Pakistan more dangerous than Iraq ?

April 18, 2008

A Pakistani soldier guards a military post at a mountain peak in Swat districtThe United States, beginning with President George W. Bush himself, has this past two weeks trained its crosshairs on Pakistan, warning that another Sept. 11,  if it were to happen, would most likely not be plotted out of Iraq, Afghanistan or even Iran,  but Pakistan.

Like the steady drumbeat that has often preceded major moves by the administration, the threat from Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, considered the home of the top ranks of al Qaeda, has been articulated from the White House, at Congressional hearings and abroad.

Al Qaeda “won’t go away quietly in the night”, having found sanctuaries in ungoverned places, tribal areas and the Frontier Province of Pakistan, FBI director Robert Mueller said in the latest remarks on the matter, according to Pakistan’s Daily Times.

The issue is starting to create ripples, both at home in America and quite obviously in Pakistan, although for different reasons. For Bush critics at home, the barrage of statements is an admission, at the very least, that America is tied down in Iraq when it should be focusing on the threat along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. At worst, it’s an admission that American blood and treasure have been spent in the wrong place.

In Pakistan, the reaction is measured but concern over U.S. intentions is unmistakable.

Pakistani tribesmen march during anti-government rally in Miranshah

“That the Americans are up to mischief is also evident from their extraordinary interest in the internal politics of Pakistan and formation of the government, which they are desperately trying to influence to suit their own objectives,” Pakistan Defence says in a posting arguing that Washington, faced with a strong new national coalition government in Islamabad, had stepped up covert and public pressure.

Raids in Pakistan’s tribal areas have already been carried out by U.S. drones,  the News said, warning that any further U.S. intervention in region will aggravate the considerable problems there, including the legacy of the militant armies set up to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
 

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