PAKISTAN UPDATE….Adm. William Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters yesterday that U.S. troops might start taking a more active role in Pakistan:

Pakistan is taking a more welcoming view of U.S. suggestions for using American troops to train and advise its own forces in the fight against anti-government extremists, the commander of U.S. forces in that region said Wednesday.

….Although Pakistan has been a close U.S. ally in the war against terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, the extent of U.S. military involvement inside Pakistan is a highly sensitive subject among Pakistanis.

“My sense is there is an increased willingness to address these problems, and we’re going to try to help them,” Fallon said. He said U.S. assistance would be “more robust,” but he offered few details.

This comes via William Arkin, who notes that although no one is talking about U.S. troops operating unilaterally, “there is a sense of urgency here that suggests that very possibility.”

I’m not sure what to think of that. And speaking of things I don’t quite know what to think of, France has announced its intention to build a major military base in Abu Dhabi. Marc Lynch comments: “Early spin has suggested that this will allow France to better cooperate with the US against Iran, but this seems shortsighted. A long-term French strategic position in the Gulf challenges American exclusivity, and potentially undermines the fundamental architecture of the hegemonic American position in the Gulf.” You can offer your own spin on this in comments.

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