Having done a bang up job in Syria, where Obama nearly started world war III so Qatar could send its natgas to Europe at a lower price than Gazprom’s, while alienating America’s legacy allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Israel, and ensuring its enemies see it even weaker in the international arena following Obama’s schooling by Putin, the US president continues to win friends abroad (while spying there, here and everywhere, namely the Pope) with the latest snafu coming from Pakistan, another former ally, where America just droned the leader of the Taliban fighters on Saturday, leaving his body “damaged but recognizable”.
In response the Taliban – once upon a time another close ally of the CIA and especially their one time leader, Osama bin Laden – quickly moved to replace him while vowing a wave of revenge suicide bombings: because what the US needed right now is even more potential terrorism. But not before the outraged Pakistani government, insulted that the US continues to take whatever liberties on its territory it chooses, summoned the US ambassador, although not for another instance of NSA spying, but due to America’s penchant for delivering not so targeted mass executions around the world by remote control.
The Pakistani government denounced the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud as a U.S. bid to derail planned peace talks and summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest. Some lawmakers demanded the blocking of U.S. supply lines into Afghanistan in retaliation.
“The murder of Hakimullah is the murder of all efforts at peace,” said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. “Americans said they support our efforts at peace. Is this support?”
Not really, although if Pakistan had read the Xinhua oped from Friday it would know that already.
Mehsud, who had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, and three others were killed on Friday in the militant stronghold of Miranshah in northwest Pakistan.
Mehsud’s vehicle was hit after he attended a meeting of Taliban leaders, a Pakistani Taliban fighter said, adding that Mehsud’s body was “damaged but recognizable“. His bodyguard and driver were also killed.
He was secretly buried under cover of darkness in the early hours by a few companions amid fears that his funeral might be attacked by U.S. drones, militants and security sources said.
And here is why the US globocop policy of droning anyone it chooses abroad always backfires.
“Every drop of Hakimullah’s blood will turn into a suicide bomber,” said Azam Tariq, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman. “America and their friends shouldn’t be happy because we will take revenge for our martyr’s blood.”
Maybe not America, but its leaders who thrive on a culture of constant fear from “terrorism”, even when it is openly provoked, should. Especially when the target is Al Qaeda which is a strategic friend in some cases (Syria), and the worst foe when a Bogeyman is needed:
Mehsud took over as leader of the al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban in 2009. The group’s two previous leaders were killed in attacks by U.S. missile-firing drones. Taliban commanders said they wanted to replace him with the movement’s number two, Khan Said, who is also known as Sajna.
Said is believed to have masterminded an attack on a jail in northwest Pakistan that freed nearly 400 prisoners in 2012 and a big attack on a Pakistani naval base.
But some commanders were unhappy with the choice and wanted more talks, several militants said, indicating divisions within the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella group of factions allied with the Afghan Taliban and battling the Pakistani state in the hope of imposing Islamist rule.
The Pakistani Taliban killed an army general in September, has beheaded Pakistani soldiers and killed thousands of civilians in suicide bombings. The group also directed a failed attempt to bomb Times Square in New York.
Hopefully all futures attempts to bomb Times Square will likewise be “failed” courtesy of the NSA’s undying vigilance.
And since every US action abroad has an immediate reaction, the Pakistani government has already clarified it will make US strategic intervention in the region that much more difficult:
The Pakistani foreign office said in a statement on Saturday Mehsud’s death was “counter-productive to Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability to Pakistan and the region”.
Shah Farman, a spokesman for the government of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said provincial lawmakers would pass a resolution on Monday to cut NATO supply lines into landlocked Afghanistan. A major one passes through the nearby Khyber Pass.
The supply lines through U.S. ally Pakistan have been crucial since the latest Afghan war began in 2001 and remain vital as the United States and other Western forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of next year.
Finally, for those wondering just how big the US drone presence in the region is, the answer is: very.
Residents of Miranshah, the capital of the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border, said Pakistani Taliban fighters were converging on the town and firing furiously at drones buzzing high in the sky.
About eight drones were seen overhead as well as a larger aircraft that seemed to be an aeroplane or a type of drone that residents said they had not seen before.
“We thought it was a C-130 aircraft but it was a special spy plane, bigger in size,” resident Farhad Khan said by telephone from Miranshah. “The militants fired from their anti-aircraft guns to hit it but couldn’t.”
The good news: for now the US is focusing its droning powers abroad. Hopefully that, too, doesn’t change any time soon.