It was about midnight last Sunday when my phone rang. "I'm not sure I will survive tonight, the Israelis are bombing us everywhere." It was Mahmoud, a young resident of Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt. We first met when I visited the troubled coastal territory after Israel dismantled its settlements there in September 2005.
As the United States steps up border raids into Pakistan, troops from both countries have commenced a deadly game of brinksmanship. Although aimed at asserting each other's military presence along the Pakistan-Afghan border, the skirmishes risk outright hostilities. U.S. strikes in Pakistan are nothing new. Washington has conducted unilateral missile strikes since soon after its invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. But the tone of the U.S. presence changed this year.