Yeah, yeah, I know -an alarmist title. Well....whatever. I was originally going to call the diary “Al Qaeda, nukes and Paksitan – how close to reality is it?” but decided not to. Consider that the subtitle.
But the situation which somehow seems to get ignored or dismissed by more people than I can believe is the fact that over the past few weeks we have found out the following:
- Al Qaeda is now stronger than pretty much ever before;
- They still want to strike here in the US;
- They are in Pakistan, a country with nuclear capabilities;
- Pakistan has also been in the news quite a bit lately with examples of the “true central front in the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban”; and
- Some “top” al Qaeda members are obsessed with taking out Musharraf, the only thing between al Qaeda and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
While I have written about the deteriorating situation in Pakistan a couple of times, as recently as mid May outlining how our “bestest buddy in the WarOnTerrah™” was devolving into chaos, while our own intelligence sources were recognizing that al Qaeda and the Taliban were reconstituting for months, while Afghanistan President Karzai was pointing fingers at Musharraf for not doing enough to stop attacks by al Qaeda and the Taliban – we were treated to ”it’s a lawless area, we can’t do anything....Musharraf is helpless to do anything”.
All of that may very well be true. However, Musharraf hasn’t done jack to help us – whether it is being soft on AQ Khan, whether it is making deals with the Taliban or other anti-American tribes or forces, whether he, or anyone for that matter, can actually control the region – the result is the same. Six years after we were attacked, this administration’s and it’s republican enablers’ choice of friends and policies have made things markedly worse in the one area they needed to be (and were on their way to being) successful..
And now, a stronger and more energized al Qaeda (the “real one”, not the franchises that are popping up around the Middle East and Europe) as well as the Taliban are nearly untouchable in a country with the capability, if not in actuality at least a couple dozen weapons. As for the arguments that the people of Pakistan won’t stand for anything of the sort, well, many people here wouldn’t stand for rigged elections or the Supreme Court appointing an undeserving candidate as President or the loss of our basic rights either.
Besides, Musharraf isn’t “Mr. Popularity” in the country right about now either. As for the likelihood of another attempt on Musharraf’s life, well the strength of al Qaeda hasn’t helped ole’ Pervez in that category either. Per the Newsweek article out this week:
Pakistani intelligence officials believe Zawahiri was behind two attempts to kill Musharraf that failed in December 2003. Since then, Zawahiri has been on an almost personal crusade to assassinate or overthrow the Pakistani leader. In his latest video, which is among at least 10 audio and video spots he has released this year, and which was produced and put on a jihadist Web site in record time, Zawahiri condemned the Red Mosque raid and urged Pakistani Muslims to "revolt," or else "Musharraf will annihilate you."
This is a potential issue, to say the least, and the money quote from John Arquilla, an intelligence expert at the Naval Postgraduate School talks about the consequences of al Qaeda in Pakistan and what appears to be a debate on what to do in Pakistan (emphasis mine):
[it is] “the battle for Al Qaeda's strategic soul. There is a profound strategic debate over whether to focus on overturning the government in Pakistan ... because that puts them in control of a nuclear capacity.”
And to think of what could have been if Bush and his greedy republican lackeys didn’t cut and run from Afghanistan. Other than being tied down in Iraq with our troops doing what they should NOT be doing there (and without any semblance of a mission), a country disgraced and shunned in the world, unable to protect itself from natural disasters, and in economic peril – we have somehow been able to make the very groups that attacked us stronger, more centralized, more focused and more appealing to people that want to support their cause.
Oh yeah, and much closer to being able to obtain an actual nuclear weapon.