I keep mentioning the Swat Valley in Pakistan as the real center of the war on terrorism. The Al Qaeda-aligned Pakistani Taliban of Beitullah Massoud and
I keep mentioning the Swat Valley in Pakistan as the real center of the war on terrorism. The Al Qaeda-aligned Pakistani Taliban of Beitullah Massoud and affiliated extremist organizations have been trying for years to seize control of the bucolic former tourist attraction in Pakistan‘s Northwest Frontier Province, often with stunning brutality, and over the last several weeks a few thousand Taliban fighters have locked in bloody fight with Pakistani soldiers trying to clear the area of the extremists. Oh, and yesterday, the Pakistani government gave up.
The Taliban offered the government of President Asif Ali Zardari a truce in Swat, pending the establishment of Islamic sharia law. As The New York Times reports, the Pakistani Army evidently lacks a sufficient counterinsurgent capability, and that prompted the government and the military to talk terms, rather than continue a protracted struggle of uncertain outcome. (If ever there’s an argument for embedding counterinsurgency competencies into the U.S. national security apparatus, here it is.) The deal is being finalized, but here’s how provincial minister Ameer Haidar Hoti described it:
Hoti said troops would remain in “reactive mode” instead of “proactive mode” and would not target anyone unless threatened. He said army should be removed only after peace has been restored. Troops would play their role in reconstruction and rehabilitation, he added.
He also said the population in the area demanded to be ruled under Islamic law, but that may be an effort at saving face.
In any event, the previous Pakistani government of Pervez Musharraf tried signing a self-governance truce with militants in 2006 and it collapsed spectacularly. Perhaps this is just a time for both Pakistani soldiers and the Taliban to take a kneee ahead of the next confrontation. But in the meantime, Beitullah Massoud is likely going to use his new Swat Valley safe haven to launch attacks against Zardari’s government — based barely 100 miles away — and to allow extremists a place to regroup before exfiltrating to neighboring Afghanistan to fight U.S., NATO and Afghan forces. And his allies are almost certain to consolidate their hold on Swat by murdering the opposition, as they’ve been doing: The Times notes that Swat elected a secular party in last year’s elections, but the Taliban started assassinating its members and supporters. This is how a nuclear-armed country slips into failed-statehood.
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg
In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.