Monday, November 10, 2014

Risen's Strangely Timed Story on Jund'allah

What an odd story to lead the Sunday NY Times...
Some federal officials blame Mr. McHale for what they describe as an operation that veered out of control. They said that if the United States and Jundallah had too close a relationship, Mr. McHale’s go-it-alone attitude was to blame. But friends and former colleagues say this characterization of Mr. McHale as a rogue operator is unfair.
They point out that the relationship persisted for more than a decade, and Mr. McHale’s actions were approved and applauded by several United States agencies over those years. “I’m not sure what to say about this case,” said Mr. Holt, who is retiring from Congress this year. “Everything is plausible in the freewheeling intelligence world.”
Risen and Apuzzo characterize this Port Authority officer as a sort of real-life Dirty Harry, a brusque street-wise operator who can't follow rules or norms but gets intelligence for the frustrated pencil necks at HQ and the Major's office.  He sounds like a hero. So why are they offhandedly trashing him? And why now?  And why top left page one of their internet version?

One thing we know is that it's another in a series of stories from mainly left-leaning reporters about the Bush administration's relationship with Jund'allah.  The first ones came out around 2007 and were used to suggest the US was working with AQ terrorists against Iran.  Seymour Hersh, who wrote about it during the Bush years, has largely been the only one amongst his peers willing to suggest similar cozy arrangements with Sunni terrorists in Libya and Syria.
Anyway, just a coincidence on a slow news day?  Commenters at the Times story point to a convenient timing issue--we are coming up on a November 24th deadline to agree to a nuclear deal with Iran through the P5+1 group.  If no deal materializes then Obama will be staring down yet another self-imposed red line, which stated that Iran will not obtain nuclear weapons--that it would be a game-changer.  He has never formally taken military operations off the table, remember.

But really, Obama bomb-bomb-bombing Iran?  How likely is that? 

Then again, he can't afford to cross another one of his own imposed red lines and retain any semblance of a positive foreign policy legacy.  So it would seem that something needs to happen, soon.   Hopefully that something didn't involve screwing a patriotic Port Authority officer who cultivated intelligence about Iran's nuke program in an effort to sweeten a deal with the Ayatollahs.  Because if he'd do that, he might do other worse stuff. 

At the same time it's interesting to see the Times reporting on Balochistan, the veritable Twilight Zone of the GWoT. They point out that KSM is a native Baloch without pointing out that his nephew Ramzi, who tried to take out the WTC in 1993, is also a native.  It's never been explained as to why people in this remote region hated America so much.

Laurie Mylroie claimed the Sunnis of that region collaborated with Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war, hinting at a long-running tie with Iraqi intelligence, hinting that there might be a tie between AQ and Iraq.  Jund'allah seems more interested in knocking out the Ayatollahs than enemies abroad, but taking out Tehran was on Saddam's bucket list, too. So there's that.  Taliban leaders also sheltered in Quetta after our invasion in 2001, the same place Jund'allah operators have used.  Maybe McHale knew how to connect a few of those dots.

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