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Lal Masjid Showdown Enters Final Stage

Metroblogging Islamabad is live blogging the showdown at Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad from the vicinity. The reporting on scene accounts for 3 Pakistani special forces killed, 15 militants killed and 20 militants injured. Two hospitals have been cleared of everyone except for patients and police "are announcing that they have orders to shoot on sight if anyone tries to enter the hospital," including media.

At the time of this posting, the latest two reports include an unconfirmed report that Ghazi Abdur Rasheed has been arrested.

10th July 8:20 AM
Maximum area of Jamia Hafsa secured according to unofficial reports. Lal Masjid being searched by commandoes. According to unconfirmed reports, Ghazi Abdur Rasheed has been arrested.

10th July 8:15 AM
After over 4 hours of 150 explosions and intense firing from both sides, there is silence around the vicinity of Lal Masjid. Looks like the operation has stopped, and army is making announcements on loud speakers for militants to come out with hands up. The top levels of Jamia Hafsa have been cleared. Only bunkers and basements remain where the militants have retreated.

Metroblogging Islamabad will be an interesting source to watch as the situation unfolds. Our thanks to our friend Nick Grace at Global Crisis Watch for the alert.


Let’s hope the Islamabad Blogger can shed some light on the following two issues. First, Pakistan has effectively lifted the minimal house arrest restraints imposed on A.Q. Khan, the father of the "Islamic bomb," who presided over the transfer of nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran. While American agents still aren't allowed to talk to Khan, an AP reporter had no difficulty interviewing him this week.

Second, the United States failed to attack an important al-Qaida gathering in Afghanistan at which top terrorist leaders were present, out of fear of alienating Musharraf. This reluctance to take risk or jeopardize our political relationship with Musharraf may well account for the fact that five-and-a-half years after 9/11, we are still trying to run bin Laden and Zawahiri to ground. This frustration has only grown as Al Qaeda has improved its ability to plan global attacks and build new training compounds in Pakistan's tribal areas, which have become virtual havens for the terrorist network."

Id not call the reluctance a fear that we would 'jeopardize our political relationship with Musharraf.' He's not going anywhere or turning on us. More accurately - and perhaps this is what you meant - the reluctance has been on of fear of hastening his imminent demise as the only sure trustworthy steward of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

After Musharraf, it's anyone's guess about the security of those weapons, and guessing is not good when it comes to nuclear weapons.

That said, I am all for a strong lean forward.

I mean, are you going to tell me that the Chinese can push Musharraf into the Lal Masjid confrontation and the defeat of the Islamists there, but we cannot compel similar actions? it's the reluctance to act that causes such things to be so.