Thursday, January 29, 2004


US to take action in (=on) Pakistan?

I’ll start with the disclaimer that I don’t know where this will end - Pakistan is, of course, a nominal Western ally (just like Saudi Arabia, but that’s another - if by the merest whisker - story).

That said, if these reports are true - that the US is going to ramp-up the search for Osama bin Laden, by taking the action over the Afghanistan border and into Pakistan - then it’s about time. Bin Laden has been known, for more than a year, to be in hiding along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border - a euphemism with the ridiculous pretence that this border has actual geographical thickness. Thus, Robert Gottliebsen notes in today’s Australian that “already the Taliban is regrouping on the Pakistan border” - setting-up an ambiguity which is spatially impossible, and also implying a dubious binary: Afghanistan=bad, Pakistan=good.

There is no such interzone*, and further, the poles of this false binary need to be reversed - if Bin Laden isn’t in Afghanistan (which seems almost certain), then he is in Pakistan.

* The area of Pakistan Bin Laden is thought to be in is a “tribal area”, under Pakistani sovereignty but, it is said, under day-to-day control of the locals alone. IMO, by effectively harbouring Bin Laden, Islamabad has long since forfeited sovereignty over it, and so can hardly complain of a US “invasion” of the area, should it come.

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