Saturday, March 20, 2004
Even if Zawahri is not captured, the historical military invulnerability of tribal regions on Pakistan's Northwest frontier may have ended forever. Operation Mountain Storm's lethal marriage of mobility, persistent overhead surveillance and networked weapons means that small teams of men can operate effectively over wide areas -- essentially turning the tables on tribal fighters. Never again can terrorist chieftains like Osama Bin Laden invest large sums of money in caves and mountain fortresses on the assumption of their inviolability. The mud forts and honeycomb of caves, their ammunition magazines and hundreds of fighters -- representing an expenditure of terrorist millions -- is going up in smoke.
The real significance of ongoing operations in South Waziristan may be as a template for similar operations in the near future. The same principles used in Mountain Storm can be applied in the open spaces of the Sahara, the Syrian desert or the Zagros mountains deep in Iran. It isn't just the Al Qaeda that evolve. So do their foes.
Amen. Read the whole thing.