Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pakistan: Still a Mess

I don't know what to make of Pakistan's General / President / leader Pervez Musharraf, and what's going on in that country.

It's too easy to think of Pakistan in terms of the "banana republics." We've got
  • A military ruler who calls himself a president
  • A popular, exiled leader who is welcomed back by the generalissimo - presumably to help him by adding her prestige to his power
  • She narrowly escapes death when her convoy is attacked - and by curious coincidence
    • Power fails in the city, darkening the street
    • Telephone communications goes out at the same time, making it hard to call for help
    • The generalissimo blames the returning exile for the attack
  • The generalissimo suspends the constitution and declares martial law - in order to defend against the Taliban and other Islamic radicals - then locks up
    • His political opponents
    • People who support his political opponents
    • Lawyers who disapprove of his suspension of the constitution
    Shuts down television stations, including one in Dubai"
And that's just in the last several weeks.

On the other hand, Musharraf's army raided a radical mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan's captial. That may have been a good idea, but Muslims who prefer Osama bin Laden-style Islam hit back. They seem to have control of a scenic valley, called Swat, a hundred miles from the capital.

That made the Swat valley too hot for tourists. The tourist destination is now more of caliphate under the likes of pro-Taliban Maulana Fazlullah.

And, Musharraf wants it back.

A Pakistani general said that the Swat people generally aren't fired up about killing infidels, many of whom were coming to stay at recently-built upscale hotels there. I'm inclined to believe it. It's my opinion that, given a choice, most people - wherever they live - would rather open a business, or get a better job, than sign up for suicide missions.

As I said, I don't know what to think of what's happening in Pakistan.

Maybe Pakistan another country with a military dictator trying to look "democratic."

Or, maybe the Pakistani Regime is just trying to get control of its territory, even if that means upsetting the religious nut jobs who seem to run the frontier - and locking up political opponents.

Those aren't either-or notions. Both could be true.

Or, Musharraf may actually have a reason for acting like a tinhorn dictator.

We'll probably have a better idea as to what Musharraf is up to, if his army stamps out the Islamic radicals in the Swat valley.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.