MyDD diarist Shaun Appelby has an interesting analysis of the situation in the Swat Valley:
As far as military strategies go it would appear that this is a sound one, given the numeric superiority but unwieldy nature of the army. Occupying the surrounding countryside before descending on Mingora is effective and a significant departure from the half-hearted efforts of years past.
But as we know the real challenge of ‘complex wars’ is political, not military, and in that respect the Pakistani civilian government seems to be achieving some success, both in uniting political factions behind this operation, at least for now, and mobilising public opinion against the Taliban as a matter of national sovereignty and security:
Also this Bill Moyers interview with Juan Cole on Friday is a must read and puts things in perspective. Money quote:
Juan Cole: We have a Gallup Poll now, 60 percent of the Punjabis, who are the majority group in Pakistan, say that it’s very negative that there should be Taliban operating in Pakistan. And only ten percent say that it’s a positive. So in Pakistan, as a whole, this is a small group. It’s not a mainstream, big, mass movement.