Pakistan in a Broader Context

May 17, 2009

The military and political situation in Pakistan is deteriorating rapidly. According to latest news, the Taliban are recruiting large numbers of volunteers.

Hate preachers are openly calling for the use of nuclear weapons against their sworn enemy USA. Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s top Taliban commander claims to control increasing parts of the country and that he could take over Karachi any time. This may be exaggerated. But it shows a worrisome discrepancy between the government’s reports of huge numbers of killed Taliban fighters and independent western reports. The NZHerald titles : Taliban fighters descend on Karachi. Taliban fighters seeking money, rest and refuge from US missile strikes are turning up in increasing numbers in Pakistan’s largest city and economic hub, Karachi, according to militants, police officials and an intelligence memo. The Taliban presence in this southern port city, hundreds of kilometres away from the Islamic extremists’ strongholds in the Northwest, shows how quickly their influence is spreading throughout the nuclear-armed nation.

Obama announced an intensification of operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan much too soon, thereby giving terrorists a precious lead time. We have witnessed an increase of violence even before troops had moved from Iraq into the new action fields. The Mumbai Attacks of November 29 might have been triggered by this US decision.

Could this be positive :  When Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates announced Monday that he was dismissing Gen. David McKiernan as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and replacing him with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, he signaled his support for an intellectual movement that in a few short years has come to dominate military thinking in Washington. Both McChrystal and his new No. 2, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, Gates emphasized, have a “unique skill set in counterinsurgency.” (from WaPo).

Pakistan with 173 million inhabitants, rampant poverty, sky-high corruption, a multi-ethnic mixture and a tradition of long-time war with India, frequent earthquakes etc is sliding deeper and deeper in a fatal doom loop. It’s government is under intense pressure from the US to cut the Taliban influence back. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on informations from this government. It is known, that they don’t even know the exact number and localization of their nuclear war heads themselves. Their relation with Taliban is more than ambiguous. With massive help from the US, the Pakistani government has supported and built up the Taliban for many years. Taliban has excellent contacts up to top level in the present administration. How radical and effective can the offensive of the government troops be, how will the Taliban react in this increasingly chaotic and uncontrollable situation ? The US might just prepare their own counterinsurgency strategy after a first round by the Pakistanis. This is certainly more promising than classical warfare. Still, it would be enough for one Taliban group to take control and to fire a nuclear missile, then what ?

The present situation is serious, but a look at the deeper causes points to the right strategy for solving the conflict : Islamic terrorism is essentially a religiously masked political movement against USA and Israel. Worldwide violence targets these two nations primarily, apart from allied nations. These movements are clearly a reaction to the chronic conflict in Palestine. The continuous humiliation of this population, the ongoing colonization of their territory is the primary motive for Islamic fundamentalism. Due to the nuclear shield of the US and their economic aid, Israel has no incentive to accept a negotiated solution. On the contrary, Ariel Sharon bragged publicly, that Israel is controlling the USA. This might be slightly exaggerated. But it is a fact that the pro-Israeli lobby has managed to control every US administration. Obama’s cabinet is headed by a pro-Israeli hard-liner. Because of the partisanship of the US, a peaceful settlement respecting the numerous UN resolutions calling for a creation of a Palestine state will never happen, unless the international community takes the initiative.

It is unacceptable that the limited conflict between 10 million people ( Palestine) is left rotting for 60 years because Israel simply wishes to annex Palestinian territories.

The long-standing provocation and humiliation of the Palestinians has led to a radicalization of the whole region. We have seen violent conflicts in most neighboring states. The world-community can accept a local conflict. But a generalized conflict involving the whole middle east and threatening us all with a nuclear armed strike or war, this must be stopped by all means. Israel might push the USA into a confrontation with Iran. How can we exclude that Israel will not proceed to preemptive strikes in Iran or Pakistan ?

The present middle  east strategy of the US is completely biased and controlled by Israel. When has this country been willing to engage in serious peace negotiations ? They have instead used their military arsenal in what the international community characterizes as state terrorism. This strategy will fail in the long term. The risks are unacceptable for us all. Therefore we need a coherent approach involving all superpowers and the UN. Israel and Palestine must become two independent states, colonies must be evacuated completely –  even the pope said it. More importantly, the whole middle east needs a joint aid for economic reconstruction, similar to the Marshall Plan. In this way, all nations can be integrated into a meaningful community.

Concerning Pakistan, short-term military strikes might weaken the Taliban. But is the government itself to be trusted ? This country needs to demilitarized and to be controlled by UN blue helmets. All nuclear weapons must be removed from this country that risks to become a failed state where warlords could suddenly gain access to atomic missiles.

The Taliban, is a pro-Wahhabi Sunni Islamic, predominately Pashtun fundamentalist religious and political movement that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001. Since they are heavily involved in drug traffic and Iran has the largest Opium-and Heroin-dependent population worldwide, Iran has offered the USA strategic military help against the Taliban in Pakistan. Under Bush this offer was declined. Let us hope that Obama will change this counter-productive attitude.
Link drugs in Iran : http://www.unodc.org/iran/en/epidemiology.html

http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/CL13Df05.html

Link WaPo : http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/15/AR2009051502069.html

Link NZHerald : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10572859

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