Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bhutto's Demise by Al Qaeda/Taliban


I'd resolved to give it a rest with the Bhutto related stuff as it's enjoyed blanket coverage both in the media and on virtually every resource otherwise. However, via The Long War Journal, some depth into who was behind the assassination.

The Pakistani government has directly implicated the commander of newly created Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema claimed the government intercepted a phone conversation between none other than Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, and Maulvi Sahib, one of Mehsud's underlings.

Pakistani intelligence apparently intercepted some "chatter" detailed below, as taken from the Telegraph:

Maulvi Sahib (MS):
Asalaam Aleikum (Peace be with you)

Baitullah Mehsud (BM): Waleikum Asalam (And also with you)

MS: Chief, how are you?

BM: I am fine.

MS: Congratulations, I just got back during the night.

BM: Congratulations to you, were they our men?

MS: Yes they were ours.

BM: Who were they?

MS: There was Saeed, there was Bilal from Badar and Ikramullah.

BM: The three of them did it?

MS: Ikramullah and Bilal did it.

BM: Then congratulations.

MS: Where are you? I want to meet you.

BM: I am at Makeen (town in South Waziristan tribal region), come over, I am at Anwar Shah's house.

MS: OK, I'll come.

BM: Don't inform their house for the time being.


BM: It was a tremendous effort. They were really brave boys who killed her.

MS: Mashallah (Thank God). When I come I will give you all the details.

BM: I will wait for you. Congratulations, once again congratulations.

MS: Congratulations to you.

BM: Anything I can do for you?

MS: Thank you very much.

BM: Asalaam Aleikum.

MS: Waaleikum Asalaam.

Heart warming, isn't it? More analysis from LWJ:

The Pakistan government's claim that Baitullah Mehsud is behind the attack and al Qaeda's claim of credit for the strike are not mutually exclusive. The Bhutto assassination also was very likely carried out with support from inside the police, military, and intelligence agencies.

Some members of the US civilian and military intelligence communities have stopped making distinctions between the two groups long ago. These analysts refer to the various jihadi groups as Al Qaeda and Allied Movements, or AQAM. These various groups include the "Pakistani Taliban," the "Neo-Taliban," Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), al Qaeda central, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Jaish-e-Mohammned, Lashkar-e-Taiba (which is now Jamaat-ud-Dawa), Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, and a host of domestic Pakistani terror groups. The distinctions between the groups in Pakistan have become meaningless as they share the same ideology, goals, training camps, tactics and recruiting bases. Their command structures often intermesh. Members of the Taliban sit on al Qaeda’s various shuras, or councils...

The west enjoyed a short lived divisiveness between the Taliban and al Qaeda during bin Ladens comfortable stay in Afghanistan pre-9/11 when many senior Taliban officials wanted to heave him abroad, fearing his anti-west agenda endangered their nirvana of an Islamic state. It was Mullah Omar's steadfast allegiance to bin Laden that both kept him around and eventually saw the destruction of a Taliban state as American and later NATO forces engaged, occupied and destroyed it less than one month post 9/11.

Seven years later and the ties that bind present a much more difficult situation as the Taliban is without a state and has become an instrumental facet of a growing terror network.

Which lends one to consider:

Given the political upheaval in Pakistan and the tenuous grasp General Musharraff maintains is now the time to gamble and introduce NATO or American forces in Pakistan's North West Frontier?


Anonymous said...

I don't think a NATO/American incursion into the Northwest Frontier would accomplish anything good--it'll be the 21st century equivalent of the Pancho Villa chase.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That looks very persuasive. The Pakistani military intelligence, however, is known to be a can of worms. For example, if Mushi was behind the assassination (and I am not saying he was), this phone call intercept will be quite handy...

Adrian said...

Would would a foreign military gain from occupying parts of Pakistan? They'd be presenting themselves as targets and the numbers it would take to deny the region as a safe-haven to Al Qaeda simply aren't available.

Jay@Soob said...

Snoop, good point and I know you're not insinuating otherwise but Mushi (indeed the Paki military) stands little to gain from Bhutto's demise. But if they did...

Adam, Adrian

I'm not sure I agree. The Northwest Frontier seems to me to be analogous to Cambodia during the Vietnam war. Also bear in mind (in terms of resources) the Afghan war is a NATO operation. The hope, of course, is that some members step up to the plate (think Germany) and actually fully invest in the operation. If they did a counter-insurgency in Waziristan doesn't seem all that far fetched.

The difficulty in my mind isn't so much strategic but political. To what extent would a NATO effort in Pakistan further destabilize Mush and the military's control?