Pakistani Army Ready to Tangle With U.S. Over Border Crossings?

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So says Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, chief military spokesman for the new Pakistani government. His statement comes after a daring U.S. ground and air raid earlier this month to pursue Islamic militants in Pakistan's tribal areas, and after details emerged last week that President Bush has given the green light for U.S. Special Forces to cross the Afghan border  and pursue militants onto Pakistani soil. Here's more, from The Wall Street Journal:

A Pakistani military spokesman said Tuesday that the nation's troops have been ordered to open fire if U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan launch another raid inside Pakistan, raising the prospect of a clash between Pakistani and U.S. forces on the border. Pakistani military officials have repeatedly emphasized that they consider such incursions by U.S. troops -- which President George W. Bush permitted by secret orders in July -- to be violations of territorial sovereignty.

"No incursion will be tolerated anymore," said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, chief military spokesman.

The prospect of the two  allies' fighting each other as they hunt down Islamist militants still appears remote, given the Pakistani government's desire to receive billions of dollars in aid from the U.S. But the repeated warnings against U.S. troop raids reflect the anger felt among Pakistan's senior ranks that Washington is overstepping the bounds with a close ally.

I brought up the "financial aid factor" in discusions with my colleagues at CBN News this morning. There is simply no way the Pakistanis would jeopardize copious amounts of U.S. aid by sparking a firefight with U.S. forces. Unless: 1) the new Pakistani government has irrational, Saddam-like suicidal tendencies or 2) The new government wants to gain support from it's restless population right off the bat by tweaking the American devils and "protecting their sovereignty "(like the Pakistani goverment has any semblance of authority over the tribal regions in the first place). My impression is that this is just bluster by a shaky new government that will blink in a heartbeat when it considers the potential U.S. retaliation--militarily, economically, or both--any Pakistani aggression would bring on. But Admiral Mike Mullen is paying Islamabad a friendly visit today,  just in case.  

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