Friday, January 25, 2008

Pakistan Hits Al Qaeda Stronghold

This is in the Waziristan district said to be the hiding place for Osama Bin Laden. From Defence Talk:

Pakistani troops backed by tanks and gunships cleared militant
hideouts near the Afghan border amid fierce fighting that left eight troops and
40 rebels dead, the army said Thursday. Thirty militants have
also been arrested during clashes over the past 24 hours in the South Waziristan
tribal district, the hideout of an Islamist commander accused of masterminding
the killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Pakistani forces have
launched a major operation against extremist positions following days of
gunbattles in the barren region, which the United States has identified as a key
lair of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

The other day I mentioned the Surge might be headed for Afghanistan, as CentCom commander Admiral Fox Fallon mulled the possibility of the US training Pakistani troops in counter-insurgency warfare. This "Third Front" in the terror war reminds me of the last ditch stand of the Nazis in the Second World War. The comparison is interesting for, when the US joined Britain to fight in the North African Campaign in 1942, it was considered a "distraction" from the real war against Germany. Some in the US were so incensed that we were simply propping up the old colonial powers in the region, that they advocated America pulling out and devoting all our resources to the Pacific War against Japan.

In fact, North Africa was an important stepping stone on the road to defeat the Germans. There green American troops could get essential battlefield training in modern warfare, without a major disaster occurring, as likely would have happened had we invaded France in 1942, as some were advocating. Equally has Iraq become an important training ground for democracy, as well as US forces learning to defeat the insurgents, before we send our brave and brilliant troops into the enemy's lair, such as Waziristan, where they garner much support from the Muslim populace and the terrain is highly favorable for defense.

Were US troops to head to Pakistan, it would unlikely be a full scale assault as in the Iraq and Afghan Theaters, but one similar to our recent adventure in Somalia to defeat the radical Islamic Courts. There, our forces provided valuable air and naval support plus intelligence to the invading Ethiopian Army, with ground troops limited to Special Forces, and maybe some Marines. So it would be in Waziristan region, with elite American light forces backing a newly trained Pakistani assault force.

Thus, has Iraq become our first and Central Front in the Global War on Terror, followed by Afghanistan as the Second in importance (though we invaded here first), with the climax coming in Pakistan, which has become the Third Front in our bid to outlast and outfight the Radical Jihadists.