У меня есть подписка на Strategic Forecasting сайт, где иногда бывают интересные статьи, например:
Pakistan Braces for the American Storm
February 13, 2004 1955 GMT
Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has begun warning his country that if it does not root out al Qaeda, the United States will.
As part of its self-declared "war on terrorism," the United States has been involved in the Afghan theater of operations for more than two years, since it succeeded in overthrowing the Taliban government in late 2001 by employing a strategy heavily dependent upon local allies. Since then, U.S. efforts have followed a bifurcated path: maintaining some semblance of order in Kabul where the "national" government resides and bombing any concentrated pockets of resistance.
The strategy makes sense. Unlike the Soviet occupation of 1979-1989, the United States is not attempting to control the entire territory of Afghanistan. Split as it is by the Hindu Kush mountains and a plethora of ethnic groups with little to no sense of a shared history the country probably is not capable of forming a unified state in the traditional sense. The least violent existence that Afghanistan can hope for is probably to have a very weak central government in which the various regional capitals Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif exercise de facto sovereign control.
The U.S. strategy, then, is geared toward maintaining the fiction of a "united" Afghanistan, without providing any troops to enforce central rule. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrols only Kabul and the immediate surrounding area, while various regional militias rule their respective territories.
The strategy is not exactly brilliant, but considering Afghanistan's history and geography it is probably one of the few that could work. As a side effect, it leaves al Qaeda and its sympathizers free to prowl largely where they will and conduct hit-and-run nuisance attacks.
For al Qaeda, this is far from a happy state of affairs. Afghanistan can no longer be used as a major training facility, and the network has been funneling most of its fighters into Iraq. A smaller presence in Afghanistan is a more vulnerable one, so al Qaeda has done what any business would do under similar circumstances: move.
The mountainous border region of the Afghan-Pakistani border region is porous, relatively unguarded and home to the Pushtun ethnic group that straddles national boundaries. Al Qaeda, unhobbled by state loyalties, has most likely moved its core personnel into this region, where it is more complicated for U.S. forces to operate.
But more complicated does not mean impossible.
The Bush administration is looking for the end game. Al Qaeda has proven unable to mount a major strike on U.S. targets since Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks that have occurred Casablanca, Bali, An Najaf, Riyadh, etc. have been far less ambitious in scope, carried out by affiliate groups and, most importantly, have not touched the U.S. mainland. The next major push from the United States will be an attempt to roll up al Qaeda's prime senior members themselves.
As with all other major policy pushes in 2004, the White House has its eye on domestic politics as well. Melting down al Qaeda into a commemorative coin set to present to the American voter just in time for Nov. 4 would, of course, be a nice touch from a White House perspective. Doing that, however, means rolling into Pakistan with a lot more than a disposable State Department officer with snazzy shoes and a sharply worded demarche. Unlike Afghanistan, Pakistan is a real country with a real army and real nuclear weapons. Hence, at the highest levels, Washington has been tightening the screws on Islamabad most recently regarding the indiscretions of its nuclear development team.
Musharraf has received the none-too-subtle message, and this week began preparing his country for the inevitable onslaught and spurring it into action so that the United States might not need to come calling with a whole division of troops when it comes.
In a Feb. 10 interview with the New York Times, Musharraf made it clear that the onus of responsibility for the nuclear technology leaks was on the CIA, which he said had not provided any proof about the nuclear proliferation until quite recently. While the primary message of "don't blame me or push me around" came through loud and clear, there was also a secondary, more subtle, message: "Show me proof and I'll act."
The buzz in Pakistan this week, at least according to the Daily Times, is that CIA Director George Tenet paid Islamabad a secret visit on Feb. 11. In short, Musharraf was preparing the public for what sort of terms would be necessary for him to cater to Washington's wishes, and Washington just might have provided the appropriate information about al Qaeda's new digs in Pakistan.
That brings us to a more recent statement by Musharraf concerning militant activity. Speaking at Pakistan's National Defense College in Rawalpindi on Feb. 12, Musharraf said, "Certainly everything [within Afghanistan] is not happening from Pakistan, but certainly something is happening from Pakistan. Let us not bluff ourselves. Now, whatever is happening from Pakistan must be stopped and that is what we are trying to do."
On Feb. 10, Musharraf outlined what Washington would need to do to get him to move. On Feb. 12, he made it clear to other power brokers within Pakistan what needed to be done. Stratfor expects a third, more direct, statement to tumble from Musharraf's lips in the near future.
The issue now is simply one of timing. The Afghan-Pakistani border currently is difficult to navigate: Mountains plus winter equals no tanks. Once spring arrives, however, the United States can roll in and in theory nab all the appropriate personalities, just in time for the Democratic National Convention in July. If the Bush administration can pull it off, more Democrats than Howard Dean will be screaming.
The plan is not quite as neat as it seems. Northern Pakistan is rugged territory, but people actually live there and like it. Most are none too pleased with what the United States has been doing across the border in Afghanistan of late. This region, dubbed the Northwest Frontier Territories, is heavily Pushtun and is rife with al Qaeda supporters. Rolling into it would not be pretty.
In the hopes of heading off what would likely be a bloody U.S. intervention in Pakistan, Musharraf is trying to make the case for a major Pakistani military offensive against al Qaeda and its supporters in these tribal areas.
The Pakistani president is in quite an uncomfortable position, attempting to balance his role as a trusted U.S. ally in the war against militant Islamism, while leading a country where anti-Americanism is at a fever pitch. Despite Musharraf's attempts to proceed with caution, decisions resulting from the U.S. pressure are critically injuring his domestic image.
Musharraf has long stressed that his government furnished the United States with only minimal assistance in terms of logistical support, intelligence-sharing and so forth, and that Pakistani troops are not committed to campaigns outside the country. Both Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed routinely deny that U.S. intelligence and military forces are engaged in any operations in Pakistan against al Qaeda/Taliban suspects, particularly when arrests are made or suspected militants are killed in shoot-outs. Hayat and Ahmed have gone to lengths to underscore that Pakistani forces are doing the actual work, while the United States is merely providing intelligence and logistical support in the background.
U.S. troops conducting a large-scale operation inside Pakistan would take away the Pakistanis' we're-doing-it-ourselves factor and could well fracture the Pakistani military, not to mention prompt a backlash from the public.
But Musharraf has no illusions about where he falls on the U.S. priority list. If destroying al Qaeda once and for all means losing the Pakistani president, well, the United States has survived Pakistani regime changes before. Therefore, Musharraf issued an oblique warning to his country that it needs to do a housecleaning before the rat-a-tat of U.S. M16s is heard across the Northwest Frontier.
It is unclear just how Musharraf will be able to muster the support necessary for this latest step his government has had to make in the wake of Sept. 11. Initial signs are promising. So far jirgas (councils) of the Utmanzai and North Waziristani tribes have decided to set up militias to hunt down foreign militants. It is far too early to evaluate the tribes' seriousness much less their success in the matter, but it is obvious that the political dialogue has been sparked.
Islamabad does not have much time to get results. Warmer weather soon will set in, and the ISAF already is taking over policing duties in Afghanistan from U.S. forces, which will free up even more U.S. forces for a counterinsurgency offensive, should Islamabad fail to get the job done.
По моему мнению, пишут они хорошо, и главное, очень часто оказываются правы в своих предсказаниях. (Есть там еще всякое что к России отношения не имеет, например про Венесуэлу, так что речь только о том что потенциально может быть интересно участникам тут.) Но:
Дело в том, что появляются они не всегда когда тут есть тема тютелька в тютельку подходящяя к ним. Так что вопрос: стоит мне заводить отдельную темы для таких статей, когда они появляются?
(Просьба без ехидных комментариев--не интересно, граждане форумчане, пожалуйста, не буду их давать)