December 14, 2009

The Matrix

GEO TV is reporting that President Obama expressed opposition to expanding CIA and JSOC drones into Quetta, Pakistan during an advisory committee meeting. The report is still in an embryonic stage, but Geo News correspondent Sami Ibrahim has been active in Washington covering the Balochistan front.

Our initial reaction is why, after a month of rumors that distracted Pakistanis from his core plan and kept them leery of America’s intentions, does he now express disagreement? This paradox creates a matrix of possibilities.

There is the chance that America and Pakistan's battle over Quetta and the so called “Quetta Shura” is actually a show designed to display public resistance. The same model was used to sell the initial phase of drone operations, which were at first denied by the government until the Pakistani people acclimated accordingly.

US officials may be thinking the same pattern will develop in Quetta. Or maybe America isn’t even serious about its plan, using it only as leverage against Pakistan. Maybe Quetta is a bluff.

Obama told reporters on December 1st, "The most important thing we can do in Pakistan is to change their strategic orientation.”

"If we don't do this - at least have a real discussion of it - Pakistan might not think we are serious," said a senior US official involved in the planning. "What the Pakistanis have to do is tell the Taliban that there is too much pressure from the US; we can't allow you to have sanctuary inside Pakistan anymore."

But an equal chance exists that America craves to go after Taliban Mullah Omar and his circle, thought to be hiding by US intelligence in Quetta. Considering the pent up frustration at Taliban leaders hiding outside the designated battlefield, and in Pakistan no less, America has every reason to militarily infiltrate Quetta.

"We have applied enormous pressure," the senior U.S. official said, meaning National Security Adviser James Jones, Secretary Gates, Secretary Clinton, General McChrystal, Admiral Mullen, and Leon Panetta, CIA director.

CENTCOM commander David Petraeus just landed in Islamabad.

Unfortunately for all of them, Obama cites one reason why taking Pakistan’s advice on Balochistan would be a good idea - excessive civilian casualties. He can add a few more: starting a revolt, further antagonizing Pakistanis at large, and straining relations with Islamabad.

"We are not a banana republic," said a senior Pakistani official involved in discussions with the Obama administration. If the United States follows through, the official said, "this might be the end of the road."

And didn't Bruce Riedel say Mullah Omar already moved to Karachi?

The most innocent possibility, that Obama wisely reversed his decision after Pakistan’s reaction, is no less disturbing than the most sinister. He should have instantly known that Islamabad would resist, either out of sympathy for Mullah Omar, the desire to use him, or because the political cost in Balochistan and the rest of the country is too high.

And did he just realize how risky drone strikes would be in Quetta, a dense city? Why Quetta instead of Karachi? Did he just realize these rumors are hurting him after two long months? If so he’s far less astute than billed. Since the plan was secret, it’s likelier that Obama knew all along the controversy he was wading into.

That leaves two alternate choices.

The first is direct - he’s lying. As Commander-in-chief, it's reasonable to assume he initiated or signed off on expanding the CIA. Either way, for the idea to push this far through his opposition seems implausible. Thus his public rejection is calculated to transfer the heat from him to unknown faces in the Pentagon.

But Pakistanis aren’t easily fooled by American propaganda and Obama’s surface movements are unlikely to conceal his true intentions. There are no points to score here.

A second possibility moves directly to the conspiracy file. Is there a chance those beneath him cooked up the Quetta plan without his knowledge and got it running before he could stop it? Is he being peer-pressured by the aforementioned group lobbying in Pakistan? Was he briefly out of control and is he trying to stop the buck before it gets spent by someone else?

So unlikely, yet nothing else makes sense either. Is Mr. Ibrahim's report even real? Confusion, mystery, chaos - the only truth is that nobody wants Americans or Pakistanis to know anything.

That is the Matrix.


  1. Great site. RealityZone will be back. I will put this site on my blogroll.

  2. As soon as we start hearing more about a Free Baluchistan the closer we will be to the West balkanizing Pakistan and the region. They just admitted that the U.S. air force was using Pak air bases in Baluch. They will go further into Baluch with drones and covert means. Remember Jundallah? This will be their justification to enter. They are already advertising that A/Q and main Taliban is in Baluch [quetta].


  4. Most odd is that US intelligence has already moved Mullah Omar to Karachi. Is this a lie, or are there secondary reasons to infiltrate Quetta? Perhaps preparing the battlefield for when, if, Omar returns. Or maybe America is just trying to open another front in Pakistan and is using Quetta as a pretext.

    Funding Jundallah is meant to antagonize Iran, not break apart the state. Balkanization of Pakistan would be foolish and actually fulfills the insurgents' objective. If America and India want Pakistan broken up, so too does the Baloch Liberation Army, the TTP, and the Afghan Taliban. It shouldn't be done for them.

  5. JG; Yes, it would benefit the entities that you mention. It would also benefit the West. As their goal is the energy transport lines. They would rather deal, and control smaller states. Than to deal with one larger state in turmoil. To me the key is Baluchistan. The port city of Gwadar is the prize. While Quetta is the objective. Controlling Afghanistan is useless unless they get the shipping port. No one in the West talks about India when it comes to AF/PAK. WHY IS THAT?

  6. Very true, Gwadar presents a whole other part of the equation, but if that's the prize then isn't this war primarily between China and India? What will the West really get out of Gwadar? Only whatever cut India decides to give if that's the case. And why is nobody in the West talking about India? Beyond that their goals generally align over Pakistan - weaken and exploit - America is no longer able to dictate to India, having become a potential superpower. We've already pointed out that Obama is more reluctant to pressure India on Kashmir than Israel on Palestine.

  7. JG; LOL. India and China. Now we are at the end game. I totally agree. Please watch this, especially the Col. Wilkerson interview. It ties in nicely with what you said.
    I do disagree with you saying that Obama is pressuring ISRAEL ON Palestine. We are still giving Israel the green light on what ever crimes they wish to continue. RE; " weaken and exploit" that is why i said the West wants to balkanize the region. As far as i know the port of Gwadar was built by China. China has been aiding Pakistan, [drawing lines in the sand]. We will be hearing a lot more from China, and the SCO in the coming months.

  8. That Wilkerson is a great interview, especially his emphasis on a regional approach over a unilateral "Western" coalition and rejection of a military solution. It would be easier to follow a strategy like his than what Obama is getting himself into.

    We too are eager to see how the SCO shakes up, particularly if Iran and Pakistan join and India doesn't.

    And forgive my ambiguity, I merely meant Obama is putting a semblance of pressure on Israel, whereas he's gone silent on Kashmir.

  9. JG; I thought you would like that. This is what I have been screaming about all along. It has to be regional. But the West will not allow it. WHY? Because they want control through chaos.
    India will not be part of the SCO. Iran and Pakistan are a big maybe. Pakistan is at the moment in the eye of chaos. The other big player will also have to be Russia.
    I will send one of my friends over here. I would be honored if you would hit my follow button.

  10. Sorry, I forgot. lol Kashmir is the last fuse in the arsenal, they are keeping it in reserve. [think water]. Israel and the U.S.A. --which is the client state ? Take your pick. I guess it all depends on which tail is wagging the dog at any given time. lol

  11. This is really the essence of war in Afghanistan. It requires a regional solution, but who comes to the table? Not Europe - China, Russia, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and minor players not necessarily aligned with America. Few are allies in the traditional sense, most are competitive powers or outright enemies - unlikely that America will cede influence and spoils to them. We've always likened Afghanistan to a Chinese finger trap and Obama keeps pushing.

    Also dug through your site - looks like you're well-organized. It's time realists came out of the shadows and reasserted themselves over the idealist-saturated, liberal/conservative schism that's weighing down American foreign policy.