Arnaud de Borchgrave has some excellent connections in the international arena. His interview excerpted below is worth a full read at Newsmax.
De Borchgrave: U.S. at War with Radical Islam
Monday, November 19, 2007 4:18 PM
By: Phil Brennan
The U.S. is at war not with a political movement, but with Muslim extremism on a global scale, says influential journalist and Newsmax columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave.
In an exclusive Newsmax interview, de Borchgrave warns that the situation in Pakistan, a nuclear power, is growing graver as al-Qaida and the Taliban maintain influence in key border areas and President Pervez Musharraf loses control.
Newsmax: How serious is the current situation in Pakistan?
De Borchgrave: I don’t think it could be more serious. The comments of Benazir Bhutto, twice Pakistan’s prime minister in the 1980s and '90s, speak for themselves at the end of an e-mail she sent to me. She wrote: “It may sound dramatic but the picture here is frightening. Pakistan is slowly disintegrating and it seems everyone is paralyzed into ignoring the calamity that is coming.”
Newsmax: How much control do the Taliban and al-Qaida have over Pakistan at the moment?
De Borchgrave: They control the key tribal areas, known as North and South Waziristan, and to a lesser degree, some of the other tribal [regions] that border Afghanistan. But it’s total control in North and South Waziristan, which are the key areas for us in terms of Afghanistan.
Newsmax: Are they making any progress elsewhere in Pakistan?
De Borchgrave: Yes, in the Swat Valley, which is a highly prized tourist attraction in Pakistan inside the northwest frontier province. The [Pakistani] army has gone in there and taken casualties and then backed away as Taliban reinforcements arrived. The army backed down. The army is fed up at this point because they feel that they’ve been carrying out America’s orders transmitted by General Musharraf.
Newsmax: Is Musharraf in danger of losing control of the army?
De Borchgrave: Yes. In the next few days following [U.S. Deputy Secretary of State] John Negroponte’s visit this weekend, I can see General Pervez Kyani, who was going to become number one when Musharraf was confirmed as president, [taking] off his uniform. General Kyani was head of ISI, the Interservices Intelligence agency, and was private military secretary to Benazir Bhutto when she was prime minister in the late ‘80s.
... the army clearly is divided between those who are Western oriented, who have been to staff schools in the United States, and others who are hard-line in terms of Islam. They are the ones who don't want to take on al-Qaida, don't want to fight Taliban. After all Taliban was invented by the ISI right after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in February 1989.
ISI at one point was run by General Hamid Gul, who hates America with a passion. Hamid Gul is an Islamic extremist and he’s also the strategic adviser to the six political religious parties in the coalition that governs two of Pakistan's four provinces.
When you look at public opinion polls in Pakistan, Musharraf scores in the single digits, Bush in the teens and Osama bin Laden at 46 percent.
I don't think there's any danger of al-Qaida getting hold of nuclear weapons, though that danger is always there. What I see is perhaps a split in the army and Islamist extremists within the army taking control of these nuclear storage sites.
There are about six of them. They have separated warheads from delivery systems as well as separated nuclear cores from the detonators, so it is well dispersed. To get one weapon, they would have to put four parts together and they're stored in different parts of the country. That would not be accessible to al-Qaida unless somebody in the army were to get hold of all the different codes to access all these different places. I think it's highly unlikely but it's always a danger.
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