- newsonterrorNews Analysis -
Dalbandin (Pakistan- Afghanistan border):
The trends so far from the War against Terror are still hazy, but we can observe the following from the developments so far:
The American Military is increasingly acquiring de facto authority over Pakistani Airfields
The American presence in Pakistani territory is growing by the day. Both in terms of American personnel stationed in Pakistan and the number of Airfields over which the American Military is getting de facto authority. Even at the height of the Cold war when Pakistan was formally an American ally as a member of CENTO and SEATO, Americans did not feel it necessary to set up permanent bases in Pakistan.
Not even in the thick of the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, did the Americans set up permanent bases in Pakistan
Not even in the thick of the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, did the Americans set up permanent bases in Pakistan. But as of today, America has control over four Pakistani airfields. A trend seems to be emerging that the Americans unsure as to how long Musharraf will last out in Pakistan, want to secure the essential Air infrastructure in Pakistan to continue their operations in the post-Musharraf phase.
The Evident Objective of this Strategy is to use Pakistan as a base for staging raids into Afghanistan
As it is Musharraf himself seems to be privy to the American long-term strategy, or at least gives his unspoken acquiescence. This is based on how he has shifted track from saying that "Americans will not be allowed to use Pakistani soil", to then saying; "They would be allowed to use Pakistani airbases only for humanitarian purposes." To now releasing not one, but four airbases to the Americans till date.
While we appreciate Musharraf's gesture, we do not feel as reassured about the kind of reaction that would be generated in the days to come in Pakistan as the man on the street and the rank and file in the army realise that their President is taking them for a ride and he intends to go whole hog with the Americans in the war against their "Muslim brothers" in Afghanistan.
The feeling that is already acute today would become desperate and uncontrollable with every passing day bringing in reports and footage of wounded Afghans. With the onset of Ramadan - the Muslim holy month, this would give a ready platform for organised Anti-American and anti-Government demonstrations and a lunge to unseat the present military government. In this scenario the Americanswould find themselves in a piquant situation. Not that they do not expect this, they certainly do and it is for this reason that they are fortifying their position by acquiring de facto authority over Pakistani Airfields.
The Unstated Objective could be to effect air-raids on Pakistan itself, after a hostile environment pervades Pakistan in the post-Musharraf Phase
The second objective could be to effect air-raids within Pakistani territory itself, after a hostile environment pervades Pakistan in the post-Musharraf phase. And god forbid, if the governing authority in Pakistan itself is hostile to American presence in the post-Musharraf phase, the American control over airfields can ensure quick deployment of air power over Pakistani skies for bombing targets within Pakistan - targets which are hostile to American presence in Pakistan and hostile to America itself. We have enough evidence of hostility to America inside Pakistan going by the number of effigies of Bush being burnt and the pro-Osama Jihadi demonstrations all over Pakistan.
The Americans seem to be preparing for such an eventuality where they no longer have a friendly President in Pakistan, but want to continue (and expand) the war against terror from Pakistani soil even in that scenario.
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- Robin McArthur
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