There are a few striking similarities in Bush's pre 9/11 and Obama's Afpak scenarios. Like Osama bin Laden, duly declared by Bush as the principal threat to US and its interests worldwide, Obama has conferred similar honours on Baitullah Mehsud. Like bin Laden in the past, Baitullah's direct threats to hit targets in USA now ride the global waves. Like Afghanistan, then considered the safe haven and source of terrorist attacks, Pakistan today stands marked as the central threat and the likely origin of any 9/11 style attack on USA in the future. In the prelude to 9/11, anti-Al-Qaeda and Taliban hysteria and their vilification campaign had reached its peak. Remember how the video footage showing the horrific Taliban killing of a burqa clad Afghan woman in a Kabul sports stadium and the blasting of the Banyam Buddha statues were exploited to demonise the Taliban worldwide. Today the Swat video, well timed with its shocking and condemnable contents, may well be part of a similar plan to project Taliban barbarism and speed up anti-Taliban psychological operations. If then, the Al-Qaeda and Taliban nexus provided the ideal conditions to invade and establish foothold in Afghanistan, a similar premise and logic in case of FATA may now provide attractive justification to gain the long sought entry into Pakistan. The Americans are masters in the art of strategic deception. Given the US' global electronic intelligence and eavesdropping capabilities and the fact that it operates a strong intelligence and communication network in Pakistan, it is difficult to believe that the Americans remain unaware of Osama's and Al-Zawahiri's present status (dead or alive) or their location in case they are still alive. In any case the Bush Administration kept both of them alive in the eyes of the world through their occasional videos on important US events like the presidential elections, duly denouncing the US and promising more attacks on US interests, while continuing to maintain millions of dollars as reward money for their capture. Is there still any doubt that Saddam was 'their' man, who invaded Kuwait to facilitate a US invasion that led to the first Gulf War and a permanent US military presence in the Gulf? When Iraq's oil was the goal, the bogey of Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction set the stage for Iraq's invasion, leading to absolute control over its oil fields after the second Gulf War. The US loves to create enemies and project them as monsters in the eyes of the world and mould public opinion in its favour. The American public, too committed in making ends meet, generally falls for the disinformation it is fed. If Osama bin Laden was Bush's favourite enemy, then Obama must also present a new enemy to the American people. The attention of the American nation must to be diverted from the worst ever-economic crisis since the Great Depression of the early last century, wherein the jobless rate has now exceeded a record 8 percent. In such a situation, Baitullah Mehsud fits ideally as Obama's new Osama. While accusing General Musharraf of bluffing the Americans all along and ISI of covertly supporting certain Taliban groups, is the US not also playing a double game? The US portrays Baitullah Mehsud as its sworn enemy, but fails to target him in its almost daily drone attacks, specially when actionable intelligence regarding his location etc have reportedly been shared with the US many times. Instead, why have the drones continuously targeted pro-Pakistan forces in FATA? When Baitullah Mehsud accepted responsibility for the recent New York immigration centre attack, involving a few causalities, the Americans dismissed it out rightly, or was the effect too insignificant to attribute it to a terrorist of the stature of Baitullah. Is it a coincidence that shifting focus of Baitullah's terrorist attacks within or close to Islamabad gives credence to the US tune that Islamic terrorists maybe closing onto the capital of a nuclear armed nation? Are the US and RAW funding and arming the 20000 strong private army of Baitullah Mehsud? Are we witnessing a strategic noora kushti between the US and Baitullah Mehsud? On one hand the US calls for the Pakistan army and ISI to shift their traditional focus from our arch rival eastern neighbour, on the other it allows Indian troops to conveniently move into south and south-eastern Afghanistan, who alongwith RAW and the network of Indian consulates in the region overtly support insurgencies in FATA and Balochistan. Viewed through the prism of Pakistan's historic conflict with India, this increasing Indian presence in Afghanistan is regarded as being against Pakistan's strategic interests and is a vital factor in the growing trust deficit in US-Pak military cooperation. Doubts related to the genuineness of the 9/11 attacks remain to this day. Was it engineered by the US to create the justification to invade Afghanistan and establish a foothold in proximity to the rich natural resources of the Central Asian states and Balochistan and maintain a strategic presence to oversee Russia and China? Will Baitullah Mehsud facilitate US plans to move into FATA as a first step towards a long-term presence in Pakistan? Make no mistake; our nuclear weapons remain their ultimate goal. Is Obama heading for another 9/11 in 2009? The writer is a retired brigadier