Intelligence: Blowback in Pakistan

Archives

January 22, 2006: The recent attempt to kill al Qaeda's number two guy, Ayman al Zawahiri, in Pakistan, is threatening to damage intelligence operations in Pakistan. It all began when good intel was received that Ayman al Zawahiri, and some of his staff, were going to have dinner at the compound of some Pakistani tribal supporters. Al Zawahiri was late, but the Hellfire missiles from the Predator UAVs overhead were not. While several al Qaeda officials were killed, so were some Pakistani civilians.

Pakistani Islamic radicals, who are a potent political force in the country, promptly made this Hellfire attack into a major political issue. Many Pakistani military and intelligence officials support the Taliban, and some even back al Qaeda. The Islamic radicals in Pakistan have enough clout to turn the al Zawahiri into a political issue, not so much because civilians were killed, but because Americans were operating on Pakistani soil. This has not been a secret, but there were, until now, few obvious examples of this American presence. Now there is, and the Pakistani government is under a lot of pressure to "expel the foreigners" (not al Qaeda, but the Americans.) That won't happen, because president Musharraf needs U.S. support to stay in power. While Musharraf is the latest in a long line of Pakistani military dictators, he is not, like some of his predecessors, into Islamic fundamentalism. This has put Musharraf's life in danger, from Islamist Pakistanis as well as al Qaeda foreigners. In self-defense, Musharraf may curb some American intel activities. This would hurt Musharraf, as U.S. UAVs and intel agents have been a major assist in keeping local Islamic militants from causing more damage. But in the short term, surviving an outraged public may become a higher priority. Long term, the U.S. intel operations will continue in Pakistan, and more Hellfire attacks are likely.

 


Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close