[The Telegraph, U.K.]



The Pak Tribune, Pakistan

In Waziristan, Americans Must Now Stand Aside


"The Americans now need to watch quietly from the sidelines. With their blundering jaunts into Iraq and Afghanistan, America has lost a lot of face ... but that doesn't mean that Washington should stop covertly propping up Pakistan's armed muscle."


By Anwaar Hussain*



October 19, 2009


Pakistan - The Pak Tribune - Original Article (English)

Pakistan asserts that it's taking the battle to the Taliban and wants Washington to stop interfering.


AL-JAZEERA VIDEO: Pakistan begins South Waziristan offensive, Oct. 17, 00:02:40 RealVideo

Finally, the battle was first promised in June against our one-time protégés begins. For the past four months, troops have been gathering on the horizon of Waziristan. The delay not only enabled the militants to overcome the reversals they suffered in Malakand during the summer, but to hit back with added venom at the government. Hastened by the bewildering tempo of attacks by the "god-men" over recent weeks across the country - the battle has begun.


It's a given that this battle is a strange mix. While it's unconventional for not being a standard face-off between regular armies, it's conventional in that it's the same old war with each side trying to impose its will. But conventional or not, there's no running away from it. Now is the time to fight.


While everyone hurries to battle stations in the weeks and months ahead, here are a few fundamental dos and don'ts that need to be stuck to like glue.


1) Hijack the 'god-men's' cause.


History is replete with examples of insurgencies that have degenerated into out-and-out criminality. This one is no different. The government should use all means at its disposal, such as media, clerics, political leaders, etc., to highlight the fact that these are no "god-men."



Masquerading as god-men, these are common thugs involved in the drug trade, kidnapping and contract killing, to name a few of their activities. Take away their golden shoe and use it to beat them back. Not only will this infuriate the "god-men" into a blind rage and accompanying stumbles, it will discredit them, which is a much easier way of cutting off and starving the insurgency than having to kill every last one. Victory will be won only when the "god-men" are permanently isolated by and with the active help of the population.


2) Tell Americans to stay away this time.


While thinking Pakistanis know that the bombing of barber shops, girls' schools and the lashing of women has nothing to do with Pakistan being "the closest of America's allies" and everything to do with the dark dogma of the "god-men," the Americans now need to watch quietly from the sidelines. With their blundering jaunts into Iraq and Afghanistan and wanton killing in those two unfortunate countries, America has lost a lot of face. They need to stand aside and refrain from adding weight to the Taliban's golden shoe. That doesn't mean that Washington should stop covertly propping up Pakistan's armed muscle - which is quite addicted to the steroid of American weapon and financial support. And of course, the Americans know that they've had a great hand in the genesis of the problem and can't simply wish themselves away.


3) Maintain the momentum.


Once gained, the Pakistan Army has to guard against losing momentum. They've allowed this in the past and the results proved disastrous. The tempo and timing of operations will be vital to success in this conflict. The insurgents have been allowed time to plan, so when the war begins - whatever the official spin - the militants may appear to control the situation. Given their limited resources, however, control over the pace of events and scope of activities will soon shift to the Pakistan Army. Patience is the name of the game.


4) Don't talk of winding it up in days or weeks.


By its very nature, insurgencies are protracted affairs. Even after several months, Malakand continues to remain on a low boil. Moreover, given South Waziristan's terrain and the nature of the foe, the strategy of the militants will be to encourage the Army to penetrate deeper into the region i.e. farther into the mountains, and then tie soldiers down with hit-and-run tactics. That would likely keep the troops bogged down over the winter in long, drawn-out operations on unfriendly terrain. This is why it wouldn’t be prudent to offer false hope of a quick end to the population, whose support is critical. A negative shift in fickle public opinion would be disastrous.


5) Be believable.


It must be understood this war is being watched by multiple audiences. The military mustn't permit the truth to be the first casualty - which is usually the case. Either credible information must be released or none at all. Killing 2,000 insurgents in a village of 200 families is hyperbole of the unnecessary kind. The military must make certain that their deeds match their words. Any perceived contradiction will destroy its credibility and undermine the counterinsurgency. Shortly into the conflict, one side will gain credibility and the other will lose it - much to the sorrow of the loser.  



6) Learn and adjust.


Militant tactics will constantly evolve. The military will have to respond by observing, drawing lessons, applying them, assessing the results and quickly adjusting again. This learning cycle will have to be maintained to that the Army adapts more quickly than the enemy. Here we can draw some solace from the recent Malakand operation, which may have hardened our troops for this type of conflict.




The Nation, Pakistan: 'America Goes Too Far'  

The Frontier Post, Pakistan: 'Rivers of Blood:' West Could Care Less for Afghan Deaths
The Frontier Post, Pakistan: Tell America to Stop Backing Terrorist Attacks on Iran
The Frontier Post, Pakistan: America Reveals Dark Side of the Human Intellect

The Australian, Australia: Before 9-11, Docs Show Split in al-Qaeda Over Attack on U.S.  

Asia Times, Hong Kong: China Maps End to the Afghanistan War

The Telegraph, U.K.: Obama Reported 'Furious' at McChrystal Speech  

Gazeta, Russia: U.S. and Russia Share Responsibility for 'Afghan Anthill'

The Frontier Post, Pakistan: Americans Will Pay Dearly For 'Flirting' with Afghan War

The Frontier Post, Pakistan: This Time, the Americans Have Gone Too Far!  

The Frontier Post, Pakistan: It's Obama's Afghanistan Now

Der Spiegel, Germany: Editorial Roundup: U.S. 'Schadenfreude' Over Afghan Air Strike

Der Spiegel, Germany: Germany Pledges Full Probe as Pressure Mounts


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Above all, what we need to remember is that although there's no doubt that the Army will eventually prevail - insurgencies aren't defeated by simply killing every insurgent. Through reform, the root causes of discontent, i.e.: the lack of education and reconstruction, will soon have to be addressed. General Chang Ting-chen of Mao Zedong’s Central Committee once said that revolutionary war was 80 percent political action and only 20 percent military. The same applies to counterinsurgencies. Therefore, one desperately hopes that along with this much needed military operation, the other 80 percent - action - is also being contemplated.


Note how your humble scribe has written an whole article without using the word "religion." That is because, as Dave Barry once said, "The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes."


A machete is a large knife with a broad blade used as an implement for cutting "things."


*Anwaar Hussain is a former Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter pilot. With a Masters in Defense and Strategic Studies from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamaba, he now resides in United Arab Emirates. He has published a series of articles in Defense Journal, South Asia Tribune and a host of other web portals. Other than international affairs, Anwaar Hussain has written extensively on the religious and political issues that plague Pakistan.











































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US October 25, 6:55pm]


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