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Pakistan Scaremongering

This troubles me:

    The Swat valley peace deal is over, which is exactly what President Obama wanted. The U.S. and its allies opposed the deal from the beginning, applied immense pressure to the Pakistani state to overturn it, and finally offered another massive bribe to get them to resume war…. So, the Obama administration is now driving a regional apocalypse, using much the same propaganda tactics as the Bush administration to galvanise a sceptical public.

The above blog post is brief, but it contains no less than thirteen links for those seeking more information.

It’s true that in recent days, the Pakistani Taliban managed to capture the district of Buner, some 100 kilometers from Islamabad, provoking well-publicized panic among American officials and now, a heavy-handed response from the Pakistani military. This has caused even progressives to react with alarm, calling on the Obama administration to do something before Pakistan’s nukes fall into the hands of extremists. A cynic might wonder, as Lenin’s Tomb does above, whether the scare tactics are deliberate on the part of the Obama team, to justify the wider regional war Obama signaled during his campaign; or even, as some Pakistani elites fear, a spiriting away of Pakistan’s nukes by American special forces.

In the U.S. we’re hearing only one side of the story. We don’t a thoughful discussion of how the drone attacks begun under Bush and continued by Obama, intended to target Al Qaeda operatives but which inevitably kill women and children, are themselves a major cause of the instability we’re reading about. There are now up to one million refugees in Pakistan due to the fighting, and drone attacks have killed nearly 700 civilians but only 14 confirmed militants, a ratio of 50:1.

Just as in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, it might be time to ask whether U.S. tactics are part of the problem, and stop the provocative drone attacks. Concrete gestures of cooperation with the Pakistani governing class would also help, to allay fears that Washington is preparing for another military coup. This could start with U.S. officials taking Pakistani democracy more seriously than ever before, and engaging in a public, transparent discussion with Pakistani politicians, journalists and civil society. Scaremongering by the U.S. won’t help build trust on either side.


Comment from nordin
Time: May 7, 2009, 00:00

The solution is simple. But the BIG question is will the US swallow the bitter Pills?

Comment from Jalal
Time: May 7, 2009, 01:19

Pakistanis need to stand up for themselves, and put pressure on their government and army to face the Taliban threat, the country, and stop blaming others for their problems, Fareed Zakaria said it best yesterday on the Daily Show

Comment from eatbees
Time: May 7, 2009, 09:40

Jalal, maybe the Pakistanis are already demanding of their government what you suggest. I don’t think most Pakistanis want to be overrun by the Taliban! But it seems that the government is having trouble executing an effective strategy. Sometimes they cut a deal with the Taliban, and sometimes, as now, they try to fight them. One reason for this schizophrenic action, it seems to me, is that the Pakistani government isn’t pressured only by its own people, but by the U.S. which has its own interests. Another reason is that most people in Pakistan still see India as a bigger threat than the internal threat presented by the Taliban. I’m suggesting that the U.S. needs to learn to work with the Pakistani people to pursue a common interest, rather than playing tug-of-war with their government behind the scenes.

Here’s a website I discovered recently which is an excellent resource to learn about security issues in that part of the world.

Comment from Jalal
Time: May 7, 2009, 11:40

I see your point, although everything coming out of the US administration indicate how they are basing the new strategy on building the country, helping the government help its people by providing security and badly needed social services, but without the first there can be no progress in the region, the Pakistanis maybe going at it the wrong way now, but that is because they have spent too much time worrying about a war which will never take place (India) and let the Taliban take hold everything outside of the capital, so I hope that for the sake of the people of Pakistan, their government will take less time getting ready for this struggle.

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