of the British post WWII renouncing their ability to continue to provide resources to Greece or Turkey and the US stepped in with the Truman doctrine. Maybe it is the US threatening to strangle economically the UK after Suez. I don’t know but the approaching nexus of economics and geopolitical commitments is rapidly converging.

    yesterday posts….
    There are far too many people who can’t afford to allow Bhutto or Sharif to come to power. There are Intel services across the world, including in house who have interests to protect. The best solution has always been benign neglect of Musharriff fist (to borrow Zacharia’s heralded but now ignored book). From US to Saudi Arabia to EC, th unknowable is too risky with anyone other than Musharriff.

    Also of note:
    British are negotiating with the Taliban next door

    This is very scary stuff as it shows that Al Q is certainly changing its tactics from strikes outside to what many senior AQ leaders wanted from the get go, a consolidation of power at home first and then a thrust outward.

    Completely agree this was the work of professional and wit will be interesting to see if the ballistics of what kind of bullet hit her. Sounds like a sniper shot not a scatter shot. If I am not mistaken, Bhutto’s first state visit was to China / Iran. Per FP magazine this month she had knew of the IRanian program since the late eighties and of Pak’s assistance. It is irresponsible to look at her as anything more than a useful offset and or idiot, depending on your perspective. Welcome to the permanent state of emergency. One wonders what grand bargain Mushariff makes to clamp down. His deals with the tribal areas have failed miserably. Best case: status quo ex anti.

    Despite Gates reservations, maybe the Marines will be heading to the Frontier regions anyway.

    Post …
    Wait for what? Is it really that complicated? There are many agendas at play here from the tribal area leaders to AQ to Mushariff to ISI to Saudi to Sharif to US to the west more broadly. The obvious part here is why she was killed, it is just trying to decipher which interested group actually executed the mission and how the dominoes realign in the short term. Hard to believe this helps Mushariff longer term (even short term). State is reporting (wink wink) that Mushariff was powerless to stop the assassination.

    It is too much to believe this was a random event. Too many people have an interest in seeing this happen, even if the various parties have different objectives. The crossroads makes for a perfect opportunity for outside forces to capitalize on internal derision.

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    A lot here depends on who is proven to have killed Bhutto.

    If it is proven to be AQ/Taliban, the PPP is the largest party in Pakistan and they could demand a whole bunch of revenge and give Musharaff the support he needs to totally go for it.

    Part of the issue with the Army in the tribal areas that made them less than aggressive was simple tribal loyalties.

    This for the first major time pitted Pashtuns in the Army up against Pashtuns in the tribal areas.

    Loyalty over there is family > tribe > sect > party > country.

    Then you have the country types more tuned into the strict Islamic Law idea compared the the citified ones leaning more secular and moderate.

    The Army is a mix of both in unknown percentages.

  3. S says:

    Bhutto was nothing more than a bad cover story for ensuring Mushariff maintained the iron fist and control of the Nukes. This is a very bad outcome for the United States all around as they will no be forced to play their cards in the open re Mushariff. Looking over at Iraq, Afghan, the terretories and Lebanon, can;t we agree that the experiment is not working. Gulianin nuanced last night on CNN saying we need to push for Democracy, but do so in a measured way to ensure stability. This will/should be the narrative henceforth. Neo-wilsoniasm dies today.