Friday, September 22, 2006

Musharraf: `Pakistan was threatened into the war on terror'. Is he lying?

Pakistan's President Musharraf, someone President Bush has always touted as a firm ally in what he still calls `the war on terror' went public today, revealing that after the 9/11 attacks Richard Armitage, then Deputy Secretary of State threatened that if Pakistan did not help the US against al Qaeda and the Taliban that they would be `bombed back to the stone age'. The message was reportedly delivered to General Musharraf's intelligence director with the infamous ISI and relayed to Musharraf.

"The intelligence director told me that (Mr Armitage) said: 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age,"' he told CBS-TV's 60 Minutes in an interview to be screened this weekend.

It was insulting, General Musharraf said. "I think it was a very rude remark."

But General Musharraf said he reacted responsibly. "One has to think and take actions in the interests of the nation and that is what I did."


Armitage went on CNN and denied that he said anything like that, and President Bush claims that he was unaware of any threat.

"The first I've heard of this is when I read it in the newspaper today," Bush said as he stood next to Musharraf at a news conference. "I guess I was taken aback by the harshness of the words."

Musharraf refused to comment further on the issue, saying he could not comment because of a book deal..believe it or not!

So, who's lying? And why? And why make an issue of it at this point?

Musharraf may be telling the truth, or he may not, but he has a vested interest in saying this now. Musharraf is getting it from all sides.

First of all Pakistan is under increasing pressure by the US because of a recent deal Musharraf made with tribal chiefs in Wazirastan that essentially guarantees that
Pakistan is not going to try to oust the Taliban or al Qaeda. Musharraf is insisting that Pakistan will not allow foreign forces to enter its territory in search of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leaders.

Asked in a CNN interview this week whether he would send troops into Pakistan if he received good intelligence on Osama bin-Laden's whereabouts, US President George W. Bush said: "Absolutely, we would take action necessary to bring him to justice."

India is also ramping up the pressure on General Musharraf ; reports began circulating in New Delhi yesterday that investigators probing the July 11 terror bomb blasts in Mumbai have clearly linked the attack to al-Qa'ida and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba. And Indian intelligence has already established that the bombers trained in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

And to add to the mix, Pakistan is under pressure because of the resurgent Talibanin Afghanistan...who have bases and sanctuaries in the very areas that Musharraf has placed off limits to any intervention.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who is onrecord as saying that Pakistan is soft on terrorism and not doing enough.

Karzai has said coalition forces in Afghanistan could not end the Taliban onslaught unless "terrorist sanctuaries" outside the country were destroyed - a clear reference to Pakistan.

Karzai said "outsiders", whom he did not name, were behind the Taliban attacks, adding: "Military action in Afghanistan alone, therefore, will not deliver our shared goal of eliminating terrorism."

And the top US commander overseeing military operations in Afghanistan, General John Abizaid, was quoted yesterday as saying Taliban military activity was being organised from and supported by Pakistan.

I read Musharraf's statements to day as both a way of hitting back at this pressure and warning Bush that Pakistan can only be pushed so far and as trying to finesse a position more acceptable to the hardline jihadist elements in his government. Pakistan does provide a lot of support to Islamic terrorism, on a sort of `don't ask, don't tell' basis, and it amazes me that Musharraf has managed to walk this particular line for as long as he has.

I wouldn't count on him doing it much longer. Maybe the book deal he mentioned is his retirement money. Pakistan is NOT a US ally, whatever the Bush Administration would have you believe. And this will become more and more evident as time goes on.

As for Armitage, well, as we've seen, he's hardly the most reputable person in the world. Maybe he said this, maybe he didn't..or maybe something just got garbled in translation by the head of the Al Qaeda and Taliban friendly ISI.

If he DID say it, I guarantee you that President Bush was fully aware of it. Regardless of what the President might want us to believe now.


Anonymous said...

this essay has so many levels.
#1 this armitage bozo has obviously said a lot of things. maybe he should sleep with the fishys.
second #1 pakistan can not be bombed into the stone age. they already are in the stone age, just as the shit hole mid-east region is.
third #1 i beat nazar to the punch calling the m/e a shit hole.
fourth #1 we should not have approached the pakistanis. just bomb the hell out of them in the beginning.
fifth # it is becoming very apparent to myself that bush has laid the foundation for an entanglment that we will not be able to get out of or defeat a/the enemy. who is the enemy again? this administration has re-defined who the enemy is how many times now? this is becoming just another war we use in name only. the war on poverty. the war on drugs. etc, etc. every tribal state in the mid-east is our ally and enables terrorism. what blather is the saudi lap dog going to utter this weekend?
sixth #1 disgruntled?
seventh #1 if this so-called war on terrorism is the first world war of the 21st century, then as history repeats itself, the second world war will be against pakistan in the 40's. that is if anyone in the US has a spine by then. chelsea?

Anonymous said...

its not that easy to bomb pakistan
i think its very surprising that the AMERICANS dont realize that there sucess (kinda) in afganssitan would neva be Possible without the help of Pakistan.
Now that ehy are in IRAQ and dealinfg with theings themselves i think the mess they are in is PRETTY OBVIOUS.....american army may be superior but they are clueless about that region .....Paki intelligence helped them stop another September 11...if they bombed the hell out of usss.....THEN how would have they stopeed the recent foiled airplane attacks.....???

Pakistan deserves credit

Anonymous said...

it's real easy to bomb pakistan.
you open the bombbay doors and use gravity assist.
with 146 million people you're bound to hit something/somebody.

does pakistan deserve credit for refusing to allow the king of muslim nukes to be interviewed by the US?
i got pakistan's credit at the business end of a 120mm smooth bore.
the mess you speak of is due to this non-war being conducted as if it were a pillow fight.
and the prevention of another 9/11 can be explained by the simple fact, that pakistan prevented what was planned by the people in room 101, by the people in room 102.
got it?
syntax indicates access to this site is numerous time zones away.
if not, then it sure as hell should be.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting that the US Press has decided to legitimize Mursharraf - "President Musharraf" "Mr. Musharraf?"

Has everyone forgotten the guy was a General in the Army that took over by the country by force? "Dictator of the Pakistani Regime" would be more appropriate.

I completely agree with your analysis - Pakistan is not an ally. Musharraf is a two faced liar.

And, for Bush to say we will send in US troops WHEN we have intellegence confirming OBL's presence in Pakistan is just as duplicitous.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello, Y'all..thanks for dropping by.

Let me address our foreign guest first.

You seem to be assuming that Musharraf is telling the truth..which would be a first for him. I don't, based on his past.
Based on his comments and his refusal to back them up because of a `book deal', I think President Bush hit it on the head when he said `in other words, he's telling you to buy the book.' There's also the possibility that the head of the ISI deliberately misphrased Armitage's message, as I mention.

As for credit to Pakistan and their reliability as an ally, I would ask you several questions, and welcome your answers: are President Karzai, Indian Intelligence and US General Abazhied ALL liars when they say that Pakistan is offering a haven and logistical support to terrorists?

Why will Pakistan not allow Dr. AQ Khan, the scientist who gave/sold nuclear technology and hardware to Iran and others in what the Pakistani government CLAIMS was a rogue operation to be interrogated
bythe US or even the IAEA?

And just why wouldn't the Pakistani government want to take advantage of US and British help in ridding themselves of dangerous terrorists they claim to have no sympathy for..that is, if we're all on the same side?

And just why have Pakistanis been implicated in so many terrorist attacks on the non-Muslim world? By the way, the Pakistani assistance in busting the recent plot to blow up airlines was pretty much limited to rounding up people after the CIA and M15 presented them with clear and uncontevertible evidence that Pakistanis and British nationals of Pakistani origin then in the country were involved in the plot.

It IS nice that they arrested them, but allowing them to escape would have been to problematic for the Musharraf government.

Musharraf is playing a double game, accepting US assistance in staying in power while allowing the jihadis a mostly free ride as long as they're reasonably discreet.

President Bush is playing a double game by pretending that Pakistan is an ally and propping up Musharraf for PR value and occasional cooperation while realizing that Musharraf and Pakistan are nothing of the sort.

That situation will not last for too much longer.

That's how I see it.

Anonymous said...

Who was Musharraf's intelligence director that told him Armitage said this? Was it the ISI director Mahmood Ahmed that was replaced the next month by Ehsanul Haq? Did Ahmed give Musharraf a false story?

Freedom Fighter said...

You would have to ask President Musharraf these questions, since he was the one who claimed that the head of the ISI passd this message on to him and he refused further comment at the press coference after dropping that little bomb.

In the interest of clarity, I WOULD be interested in your answers to the other questions I posed in my original reply to you.

I always like to hear the other side.

Freedom Fighter said...

I notice that `anonymous' chose to disregard my kind invitation to expand on how Pakistan is a loyal ally of the west and answer a few of the questions I raised.

Pity...but somehow that always does seem to happen with the `anonymous' ones who start out so critical and righteous and then leave when they're factually challenged, doesn't it?

I would have been interested in what he had to say.