Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Binocular Snapshot for 2/02/2011

LastDayWatchers look at the propaganda of Israel (lost)

U.S. General Sees Success Even if Pakistan Doesn’t Act

"Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the No. 2 commander in Afghanistan, said Tuesday that the United States and NATO could succeed in the war even if Pakistan refused to shut down a lawless frontier sanctuary that militants use for staging attacks on forces across the border in Afghanistan.

In comments that sought to make a virtue of a now-acknowledged reality, General Rodriguez, the NATO and American commander in charge of the day-to-day fighting in Afghanistan, said that while the United States continued to press Pakistan to root out the militants from their haven in the northwest tribal region of North Waziristan, the United States could still win militarily if the Pakistani Army did not act.

“That’s not a mission-stopper in my mind,” General Rodriguez told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. He did not provide a definition of winning militarily.

The general’s assessment is the latest evolution in the thinking of American intelligence and counterintelligence officials, who have been long frustrated by Pakistan but say that the country’s inaction has produced at least one unintended benefit: The concentration of so many militants in North Waziristan makes it easier for American drones to hit them.

Nonetheless, General Rodriguez’s comments are at odds with recent remarks by Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said last month that “we cannot succeed in Afghanistan without shutting down those safe havens.” A White House strategic review of Afghan policy in December came to much the same conclusion. Two classified United States intelligence reports late last year similarly concluded that there was a limited chance of success unless Pakistan hunted down the insurgents near the border.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, said that historically it had often been difficult if not impossible to defeat an insurgency when it enjoyed a cross-border haven. He cited as examples the North Vietnamese, who had havens in Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War, and the Algerians, who had havens in Tunisia when they were fighting to gain independence from France.

There have been cross-border havens for insurgents in Iraq as well, Mr. Hoffman said, citing foreign fighters from Syria and Iranian support for Shiite militias. Iraq, Mr. Hoffman said, is so far a qualified success, so with cross-border havens over all “the historical record isn’t benign, but recent history is perhaps a bit kinder.”

General Rodriguez also said that he did not yet know to what extent the Taliban would be able to reconstitute itself for the spring fighting season after a battering from United States, NATO and Afghan forces late last year. Counterterrorism experts view it as the essential question of how deep the Taliban bench is, which will determine whether President Obama’s decision to order an additional 30,000 American forces to Afghanistan in 2010 — the full complement arrived by September — has worked.

General Rodriguez did say that he anticipated that the Taliban would regroup in the spring with a new approach. “I think they’re going to come back with a different type of strategy,” he said, “which I believe is going to be focused on the leadership much more than it ever has.” In other words, he said, the Taliban are likely to focus on the assassination of Afghan political leaders and on planting roadside bombs, rather than fighting with American troops — in part, he suggested, because the battles took a toll on the Taliban in 2010. “They will not be as direct in their confrontations as they were last year,” he said."

From the May 15th Prophecy with 100% accuracy, written at LastDayWatchers


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