Monday, March 9, 2009
A British newspaper says that officials in contact with the US State Department have been briefed on plans to intensify military attacks on Pakistan, despite strong objections to the policy from the Pakistani government.
A new offensive would see a dramatic increase in Predator drone attacks on Taliban targets, reports the London Telegraph, which says it learned of the plans from State Department contacts and senior diplomats.
The report states:
President Barack Obama on Sunday admitted that the US military was pushing for talks with the Taliban, but officials consulted on the plans said the military conflict would be raised to new levels of intensity before talks could begin. “There will be talks but the Taliban are going to experience a lot of pain first, on both sides of the border,” said one senior Western diplomat.
Pakistani authorities have consistently voiced opposition to cross border missile strikes, which have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.
Obama is seemingly oblivious to this given his statement last week that “it’s very important for us to reach out to the Pakistani government and work with them more effectively.”
[efoods]It seems that the new president is forging ahead with his campaign promise to shift the focus of the war on terror into Pakistan, stepping up the policy of unmanned airstrikes which have been ongoing for years.
Obama has also recently beefed the U.S. military role in Pakistan beyond that pursued by the Bush administration and “expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan,” according to the New York Times, with an increase in missile attacks by drone aircraft.
Pakistani officials also believe that the drones are taking off from Pakistani airfields, a claim that has been backed by chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Diane Feinstein.
Obama recently demanded a total of around $800 billion in war funds and subsidiary costs just to cover the rest of 2009.
He has also promised to to send at least 17,000, and eventually perhaps as many as 30,000, extra troops to Afghanistan – over seven years after the U.S. invaded in 2001.
Meanwhile, despite public pronouncements by Obama that a plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq is in progress, the details of the agreement actually establish a permanent presence of a sizable occupying force of 50,000 troops in perpetuity.
All this within just two months of Obama’s inauguration on the back of an election campaign won on the basis of changing the warmongering policies of the Bush administration!
As alluded to in the London Telegraph report, the intensification policy comes via the new special U.S. representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke. A prominent member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and a consummate insider, Holbrooke has been dubbed “Obama’s Neocon”.