I’ve been reading news articles and watching t.v. shows about the "war" in Pakistan and I think we got away with quite a lot offensively before the enemy engaged recently; there is now a rather significant counter-plan in effect. Whether it goes beyond the borders of Pakistan isn’t entirely certain, but it seems clear they intend to protect bin Laden (if he’s still alive and his ghost if he isn’t) and Zawahiri.
Our plan isn’t kaput yet, but if ‘they’ are onto it, then we have to go to Plan B with better knowledge of what’s going on there and what the next layer of the onion is that we have to tackle.
We’ve taken on the outer layer and pushed hard enough to break it down. Now that the enemy counters us it’s clear they didn’t really want us to get this far and feel more need to push back.
What are these "layers"?
First, the Taliban in the mountains of invulnerability is one. You might say all the other jihadi movements like Al Qaeda are different, but they are all "brothers", so I see them as separate patches of one blanket and as one layer.
Next layer? Well, it takes a leap of faith or a simple observation that the ‘war’ began with about 15K Pak military and 4K Taliban (plus AQ) and they now say it’s 15K Pak military and about 2K Taliban, but there have been no journalists in the area (Swat Valley and Mingora) and no visuals of large numbers of dead bodies. And, there have been large numbers of ‘refugees’ from those areas which it has been said had some (former) Taliban who have shaved their faces. It appears the Pak military is the face of the next layer in and that they ‘fight’ the Taliban, but maybe not so much as to kill them.
Is this an intentional collusion? Perhaps there is more corruption in Pakistan and beyond all the layers there is simply the money from the drug trade and all the other wealth-making mechanisms of the nation which the Rich control. Imagine Wall St. run from the nation’s capital.
Let’s imagine we don’t catch any big fish as a result of this offensive. What’s next? What’s our big realization and next step? Do the Paks kill or throw out Zardari (who has had the temerity to go along with the U.S. and threaten the construct of the corrupt Pak "onion"), so their mafia can take over the government and pull back the military to protect their system of mutual protection of geographic areas, culture, wealth, etc.?
I’d suggest Zardari increase his security except they might not be so loyal to him. Like Gandhi in India the security detail might be the assassination squad. It’s not a good situation.
We need to succeed before Zardari fails.
We need to learn quickly where they have their terrorist friends hidden under the covers. Where would they want them? I can’t help but think they would want them near or in Islamabad as their honored guests, but would that be practical? They would certainly be identified by anyone who saw them.
If it was feared they would be in too much danger during the Swat campaign they might have easily been moved to another place. I thought (one possibility was that) they might "escape" to Peshawar (where there is now a lot of fighting), but that would be an attempt to escape the military. If it was the military helping or allowing them to escape they could easily have gone another route south to Islamabad.
I repeat that hospitals and mosques are likely places they would be near, but if you consider that the wealthy might be corrupt and in league with AQ then it’s possible they would use the military or other ISI to protect them inside that next layer. Where are the ISI strongest and capable of hiding people near a mosque and/or hospital?
Aside from the primary plan this/these is/are the next place(s) to consider looking. Getting assistance from Zardari would only inform the enemy and slow a search.
Hopefully the primary plan will succeed, but if it doesn’t then on to Plan B from Outer Space!