Monday, April 27, 2009

DE BORCHGRAVE: "Is Pakistan another Iran?"

UPI, here
"He (Zardari) says Pakistan is in a state of war without defining the enemy. For the Taliban and Pakistan's landless millions, the enemy is Pakistan's political establishment and the feudal estates that enjoy government protection.
Pakistan is increasingly a rerun of the Islamic fundamentalist revolution in Iran that ousted the pro-Western regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979 .... To understand the angry growl of Pakistan's 170 million people, look at the number of Taliban (students) that are graduated from Pakistan's 12,500 madrassas, the free-board Koranic schools. They grind out some 2 million teenage boys a year. They are the sons of small or landless peasants who cannot afford the fees of proper schools; ...

Many join the ranks of Pakistan's professional army. And they believe that shooting at Taliban insurgents in the Swat Valley or Buner, 60 miles from Islamabad, or the seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas that abut the Afghan border, is tantamount to killing the soldiers of Allah. ....Under tremendous U.S. pressure to take action against the Taliban and al-Qaida in FATA, the army saw 1,400 killed and 4,000 wounded in 2007-2008. Their heart was not in it. They were fighting their own people. ...

Then black-turbaned Taliban insurgents, rocket-propelled grenade rifles and AK-47s slung over their shoulders, pushed their luck and moved into the neighboring Buner district, 60 miles northwest from the seat of government in Islamabad. Clinton and special envoy for AFPAK Richard Holbrooke raised a cry of alarm and leaned on Zardari and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq P. Kayani to take action. But Clinton also conceded some U.S. responsibility for sowing the seeds of Islamic extremism as a means of undermining the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Today's Taliban are the sons of yesterday's mujahedin guerrillas.

The Pakistani government responded by dispatching eight platoons of paramilitary troops to shore up its authority. Taliban militants ignored them ... By week's end, it became increasingly clear Pakistan was spinning out of control with a discredited, ineffectual government that the army did not seem inclined to save for the benefit of corrupt politicians. Waiting in the wings was Nawaz Sharif, ... Zardari served more than 11 years in prison on corruption charges but proudly says he was never convicted. Similarly plagued by accusations of corruption throughout his two stints as prime minister in the 1990s, Nawaz still enjoys a huge following. ..."

No comments: