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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Sunday, August 31, 2003



In The News

From the very interesting NY Times piece about the author of "Who Killed Daniel Pearl?":

...his conclusion is anything but fictional: that Pakistan's military secret service, the Inter-Services Intelligence, widely known as I.S.I., is deeply involved with both the Islamic fundamentalist groups responsible for Mr. Pearl's death and with Al Qaeda.

From TIME magazine, about the interrogation by the US of captured Al Qaeda biggie Zubaydah:

Zubaydah, writes Posner, said the Saudi connection ran through Prince Turki al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, the kingdom's longtime intelligence chief. Zubaydah said bin Laden "personally" told him of a 1991 meeting at which Turki agreed to let bin Laden leave Saudi Arabia and to provide him with secret funds as long as al-Qaeda refrained from promoting jihad in the kingdom. The Pakistani contact, high-ranking air force officer Mushaf Ali Mir, entered the equation, Zubaydah said, at a 1996 meeting in Pakistan also attended by Zubaydah. Bin Laden struck a deal with Mir, then in the military but tied closely to Islamists in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (isi), to get protection, arms and supplies for al-Qaeda. Zubaydah told interrogators bin Laden said the arrangement was "blessed by the Saudis."

And from Josh Marshall:

Now it appears that Iran's rapid progress toward a nuclear weapons capacity came thanks to substantial assistance from Pakistan. Add that to the fact that we now know that North Korea's progress along the uranium-enrichment track (as opposed to plutonium) was similarly the product of key assistance from Pakistan. If we're looking for the unstable Islamist-leaning state which has nuclear weapons and is the chief proliferator of nuclear technology to other unstable rogue regimes, we've found it: Pakistan. The urgent question to be answered is whether such assistance is continuing. If it's ended, when did it end?

As a very minor point - the NY Times reported that we are trying to add non-US troops into Iraq, particularly Muslim troops:

The top American commander for Iraq [Gen. John P. Abizaid] said today there was no need for more American troops there, but he encouraged Muslim allies like Turkey and Pakistan to send peacekeepers and said accelerating the training of a new Iraqi army should be considered.

OK, Turkey once occupied Iraq as part of the Ottoman Empire. Whether their troops would be welcome in a return engagement I leave to the bright lights and sensitive souls at the Pentagon and the State Dept.

Pakistan had troops in Somalia as part of Black Hawk Down, and apparently has been involved in 25 UN peacekeeping missions. But given the grim connections noted above, could someone explain to me, slowly, as if I were a complete idiot, why we want Pakistani troops in Iraq?


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