Smells like disaster, but it might not be. First, from the Blotter:
The Pakistani military will no longer operate in the area where Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda operatives are believed to be hiding, according to terms of what the Pakistan government calls a “peace deal,” signed today with militant tribal groups allied to the Taliban and al Qaeda…
The agreement, signed in the North Waziristan district of Pakistan’s volatile tribal belt, calls for the military to return to its barracks and for the insurgents to stop launching attacks on Pakistani troops…
Under the agreement, the Pakistan military will stop monitoring the activity of the militants, who will pledge to “live like good citizens,” General Sultan said.
The Americans are pointing directly at the two Waziristans as the primary conduit for the suicide bombers who are currently playing havoc with the US-NATO-led war machine in Afghanistan, and a safe haven for enemy combatants. The US now has come up with a plan to confront the strategic arm of the Taliban based on the Pakistani side of the border…
Sources say the Americans are set on a plan of hot pursuit of enemy combatants across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and they want a clear demarcation of the Pakistani tribal areas that have long been volatile and which they say should be part of the Afghanistan front in the “war on terror”.
Last month, Pakistan considered the issue and offered in response a geographical demarcation of the border and a fence along it. In fact the border in this region is the imaginary Durand Line, which passes through mountains and populated areas, and is impossible to seal. The only practical solution, as far as Washington is concerned, is hot pursuit of enemy combatants into their refuges in Pakistan.
Is this Musharraf’s way of essentially washing his hands of responsibility for Waziristan? If the U.S. attacks, it’s the jihadis’ problem now, not his. Or is this op-ed in today’s LA Times correct in calling him a double-dealing thorn in our side who should be called to account for his anti-democratic, Taliban-sympathizing militarization of the country?
Make sure your answer accounts for the disposition of Pakistani nukes in the event of regime change.
Update: The Blotter updates and calls it a “free pass” for Osama. Is it? Or are the gloves off now?