Pakistan, Bhutto and the U.S.-Jihadist Endgame
January 2, 2008 | 2205 GMT
By George Friedman
The endgame of the U.S.-jihadist war always had to be played out in Pakistan. There are two reasons that could account for this. The first is simple: Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda command cell are located in Pakistan. The war cannot end while the command cell functions or has a chance of regenerating. The second reason is more complicated. The United States and NATO are engaged in a war in Afghanistan. Where the Soviets lost with 300,000 troops, the Americans and NATO are fighting with less than 50,000. Any hope of defeating the Taliban, or of reaching some sort of accommodation, depends on isolating them from Pakistan. So long as the Taliban have sanctuary and logistical support from Pakistan, transferring all coalition troops in Iraq to Afghanistan would have no effect. And withdrawing from Afghanistan would return the situation to the status quo before Sept. 11. If dealing with the Taliban and destroying al Qaeda are part of any endgame, the key lies in Pakistan.
U.S. strategy in Pakistan has been to support Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and rely on him to purge and shape his country’s army to the extent possible to gain its support in attacking al Qaeda in the North, contain Islamist radicals in the rest of the country and interdict supplies and reinforcements flowing to the Taliban from Pakistan. It was always understood that this strategy was triply flawed.Unrest puts safety of Pakistan's arsenal in doubt, experts say
Ian MacLeod, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, January 03, 2008
Despite official assurances, Pakistan's nuclear materials and technology are in danger of being stolen during its worsening crisis by corrupt insiders sympathetic to al-Qaeda and other radicals, say two new expert assessments.
In the current issue of Newsweek, Harvard University political scientist and renowned nuclear terrorism analyst Graham Allison writes that the security situation now facing Pakistan's nuclear custodians "presents clear outlines of their nightmare -- and ours."
Meanwhile, a U.S. congressional report casts doubts on the effectiveness of safeguards and reforms Pakistan instituted in recent years to improve its nuclear arsenal security.
"While U.S. and Pakistani officials express confidence in controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons ... current instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question," says the Congressional Research Service document. It was prepared following Pakistan's Nov. 3 imposition of emergency rule, but before last week's assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.