Terrorism, Does the USA have a clue?
The Bush administration has expended much energy and political capital in maintaining/strengthening their ties with Pakistan. We are counting on them to help with that region, including Afghanistan, fighting al Qaeda in the tribal areas, etc. But is it wise? What have we overlooked? What is the cost?
The first thing that comes to mind is that we have let Pakistan off the hook for its involvment in the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the world. Seymour Hersh, who else, has written an excellent article on the extent of Pakistan's involvment in nuke proliferation and the deal that has been struck between the US and Pakistan. I find this article rather disturbing.
But today I wanted to focus on a new article in the Asia Times which suggests that the US does not understand or is ignoring some harsh realities in Pakistan.
The author notes that the 9/11 commission was smart in identifying that the US is "in the midst of an ideological conflict", but says there is an error in the evaluation by the US of the nature of the conflict.
While the world concentrates on bin Laden, there are many new "bin Ladens" ready and able to take his place, and these are ignored by the US. The author maintains that one of the most dangerous places is in Pakistan. There is a large terrorist group called the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) which operates in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
The current Pakistani fiction, substantially accepted by the international community, is that the HM is an "indigenous" Kashmiri group with an agenda exclusively limited to the "liberation" of Kashmir. The HM is not a banned organization in Pakistan, and operates openly with significant infrastructural, material and military support from the Inter-Services Intelligence.
There was a meeting on May 20 at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir attended by members of a number of terrorist groups some, but not all, of whom are officially banned by Pakistan.
Significantly, the meeting was held openly in a public ground in an affluent area in Muzaffarabad, and the benign presence of uniformed police personnel is visible in the video recording secured by the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
Some excerpts from just a few of the speeches
Syed Salahuddin, supreme commander, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen
Almighty Allah, by his will and tactics, is bringing the jihad movement of Kashmir on a track that will liberate not only the oppressed people of Jammu & Kashmir but also crores [millions] of Muslims and other minorities in India oppressed by Brahmin imperialists
..........Can anyone quote an example and tell me whether any Muslim issue has been solved in their favor according to their will on the negotiating table? Disputes have been solved only on the battlefield. On the table? Yes! We were cheated! Don't go far, ask the Palestinian people how they were cheated in the Camp David agreement. The Afghan mujahideen were cheated in the Geneva Agreement. If the mujahideen had not tackled the problem through their iman [faith], then today Russia would have Afghanistan firmly in its claws ...
Most humbly and respectfully, I request the leadership of my base camp and the political leadership of the God-gifted state [Pakistan], whether they are in power or in opposition, in politics or in religion that they take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers. Jews and Hindus were neither your friends earlier nor can they be today ...
The God-gifted Pakistan will emerge as a prosperous Islamic, nuclear and Islamic country that can listen to the cry for help of the empty-handed, innocent child mujahideen, the shamed mothers and sisters in Palestine........
Sheikh Jamil-ur-Rahman, a political leader in PoK
The Hindus can never be our friends. The Holy Koran confirms it. In clear words, Allah also says that the Jews and Christians too cannot be our friends. Those who are initiating friendship between India and Pakistan are misguiding the nation. They are cheating the nation. Friendship with the Hindus is unnatural, unprincipled and unlawful.
From the author
These voices are neither isolated exceptions, nor the most extreme in the ideological discourse that dominates the Islamist core in Pakistan
.....................A comprehensive archive of extremist discourse in this vein for the entire period since September 11 would fill volumes, and would include innumerable statements by elements proximate to, or directly connected with, the regime of President General Pervez Musharraf.
The author's main point is that the under currents running through Pakistan are not well understood by the West and that parts of the West are in denial. It has been well documented that there have been multiple assassination attempts on President General Pervez Musharraf. His grip on power is at risk. A hard core Islamic fundamentalist at the head of the Pakistan state with its nuclear weapons is not a thought that brings comfort.
What the US does not appear to understand is that attacks on Muslims are seen by other Muslims in other countries as an attack on them. bin Laden doesn't hate US ideals, he hates the US troops being in the Middle East and he hates the US blind support of Israeli's oppression of the Palestinian people in the name of safety.
Instead of sending troops off to Iraq, Iran, Syria, and where ever else the neocons think we should go, maybe we should step back and try and understand what motivates the Muslims, what do they use as their rallying points for recruitment. If we addressed those issues in a meaningful way we might be able to politically isolate the extremists and then deal with them with the help of the countries in the area.
The Bush administration has showed up at the scene of a fire with a tanker full of gasoline and dumped it on the fire. Anybody who thinks the Bush doctrine is making us safer has never bother to try and understand (not necessarily agree with) the rest of the world and how they see us. One thing is crystal clear. There will never be a chance for peace until there is peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.