After months of dithering, Pakistan's army has launched an offensive against Taliban insurgents near the border with Afghanistan but the tough terrain, a potentially hostile local population, and risk of revenge attacks in heartland cities could be more difficult to conquer than the militants.
Pakistan announced on Sunday it was sending ground forces, artillery and helicopter gunships to the remote, mountainous tribal region of North Waziristan in a long-awaited military operation designed to eliminate the al Qaeda-linked insurgents.
Too many in Pakistan consider even occasional spectacular and bloody jihadi assaults inside Pakistan to be a price worth paying to keep the jihadis around. So it has been years of Pakistani dithering and double-dealing to kill some jihadis to keep American off their backs while supporting others.
I keep getting my hopes up that the Pakistanis will finally realize that they cannot make a deal with the Devil and expect to come out intact:
While the Pakistani government tolerated the jihadis in the border tribal area, the deal was supposed to be that the jihadis would just operate in Afghanistan against the government and NATO forces. We never liked that deal. And now Musharraf sees that the deal was never going to be more than a means for the jihadis to rest and grow. And prepare to take Pakistan itself.
That post was from seven years ago.
But the Pakistanis keep making deals with the jihadis. Even after the jihadis prove they cannot be trusted.
So going by history, I'll guess that the Pakistanis will limit their offensive to one that simply tries to teach the jihadis to restrict their terror attacks to people both the jihadis and hard core Pakistanis agree should be killed.