By Tariq Ali
TomDispatch (Tom Engelhardt)
September 16, 2008
The American War Moves to Pakistan – Bush’s War Widens Dangerously
The decision to make public a presidential order of last July authorizing American strikes inside Pakistan without seeking the approval of the Pakistani government ends a long debate within, and on the periphery of, the Bush administration. Senator Barack Obama, aware of this ongoing debate during his own long battle with Hillary Clinton, tried to outflank her by supporting a policy of U.S. strikes into Pakistan. Senator John McCain and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin have now echoed this view and so it has become, by consensus, official U.S. policy.
Its effects on Pakistan could be catastrophic, creating a severe crisis within the army and in the country at large. The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are opposed to the U.S. presence in the region, viewing it as the most serious threat to peace.
Why, then, has the U.S. decided to destabilize a crucial ally? Within Pakistan, some analysts argue that this is a carefully coordinated move to weaken the Pakistani state yet further by creating a crisis that extends way beyond the badlands on the frontier with Afghanistan. Its ultimate aim, they claim, would be the extraction of the Pakistani military’s nuclear fangs. If this were the case, it would imply that Washington was indeed determined to break up the Pakistani state, since the country would very simply not survive a disaster on that scale.
Tariq Ali: The Tangled U.S.-Pakistani relationship on the edge of war
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Tariq Ali: Barack Obama’s disastrous plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan
‘The unsavoury prospect of having to take a crack at its one-time ally has surfaced most starkly in the skies over the Afghan-Pakistan border.’ US faces the F-16s it supplied Pakistan 14 Sep 2008 The United States is suddenly faced with the uncomfortable scenario of confronting the very same weapons and military hardware, including F-16 fighter jets, it has armed Pakistan with for decades. The unsavoury prospect of having to take a crack at its one-time ally has surfaced most starkly in the skies over the Afghan-Pakistan border this weekend after the Pakistan Air Force deployed its US-supplied F-16s to challenge the violation of its airspace by US drones, and in one case, an airborne assault that landed US Navy Seals inside Pakistani territory.
US drones prowl as Pakistan Army bombs Taliban positions —10 killed as helicopter gunships, fighter jets fire shells in Bajaur 17 Sep 2008 Ten Taliban were killed and several others injured on Tuesday as Pakistan Army helicopter gunships and fighter jets fired shells at ‘militant hideouts’ in Bajaur Agency as United States’ drones prowled the sky over another Taliban sanctuary on the Afghan border.