January 27, 2010
On August 26, 2008, Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, touched down for a secret meeting on an aircraft carrier stationed in the Indian Ocean. The topic: Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The summit had been arranged the previous month. Mullen had grown anxious about the rising danger from Pakistan’s tribal areas, which Islamic militants were using as a base from which to strike American troops in Afghanistan and to plot terrorist attacks against the United States. He flew to Islamabad to see the country’s army chief of staff, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Pakistan Shoots Itself In The Foot, In Its Face, In Its Brain. Does It Want To Survive? The President Might Well Ask.
December 15, 2009
Long before he became president Barack Obama had carved out a reasonably aggressive policy towards Pakistan and its equivocating stance towards Al Qaeda. In fact, it was early on in his candidacy (August 1, 2007, in fact) that he gave a speech to the Woodrow Wilson International Center which promised that the Americans would do to the terrorists what the Pakis would not. Of course, almost all of Obama's opponents jumped on him, including Joseph Biden, now his vice president and still taking pot shots at his policies, and Hillary Clinton who ...
Whack-a-Mole in Pakistan
November 30, 2009
The Pakistani military finally got serious, more or less, and launched a big offensive into Talibanland in South Waziristan. But this important LA Times story says the results have been something less than dazzling: Pakistani military commanders say that after five weeks of fighting, they are in the final stages of their offensive aimed at crushing Islamic insurgents in South Waziristan, a rugged expanse of mountains and plateaus that for years has served as the primary base of operations for the Pakistani Taliban and as a sanctuary for Al Qaeda fighters. When the offensive began Oct.
Rumblings of a Coup in Pakistan?
November 04, 2009
The Boston Globe's Farah Stockman reports that Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, could be in physical danger were he to return to Islamabad, where he hasn't been for 8 months, due to the charge that he's too "pro-American." Making that charge? The Pakistani military: Samina Ahmed, an Islamabad-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, said the attacks on Haqqani were carefully orchestrated by the military to weaken the government he represents. She predicted more will come. “These are the first rumblings of the storm,’’ she said.
Can the Saudi King Spare Pervez Musharraf from the Death Penalty?
September 02, 2009
It wasn't until I reported my print piece on how much Barack Obama's foreign policy--from closing Gitmo to Iran to the global economy-- depends on the Saudis that I appreciated the influence Riyadh has over its Sunni ally Pakistan. One illustration of that: Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani military dictator pushed from office last year, flew on a Saudi jet to Riyadh this week to meet with Saudi King Abdullah, in what regional news outlets are suggesting could be part of a Saudi-brokered deal to spare Musharraf, now residing in London, from treason charges back home.
May 20, 2009
PAKISTANIS TREAT THEIR military achievements like pop icons. Photos of the nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan are waved at rallies, and a street in Islamabad bears his name. Replica models of the mountain site where the country tests its nuclear bombs stand at the center of traffic circles. And the angular black silhouette of the F-16 fighter jet is such a treasured image that it is often found on the brilliantly colored commercial trucks that rumble along Pakistan’s highways.
February 20, 2006
ON JANUARY 29, the Sunday Times reported that British investigators had learned few details about the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London that left 56 people, including four suicide bombers, dead. Although the identities of the perpetrators were quickly uncovered last summer, a government document dated October 2005 and leaked to the newspaper last month said that MI5, Great Britain’s domestic intelligence service, knew virtually nothing about “how, when and with whom the attack planning originated....