noworldsystem.com


Obama authorizes covert economic war against Venezuela

Obama authorizes covert economic war against Venezuela

Wayne Madsen
Online Journal
January 21, 2010

WMR’s intelligence sources have reported that the Obama administration has authorized an economic war against Venezuela in order to destabilize the government of President Hugo Chavez.

After a successful coup against Chavez ally, President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, and the very thin 51-49 percent electoral win by Chile’s billionaire right-winger Sebastian Pinera on January 17, a buoyed Obama White House has given a green light for political operatives in Venezuela, many of whom operate under the cover of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to set the stage for massive street demonstrations to protest Chavez’s devaluation of the bolivar, Venezuela’s currency.

Chavez devalued the bolivar by 50 percent to make Venezuelan oil exports less expensive, thus boosting revenue for his country. However, the devaluation has also seen price rises and inflation in Venezuela and the CIA and its subservient NGOs have wasted little time in putting out stories about consumers rushing to the stories ahead of an increase in consumer products, with imported flat-screen televisions being the favorite consumer item being hyped by the corporate media as seeing a huge price increase and long lines at shopping malls favored by the Venezuelan elites.

The state has exempted certain consumer goods such as food, medicines, school supplies, and industrial machinery from being affected by the bolivar’s devaluation through a different exchange rate and price controls, but it is the price increases on televisions, tobacco, alcohol, cell phones, and computers that has the anti-Chavez forces in Venezuela and abroad hyping the ill-effects on the Venezuelan consumer.

To battle against businessmen who are trying to capitalize on the devaluation of the bolivar, Chavez has threatened to close and possibly seize any business that gouges the consumer by inordinately raising prices. The first target of a temporary closure was a Caracas store owned by the French firm Exito.

International investment analysts praised Chavez’s decision to devalue the bolivar and said the decision was overdue considering the fall of oil prices worldwide. However, the CIA and NGOs, many aligned with George Soros’s Open Society Institute and the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy are planning large street demonstrations against Chavez’s handling of the economy.

National Assembly elections are scheduled for September but the Obama administration has decided that if Chavez can be removed now, his allies in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and some Caribbean island states will quickly abandon Chavez’s alternative to American-led Western Hemisphere financial contrivances and free trade pacts, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

The Obama planners then see Cuba, once again, being isolated in the hemisphere and ripe for increased U.S. political pressure. Cuba was placed on the list of 14 countries requiring additional airline passenger screening as part of the policy to pressure and isolate Cuba. There is a possibility that with the outbreak of U.S.-inspired violence in the streets of Venezuela, that nation could join Cuba on the list as the 15th country.

The Obama administration’s assault is two-fold: economic and political. Pressure is being applied against the gasoline chain Citgo, which is owned by the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, and Venezuelan investment favorability ratings. Politically, the U.S. is overtly and covertly funneling money to anti-Chavez groups through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and groups affiliated with George Soros.

There is also a small military component to Obama’s strategy of undermining Chavez. U.S., P-3 Orion overflights of Venezuelan airspace from bases in Aruba and Curacao are designed to intimidate Chavez and activate Venezuelan radar and command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) systems to gather electronic and signals intelligence data that would be used by the United States to jam Venezuelan military networks in the event of a U.S.-inspired uprising against Chavez by U.S. loyalists embedded in the Venezuelan military, police, PDVSA, and media. The U.S. is also stoking cross-border incursions into Venezuela by Colombian paramilitaries to gauge Venezuela’s border defenses. Last November, Colombian right-wing paramilitary units killed two Venezuelan National Guardsmen inside Venezuela in Tachira state. Weapons caches maintained by Colombians inside Venezuela have been seized by Venezuelan authorities. Venezuela has also arrested a number of Colombian DAS intelligence agents inside Venezuela.

Obama signed a military agreement with Colombia that allows the United States to establish seven air and naval bases in Colombia. An additional agreement by Obama with Panama will see the U.S. military return to that nation to set up two military bases.

It is estimated that some 25 percent of Venezuelans are likely Fifth Columnists who would take part in a revolt against Chavez. Many of them based in the Venezuelan oil-producing state of Zulia and the capital of Maracaibo, where successive U.S. ambassadors in Caracas have stoked secessionist embers and where the CIA and U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency have concentrated much of their efforts. In November, Venezuelan police arrested in Maracaibo, Magaly Janeth Moreno Vega, also known as “The Pearl,” the leader of the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which has been directly linked to Colombia’s pro-U.S. President Alvaro Uribe and members of his government, including former Colombian Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio Isaza, appointed by Uribe as Colombia’s ambassador to Mexico.

U.S. Provoking War With Venezuela

 



Haiti’s main port is destroyed

Haiti’s main port is destroyed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_TCVJC0blY

lynch mob beats to death a looter and drags his body through the streets as Haiti descends into anarchy

 



Alex Jones Drafts Ron Paul for 2012 Presidency Bid

Alex Jones Drafts Ron Paul for 2012 Presidency Bid

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
October 29, 2009

On speculation that Congressman Ron Paul may soon announce his intentions to run again for President in 2012, radio host Alex Jones has urged that he do so in an effort to once again spread the message of liberty on a grassroots level. Ron Paul, Jones says, would be the only candidate to foster debate on real issues, and would be the only candidate to operate under the Constitution’s guidelines.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07vWM74PL-8

Though Paul was considered a long-shot leading up to the 2008 Republican primaries, he generated substantial fundraising and proved deadly against the milk-toast ‘Republican-in-name-only’ candidates that included one-time front runner Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and, of course, John McCain.

Alex Jones hopes to further spread the message of Ron Paul’s campaign, who has proved prescient on a wide-variety of issues where other candidates proved short-sighted and flat wrong, including the Dollar’s demise. The call to return to Constitutional government and otherwise revitalize freedom has been spread through decentralized groups all across the country as well as in Ron Paul’s on-going “Campaign for Liberty” and his son Rand Paul’s viable bid for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

Now, with Barack Obama falling in the polls and ringing hollow on his promises, another opportunity has arisen for a truly Constitutional candidate to win the Presidency and wake mainstream America out of its spell.

Launching the campaign for 2012 in the near future would send shockwaves into the halls of political debate, in online searches for topics like “End the Fed” and would force the Mainstream Media to go into damage control as the unstoppable message from the bottom up seeks to reclaim our Republic.

Run Ron, Run!

 

Alex Jones: U.S. a powerslave serving aims of New World Order

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9urzpi6Oi7M

 



Tarpley: Alqaeda is the ‘CIA Arab Legion’

Tarpley: Alqaeda is the ‘CIA Arab Legion’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rilvE4kYqQ

US-Backed Terrorist Group Kills Iran Military Officers

 



US-Backed Terrorist Group Kills Iran Military Officers

US-Backed Terrorist Group Kills Iran Military Officers
Bankrolling and arming Al-Qaeda offshoot part of 2007 White House directive to destabilize Iranian government

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
October 19, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tz3NPo5jPw

The U.S. government effectively attacked Iran yesterday after its proxy terror group Jundullah launched a suicide bomb attack against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at their headquarters in Pishin, near the border with Pakistan.

Leaders of the Al-Qaeda affiliated Sunni terrorist group Jundullah have claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Iran that killed over 40 people yesterday. The group is funded and trained by the CIA and is being used to destabilize the government of Iran, according to reports out of the London Telegraph and ABC News.

In the aftermath of the attack, which killed at least five commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard along with scores of others, media reports have swung between Iranian accusations of US and British involvement and blanket denials on behalf of the U.S. State Department.

However, the fact that Jundullah, who have since claimed responsibility for the attack and named the bomber as Abdol Vahed Mohammadi Saravani, are openly financed and run by the CIA and Mossad is not up for debate, it has been widely reported for years.

“President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert “black” operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed. Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs,” reported the London Telegraph in May 2007.

Part of that destabilization campaign involved the the CIA “Giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan,” stated the report.

Jundullah is a Sunni Al-Qaeda offshoot organization that was formerly headed by alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The fact that it is being directly supported by the U.S. government under both Bush and now Obama destroys the whole legitimacy of the “war on terror” in an instant.

The group has been blamed for a number of bombings inside Iran aimed at destabilizing Ahmadinejad’s government and is also active in Pakistan, having been fingered for its involvement in attacks on police stations and car bombings at the Pakistan-US Cultural Center in 2004.

The group also produces propaganda tapes and literature for al-Qaeda’s media wing, As-Sahab, which is in turn closely affiliated with the military-industrial complex front IntelCenter, the group that makes available Al-Qaeda videos to the western media.

In May 2008, ABC News reported on how Pakistan was threatening to turn over six members of Jundullah to Iran after they were taken into custody by Pakistani authorities.

“U.S. officials tell ABC News U.S. intelligence officers frequently meet and advise Jundullah leaders, and current and former intelligence officers are working to prevent the men from being sent to Iran,” reported ABC news, highlighting again the close relationship between the terror group and the CIA.

In July 2009, a Jundullah member admitted before a court in Zahedan Iran that the group was a proxy for the U.S. and Israel.

Abdolhamid Rigi, a senior member of the group and the brother of the group’s leader Abdolmalek Rigi, who was one of the six members of the organization extradited by Pakistan, told the court that Jundullah was being trained and financed by “the US and Zionists”. He also said that the group had been ordered by America and Israel to step up their attacks in Iran.

Jundullah is not the only anti-Iranian terror group that US government has been accused of funding in an attempt to pressure the Iranian government.

Multiple credible individuals including US intelligence whistleblowers and former military personnel have asserted that the U.S. is conducting covert military operations inside Iran using guerilla groups to carry out attacks on Iranian Revolution Guard units.

It is widely suspected that the well known right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), once run by Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence services, is now working exclusively for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations and carrying out remote bombings in Iran.

After a bombing inside Iran in March 2007, the London Telegraph also reported on how a high ranking CIA official has blown the whistle on the fact that America is secretly funding terrorist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear program.

A story entitled, US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran, reveals how funding for the attacks carried out by the terrorist groups “comes directly from the CIA’s classified budget,” a fact that is now “no great secret”, according to a former high-ranking CIA official in Washington who spoke anonymously to The Sunday Telegraph.

Former US state department counter-terrorism agent Fred Burton backed the claim, telling the newspaper, “The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime.”

John Pike, the head of the influential Global Security think tank in Washington, said: “The activities of the ethnic groups have hotted up over the last two years and it would be a scandal if that was not at least in part the result of CIA activity.”

The timing of the bombing that targeted Iranian Revolutionary Guard members yesterday was clearly orchestrated to coincide with talks between representatives from Iran, Russia, France, the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna today concerning Iran’s nuclear intentions.

U.S. backs Jundullah to destabilize Iran

Iranian Unrest: Evidence Of Western Intelligence Meddling

Jundullah admits MKO connection

Iran Finds US-Backed Terrorists in Riots

 



U.S. Seeks Occupation of Pakistan

Ex-Intel officer: U.S. Seeks Occupation of Pakistan

Press TV
Seppember 14, 2009

The US seeks to establish new military bases in Pakistan to keep the country destabilized and control its nuclear weapons, says a former head of Pakistan’s intelligence service.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV on Sunday, Hamid Gul said that Washington planned to expand its embassy and increase its security guards in Pakistan.

“There are already three thousand five hundred of them [US security guards] and one thousand more are coming,” Gul said.

He also noted that Americans seek to set up a large intelligence network inside Pakistan under the pretext of giving financial aid to the country.

“They [Americans] are going to set up a large intelligence network inside Pakistan. They say because we are spending money directly on projects, therefore we need the security guards and we are bringing in the contractors,” said Gul.

US officials “want to go for Pakistan’s nuclear assets. They are inching close to those nuclear assets day by day,” he added.

When asked about Washington’s long-term goal in Pakistan, the former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) said that the United States wants to keep the country destabilized.

Washington’s decision to expand its embassy in Pakistan has also rung alarm bells in China with Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Luo Zhaohui, expressing concern over the planned measure.

“China has concerns over the expansion of the US Embassy in Islamabad and the United States should expand its Embassy by materializing rules and regulations of Pakistan,” Zhaohui said at a news conference.

 

Washington’s “good war”
Death squads, disappearances and torture in Pakistan

WSWS
September 16, 2009

As the Obama administration prepares a major escalation of the so-called AfPak war, reports from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, near Afghanistan’s eastern border, provide a gruesome indication of the kind of war that the Pentagon and its local allies are waging.

While touted by Obama and his supporters as the “good war,” there is mounting evidence that the Pentagon and the CIA are engaged in a war against the population of the region involving death squads, disappearances and torture.

The Pakistani army sent 20,000 troops into Swat, part of the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), last April to wage war against ethnic Pashtun Islamist movements (routinely described as the Pakistani Taliban) that have supported fellow Pashtuns across the border who are resisting the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan.

This offensive, which was carried out on the direct and highly public insistence of US envoy Richard Holbrooke and senior American military officers during repeated trips to Islamabad, unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe. In what amounted to a massive exercise in collective punishment, many civilians were killed or wounded and some 2.5 million people were driven from their homes.

Now, the Pakistani military continues to occupy the area, carrying out a reign of terror in which individuals identified as opponents of the government and the US occupation across the border are being picked up and tortured to death.

According to a report published September 15 in the New York Times, with the military occupation of the Swat Valley “a new campaign of fear has taken hold, with scores, perhaps hundreds, of bodies dumped on the streets in what human rights advocates and local residents say is the work of the military.”

While the Pakistani military has denied responsibility for this wave of killings—blaming them on civilians seeking revenge against the Islamists—the Times quotes local residents, politicians and human rights workers as blaming the army. They point, the article states, to “the scale of the retaliation, the similarities in the way that many of the victims have been tortured and the systematic nature of the deaths and disappearances in areas that the military firmly controls.”

In addition to bearing marks of brutal torture, many of the bodies are discovered with their hands tied behind their backs and with a bullet in the back of the neck. In some cases corpses have been beheaded.

On September 1, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted government officials as saying that 251 bodies had been found dumped along the roadside in the Swat Valley since July. On August 27, the newspaper reported that 51 bodies had been found in the area in the space of just 24 hours.

Dawn has also reported the discovery of a number of mass graves containing victims of the military and referred to local residents who had “witnessed the crude and inhuman lumping together of the living and the dead.”

The Times cites the case of Akhtar Ali, 28, arrested by the military at his electrical repair shop on September 1. While military officials repeatedly told his family that he would be released, four days later his corpse was dumped on their doorstep, bearing cigarette burns and with nails hammered into his flesh. “There was no place on his body not tortured,” his family said in a petition seeking justice.

American officials have praised the Pakistani military for its campaign in the Swat Valley, with US Ambassador Anne Patterson visiting Mingora, Swat’s largest town, last week to congratulate the army.

Now US officials are pressing the Pakistani government to replicate this bloody campaign in South Waziristan. A similar offensive is already underway in the Khyber Agency, site of the Khyber Pass, a key route for supplies to the US occupation force in Afghanistan. UN officials report that 100,000 people have been displaced by the attack.

Washington stands behind the atrocities being carried out against the Pakistani people. It is funding the Pakistani military operations, with some $2.5 billion in overt military aid this fiscal year. Meanwhile, CIA drone attacks continue, having claimed nearly 600 Pakistani victims over the past year, the majority of them civilians.

There is every reason to suspect that the wave of disappearances, torture and death squad assassinations in Pakistan is also “made in the USA.”

Before becoming the US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal headed the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the secret special operations unit that investigative journalist Seymour Hersh described as an “executive assassination wing.”

US special forces “trainers” are operating on Pakistani soil, instructing Pakistani forces in the kind of tactics favored by JSOC—tactics that yield the bound and battered bodies dumped in the streets of Swat.

These tactics fit a long pattern of US counterinsurgency warfare, from Operation Phoenix in Vietnam to the US-backed death squads that terrorized the population of El Salvador in the 1980s.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen warned again Tuesday in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military will almost certainly seek an increase in troop levels over the 70,000 American soldiers and Marines that are to be deployed in Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Citing diplomatic sources, Dawn reported that Gen. McChrystal is calling for a shift in the war’s focus to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.

Having lost control of most of Afghanistan after nearly eight years of US occupation, the Pentagon is preparing to launch a new wave of bloodletting and terror against the population on both sides of the border in the hope of breaking popular resistance.

The administration of Barack Obama, elected on a wave of antiwar sentiment, is already implicated in war crimes that rival those carried out by his predecessor. Support for the war within the US has declined to levels approaching those reached over Iraq, with the latest CNN poll showing 58 percent of Americans opposing the US occupation of Afghanistan and only 39 percent supporting it.

Driven by the interests of the US ruling elite, the escalation of this dirty war, together with the escalating assault on jobs and living standards at home, is creating the conditions for the emergence of a mass political movement of working people against the Obama administration and the profit system which is the driving force of imperialist war.

 



CIA Supports the Pakistani Taliban

CIA Supports the Pakistani Taliban

Pakistan Daily
September 14, 2008

Now the ball is in General Kayani’s court; will he be the one to blink first? Will he be forced by his civilian masters – Zardari and Gilani not to follow up on his promise and become subject of ridicule? Clearly, the U.S. is stung by Pakistan discovering who is the real enemy. Pakistan has decided to liquidate the so-called ‘Pakistani Taliban’ and is succeeding with popular support. It has become apparent that the insurgency in the FATA and elsewhere in NWFP is aided and abetted by the U.S. It wants to weaken the control of the federal government over the provinces and regions of Pakistan and it does not care whether it is achieved by Islamists or by ethnic nationalists. It supports the BLA as well as Baitullah Mehsud. It maintains its contacts with the MQM, the ANP, Baloch Nationalists as well as the JUI. It came to court the PPP as it concluded it was not overly concerned with ‘national interests’.

Pakistan is nervous; it cannot believe that the United States can turn on its ally so fast and so easy. President Bush has proclaimed a new war theater in Pakistan alongside Iraq and Afghanistan. But President Bush is dead wrong; the nature of the war in the three countries is quite different.

In Iraq, the resistance to U.S. occupation is organized by sectarian militias that are not excluded from participation in politics; they even have representation in government. In Afghanistan, the resistance is carried out primarily by the Pashtun majority, which is represented in government only by traitors and turncoats.

Pakistan is not occupied. In Pakistan, the main terrorist organization – Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – has political aims and it seeks to capture and control territory. The TTP is sponsored by the CIA, which provides it money, weapons and equipment.

All the three countries – Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – are similar in that the American aim is the same: to fragment the nation and impose unpopular/weak governments that will bend to U.S. will.

Although the story came out several weeks ago, the people of Pakistan are still stunned by the revelation that the TTP is CIA sponsored. The public first came to know of this in the newspapers that during the visit of Prime Minister Gilani to the U.S., his staff showed evidence of CIA support to TTP.

It Mr. Gilani some courage to tell U.S. that the ‘foreign support’ to Baitullah Mehsud came from the U.S. One thought it would put the U.S. on the defensive that those being accused and targeted by America for cross-border raids have been trained and supported by the U.S. Instead, the U.S. ratcheted up its propaganda against Pakistan. Baitullah Mehsud moves freely throughout the region promoting terrorism that will justify American actions. His men possess the most-advanced communication and possibly even satellite intelligence.

Pakistan army took a long time to read the signs because it just could not believe that the U.S. could resort to such diabolical stratagem against its ‘ally’.

The Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, announced on September 10 that the coalition forces would not be allowed to operate inside Pakistan. His statement came within hours of the testimony by U.S. Chief of Joint Staff, Admiral Mullen, that the strategy for the war in Afghanistan had been revised and that targets in Pakistan would be struck without prior notice or warning to Pakistan. General Kayani expressed outrage at the U.S. helicopter raid near Angor Adda on the Pakistan Afghan border that lasted 30-minute; three houses owned by the Wazir tribesmen were the target of the raid that killed 23 people, including women and children. What added insult to injury was the report that Prime Minister Gilani’s National Security Adviser Major General (retd) Mehmud Durrani formally wrote to his U.S. counterpart Steven Hadley, on September 5, warning that Pakistan would not allow any foreign forces to operate on its territory. In his letter, Durrani made it clear that the rules of engagement of the coalition forces were well defined and there was no provision that allowed the US/NATO forces in Afghanistan to operate inside Pakistan.

On Thursday, September 11, the Pakistan Army was given permission to retaliate against any action by foreign troops inside the country. The same day, the Pakistan ambassador to the U.S. also met some national security advisers of the Bush administration and got the assurance that the U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan would not operate inside Pakistan or launch any strike. As if to rub salt in the wound, the same night the coalition forces launched another missile attack on Miranshah, killing more than 12 people.

What is happening? What is the U.S. up to? More importantly, what can Pakistan do?

Clearly, the U.S. is stung by Pakistan discovering who is the real enemy. Pakistan has decided to liquidate the TTP and is succeeding with popular support. The U.S. should have been satisfied that the Pakistan Army is pursuing the TTP, but it is not. Clearly, the TTP is the excuse not the target. The American objective is to destabilize Pakistan. I refer to the article titled ‘The Destabilization of Pakistan’ by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research, Canada, in which it was revealed, before Feb. 18 elections, that U.S. sees an opportunity in the elections to advance its agenda and is supporting the terrorists inside Pakistan towards that end. He wrote:

“Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of “decentralization”, to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan’s fragile federal structure.”…. “U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence. The official justification and pretext… to extend the “war on terrorism”. Concurrently, to justify its counter-terrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the “terrorists.”

It has become apparent that the insurgency in the FATA and elsewhere in NWFP is aided and abetted by the US. It wants to weaken the control of the federal government over the provinces and regions of Pakistan and it does not care whether it is achieved by Islamists or by ethnic nationalists. It supports the BLA as well as Baitullah Mehsud. It maintains its contacts with the MQM, the ANP, Baloch Nationalists as well as the JUI. It came to court the PPP as it concluded it was not overly concerned with ‘national interests’. The economic conditions have been deteriorating so fast that the economy is being described as close to ‘melt-down’. The only remaining condition yet to be met for ‘destabilization’ to become unstoppable is the ‘demonization’ of the Pakistan Army.

That explains why General Kayani’s defiant statement was quickly followed by another Predator attack. Now the ball is in General Kayani’s court; will he be the one to blink first? Will he be forced by his civilian masters – Zardari and Gilani – not to follow up on his promise and become subject of ridicule? But Pakistan has options. First and foremost, the objectives of the so-called ‘war on terror’ would have to be revised; it must henceforth deal exclusively with clearing FATA and Swat of TTP, and pacifying the area.

The approach of the people of Pakistan towards the U.S. has been transformed by the raid on Pakistan’s soil. Until now, they thought that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan was no threat to Pakistan. They had a benign view of the war despite the horrendous civilian casualties. They thought the war brought funds for development and democracy in its wake. Now the support for U.S. presence in the region is zero. The people see the United States as the main enemy; the so-called extremists are the proxies and surrogates of the USA.

Second, the firm forthrightness of the Army Chief has made him popular and brought admiration for the armed forces, instead of being demonized. The PPP, which felt secure in power after the elevation of its co-chairman to the office of the President, is likely to feel threatened. The Prime Minster has already said that his Government would deal with the situation through diplomacy. But if the bombs continue to rain in FATA and more helicopter raids occur, the people would be outraged and demand retaliation. What would the Government do? It is time to be cool and act; diplomacy rarely works when it is mere talk. Since most of the raids are by air, Pakistan needs to deploy anti-aircraft weapons to protect outposts and villages. The U.S. and NATO would need to be informed that violation of air space would be considered ‘hostile’ and dealt with as such.

U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan depend on supply from or transit through Pakistan for a number of things. None need to stop but accidents do happen. After all, the U.S. did not solicit the assassination of Benazir Bhutto; they just let Baitullah Mehsud go through with what he was planning anyway. After deployment of anti-aircraft weapons on the border and ‘go slow’ strike on the tail from Karachi to Khybar, the ball would be in the U.S. court. It could take another step on the escalation ladder or sense might prevail.

However, Pakistan cannot afford to blink first. There will be rows between the civil and military leadership and it is hard to tell if the military advice would be accepted. But the Zardari Administration is already on the wrong side of the public opinion on the issue of restoration of the judges made dysfunctional by General Musharraf. He will be on the wrong side of the public opinion once again if he did nothing in the face of mounting casualties of soldiers and civilians a the hands of the USA.