“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, September 08, 2008

US Attacks Pakistani Targets, So Does Pakistan.

It appears that there may be a coordinated agreement on a campaign to put pressure on the Taliban in the tribal border areas of Pakistan.

U.S. Attack Kills Several in Pakistan

Published: September 8, 2008 NYT

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Five missiles fired from an American pilotless drone aircraft Monday hit a large compound in North Waziristan belonging to one of Pakistan’s most prominent Taliban leaders, a Pakistani intelligence official and a local resident said.

The missile attack at about 10:20 Monday morning killed nine people, including two children, and injured up to 18, according to the account from the intelligence official. A spokesman for the Pakistani army, Maj. Murad Khan, said the military knew of explosions near the compound, and was investigating further.

The strike targeted the compound run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who the United States has accused of organizing some of the most serious recent attacks in Afghanistan against American and NATO forces and of masterminding a failed assassination attempt against the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

The two Haqqanis protect Al Qaeda forces in their enclaves in North and South Waziristan, provide logistics and intelligence for Al Qaeda operatives, and act as a bridge between the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban who share the common mission to drive American and NATO troops from Afghanistan, according to American officials.

A spokesman at the United States embassy in Islamabad, Lou Fintor, said the embassy had no comment on the strike.

The attack comes less than a week after the first publicly acknowledged ground operation by American Special Operations forces against Taliban operating inside Pakistan. The helicopter-borne forces struck at militants in a village in South Waziristan last Wednesday at the start of what American commanders said would likely be a more sustained campaign against the Taliban operating in Pakistan’s tribal region.

The attack Monday was the third American missile strike on Taliban targets in South and North Waziristan since the ground attack last Wednesday.

The compound belonging to Sirajuddin Haqqani was chiefly used as a guest house for militants arriving in North Waziristan who wanted to join the jihad forces of the Haqqani family, local residents in Miram Shah, the capital of North Waziristan, said.

An increasing number of Turks, Chechens, and Uzbeks have been arriving in North Waziristan in the last several months, according to Pakistani military officials.

The attack Monday could have been aimed at deterring this influx for foreign fighters who are considered the toughest and most resilient of the Taliban forces.

Located a few miles from Miram Shah at a place called Daande Darpkhel, the Haqqani compound had been used as a madrassa for up to a thousand students but after pressure from Pakistani authorities was closed as a school several years ago, officials familiar with the Haqqani operations said.

It appeared that neither Sirajuddin Haqqani, or his father, Jalaluddin, was present at the compound. The family runs a number of training camps and facilities in North Waziristan, and have plenty of places to hide, the officials said.

ARY television, a private Pakistani television station, reported that Naseeruddin Haqqani, a younger brother of Sirajuddin, said his brother and father were "alive and well" in Afghanistan.

The missile strike also came on the eve of the inauguration of Pakistan’s new president, Asif Ali Zardari. Mr. Zardari, who easily won an electoral college vote Saturday has declared that he will pursue the fight against the Taliban more vigorously. He is seen in Pakistan as pro-American and has been welcomed by the Bush administration for his support of the campaign on terror.

Two years ago, the elder Mr. Haqqani, now in his 60s and said to be in failing health, was called a “Pakistani asset” by a senior official of the Inter Services Intelligence agency as a way of explaining why the Pakistani army did not move against him.

One of the biggest complaints of the Bush administration has been the reluctance of the Pakistani government to sever its ties with Taliban militants like the Haqqanis. Pakistan has continued to regard the Taliban as a valuable force for protecting Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan in the event of an American withdrawal.

In the 1980s, the elder Mr. Haqqani was cultivated as a “unilateral” asset of the CIA, and received tens of thousands of dollar in cash for his work in fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, according to an account in the recent book “The Bin Ladens” by Steve Coll. At that time, the elder Haqqani helped and protected Osama bin Laden, who was then building his own militia to fight the Soviet forces, Mr. Coll wrote.


  1. Well Ms T, there it is, enemy infrastructure.

    Five missiles, but I'll bet you the compound is still there, in full operation.

    Little drones, firing Mavericks, while really neat toys, will not surfice to win the war.

    More whack a mole, and attempts at C&C decapitation, just indicatin of another "Usama centric" tactic, rather than pursuing the destruction of the enemies capacity to remain active in the region.

    If that camp is/was an enemy redoubt, a B52 should have visited it.

  2. Right at the Edge

    Al-Qaeda's Progession On Pakistan's Demise

    But even after a joint inquiry by the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan, it remained unclear why American soldiers had reached the point of calling in airstrikes on soldiers from Pakistan, a critical ally in the war in Afghanistan and the campaign against terrorism.

    The mystery, at least part of it, was solved in July by four residents of Suran Dara, a Pakistani village a few hundred yards from the site of the fight. According to two of these villagers, whom I interviewed together with a local reporter, the Americans started calling in airstrikes on the Pakistanis after the latter started shooting at the Americans.

    “When the Americans started bombing the Taliban, the Frontier Corps started shooting at the Americans,”
    we were told by one of Suran Dara’s villagers, who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being persecuted or killed by the Pakistani government or the Taliban. “They were trying to help the Taliban. And then the American planes bombed the Pakistani post.”

  3. Steve goes into te background information, pretty well.

    But he's been riding with us, for years now, doug.

    Conclusion: Tough Choices, Limited Control & Influence

    The schizophrenic and Balkanized Pakistani government grows weaker by the day, and conflict between the Pakistanis and the United States and India is stoked at an increasing pace. The Pakistani Army lacks the stomach to wage war against fellow Pakistanis in the decisive, face to face manner in which the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance must be defeated. (Distinguishing between al-Qaeda and the Taliban has rapidly diminishing utility.) The Frontier Corps, part of the Interior Ministry once seen as the only branch of the government solidly loyal to American ally Musharraf, is increasingly infiltrated and staffed by men sympathetic and/or loyal to the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance. And the Frontier Corps is Pakistan’s ‘front line defense’ against the same.

  4. Oh, I see you've been reading Steve, already, this morning, doug.

    Published: September 7, 2008

    “We’re not running against Governor Palin.”

    David Axelrod, the Obama campaign’s chief strategist, on “Fox News Sunday,” Sept. 7, 2008.
    But — shocking to say! — both Obama and McCain also took political considerations into account in making their selections.

    One thing McCain undoubtedly had in mind was Obama’s failure to pick Hillary Clinton. As The Times’s Patrick Healy reported Friday, “If the election remains close, the next president could very well be picked by what Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist, calls ‘Wal-Mart Moms’ — white working women with children living in the exurbs and in rural parts of battleground states. ...”

    McCain didn’t just pick a politician who could appeal to Wal-Mart Moms. He picked a Wal-Mart Mom. Indeed, he picked someone who, in 1999, as Wasilla mayor, presided over a wedding of two Wal-Mart associates at the local Wal-Mart. “It was so sweet,” said Palin, according to The Anchorage Daily News. “It was so Wasilla.”

    A Wasilla Wal-Mart Mom a heartbeat away? I suspect most voters will say, No problem. And some — perhaps a decisive number — will say, It’s about time.

  6. Cheer up, lads. Sarah hears the call of God's will, and when the chips were down, might heed the calls of prophecy to the final battle. And in an insane world, that might be the best that can be done. "The right happens to the happy (wo)man."

    With Obama we don't know what the hell to think, or even if he's really on our side.

    And Bhutto's husband is bonkers, which seems to me quite understandable given the situation.

    To nuke the entire country right now might be the most rational course of action, but won't be done.

    What a hell of a mess.

  7. Pipeline

    Palin seems to have done ok on this pipeline deal, which had been held up for years by the usual forces.

    Congress needs to pass an emergency energy act, by-passing all the crap.

  8. Well, no one ever opined on what the term "Surge" really means, to the President or Maverick.

    Bob Woodward tells of the back story in the Pentegon, just prior to the "Surge", seems that the "Surge" could easily be seen as a Change of Command and tactics, as well as additional troops.

  9. Where Eagles Dare

    If only our political leadership was in anywhere near the same league as our warriors!

  10. Seems more than obvious that we need a bigger military.

  11. That power station doesn't seem like anywhere enough to provide power to a million people as the article seems to say.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. We ain't talkin rich Idehoes, al-bob.
    Now git rid of them incandescents!
    I was set after the earthquake, next time the power went out.
    (power poles in a wetlands blown down, repair trucks stuck, etc)
    Had my small inverter, wife was impressed when she came back from town to see house lit up w/little 13watt curlicue bulbs.

  14. 2 years ago electricity was 6 cents in oregon down from Bonneville, I guess.
    Google lefties were planning on putting a massive server farm there to suck up that cheap juice.
    Should make em build their own nuke!
    Tell Bill that next week!

  15. Think how SIMPLE it would have been to avoid this situation with those B-52's four years ago like we and Tony wanted.

    ABC News gave us all the Intel we needed.
    (not something Trish would ever admit)

  16. I like those piggy tail bulbs. All we have here.

    Got tired of no one ever turning the lights out.

    I pay about $100 a month for electricity. Which is a lot more than it was. We still have pretty good rates on electricity, from the dams. Hardly ever use the gas furnace.

  17. I seriously doubt we'd have 147 training camps if the first three had been bombed to dust.

  18. You F...... Hypocrit, al-Bob!
    You're anti-Dam!
    Damn You!

  19. (or do you just sit inside and freeze all winter?)

  20. 7 yr old in last thread has on high heels!
    Trish will be morally outraged.
    You know how them Librarians are!

  21. McCain's adopted daughter, deuce says.

  22. Big old house, some not used, so we use space heaters in the occupied parts.

  23. Must be pretty well insulated huh?
    I thot Ideehoe was so cold you'd need a good-sized heater.