August 25, 2008

Does a "Pakistani Awakening" Forthcome?

Hatched by Dafydd

The Taliban in Pakistan has begun to behave as bloody-mindedly as did al-Qaeda in Iraq, when it seized control over the Sunni areas of Iraq under Musab Zarqawi in 2004, when he publicly declared his allegiance to the main al-Qaeda.

The more AQI practiced indiscriminate human sacrifice upon the Iraqi Sunnis, the more desperate the victims became; in the end, they turned on AQI with the ferocity of the damned. We now call this moment the "Sunni Awakening," and it played a crucial role in our victorious counterinsurgency strategy against the insurgent forces in that country -- as Gen. Petraeus and his top COIN advisor, David Kilcullen, along with COIN architects Fred Kagen and Gen. Jack Keane, always knew it would.

Simply put, they realized that if you give fanatic death-worshippers like al-Qaeda power, life under its rule will inevitably turn intolerable, even impossible. The Sunni will revolt, and that would be the perfect opportunity for us to recruit them to the side of Iraq and the United States.

It looks to me as if the Taliban has devolved into the same pattern of mindless devastation right now in Pakistan -- and I believe it will produce the same results:

Concern that the turmoil was distracting the government from tackling urgent economic and security issues was borne out Thursday when twin Taliban suicide bombers killed 67 people at an arms factory near the capital.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik announced Monday that the group responsible for the attack, the Tehrik-e-Taliban, was banned. He said the militants had "created mayhem" in the nuclear-armed nation.

Anyone caught aiding the Taliban in Pakistan - which will have its bank accounts and assets frozen - faces up to 10 years in prison.

The ban came 24 hours after Pakistan rejected a Taliban cease-fire offer in Bajur tribal region, a rumored hiding place for Osama bin Laden, where an army offensive has reportedly killed hundreds in recent weeks.

"This organization is a terrorist organization and created mayhem against public life," said Malik.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group of militants along the rugged Afghan border set up last year, has claimed responsibility for a wave of suicide bombings in the last half year that have killed hundreds.

Its leadership is formally separate from the Taliban movement which was swept from power in Afghanistan in 2001.

However, some of its members are believed to help recruit, arm and train volunteers for the Taliban-led insurgency against government and NATO troops on the Afghan side of the frontier.

Bear in mind, this is the same fragile Pakistan coalition government -- which collapsed today -- that earlier cut a deal (brokered by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) with the Taliban militants in the Waziristan and Balochistan areas of Pakistan, allowing them autonomy so complete it verged on independence in exchange for a promise not to engage in suicide attacks inside Pakistan.

Now that agreement is clearly ended: The Pakistan army is going after the Taliban hammer and tooth, while the terrorists are busily sacrificing as many Pakistanis as they can cram into the mouth of their blood-and-soul eating Moloch idol.

In poker, when you have the worst hand, the only way to win is to raise and try to buffalo the player with the best hand into folding. The Taliban understand this principle, even if they've never played Texas Hold 'Em in their lives; and they know they have the weaker hand. The only chance they have to win is to go all out to seize the country before the fractious, now fractured government can respond.

That means total terrorist war against Pakistan. And that, of course, is exactly the scenario that created the Sunni Awakening in Iraq: No matter how anxious people are to avoid a fight, no matter how afraid they are, if you back them into a corner and then try to take away even that last refuge -- they will fight for their lives.

And being cornered, they will fight with the ferocity of a stag at bay, with complete abandonment of any scruples about killing, maiming, or torturing captured Taliban death-worshippers.

The current -- rather, the former government of Pakistan, now fallen, will be of little help; the two major figures are former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the author of the deal with the Taliban devil, and presidential front-runner Asif Ali Zardari, widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto -- and perhaps the most corrupt man in Moslemdom, which is saying an awful lot. Zardari is colloquially known as the "Three Billion Dollar Man," the amount he is believed to have stolen, embezzled, and otherwise squirreled out of Pakistan, Switzerland, Poland, France, and many other countries. He spent eleven years in prison for corruption and was only released under heavy pressure from Nawaz Sharif.

But Sharif now believes that Zardari has betrayed him:

The main problem between Mr. Sharif and Mr. Zardari was a profound disagreement over the future of the former chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who was fired by President Musharraf in March 2007, reinstated by the court in July, and placed under house arrest in November. He was finally freed in March of this year, but has yet to be restored to the bench.

Mr. Sharif has insisted that Mr. Chaudhry along with some 60 other judges, who were also fired in November, when Mr. Musharraf declared emergency rule, should be restored to the bench.

To drive home the point about broken promises, Mr. Sharif, a former two-time prime minister, released an accord signed by the two men on Aug. 7.

The document shows that Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif agreed that all the judges would be restored by an executive order one day after Mr. Musharraf’s impeachment or resignation. But Mr. Zardari stalled.

In an interview with the BBC Urdu-language radio service on Saturday, Mr. Zardari defended his position, saying agreements with the Pakistan Muslim League-N were not “holy like the holy Koran.”

And why does Zardari not want to allow Chaudhry to return to the high court? Asif Ali "Mr. Bhutto" Zardari is only free and able to run for the presidency because he was granted amnesty from still more corruption charges after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, allowing him to return from exile. Zardari believes that Sharif and his favorite judge Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry intend to revoke that amnesty and immediately arrest Zardari -- clearing the way for Sharif's own presidential puppet-candidate, former Chief Justice Saeed-uz-zaman Siddiqui. With Siddigui as president and (likely) Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister, the latter would be the de facto dictator of Pakistan -- more or less just like his arch rival Pervez Musharaff did, but without the backing of the military.

This could easily precipitate a real civil war (not the ersatz "civil war" the Democrats periodically rediscover in Iraq)... a bloody civil war between three sides -- the Pakistan Muslim League-N ("N" for Nawaz Sharif), the Pakistan Peoples Party (formerly Bhutto, now her husband Zardari), and of course the Taliban -- where the grand prize is control of the nation's demonstrated nuclear arsenal.

But there is a fourth side none of those three has yet taken seriously, and that is the Pakistan people themselves. If, as I expect, the oceans of blood unleashed by each of the three players in the main event leads to a widespread revolt against them all -- a Pakistani Awakening -- then we may actually see real democracy, not dictatorship, kleptocracy, or theocratic totalitarianism, come to Pakistan for the first time in its short existence as an independent state.

That is probably the only outcome that might avert a nuclear catastrophe. We indeed live in interesting times.

I wonder what Barack H. Obama's plan is for dealing with the Pakistan perplexity?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 25, 2008, at the time of 6:49 PM

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The following hissed in response by: joeyk


Have you gone mad? In the absence of an authoritative, neutral third party in Pakistan (a la the US Military), the violence and bloodshed will only increase. In the end, the most savage of the factions will win. There will be no "awakening" because anyone who "wakes up" will have his head cut off. Why? There is no one there to protect him.

Without the US Military and the Patreus plan, Iraq would be firmly in control of Mookie Al Sadr and Al Queda. The "Anbar Awakening" never would have gotten off the ground.

Your post is nothing more than wishful thinking.

The above hissed in response by: joeyk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 26, 2008 11:30 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 08/26/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 26, 2008 12:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: Da Coyote

Note to Sharif. Please send Zardari coordinates to the USAF, USNavy, or USArmy asap. We'll take care of the rest.

The above hissed in response by: Da Coyote [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 26, 2008 5:21 PM

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