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The Lunacy of American raids into FATA

Posted by yourpakistan on December 31, 2010

Published in Pakistan Patriot

There are various news reports emanating from several sources about the US policies about Pakistan and FATA. Some news reports seem to suggest that there is no change in US policy, despite the December review. On the other hand, there is the usual rhetoric about “Pakistan should do more”. In effect, we are are getting mixed message from Washington–as usual. There is some level of frustration in US military circles which seems to blame Pakistan for US military defeats in Afghanistan. The notion of attacking Pakistan or making raids into FATA is the highest level of lunacy ever presented and will be counterproductive. Special Operations ground raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas “classic error in military strategy”.

Attacking FATA a lunatic idea.
US ground forces into Pakistan in pursuit of the Taliban and al Qaeda is by far the most dangerous scenario for both Pakistan-US relations and the unity of the Pakistani Army. Napoleon at Waterloo throwing more and more troops into the attempt to storm the Chateau d’Hougoumont; Hitler making the same mistake at Stalingrad. A British analyst has severely criticized the US trial balloon which crosses the red line that has been established by the Pakistani military. Crossing that border will surely have long-term and short-term consequences for the US-Pakistani relationships.

NEW YORK – A British expert in terrorism and insurgency has described as “lunatic idea” reports that senior US commanders in Afghanistan want to expand Special Operations ground raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas, saying it was a sign of a “classic error in military strategy”.

“If American generals genuinely want to increase such raids, then it needs to be stated emphatically that this is not just a lunatic idea, but one that demonstrates how far senior American (and British) commanders have become obsessed with the war in Afghanistan at the expense of the struggle against terrorism as a whole,” said Anatol Lieven, a professor in the War Studies Department at King’s College London and a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington.

“Pakistan, with its huge population (around 200m), large army, nuclear weapons, extensive extremist networks and diaspora in the West, is a far more important country than Afghanistan and presents a vastly greater potential threat of anti-Western terrorism,” he wrote in an article published in The New York Times Wednesday. Nation

PM Gilani continues to make the Americans aware that the drone war should end. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday assured the National Assembly that he would resolve the issue of drone attacks by US forces in Tribal Areas of the country, terming the drone attacks ‘counter  productive’. Answering a point of order raised by parliamentarians from both treasury and opposition benches, the PM said that drone attacks were bringing tribes closer to terrorists. He said the country’s military and political leadership had distanced local tribes from terrorists, but the drone attacks were creating sympathy for terrorists among locals, adding that Pakistan was asking the US to transfer the drone technology to it.

“Our military and political leadership had very ably alienated local tribesmen from the terrorists, but when a drone attack is carried out they get reunited again. This shows these (drone attacks) are counter productive, therefore we condemn it and we are against them,” he said. DT

Professor Lieven writing for the New York Times has correctly judged the temperament of the Pakistanis when he says the following: “Advocates of ground raids seem to think that they are merely an extension of the current campaign of drone attacks on targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which have caused great resentment and have had very doubtful success,” the expert said in the op-ed piece: ‘A March of Folly in Pakistan”.

Prof Lieven wrote: “Pakistani officers from captain to lieutenant-general have told me that the entry of US ground forces into Pakistan in pursuit of the Taliban and al Qaeda is by far the most dangerous scenario for both Pakistan-US relations and the unity of the Pakistani Army. As one retired general explained, drone attacks, though ordinary officers and soldiers find them humiliating, are not a critical issue because the Pakistani military cannot do anything about them.”

“US ground forces inside Pakistan are a different matter because the soldiers can do something about them,” he said. “They can fight. And if they don’t fight, they will feel utterly humiliated before their wives, mothers, children. It would be a matter of honour, which as you know is a tremendous thing in our society. These men have sworn an oath to defend Pakistani soil. So they would fight. And if the generals told them not to fight, many of them would mutiny, starting with the Frontier Corps.” Islamabad is trying the non-military solutions that the US has not supported. The Pakistani government plans to establish 11 new radio stations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as a non-military weapon against the militancy.

The stations will operate in North Waziristan and South Waziristan; the Kurram, Orakzai, Khyber and Bajaur agencies; Frontier Region (FR) Bannu; and FR Kohat and will facilitate three radio stations already working in parts of the area. Central Asia Online

Professor Lieven describes the threats to the US-Pakistani relationship.
“The most dangerous moment in my visits to Pakistan since 9/11 came in August and September of 2008, when on two occasions US forces entered Pakistan’s tribal areas to raid suspected Taliban and al Qaeda bases. On the second occasion, Pakistani soldiers fired in the air to turn the Americans back. “In their concern with victory in Afghanistan, the US generals are beginning to show signs of a classic error in military strategy, which is to become obsessed with a feature of the battlefield at the expense of the battle as a whole: Napoleon at Waterloo throwing more and more troops into the attempt to storm the Chateau d’Hougoumont; Hitler making the same mistake at Stalingrad.

“They are also forgetting that success against terrorism does not in the end mean killing more Taliban in Afghanistan or Pakistan; it means preventing more attacks in the West. Exchanging dead or captured Taliban commanders in Pakistan’s tribal areas for a vastly increased terrorist threat in the West means exchanging very limited and temporary tactical success for very grave and long-term strategic failure.” The Nation. US idea of raiding Fata is ‘lunatic’: British expert, Published: December 30, 2010

To empower the people in the militancy-plagued Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the federal government has approved municipal committees (MCs) in 14 planned urban hubs. The move is part of a military and political strategy to defeat al-Qaeda and the Taliban by socially transforming the region, and recognition that the militancy has changed the region. Officials plan to create MCs in Ghalanai (Mohmand Agency), Landikotal (Khyber Agency), Kalaya and Ghiljo (Orakzai Agency), Para Chinar and Sadda (Kurram Agency), Miranshah and Mir Ali (North Waziristan), Wana and Sarwakai (South Waziristan), Dara Adamkhel (Frontier Region Kohat), Jandola (Frontier Region Tank) and Darazinda (Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan). The MCs hope to empower local citizens to make decisions on “standardising” life and services. Central Asia Online

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