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01 October 2010

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steve

In response to a Nato attack that killed several Pakistani soldiers:

"Pakistan has blocked all NATO traffic from travelling through the Khyber Pass for the indefinite future today, cutting off the primary source of supplies for troops in landlocked Afghanistan. The government insists civilian traffic will continue to flow through the border unaffected."

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/09/30/pakistan-blo

Brad Ruble

Doesn't anyone stay bought anymore?
Al Capone said something about the cops, judges and politicians wouldn't stay bought. I see similarities here.

FB Ali

It is not at all clear who the attackers were. But it is very unlikely that they were "Islamic militants". They neither exist nor operate in this part of the country.

It could some of the other possible culprits mentioned in the news item - or it could be the military giving the screw another twist.

Norbert N, Salamon

is it Cambodia here we come II? Is the USA military leadership totally insane?

The politicos pick fights with China, the armed forces are picking on Pakistan, Republicans want to sanction Russia and China re Iran Oil etc...
Is there any adult left in DC? or is it only a run up to the election?

eakens

This is the Iranian release of Stuxnet.

Jane

I refused to vote for Obama in part on the grounds that he would have us at war in/with Pakistan within two years.

During the campaign, Obama openly stated that if Pakistan did not cooperate in fighting the Al Quaeda, he would ignore their sovereignty to take the necessary steps. Since everyone knew essentially this on background, Obama apparently had no clue as to why making it an official public insult could be a problem. As I recall, it lead to headlines across Pakistan reacting as we would do if Mexico had made similar claims regarding chasing cross border bandits.

I remain at a loss to explain Obama's inability to see the obvious in this situation.

Any one have any insight into how McCain might have handled Pakistan?

John Adamson

Great call!
I saw the headline on Drudge and immediately remembered your previous post.
I vote for the ISI on this.

jonst

Our 'best bet' here... is,, let's hope that the parties who view this activity as a great revenue (bribe) raising mechanism will not let this (blockade) come to pass.

Anyone have any technical comment/insights regarding replacing these routes via air? Could it be done? In theory. Leaving aside the costs for the moment. Not advocating that, mind you. Just curious.

Jackie

Jane,
McCain would have probably handled Pakistan by bombing Iran. That would do the trick.

The Twisted Genius

eakins said:

"This is the Iranian release of Stuxnet."

I laughed out loud at that one. That's easily as good as anything Jon Stewart can do.

Given F.B Ali's observation, perhaps our attacks on Pakistan are causing disparate factions in Pakistan to rally around the flag against a common enemy... us.

different clue

Aside from being a reminder that Pakistani sovereignty is real and will be respected, is it also a warning to cease from
effective attacks against some of Pakistan's favored "end game" Taliban groups like the Haqqani network?

Does it mean that we will not be permitted to even try "winning" the war part of this excercise? Will the cross-border sanctuaries be off limits to our forces? Or is it a narrower warning to make very sure not to kill Pakistani soldiers?

Supply routes from Russia and China through the Central Asiastans would be secure. But what incentive do Russia, China, and the Asiastans have for allowing us to supply our counter-Taliban effort? The only incentive I could imagine us offering them is a mutually arranged plan to withdraw every trace of our presence very quickly and let Russia, China, the Asiastans, and possibly Iran
do whatever they like to secure their security interests in the non-Pashtun parts of Afghanistan. Once a WesterNorthern Alliancestan has been secured, the Pashtuns can either be supplied and aided to resist
Taliban if they choose; or can be left alone to welcome a Taliban return if they wish. If that happens, then the Pashtuns on both sides of the border may try to create a Greater Pashtunistan carved out of Mother Afghanistan and Mother Pakistan both. That would be a result quite different than the end game Pakistan has in mind.

Jose

F.B. Ali, is the Pakistani Military under a unified command structure or loyal to individual and/or commanders?

IMHO, we should begin to worry about some pissed off Colonel at this point...

Jackie, when in doubt, blame Iran...lol

Lord Curzon

The idea that there was never going to be hot pursuit over the border was always fanciful. The trouble seems to be that the people who got cabbaged were Haqqani men, who are in the pay of the ISI. Be they "good" talibs or otherwise, what boggles the mind is the sheer myopia in Islamabad with respect to the threat that these militants pose to the Pakistani state. The generals still think they can control the Hydra - I fear their delusion will have severe consequences for the nation and beyond.

FB Ali

Jose,

The military is a highly disciplined, tightly controlled force. It is unimaginable that a "pissed off Colonel" would try to get creative!

The ISI is a different case. Like any other intelligence service, it is compartmented, and various portions operate with a considerable degree of independence (and internal secrecy). There is much more scope for group heads to act on their own (and even for operatives to indulge in acts contrary to the organization's policy)

walrus

Col. Lang made the point that all the Taliban/ISI, etc. need to do is make road transport from Karachi to Kabul etc. unprofitable.

A quick look via Google Earth suggests that the Chaman and Torkham routes are the only practicable supply lines. There are other road crossings visible but they appear to me to lead through prime "Indian Country".

I wonder if this attack was an isolated incident or a learning exercise.

I also wonder if we can supply new road tankers faster than an enemy can disable them?

Buzz Meeks

Jackie and Jane,

"Wet-start" McCain would have died in office by now of old age. I can just see Presidente Palin on a ridge looking down into Pakistan with a Barrett rifle.

Better photo op than landing on a carrier.

Buzz Meeks

Norbert N, Salamon

Best notion is to give up on Ag/Pak ere the real sh*t hits the fan Declare Victory - few AQ left in Afganistan, then go home!

There is no way to airlift the supplies the USA grunts are used to. There is no way to supply jetfuel/keroses by tanker fleet sufficient to heat the camps and cook the meals aisde from the choppers and planes, especiually difficult the issue as the politicos are picking on China, Iran, Russia while various undercover powers of Israel and USA are causing havoc on the "near interest".

Jackie

Buzz: Presidente Palin wouldn't need to go to Pakistan. I'm sure she can see it from her back yard/porch/deck in Wasilla.
But thanks for the reminder of what could have been.

WILL

"This is the Iranian release of Stuxnet."

LALROTF

Jane

Palin is an idiot savant when it comes to public relations which is the only thing she claims to have studied. The performances are astonishingly brilliant but the content is crazed. Mostly, she refuses to be instructed. McCain rolled himself in picking her.

But I'm still curious as to how he would have approached Pakistan. My thought at the time is that he would have drawn clear lines that would have been respected while Obama would have attempted to negotiate and would have appeared wishy-washy until some invisible line in the sand was crossed and Pakistan got more than they bargained for.

Jackie

Jane: My earlier comment was tongue in cheek and I hope I didn't offend you.

IMO McCain is a hot head and we would be in a worse mess regarding Pakistan and I still think McCain would bomb Iran because it is in the neighborhood. But, maybe, Mr. Lang could shed some light on this subject.

John Howley

We need to get out our highway maps of Pakistan.

The big road comes north from Karachi port and then divides. The western route head through Quetta, the eastern leg goes north through Kohat tunnel and Khyber pass.

Shikarpur is BELOW the fork and nowhere near the "tribal areas."

eakens

The Twisted Genius: or Rick Sanchez when he decided to "get fired"

Fred

It wouldn't take a Forrest or a Moseby long to tie up a supply line that long or many troops to do it. You couldn't defend it with twice the troops we (and Pakistan) have.

Jane,

I think Palin was McCain's parting gift to the GOP old boy network for not supporting him in '08 and Bush and company for trashing his reputation in South Carolina in 2000. At least Sarah is making money in the Obama economy.

WILL

Some are sating Stuxnet caused an Indian communication satellite to fail.

Stuxnet worm infects Siemens control technology which is used to control hydroelectric dams, OIL RIGS, nuke plants, pipelines, and major industrial systems. Amazingly the control code relies on Microsoft Windows. Why, instead of Linux, which has fewer vulnerabilities?

Speaking of OIL RIGS that have had catastrophic failures lately .....

There is one nation state in the world w/ enough technical ability to build the worm, and enough geopolitical stupidity to unleash it.

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