The Pakistan Problem
And the wrong solution.
11:00 PM, Nov 20, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
Given this history of capitulation, relying on the Pakistani military to protect those tribal leaders opposed to al Qaeda and the Taliban without the support of U.S. forces seems certain to place any anti-al Qaeda elements in grave and immediate danger. During the rise of the Awakening in Anbar province in 2006, the anti-al Qaeda tribal leaders were nearly defeated. The first iteration of the Awakening, called the Anbar Revenge Brigades, was routed after al Qaeda assassinated its leaders and murdered or intimidated its fighters.
The Awakening was only able to survive the al Qaeda onslaught with the direct support of the U.S. Marines and soldiers based in Anbar. U.S. forces provided protection for the group's leaders, as well as air support, financing, and communications and other equipment to bolster its efforts. U.S. forces also conducted joint operations with the Awakening's fighters and coordinated operations between the Iraqi police and Army. Despite this U.S. support, the Awakening was close to being defeated after al Qaeda conducted a massive terror campaign up and down the Euphrates River Valley in the winter and spring of 2007. Al Qaeda used suicide bombs, chlorine gas attacks, and targeted assassinations against the tribal leaders and their supporters.