Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Taking on the TTP, part X
Postscript: I have had a lot of comments from friends on this piece and here is a summary:
1. The deep state has a coherent Afghan policy that requires maintaining Jihadi proxies. That show is still the main show. This farce will go on and the deep state probably doesnt mind the fact that it will go on.
2. The deep state has already launched an anti-taliban operation, but not yet in Waziristan. Still, its coming.
3. More of the same. Nothing new has happened, nothing new is about to happen.
4. The proverbial shit has already hit the fan. Pakistan is beyond the point of no return.
And so on.
Take your pick. I have no inside info. Every theory falls apart as you pursue it some distance (some fall apart before the pursuit starts. Alas, the left has left the building ;) ).
Maybe nobody is in control, but Saudi Arabia, Amrika and GHQ all think they know what they are doing and all think they are about to make monkeys of everyone else. With that cheery thought in mind, read on..
Apparently the army is about to do something or the other against some group or the other in North Waziristan. This is big news because North Waziristan has been off limits to "operations" for years, with various jihadi groups living, training and carousing in the region with nothing to fear except the occasional drone attack. If the operation goes ahead, this may cause the TTP (the main Pakistani Taliban group) to conduct revenge operations even in the safe zones of Punjab, which may cause real anxiety in real Pakistan.
Aware of the possibility of a coming operation and being serious players, the TTP has wasted no time taking the initiative. They have made monkeys of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chodhri Nisar and completely hijacked their idiotic "talks" gambit. It is likely that the "talks" were always meant to be a farce, and MNS and company thought this was just a good way to expose the bloodthirsty Taliban and their civilian supporters (like the PTI and the Jamat e Islami) before the serious business of killing starts and the inevitable blowback causes the Punjabi people to look around for a scapegoat. If so, the gambit has failed spectacularly. The TTP proved cleverer and more capable than the government of Pakistan and announced their own farcical committee to hold negotiations with Nawaz Sharif's farcical committee while their brothers continued to knock off opponents and spread terror. It has been a brilliant performance, nicely cataloged here by Ayaz Amir.
But a bloodier phase may start soon. 50,000 Pakistanis have already died and more (unfortunately) are going to pay the price in the days to come. It probably didnt have to be this bad. More efficient ways of terminating (betraying) the Jihad experiment were possible, mostly involving cleverly cooperating with the US, India and China, but sometimes elites dont know what side they are on. Even though Pakistan's rulers were never going to set up some Jihadi North Korea and wave the Juche flag, they couldnt bring themselves to bite the bullet and 12 years of waffling have certainly raised the casualty count and made the next phase more painful that it had to be.
But these are mere details. Since even birather China wants the Jihadi safe havens terminated with maximum prejudice, its gonna happen, one way or the other. Liberals should keep their heads down and occasionally protest the human rights abuses to come. The rest is not up to them...
The story line remains a problem though. All the indications are that operation is going to rely on the CIA-RAW conspiracy template to justify the action. This, coupled with the presence of Imran Khan and media Taliban (like Orya Maqbool and Ansar Abbasis) is going to confuse the narrative in so many ways, its hard to even describe it. The confusion is so bad, our well armed elite may end up losing the war just because it didn't have a good enough story to fit the war.
500,000 man army, 200 nuclear weapons, 3000 tanks...but no story that can hold it all together.
Pakistan remains sui generis.
See what our tax rupees are paying for:
The Taliban meanwhile are sending some messages of their own:
So, the Taliban brought headless (freshly killed, blood soaked) bodies in an open pickup truck and dumped them on a "government controlled" road in Mohmand and filmed the scene...for 11 minutes. You can watch the video if you are up to it. I know there are bigger problems in Pakistan, but from here this seems vaguely disturbing