Sunday, January 27, 2008
and your backup man your backup man your backup ain't working:
Despite intense pressure from both the CIA, ODNI and the Pentagon, Musharraf isn't letting CIA or the Special Forces community (how I love that phrase) into Pakistan. Consider:
The Jan. 9 meetings, the first visit with Mr. Musharraf by senior administration officials since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, also included the new army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the director of Pakistan’s leading military intelligence agency, Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj. American officials said the visit was prompted by an increasing sense of urgency at the highest levels of the United States government that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are intensifying efforts to destabilize the Pakistani government.
After the Bhutto assassination, I speculated on TPMm that al-Qaeda might have killed Bhutto as a bankshot to get Musharraf to divert resources away from the NWFP/FATA and toward internal repression:
Numerous assassination attempts on Pervez Musharraf have failed. So, in true asymmetric-war fashion, why not go after the softer target? Killing Bhutto helps destabilize Pakistan. As an ex-U.S. intelligence official told me yesterday, everyone in Pakistan already believes Musharraf had a hand in her death. So Musharraf suffers a crisis of legitimacy matched with a crisis of security. He has to deal with the already-ensuing riots, thereby diverting his security resources away from whatever not-particularly-successful-anyway counterterrorism efforts they're engaged in. That's a terrorist two-fer.
Whether al-Qaeda meant it that way or not, and whether Musharraf means it this way or not, the effect is largely the same. Back to the NYT:
The C.I.A. operatives in Afghanistan and the covert Special Operations forces there have made little secret of their desire to move into the tribal areas with or without Mr. Musharraf’s explicit approval. In the administration, there has been discussion of whether Mr. Bush should give orders to allow them more latitude. Mr. Musharraf has explicitly rejected that, and within days after Mr. McConnell and General Hayden’s departure, he told a Singapore newspaper that any unilateral action by the United States would be regarded as an invasion. In Davos, he dismissed the idea that Americans could be effective in the tribal areas.
And on that point, at least, Pervez Musharraf is making sense.
--Spencer Ackerman
Note Gates apparently sending some signals about US willingness to 'conduct joint military operations', reported in FT at See also the odd interpolated warning from an anonymous 'congressional aide' that U.S. unilateral action would 'spark a conflagration.'
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