Pakistan and Afghanistan: “the bad guys don’t stay in their lanes”

November 14, 2009
Given the debate about whether the United States should refocus its strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan more narrowly on hunting down al Qaeda, it’s worth looking at what happened immediately after 9/11 when it did precisely that.
 
In a new book about his years fighting terrorism, former French investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere casts fresh light on those early years after 9/11. At the time, he says, the Bush administration was so keen to get Pakistan’s help in defeating al Qaeda that it was willing to turn a blind eye to Pakistani support for militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, nurtured by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to fight India in Kashmir.
 
Basing his information on testimony given by jailed Frenchman Willy Brigitte, who spent 2-1/2 months in a Lashkar training camp in 2001/2002, he writes that the Pakistan Army once ran those camps, with the apparent knowledge of the CIA. The instructors in the camp in Pakistan’s Punjab province were soldiers on detachment, he says, and the army dropped supplies by helicopter. Brigitte’s handler, he says, appeared to have been a senior army officer who was treated deferentially by other soldiers.
 
CIA officers even inspected the camp four times, he writes, to make sure that Pakistan was keeping to a promise that only Pakistani fighters would be trained there. Foreigners like Brigitte were tipped off in advance and told to hide up in the hills to avoid being caught.
 
Reluctant to destabilise Pakistan, then under former president Pervez Musharraf, the United States turned a blind eye to the training camps and poured money into the country. In return, Pakistan hunted down al Qaeda leaders — among them alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, captured in 2003. ”For the Bush administration, the priority was al Qaeda,” writes Bruguiere. ”The Pakistan Army and the ISI would focus on this – external – objective, which would not destabilise the fragile political balance in Pakistan.”
 
Pakistan denies that it gave military support to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and has banned the organisation. But India at the time accused western countries of double standards in tolerating Pakistani support for Kashmir-focused organisations while pushing it to tackle groups like al Qaeda which threatened Western interests. Diplomats say that attitude has since changed, particularly after bombings in London in 2005 highlighted the risks of “home-grown terrorism” in Britain linked to Kashmir-oriented militant groups based in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
 
Last year’s attack on Mumbai, blamed on the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and more recently the arrest in Chicago of David Headley, linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and accused of planning attacks in Denmark and India (pdf document), has underlined international concern about the threat posed by the group.
 
But for Bruguiere, one of the major lessons was that Islamist militants can’t be separated into “good guys and bad guys”, since they were all inter-linked. 
 
“You should take into account, this is crucial, very, very important,” Bruguiere told me in an interview. “Lashkar-e-Taiba is no longer a Pakistan movement with only a Kashmir political or military agenda. Lashkar-e-Taiba is a member of al Qaeda. Lashkar-e-Taiba has decided to expand the violence worldwide.”
 
Bruguiere said he became aware of the changing nature of international terrorism while investigating attacks in Paris in the mid-1990s by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA). These included an attempt to hijack a plane from Algiers to Paris in 1994 and crash it into the Eiffel Tower — a forerunner of the 9/11 attacks. The plane was diverted to Marseilles and stormed by French security forces.

This new style of international terrorism was quite unlike militant groups he had investigated in the past, with their pyramidal structures. ”After 1994/1995, like viruses, all the groups have been spreading on a very large scale all over the world, in a horizontal way and even a random way,” he said. “All the groups are scattered, very polymorphous and even mutant.”

Gone were the political objectives which drove terrorism before, he writes, to be replaced with a nihilistic aim of spreading chaos in order to create the conditions for an Islamic caliphate. For the hijackers on the Algiers-Paris flight, their demands seemed almost incidental. “We realised we faced the language of hatred and a total determination to see it through.”

Many have argued against this view of international terrorism as a new and nebulous Islamist network without obvious political objectives, which found its most powerful expression in al Qaeda. Just as Lashkar-e-Taiba grew out of rivalry between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the GIA sprang from anger about the annulment of elections in Algeria that an Islamist group was poised to win. Its attacks on Paris in the mid 1990s were seen as a reprisal for France’s role in supporting the government in its former colony. Many of those who support al Qaeda and other Islamist groups are driven by anger over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other perceived injustices across the Middle East. 

Yet if he is right that the United States and its allies are facing a loose international network of Islamists with no clear pyramid structure, then it would suggest that no amount of drone bombing of al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership of the kind promoted by counter-terrorism supporters would work. Nor would it be enough, alone, to address political grievances at a national level without taking account of a network which operates globally and does not recognise the validity of the nation state. Rather, you would need a sophisticated and comprehensive strategy which went far beyond the kind of focused counter-terrorism first used by the Bush administration.

Browsing through the New Yorker profile on U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke, I noticed the same argument was raised there:

“A pure counter-terror approach had, in fact, been the Bush Administration’s policy for years: kill or capture terrorist leaders, with minimal support for political institutions in Kabul and Islamabad,” it said. “It had created the mess that (President Barack) Obama inherited, with two countries under threat from insurgents and Al Qaeda’s strength increasing.

“‘Al Qaeda doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” it quoted former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, who led Obama’s first review of strategy, as saying.  “They’re part of a syndicate of terrorist groups. Selective counterterrorism won’t get you anywhere, because the bad guys don’t stay in their lanes.”

(Photos: Jean-Louis Bruguiere; Pervez Musharraf, the Taj in Mumbai, the Marriot in Islamabad)

Comments

From now on, if we are to discuss Kashmir and UNSCR, please refer to the exact text of UNSCR 47 available here:
- Posted by Keith

Thanks Keith. You also forgot to mention three or more relevant legal documents:

1. India Partition agreement: It had clearly mentioned that King of Kashmir was the sole legal authority to decide the future of Kashmir. According to the agreement, he was free and empowered to choose between India or Pakistan or Free Kashmir and leaders of Pakistan had agreed to that. There was no mention of plebiscite or referendum in the partition agreement.
But the King took time to decide between a secular India or Islamic Pakistan, since Kashmir was multi-ethnic secular kingdom. The delay made Pakistani politicians nervous and they sent Pak army dressed as tribal to force the king merge with Pakistan. Faced with this unexpected assault from Pak army, the king signed the accession agreement and seeked India’s protection.
Then Pak leaders changed tune and seeked plebiscite. But this is clear violation of the “India Partition agreement”, which they had signed and which had empowered the King as the only authority to make any decision.

2. Shimla Agreement: Pakistani leaders signed the Shimla agreement and clearly agreed that they will resolve all issues with India bilaterally. But they then quickly forget the agreement and run to US/UN/EU/WB to shout about bilateral issues. These are clear violations of Shimla agreement.

3. Joint Statements: There are least three or more joint declarations by Pakistani leaders that their country will not be allowed to used for any anti-India activity. But instead of honoring the joint statement, they are actively collaborating with terrorist orgs for new projects in India.

It is sad that India is still keeping it’s word on the Indus Water Agreement. Even during the past 4 wars! Even WB/US/EU/UN don’t support Pakistan’s arguments anymore.

When they can’t keep their own past legal commitments, how can anybody take them seriously and discuss new agreements with them?

I had asked the Pakistanis several times to show some legal evidence and justify why they deserve Kashmir. They have produced NONE so far!

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

@Ansari,

You Pakistani’s keep strange bed fellows. You guys have no cultural tie or unique similarity to the Chinese, music, food language, nothing at all.

India is not in the business of supporting dictators, authoritarian communist juntas and tyranny, that is China’s specialty.

You Paks have selective morals. You claim the plight of Kashmiri muslims, yet don’t recognize the Bengali Genocide or the rights of Balochis, Amadiyas, Shiites or Afghans.

On top of that China executes muslim Uighers, and kills Tibetans, supports Dictators in North Korea, communist Maoist Juntas against India and top that off, they have given Pakistan weapons to do terrorism on India.

Why do you Pakistani’s always have one-sided moral arguements and fail to recognize China’s dirty hand and abuses against its own people. Are you so blind of your hatred against Kaffirs and Indians that you will willingly turn a moral eye away from those players that give you weapons to hurt your enemy? Does that justify you not recognizing China’s abuses on others, even muslims. Are Uighers, Bengalis, Afghans, Balochis worth less than Kashmiri’s or Palestinians? So much for Ummah.

To me, Ummah is a political term rife with turning a blind eye, double standard and racial supremacy. That is the meaning that comes to my mind when I hear Ummah.

You can feel free to perseverate over Kashmir, but the Taliban and Pathan thugs are starting to carve up your country, whether you like to admit it or not. At home your police and army are took weak, corrupt and two faced to face these militants and that is why the militants are wreaking havoc, unchallenged at Universities, Open Markets, Police Station, Military HQ or anywhere they can inflict damage.

Kashmir should be liberated from Pakistani meddling and proxy terrorism. There should be a new UN charter that joins Pakistani Kashmir with India Kashmir, that way the Indian and Pakistani Armies can leave and all of Kashmir, will be Indian and once Pakistani Kashmir’s can enjoy a more productive, happy live with opportunities, progress like the muslims in Indian Kashmir and elsewhere. The situation for all Kashmiri’s would improve significantly for all reasons, if Pakistan ascedes its portion of Kashmir to India, and focusses its fight on the Taliban. After all, this way you will ensure that Kashmiri muslims will not face any more hardships being torn between two countries. Pakistan has nothing, no way of life to offer the Kashmiri’s it is therefore best that all Kashmiri’s join with India’s economic success and opportunities.

The best way to start this, is stop Pakistani meddling in Kashmir’ affairs and deal with your own corruption, lack of cohesive government and establish a true democracy.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

Is there anyway to ban Moin Ansari from this site? His “Rupee News” has articles that would violate Hate speech laws in most of the West. I consider him fortunate that the he lives in the US, which considers freedom of speech so paramount, that they tolerate hate speech. In any other part of the world, his writings would have earned him prison time for inciting hatred and racism. Certainly, where you are based, his work would be considered a crime. Should Reuters really be allowing him to publicize such a racist and hateful organization? He’s after all not all that different from a white supremacist or a black panther. Same dish of hate, different waiter.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Good read from David Rose on “why Pakistan is having success”.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/articl e-1227826/Why-Pakistan-winning-ITS-war-T aliban.html#ixzz0WuTAA3F4
- Posted by baba

It is indeed good news that the Pakistan Army was successful in Swat. The entire world is grateful for their effort there. We’re hoping they put on a repeat performance in the FATA.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Keith, you wrote:

“Is there anyway to ban Moin Ansari from this site? His “Rupee News” has articles that would violate Hate speech laws in most of the West.”

Technically, anyone can be banned from this blog, but in this case I thought it made more sense to post the comment and then answer it.

There’s a lot of fairly extreme stuff doing the rounds right now from all sides, everywhere in the world, and it’s always a fine line to decide what is and is not acceptable to post. But on the whole I’d prefer to at least try to address different views rather than drive them underground.

By the way, you made a point earlier about conspiracy theories, which is another one I will try to address. In the meantime, the Guardian has a good piece here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/ 2009/nov/15/pakistan-terrorism-bombings

One thought I would add is that conspiracy theories thrive in a vacuum so if people won’t, or don’t, talk, they are always going to think the worst of each other.

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

Back on topic. Your post raises some good questions about the American strategy. We don’t yet know which way Obama will go and we are all waiting with baited breath for news, of course.

But looking at the past, we can see where mistakes were made now. I have long felt that the Bush administration made a mistake when they tried the Afghan war on the cheap. Like Obama’s ‘good war/bad war’ rhetoric, Afghanistan was relegated to the pile of ‘cheap easy wars’ while Iraq was painted as ‘Jihad central’ requiring an expensive solution. Not cracking down early and not being more forthright with the Pakistanis about their support for terrorism has lead to the situation where we are today.

Along the way, the West too has learned that terrorists don’t stay in their lanes. Let’s face it, the West tolerated Pakistan’s use of terrorism as a state policy simply because it cost the West (and more specifically the US) nothing and because the only victim was India. Now that American businessmen and British tourists are being blown up in hotels in Mumbai, what happens in India (specifically the portion outside Kashmir) has become our business.

The increasingly global nature of the Kashmir jihad groups, in my most humble opinion, has opened up a Pandora’s box for Pakistan. I am sure, even the most hard-core Pakistani general could not have foreseen the situation that they have today where these groups are becoming trans-national terrorists, for whom Kashmir is an excuse rather than the raison d’etre, with a focus on the global jihad, with all non-muslims around the world as targets. In the process of this transformation, Pakistan has been left behind, isolated, with its reputation in tatters, and its security as fragile as ever (as these groups increasingly consider Pakistan itself to be a legitimate target).

It begs the question, “What is the threshold for Pakistan to cut-off ties with these groups?” Without a doubt, they think they can rein them in today. And that’s why the Army hasn’t shuttered them up. But what happens when LeT blows up a shopping mall in the US or a bus in London and the West decides that its security is worth more than Pakistan’s ‘moral’ support of the Kashmir cause? This scenario is not at all far-fetched given the strident anti-american, anti-western and anti-Israeli rhetoric that is part and parcel of the anti-Indian, pro-Kashmir package that these groups put out. Surely the Pakistanis must worry that these groups might pull a Mumbai somewhere in the West and bring the world’s acrimony on Pakistan (over and above what’s there already). This would be the worst case of lane crossing yet, from the Pakistani perspective.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

@keith @soman
Please get some of your facts right:
1) kashmir ruler was not a king!
2) the rag tag army units allocated to Pakistan were scattered all over India without any equipment.On top of that the Brits. appointed a british citizen as the c in c of the Pak Army who refused to allow the units under his control to enter Kashmir.It was the pushtoons from the tribal area who entered the kashmir territory to defend the borders against the indian forces. This clandastine operation did not succeed because the Pushtoons were not asked to hold the territory they overran.Equally the defacto Kashmiri leaders were reluctant to affiliate with Pakistan.
3)the pakistan military intrusion into the waziri territory is equally illegal. No one in living and non living history has defeated the waziris and despite aerial bombing they will be routed. They have decisively defeated the soviet, the american and the NATO armies. The foreign armies are allowed a limited space to fly their helicopters and aeroplanes against cash payments. Equally Mr Karzai and his Govt.are on us payroll and receive major sums for the facilities they have allowed in kabul city. The french were unaware of the arrangements and lost several soldiers on account of non payment. Mr Gates is of the opinion that more boots will win them more space in Afghanistan, however Mr Obama is also aware that more boots are likely to cause more casualties. In my opinion anyone who supports military bombing of civilians in Pakistan is not a genuine friend of Pakistan.Pakistanis are right now shooting in their feets and not even realise it. We are witnessing the disintegration of the NWFP and Baluchistan from Pakistan.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive
 

After claiming a fake article of accession–Nehru sent forces to take over Srinagar (even before the accession– accordinng to Stanley Wolpert and Alistair Lmab). Bharat now claims that the Article of Accession is now lost (as if it ever existed). It was never shown to the UN or to Pakistan.
- Posted by Moin Ansari

Ohh dear …

Can you Google?? OK I help, can you click the link?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrument_ of_Accession_(Jammu_and_Kashmir)

Can you show me a similar document for Balochistan or PoK?

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

- Posted by Moin Ansari

The accession was witnessed and accepted by Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Governor General of India, the following day (October 27, 1947). Mountbatten in his letter of acceptance wrote that “I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrument_ of_Accession_(Jammu_and_Kashmir)

Just copy-paste the link on browser and enjoy!

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Keith,

I am a Hindu married to my Pakistani husband. We live mostly in the UK and we are not very religious. Our religious affinities are mostly namesake. My husband’s family is from Lahore and they are wonderful. They are quite Westernized and are not fanatical. I am very happy that I married my husband and I love the land of my in laws. It pains me to see that Pakistan is being cornered the way it is everywhere. These wonderful people do not deserve their treatment. I do understand that a lot of mistakes have been made and the barrels are now pointing at Pakistan. If you see people like Mohammed Anjum voicing rhetoric here that makes no sense, understand the stress they are under. If people who once lived a wonderful life are now beaten up and cornered, their self defense begins to trigger. Under emotional stress, they start acting like children. And when everyone screams at them on top of that it makes things worse for them. They will not even admit the mistakes made by their leaders. And Mr. Anjum is only the tip of the iceberg. There are lot of highly social people in places like Lahore and Karachi who are beginning to fear the state of this nation. They are powerless and some are turning into Anjums because of what they are facing. They keep telling themselves that Pakistan is strong and will survive. But I can sense fear slowly emerging in their hearts.

I think the authors should write articles where people should discuss how to help Pakistanis come out of the current situation and be accepted as a nation with dignity and respect. I am sure there are lot of ideas from everyone who write here. I think all of you should exhibit some sympathy. Most Pakistanis who argue here, know in their hearts what exactly is wrong. They are unwilling to admit it openly due to pride. They are very proud people. Poking at that pride will make them only stubborn. All of you should try to turn them around without being harsh on them.

I do not post here at all. But I do read the comments in reuters and other sites with avid interest. To all my Indian brethren, Pakistanis in general are very cordial and wonderful people. I am trying to understand where exactly the wall emerges. We all must discuss how to bring this wall down, along with Pakistanis.

 

“Is there anyway to ban Moin Ansari from this site?…”
That certainly would be very biased. Mr. Moin’s articles are not more hateful than some of the writings by Indians on this and other sites. Besides this site needs opinions from both camps. Compare to Pakistanis, Indians are in abundance. On the other hand you can ban all Pakistani and have discussions among yourselves like “The Long War Journal”.

Posted by babag | Report as abusive
 

Keith said:

“It begs the question, “What is the threshold for Pakistan to cut-off ties with these groups?” Without a doubt, they think they can rein them in today. And that’s why the Army hasn’t shuttered them up. But what happens when LeT blows up a shopping mall in the US or a bus in London and the West decides that its security is worth more than Pakistan’s ‘moral’ support of the Kashmir cause?”

–>It is a matter of time until that happens Keith, or with security being better nowadays, just a matter of time that an attack is thwarted. Pakistan thinks it can manage its terrorists by compartmentalizing them for different purposes. They don’t realize one thing, that all terrorists have in common is a hatred of western values, democracy and capitalism. Hatred and religion unifies all Islamic Militant groups.

It is almost a certain that Pak Army officers in Pak Kashmir, will one day be training these LeT militant types and the next showing up with a loaded gun, either shooting them, or “scattering” the proxy army cadre for deep storage hiding for future use.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

Miss Archana,

I’ve been following this blog for quite a time and have only recently started contributing.

I have seen Anjum, Umair, Babag, Ratee and others typing the same hate-provoking chest-thumping statements all the time. I must mention that so far Umair still stands apart from other fellow bloggers.

Any independent observer can tell that Keith, Mortal, Dara, KP, GW (and many others whom I missed here) HARDLY (I feel inclined to use NEVER but for will leave it for the sake of political correctness) type anything that can be categorized chest-thumping superiority-complex driven hate-provoking kind. Most of the relevant links these people post are meant for others to read and ponder upon them but I have very rarely seen any Anjums directly responding to the arguments raised by these people. They always seem to blow their own trumpets irrespective of the general direction of the discussion. For them, these blogs are a place to vent their frustrations, take on Indian clowns/idiots (somebody should compile a comparative list of those words too, may be Myra) and nothing more than that.

In last couple of articles, GW and others kept on asking fellow pro-pakistani contributers about their acknowledgement of 1971 genocide and nobody typed even a single statement accepting it.

Re: your suggestion that other people are bit too harsh by poking at the pride of pakistanis – people who have false pride are capable of falsely assuming that someone is poking them even when its otherwise. After all, this is what these kind of delusions are all about. Even a honest gesture of friendship, warmth and honest discussion seems like a hollow, deceitful and cowardly attempt to most of these single-minded bloggers.

There have been times when many people suggested that bygones should be bygones and we should move on and look forward to building a friendly and prosperous future for both nations and only response that comes to such suggestions are in the tune of; “You have divided our nation into two and are occupying our brothers in Kashmir. Its us who have lost half of our nation. Well now we have Nukes and we can see it sends jitters down your spines. We will not rest until Kashmir is liberated and India is divided into 25 countries. No matter what you do, our nation was created as fort of Islam. Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on us and in our most beautiful visualization of future of the world, we will be strong and prosperous and you clowns will come to us begging for our friendship.”

I sincerely request you Archana to answer above statement that would be considered non-poking by Pakistanis. I believe that even typing a smily would be interpreted otherwise.

PS: I strongly believe that, in general, women are better at these administrative things than men. We have tried for thousands of centuries and world has never been free of wars. Its time women come forward and save the planet.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

I meant thousands of years and not thousands of centuries in my previous post.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

We’ve gone off-track again, and I am afraid, I have been deleting comments that I think are personal. Let’s try not to attack each other and call names: we are not really saying anything which is the whole point of a discussion.

Posted by Sanjeev Miglani | Report as abusive
 

Seth…

“People who have false pride are capable of falsely assuming that someone is poking them even when its otherwise.”

I dont know what false pride you are talking about? I tell you the pride we have..

In sporting terms World Champions in various differenent sports in most we have ruled the world for decades..

Hockey…Cricket…Squash…and so but I do know we have produced some of the best sporting personalties and so has India before someone says I didnt mention that.

Being the only country to look at india eye to eye in S Asia and to all who say India does not help terrorist what is Tamil tiger a Red Cross? Not forgetting the only Muslim country to have Nuclear power so offcourse makes us proud. But at same time we admit there are wrong doings and thugs just like you have them in Inida who burnt the Samjota train were they NOT terrorist? Corrupt politicians and generals.

Maybe if we had sincerty in US-PAK relations and USA helped from day one to nuture the civilian and true democracy we would NOT be at this junction but we are and we wil come out stronger Inshala.

Regrads to what hapened in Bangladesh… We the pepole of Pakistan fully apologise for any atrocities that were commited against our bengali brothers. We dont have anything against them or neither do they, but as we hate the corrupt leaders now they did than. But I have done this before and by the way some posts sugessting that Azad Kashmir should be accede to Inida..

I am from Azad Kashmir and it a insult to all Kashmiris for the indian to write that. I tell you why we would not want to send our sisters to school on way to to school they would get raped by your coward army, send our brothers they are murdered and its staged as terrorists and certainly do not want to live under Indian OCCUPATION! Just like our brothers in the valley shout with one voice Kashmir banay ga PAKISTAN!!!

Posted by Majid | Report as abusive
 

“What is the threshold for Pakistan to cut-off ties with these groups?”
I believe threshold is already reached. Pakistani military seems to be taking terrorists in stages i.e. Swat and then SW…, based on their own priorities (not on US/Indian priorities)such as available resources, groups that are threat to the state etc. They are making good progress, better than NATO/US in Afghanistan. I believe if Pakistani army take all these group at same time, there will be a civil war situation. Kashmir specific groups will be at the bottom of the priority list, if at all. Pakistan might not touch them until it get some concessions in return from India.
Now the big question is what Pakistan got out of supporting/training Muj. groups and siding with West during Afghanistan/Russia war. Cannot say aid, it was peanuts compare to destruction/burden it endured on its society. Not that state was not “morally” supporting Kashmiri groups before that but things really got out of control after Russia was evicted from Afghanistan. Basically it was not worthwhile for Pakistan to side with the West. It would have been better off by offering Russia access to warm water. Bad decision was made by President Zia.
Now the big question (may be not for this forum); Is world is better off without Russia as a supper power?

Posted by babag | Report as abusive
 

I believe threshold is already reached. Pakistani military seems to be taking terrorists in stages i.e. Swat and then SW…, based on their own priorities (not on US/Indian priorities)such as available resources, groups that are threat to the state etc. They are making good progress, better than NATO/US in Afghanistan. I believe if Pakistani army take all these group at same time, there will be a civil war situation. Kashmir specific groups will be at the bottom of the priority list, if at all. Pakistan might not touch them until it get some concessions in return from India.
Now the big question is what Pakistan got out of supporting/training Muj. groups and siding with West during Afghanistan/Russia war. Cannot say aid, it was peanuts compare to destruction/burden it endured on its society. Not that state was not “morally” supporting Kashmiri groups before that but things really got out of control after Russia was evicted from Afghanistan. Basically it was not worthwhile for Pakistan to side with the West. It would have been better off by offering Russia access to warm water. Bad decision was made by President Zia.
-Posted by babag

I would not say the billions given in aid by the US and by the IMF (of which a lot comes from the US) was peanuts. That your government misused the aid is not the fault of the US. It’s a situation the US has tried to prevent a repeat of, with the Kerry-Luggar bill and for that they get street protests in Pakistan. Seems Pakistanis will never let the generosity of a friend go unpunished or unappreciated.

As for what transpired post-Afghan Jihad. Who knows maybe Pakistan would have been better off betraying the US. But somehow, I highly doubt the Soviets would have preferred Pakistan over India. Pakistan has always been the partner of the moment. But because of the myriad of problems Pakistan has, which make it an unreliable ally (witness the situation today), it is unthinkable for any major power to make Pakistan a true long term strategic partner. Even the Chinese feel that way (and their actions speak louder than words).

The US would have been a far more reliable ally had Pakistanis stuck to killing Indians. That’s the blunt truth. When Pakistanis decided it was tolerable to slip into Afghanistan and kill American soldiers, give sanctuary to Afghan insurgents, plan attacks on US soil (as cited in the article), Pakistan’s freedom fighters became America’s terrorist headache. Pakistanis have nobody to blame but themselves for that. They thought they could keep these guys in their lanes. Your generals gambled and they lost. And now the country is paying the price.

While I can accept some credence for your assertion that taking on all the groups at once is difficult, attacking them piecemeal without some kind of containment strategy is not exactly a good gameplan either. It’s playing insurgent shuffleboard. The Army attacks in Swat. The insurgents back off to Dir. The Army gives a month’s notice and then attacks in South Waziristan. The insurgents have already left for North Waziristan. And on and on it goes.

While I can give them credit for Swat, I can’t see any benefit coming from this South Waziristan campaign other than, yet another peace accord, which of course will be broken in 3-6 months and we’ll be having this same discussion in a year. Can someone tell me what’s different this time around? Are they employing a different strategy or different tactics? Are they putting in development aid to turn the Pashtuns away from militancy? I see no evidence of a different approach. Which is why I am skeptical that the government has reached a true limit of its patience. Just as I am skeptical that Pakistani society is really there too. The earlier posted link about how Pakistani musicians refuse to talk about terrorism is a great example. If a popstar has to worry about a public backlash for addressing the issue, what hope is there for the country?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Maybe if we had sincerty in US-PAK relations and USA helped from day one to nuture the civilian and true democracy we would NOT be at this junction but we are and we wil come out stronger Inshala.
- Posted by Majid

Why is the US to blame for your country’s repeated overthrow of civilian leaders? Ultimately, the governance of Pakistan is the responsibility of Pakistanis. The US can’t help it if Pakistanis tolerate military coups so easily.

The US will work with whoever is in power. If they don’t they’ll get exactly what you’ve said here. Would you not accuse them of abandoning Pakistan, if they cut off all ties every time a military coup happened in Pakistan (a rather regular occurrence in Pakistan’s history).

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Now any apologies from indians for their armies crimes in Kashmir?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/so uth_asia/02/voices_from_kashmir/html/kas hmiri_separatist.stm

http://www.crimesofwar.org/onnews/news-k ashmir.html

Human rights abuse

Claims of human rights abuses have been made against the Indian Armed Forces and the armed militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir.[28] A 2005 study conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières found that Kashmiri women are among the worst sufferers of sexual violence in the world, with 11.6% of respondents reporting that they had been victims of sexual abuse.[65] Some surveys have found that in the Kashmir region itself (where the bulk of separatist and Indian military activity is concentrated), popular perception holds that the Indian Armed Forces are more to blame for human rights violations than the separatist groups. According to the MORI survey of 2002, in Kashmir only 2% of respondents believed that the militant groups were guilty of widespread human rights abuses, while 64% believed that Indian troops were guilty of the same.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_con flict#Human_rights_abuse

Posted by Majid | Report as abusive
 

> I tell you why we would not want to [...] live under Indian OCCUPATION! Just like our brothers in the valley shout with one voice Kashmir banay ga PAKISTAN!!!

Majid,

This is a sincere question – I am curious to understand the viewpoint of the people living in Azad Kashmir. Do you prefer to be part of Pakistan or to be an independent country (along with the Indian part of Kashmir)?

Regards,
Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

i did not want to spend one more minute for this prolonged debate,but I just read the words “western values” are hated by……., and asked myself a question:How would any one evaluate the episode of the poor british children forced migration to Australia and other colonies where they were treated as second class citizens and were abused physically, psychologically and sexually. It would seem that these poor children forced departure from their native land without the consent of their parents was organised by none other than the christian church and charity organisations. I personally was shocked and ashamed to learn about this horror story. The prime ministers of the UK and the Australian Govts. have offered their apologies for this tragedy. Is this sufficient?

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive
 

Majid,

Bringing your country’s accomplishments in sports in a completely political discussion hints at nothing but the false pride. Now since you have mentioned that:

1) Cricket and Squash are not part of Olympics yet and claiming world championships in those sports is irrelevant.

2) Australia have been the world champions for longest periods of time (many times) and stealing their glory is nothing but false pride

3) In olympics field hockey, India has bagged 11 medals (8 gold) and Pakistan has bagged 8 medals (3 gold). India has defeated Pakistan twice in the finals (1956, 1964) while Pakistan has done it once (1960)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_hocke y_at_the_Summer_Olympics

Okay, before someone blames me for getting off-tracked, lets move on.

>> Being the only country to look at india eye to eye in S Asia and to all who say India does not help terrorist what is Tamil tiger a Red Cross?

By looking Indian eye to eye, do you mean launching an attack on Indian soil in past 3 (or 4 wars) the outcome of which I need not remind. Re: India’s support for LTTE, I admit I don’t have in-depth knowledge in this matter. All I know is that India sent IPKF in Sri Lanka to counter terrorism there, lost one of its brilliant prime minister in the suicidal attacks by LTTE terrorists, and LTTE expected India (people and goverment both) to support them because they were Tamils. I expect someone who has more insights on this matter to speak on this issue.

Re: Samjhauta Express bombing, any act of terrorism is horrendous and culprits must be brought to the books. Yes we have corrupt politicians and generals and its the responsibility of the people of a democratic nation to make sure they keep their country’s administrators in check by raising their awareness. At least this price must be paid by anyone who expect to live free in this world.

>>Not forgetting the only Muslim country to have Nuclear power so offcourse makes us proud.

My country has nuclear weapons too and I’m least proud of it. My thinking is that its the destiny of a weapon that it would be used some day some place and I truly fear that in case of nukes. I guess I will be proud of nuclear power the day my mother will not have to switch off the inverter batteries in the summer days so that entire family can have a comfortable sleep in the night as power outage for 6-10 hours is certain in B-class Indian cities.

>>Maybe if we had sincerty in US-PAK relations and USA helped from day one to nuture the civilian and true democracy we would NOT be at this junction but we are and we wil come out stronger Inshala.

I somewhat agree with you on this one. The limited knowledge that I may have, I think US used Pakistan to gain scores against USSR in the cold war and kept it as a strategic asset in South Asia. I read somewhere that US administration of those days preferred to communicate with single point-of-contact in Pakistan (army) rather than seemingly fragile democracy of India. Predicting doomsday of India used to be a favorite topic for many western journalist those days.

Finally, I understand the pain of a person who is is living under the fear of military occupation of any city but they are there to contain any cross border terrorism until some peaceful amicable solution is reached. Its unfortunate for the people of Kashmir that they are sitting in the middle of cross fires. Kashmir as an independent country can be acceptable, but seceding it to Pakistan is totally unfair.

People of a small region cannot win a country’s military by force, calling military men dogs, throwing pebbles at them, burning Indian flags etc. Its unfortunate, but its true. Talks & non-violence are the only solution. Kashmiris may get international support for an independant nation through peaceful demonstrations only. Its so unfortunate for those slogan-chanting people that the country they hope to merge with sends terrorist to Mumbai, kills foregin nationals only to sabotage the “kashmiri freedom movement” by putting your people in ranks of terrorists and destroying any chances you may have and still people only see green grass on the the other side.

PS: My sources of happenings in Indian Kashmir can be termed as limited and as biased as yours as you are part of Pak-occupied Kashmir. I don’t visit Indian Kashmir to get first-hand information, do you?

I will post my views on the main content of the blog in a separate entry. Its time I sign off.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

Keith, said:

“If a popstar has to worry about a public backlash for addressing the issue, what hope is there for the country?”

–>Sometimes I think Pakistan is finished too and well on its way into the abyss. Musicians and artists are usually the silent voice of reason and resistance. Pakistani society from the bottom up seems to have none of that. Looks like the Salafi from Saudi Wahhabia are going to get its way, one way or another and bring about disintegrate Pakistan

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

“I would not say the billions given in aid by the US and by the IMF (of which a lot comes from the US) was peanuts. That your government misused the aid is not the fault of the US. It’s a situation the US has tried to prevent a repeat of, with the Kerry-Luggar bill and for that they get street protests in Pakistan. Seems Pakistanis will never let the generosity of a friend go unpunished or unappreciated.”
Keith
The so called AID by IMF are loans with interest and WEST calls this AID. Pakistan has over $50billion in “AID” that it has to
pay to different institution such as IMF, world bank with interest in some cases over 10%. And for $10billion so called Aid I would like you see this video of President Musharraf who gives detail about this Aid.

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/bes toftv/2009/05/15/gps.musharraf.war.money .cnn?iref=videosearch

“I highly doubt the Soviets would have preferred Pakistan over India.”
Keith
I meant to say if Russian occupation of Afghanistan was because it want to get to warm waters, Pakistan could have offered Russia the access. Also I would like you to read the listed below to understand what kind of threats Pakistan got for supporting US.
“Pakistan has always been the partner of the moment. But because of the myriad of problems Pakistan has, which make it an unreliable ally (witness the situation today), it is unthinkable for any major power to make Pakistan a true long term strategic partner. Even the Chinese feel that way (and their actions speak louder than words).”
Keith

I think you got you P’s and Q’s messed up. The question is not that can U.S trust Pakistan, the question is if Pakistan can trust U.S.
Here is a link for you to visit it would give you some insight about general public.
http://amumtaz.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/ can-pakistan-really-trust-usa-take-a-qui ck-poll-to-find-out/

And may be you can come up with price tag on destruction of Pakistani society. I do understand Pakistanis has allot to do with this but so is USA. Because US/West used Pakistan as a battleground to fight super power war and inept Pakistani leadership let them do this. All I and majority of people want our country, where I spend my peaceful childhood back.

Posted by babag | Report as abusive
 

Monitoring the Flames of freedom in the Prachanars

Srinagar: The winds of liberty fan Delhi’s banner cold. Let the bells of liberty toll in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Nehru’s commitments on Kashmir to the world

Kashmir & Junagarh is Pakistani territory

Augut 15th (Black Day) Kashmiris burn Indian flags and hoist Pakistani flags

2009: On August 15, India’s independence day, Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of Srinagar, was taken over by thousands of people who hoisted the Pakistani flag and wished each other “happy belated independence day”:– Arundhati Roy
(Pakistan celebrates independence on August 14)

Green wildfire of freedom in Indian Occupied Kashmir: Fields of Pakistani flags in Srinagar

“Kashmiris chant azadi & Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan in equal numbers and with equal intensity” “There was a green flag on every lamp post, every roof, every bus stop and on the top of chinar trees. A big one fluttered outside the All India Radio building. Road signs were painted over. Rawalpindi they said. Or simply Pakistan” Arundhati Roy on Kashmir

For More details and other articles on Kashmir, please check out both the columns on either side of the page.

 

Kashmir: Does yhe article of accession exist?

 

Kashmir in the United Nations

Resolution 38 (1948) adopted by the Security Council at its 229th Meeting held on 17 January 1948
Resolution 39 (1948) adopted by the Security Council at its 230th Meeting held on 20 January 1948
Draft Resolution presented by the President of the Security Council and the Rapporteur on 6 February 1948
Resolution 47 (1948) adopted by the Security Council at its 286th Meeting held on 21 April 1948
Resolution 51 (1948) adopted by the Security Council at its 312th Meeting held on 3 June 1948
Resolution adopted by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan on 13 August 1948
Resolution adopted by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan on 5 January 1949
Proposal in respect of Jammu and Kashmir made by General A.G.L. McNaughton, President of the Security Council of the United Nations on 22 December 1949
Resolution 80 (1950) adopted by the Security Council at its 470th Meeting held on 14 March 1950
Resolution 91 (1951) adopted by the Security Council at its 539th Meeting held on 30 March 1951
Resolution 96 (1951) adopted by the Security Council al its 566th Meeting held on 10 November 1951
Resolution 98 (1952) adopted by the Security Council at its 611th Meeting held on 23 December 1952
Resolution 122 (1957) adopted by the Security Council at its 765th Meeting held on 24 January 1957
Draft Resolution presented by Australia, Cuba, U.K. and U.S.A. on 14 February 1957
Resolution 123 (1957) adopted by the Security Council at its 774th Meeting held on 21 February 1957
Draft Resolution presented by Australia, Columbia,Philippines on 16 November 1957
Resolution 126 (1957) adopted by the Security Council at its 808th Meeting held on 2 December 1957
Draft Resolution submitted by Ireland to the Security Council on June 22, 1962
Statement of the President of the Security Council (French Representative) made on the 18 May 1964 at the 1117th Meeting of the Council (Document No. S/PV. 1117, dated the 18 May l964) summarizing the conclusion of the debate on Kashmir
Resolution 209 (1965) adopted by the Security Council at its 1237th Meeting held on 4 September 1965
Resolution 210 (1965) adopted by the Security Council at its 1238th Meeting held on 6 September 1965
Resolution 211 (1965) adopted by the Security Council at its 1242nd Meeting held on 20 September 1965
Resolution 214 (1965) adopted by the Security Council at its 1245th Meeting held on 27 September 1965
Resolution 215 (1965) adopted by the Security Council at its1251st Meeting held on 5 November 1965
Resolution 303 (1971) adopted by the Security Council at its1606th Meeting held on 6 December 1971
Question considered by the Security Council at its 1606th, 1607th and 1608th Meetings held on 4,5 and 6 December 1971
Resolution 307 (1971) adopted by the Security Council at its 1616th Meeting held on 21 December 1971
http://www.kashmiri-cc.ca/un/index.htm

 

Majid,

I don’t know where you get the idea that Indians aren’t speaking out about the abuses. I don’t even live in India and I know there are Indians who have spoken out about the human rights violations that have happened in Kahsmir. Arundhati Roy, for example, has gone as far as to suggest that Kashmir should be an independent state:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india  /Kashmir-needs-freedom-from-India-Arund hati-Roy/articleshow/3378687.cms

I don’t find press coverage of the human rights abuses lacking. Indeed, quite often the way the world finds out about these abuses is through the Indian media itself.

But for any serious discourse, there has to be balance. I am curious to know how the Pakistani media handles the issue of human rights abuses in Azad Kashmir. Has there been any coverage of the issues raised by Human Rights Watch?

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/pakistan 0906/

How do regular Pakistanis react to news about human rights abuses in Azad Kashmir? And how do Azad Kashmiris view human rights violations against them?

I am also curious to see your answer to Ganesh’s question. I daresay from everything I’ve seen and read, that Indian Kashmiris, for all their distaste for India, aren’t all that enamoured with Pakistan, especially in the state Pakistan is in today. So in your opinion what’s more valuable to Azad Kashmiris, the azadi part or Pakistan?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Keith,
I just would like to add to my previous blog. You wrote “who knows Pakistan would have better off by betraying US”
How could anybody call it betraying for making your country’s benefit a priority. Remember “Aid is suppose to buy you leverage not slaves”.
Keeping in mind Pakistani lack of trust due to the history, I do not blame Pakistan not to fight certain faction of Taliban. We believe US will move on and Pakistanis have to live in this neighborhood and it might have to deal with the same forces (Taliban). I could not call this deceiving; I would call this keeping your priorities straight. In this case Pakistan comes first. On one side we got India and on the other side Pakistan does not want to have another enemy. Present Afghan Govt. is not friendly but it’s temporary.

Posted by babag | Report as abusive
 

“to all who say India does not help terrorist what is Tamil tiger a Red Cross? ”

I’m a proud Tamil from TN & how dare you insult us by claiming we support LTTE ? We only support the Tamil people in SL, not LTTE. I dont need to talk about the terror Mecca that is Pakistan. Those who support the kind of terrorism seen in Mumbai should not even be considered as human beings. I’m a practising hindu & as any true hindu, I have deep appreciation & respect for all religions. Islam is a great religion. Pakistan is a disgrace to Islam. Pakistan has single handedly managed to brand Islam as a terrorist religion. Great going.

Posted by Veeran | Report as abusive
 

I do not blame Pakistan not to fight certain faction of Taliban. We believe US will move on and Pakistanis have to live in this neighborhood and it might have to deal with the same forces (Taliban).
-babag

The USA is going to be around for sometime because it is giving you $1.5 billion per year for the next 5 years. It would like to keep an eye on how this money is spent to keep your Pakistan’s economy afloat. It wants to keep an eye on this money because it is NOT Pakistan’s money, but the US tax payers. Judging by the way Pakistan has mismanaged previous aid; stringent conditions do apply no matter how much people chest thump about violation of sovereignty.

The last time Pakistan decided to leave ‘specific’ factions of the Taliban alone; they just regrouped and walked into Swat followed by failed so-called peace deals resulting in the Pakistani Army moving in creating a lot of IDPs. Many IDPs from South Warziristan ‘may’ move into the larger cities.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

The business of supporting the Pakistani government to fight AlQueda and Taliban is like supporting Dracula to fight blood bank robberies. The truth of the matter is that the rank and file pepople in Pakistan are getting killed almost on a daily basis and very little is being done to ameliorate the lives of the common man and woman. More money is spent on guns rather on butter and India has suffered big time due to the government(s) of Pakistan which try hard to deflect view from the true state of affairs.

Posted by Nithia Chatterjie | Report as abusive
 

Veeran,

As a fellow Tamil, fellow Indian and fellow human being, I’m proud of your robust yet dignified response. Let our Pakistani friends know that while we fully respect their religion and their culture and even wish their country well, we will expose and condemn their establishment’s support of terror against our people at every opportunity and in every forum.

Self-determination for Kashmir is no excuse for terrorism. After all, how many Englishmen did Gandhi kill to secure India’s freedom? Let those who believe in Kashmiri freedom adopt a Gandhian approach instead of a jehadi approach for a change. They will be pleasantly surprised to find supporters in India itself, just as British public opinion itself began to favour India’s non-violent revolutionaries. If the Kashmiri people truly desire freedom, it can be achieved without rancour, just as India and Britain parted as friends and continue to have cordial relations.

It should be obvious to any impartial observer that the jehadi approach has backfired badly on Pakistan. Much as our friends here might hate to admit it, the Hindu concept of karma seems to have trumped the Islamic concept of jehad!

An appeal to our Pakistani friends: Why not try the soft approach for a change? Gandhi was not a naive idealist, after all. He achieved results. The world would not revere his approach otherwise.

Regards,
Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

Archana/ Myra
Two nations were invaded and their regimes were changed by Americans in their pursuit of justice for their killed. That was 911. The recent 26/11 Mumbai massacre is a wake-up call and Indians should react more assertively and prevent further attacks. Plebiscite and UN, both are outdated. Because, the 2 nation theory became 3 nation reality and India is left with more muslims than most of the countries, division on the basis of religion is a big joke. Hence, India can not lose land because of someones religious preferences. Muslim population is exploding in India (2nd largest) and what justifiable demand is that to give away land just because in one area muslims are a majority. People of all religions live in Kashmir; buddists and hindus are persecuted and converted by force and worse expelled. I lived in England in 90s. Its like Bradford demanding for independence because of its muslim majority, or how about Leister hindus/asians asking for autonomy. Paks are cornered because all terrorists are converging there. The army and Intel agencies are partners with the terror outfits. Someone should own up the responsibility there. Watch Urdu TV and Papers for a reality check, soon they will declare Dawn as antinational.

 

Reuters Blog Moderators,

I strongly urge you to delete/disallow comments of Mr. Moin Ansari, which provide links to his propaganda-based, malevolent & offensive website. It seems that Mr. Ansari is using the Reuters blogs to promote this website.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

“…. division on the basis of religion is a big jokeHence, India can not lose land because of someones religious preferences. Muslim population is exploding in India (2nd largest) and what justifiable demand is that to give away land just because in one area muslims are a majority. People of all religions live in Kashmir; buddists and hindus are persecuted and converted by force and worse expelled.”

That’s pretty bad reasoning. A promise was made to Kashmirs by your leaders and UN. They should be allowed to pick their own destiny. If they choose independence from both countries, that should be their choice. India being the so called biggest democracy in the world should not be bashful about self determination. Beside all Kashmirs love India, Plebiscite will confirm that and it will also shut up Pakistan. India got nothing to loose. It will be a big win for democracy and world peace.

Posted by babag | Report as abusive
 

How bizarre to declare that “selective counterterrorism” doesn’t work. It’s all a matter of perspective. From the Pakistani PoV, all is lost if there are no Taliban whatsoever left. It’s no secret that the (somewhat) democratic Afghanistan is far more friendly to India than Pakistan. Pakistan doesn’t want to be surrounded on two sides.

There was no change of heart in 2001/2. Pakistan allied with the U.S. for survival. It still believes in the value of supporting (controlled) terrorism, or at least the people that matter do. By all accounts, they would prefer Taliban rule restored in Afghanistan and so there are good terrorists (those aiming for that restoration) and bad terrorists (those killing Pakistanis). It removes that second front and massages the ego of a country that doesn’t have much sunshine these days.

Don’t expect anything to change. The cognitive dissonance of acknowledging Muslims killing Muslims is too much to bear for ordinary Pakistanis so conspiracy theories, even the most absurd ones, are quite prevalent there. This allows the attacks to be framed as CIA/Mossad/RAW conspiracies rather than the result of Islamic fundamentalism. And so Pakistan’s questionable policies can be continued even through democratic rule (as the people are right on board, eager to bring down those evil Jews and Hindus bombing Peshawar).

Strangely, things seems to be working out for India currently. No major Pakistani terror attacks on its soil since last November, a remarkable gap compared to recent years. I guess all that terrorist fury is now focused on Pakistan. Perhaps the status quo is the preferable state for India as a return to stability in Pakistan may focus those attacks on India once again.

Posted by vesic | Report as abusive
 

That’s pretty bad reasoning. A promise was made to Kashmirs by your leaders and UN. They should be allowed to pick their own destiny. If they choose independence from both countries, that should be their choice. India being the so called biggest democracy in the world should not be bashful about self determination. Beside all Kashmirs love India, Plebiscite will confirm that and it will also shut up Pakistan. India got nothing to loose. It will be a big win for democracy and world peace.
- Posted by babag

Babag, you are being disingenuous when you ignore the full context of historical events. The UN resolution also required full withdrawal of all Pakistani nationals from all territories considered to be part of the former Kingdom of Kashmir. It did not require the withdrawal of Indian forces, though it did commit the Indians to a plebiscite.

That vote, as per the UN resolution has to take place through all of Kashmir (not just one part of it). That means the Indians can only administer the vote once Pakistani forces leave. This would also include the territories of Pakistan’s Northern Areas, by the way.

You can’t cherry-pick which part of the resolution you want to follow. It’s all or nothing. Either you support the UNSC resolutions in their entirety or you accept that the UN has no role to play in solving the Kashmir dispute.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

@ Let’s face it, the West tolerated Pakistan’s use of terrorism as a state policy simply because it cost the West (and more specifically the US) nothing and because the only victim was India. Now that American businessmen and British tourists are being blown up in hotels in Mumbai, what happens in India (specifically the portion outside Kashmir) has become our business.”
-posted by keith

Keith:
That means the West was selective until 26/11 Mumbai just like we tell Pakistanis that they are selective for Punjab-based terrorists—but Paks think they are genuine Jihadis cousins who are out to get India, not them. I have a question: Did the West generals really think there is getting out of Afghanistan without dealing with Pakistan-based pro-Kashmir terrorists? I asked you months ago and at that time you said the West is not interested in LeT since LeT etc will not blow up someone in the West. I am doubtful even today until I see some solid pressure for Pakistan to act in any form. If 26/11 Mumbai cannot convince the West, nothing will.

Is it a coincidence that Pakistan before and after 26/11 Mumbai attack is drastically different?–Instability, terrorism, suicide bombing have taken skyrocketed. It is up to Pakistanis to decide where they stand on terrorism. I have full sympathies with them for the current mayhem. It is not possible that Jihadis will stop their activities once Kashmir is solved since they will find new causes. Killing becomes addiction and profession. So I hope Pakistanis learn from that terrorism is ugly and no one deserves it. Well, that’s my take on terrorism.

@But looking at the past, we can see where mistakes were made now. I have long felt that the Bush administration made a mistake when they tried the Afghan war on the cheap. Like Obama’s ‘good war/bad war’ rhetoric, Afghanistan was relegated to the pile of ‘cheap easy wars’ while Iraq was painted as ‘Jihad central’ requiring an expensive solution.”
-posted by keith

Keith:
Usually we say that Pakistanis always complain about cold war mistakes of US made in Afghanistan as a reason of Pakistan’s downfall. So what you said–and I agree with that—is that US has continued making mistakes even now. So US has not changed much?

Let us look at why:
1. US used cheap afghan locals to catch fat cats of Taliban/A-Q et al that did nothing except scattering these guys to regroup later. 2. As if #1 was not enough of a damage, the plan to start Iraq was hatched in the first week post-9/11 (!) and meanwhile US continued to use locals who played on either side (based on an interview of a delta force guy from the area) 3., Bush left for Iraq to topple Saddam’s statue to get kicks since even as a kindergartner knew that Iraq war is based on planted evidence. But this war killed 100,000 Iraqis without no reason and is also an insult to those who died in 9/11 attack since this war was supposedly fought for justice. Rather US did what the bombers did, except much worse by killing so many Iraqis. Can you tell me why Iraq war not be considered a genocide like killing E. Pakistanis by Pakistani Army? Is there any regret in the military circles for this unnecessary war? I am yet to hear a reasonable answer to this and I hope you can provide one since you are in this profession.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Green wildfire of freedom in Indian Occupied Kashmir: Fields of Pakistani flags in Srinagar

“Kashmiris chant azadi & Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan in equal numbers and with equal intensity” “There was a green flag on every lamp post, every roof, every bus stop and on the top of chinar trees. A big one fluttered outside the All India Radio building. Road signs were painted over. Rawalpindi they said. Or simply Pakistan” Arundhati Roy on Kashmir
- Posted by Moin Ansari

Moin Ansari: Is this “flag waving ceremony” that is happening in Srinagar not an indicative of Azadi? I think so. Did you ask yourself what are those majority Kashmiris who are not waving green are doing?

On the other hand, Azad kashmir in Pakistan control is not this Azad, right?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Hi Archana,

(I posted a response to your letter a couple of days ago but it disappeared into the ether. I’m not blaming the moderators for this because I didn’t get back a page with my comment awaiting moderation, so it must have been lost due to some technical glitch. Anyways…)

Your letter is touching and I can readily empathise with the feelings you describe. Yes, when one’s comfortable worldview is threatened, one tends to become defensive and go into denial. This is happening to Pakistanis today as it has happened to many other peoples throughout history who collectively lost out in some sense or the other. It is no occasion for triumphalism on the part of other people, though. It could happen to any group of people that are deluded through groupthink or cynical leadership into making bad decisions.

If it will help, I don’t believe that Pakistan will destroy itself or become a failed state. Yes, there is a severe crisis confronting the country today, but a nation of 170 million people is simply too great to be subjugated by a small band of men wielding Kalashnikovs. Your in-laws are right to hope that Pakistan will survive. The big, wrenching change that needs to come is in the prevailing mindset. More on this in a moment.

Your words are precise and a clear statement of what we all want to see. Pakistan will come out of the current situation and be accepted as a nation with dignity and respect. It has happened to the South American countries that were once corrupt military dictatorships and are (largely) now respected democracies. Libya’s rehabilitation is in progress. Iran will turn the corner once the generation now waiting in the wings comes to power. It’s only a matter of time. So let it be with Pakistan.

The bright side of the current crisis is that the choice before Pakistanis has been presented to them in stark terms. They can clearly see the way things will be if they let the jihadists run the show. And although not many will admit it in today’s defensive mood, the more attractive model is available to examine right across their eastern border. All that Pakistan has to do is accept that they need to become another India, a pluralistic society that (largely) provides autonomy to its regions and (largely) protects its minorities. No Indian or Westerner can suggest this to them. Pakistanis have to start suggesting this to themselves. The first few voices will be called CIA/RAW/Mossad agents, but I’m confident that this view will gradually gain acceptance, because the alternative is clearly unacceptable. The change in mindset is inevitable, but it has to come from within.

> To all my Indian brethren, Pakistanis in general are very cordial and wonderful people.

I know. I have met Pakistanis in Dubai and Australia. It is a pity there is very limited people-to-people contact between these two vast nations. So much demonisation of the “other” has happened because most people in India and Pakistan have never met a flesh-and-blood person from the other side.

> We all must discuss how to bring this wall down, along with Pakistanis.

Only Pakistanis can bring down this wall. The solution is clear, but no non-Pakistani can suggest it because it will simply not be accepted for reasons of pride, as you pointed out. Your in-laws can help matters by contributing to the discussion with their friends and relatives. The rest of us must stand back and wait, because there is nothing we can do.

There is a bright future ahead, not only for Pakistan but for the entire South Asian region, once Pakistanis decide to turn their backs on a jihadist Islamic philosophy and adopt the Indian model of secularism (respect and protection for all faiths) and federalism (regional autonomy). Let the conversation begin.

Regards,
Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

That means the West was selective until 26/11 Mumbai just like we tell Pakistanis that they are selective for Punjab-based terrorists—but Paks think they are genuine Jihadis cousins who are out to get India, not them. I have a question: Did the West generals really think there is getting out of Afghanistan without dealing with Pakistan-based pro-Kashmir terrorists? I asked you months ago and at that time you said the West is not interested in LeT since LeT etc will not blow up someone in the West. I am doubtful even today until I see some solid pressure for Pakistan to act in any form. If 26/11 Mumbai cannot convince the West, nothing will.
- Posted by rajeev

You have to understand that until very recently LeT was seen as something of an issue between India and Pakistan. It’s only when they started training Westerners for Jihad, plotting attacks in the West and carrying out attacks in India that specifically target Western citizens (like Mumbai) that the West figured out that LeT was far more than a South Asian problem.

This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations for the US. They are always accused of meddling in other people’s business whether’s evidence for it or not. They’ve long been weary of interjecting in problems in South Asia because it would cost them the friendship of either India or Pakistan. They don’t want to have to choose between the two. Hence, they made the choice of as little interference as possible: keep Westerners out of LeT, get Pakistan to clamp down a bit, and try and get Pakistan and India to negotiate. Unfortunately for the US, LeT wrecked that plan by training foreigners, dispatching fighters to Afghanistan, and killing US citizens on 26/11 (which the FBI is duty bound to investigate). Now LeT has become a threat to the US. And the US is far less likely to be sympathetic about their Kashmir cause. Pakistanis can blame LeT for this.
——

Is there any regret in the military circles for this unnecessary war? I am yet to hear a reasonable answer to this and I hope you can provide one since you are in this profession.
- Posted by rajeev

Keep in mind that soldiers follow orders. They don’t make policy. This means that if Generals have reservations about government policy, they express them privately (hence the recent anger at McChrystal’s behaviour). I know more than a few US military officers and members of the US intelligence community that were not happy about the decision to invade Iraq and what transpired after. I consider that to be an abhorrent incident that was largely a result of the Bush administration extreme politicization of intelligence (there were many reports that doubted the presence of WMD). They chose to cherry-pick from the intelligence, ignored the analysis that accompanied the reports, fired military officers and generals that told them Iraq would require more troops and more money. However, soldiers being soldiers, most didn’t speak out about any of this. Criticizing a democratically elected government is simply not part of the US military ethos. In the US mindset, any criticism of a politician from the military comes awfully close to making policy. And that’s the job of the elected politicians, not the officers and generals.

In short, I am sure they may have regrets now. But Army’s being what they are, can’t look back. They have to move on. And I’d argue that this is correct. The US military should not be brooding over the mistakes of their political class. The blame for the war lies not with the rifleman on the ground (just as nobody can blame the soldiers in Waziristan for the poor policies that put them in combat) or their commanders or their generals. It lies with the political leaders who ordered them into battle. It might be hard for those outside the west to accept. But our generals and military officers are not all powerful beings who can override civilian authority. They do what they’re told and live with the consequences later.

I am sure some day there’ll be plenty of books on this subject someday. And it remains an active issue of debate on the inside, of whether the US military command was vocal enough in the run-up to the Iraq War.

ps. I’d recommend Cobra II by Michael Gordon and Gen. Bernard Trainor for a decent overview of the interaction between the military and the Bush administration, and the mistakes made in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Can you tell me why Iraq war not be considered a genocide like killing E. Pakistanis by Pakistani Army?
- Posted by rajeev

I will address this simply by saying that this gets awful to close to suggesting that any war that’s unpopular should be considered a genocide. It’s dangerous to abuse the word and use it so liberally. And it’s an insult to the victims of real genocides like Rwanda and Bangladesh.

Undoubtedly the war in Iraq killed a lot of Iraqi and that’s tragic. However, this does not make it a genocide. The US military was not out specifically targeting Iraqis.

With the exception of a few criminal actions (every one of which was prosecuted), most Iraqi deaths have largely been a consequence of combat between US forces and Iraqi forces initially, and insurgents later. That’s not to say that these deaths should be taken lightly. But war is what it is. And people do get killed in wars. That people die in armed conflict does not mean every armed conflict is a genocide.

Iraq is no more a genocide than Waziristan for the PA or Kashmir for the Indian Army.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Keith…

Why dont you simply say when the US kills it is termed “collateral damage” when anyone else does it its genocide…I think thats waht you meant?

“And it’s an insult to the victims of real genocides like Rwanda and Bangladesh.”

I think you should be shameful to write this, are you telling the world that over million children that got killed because of sanctions imposed by the West. Was NOT genocide? The use of unlawful wepaons in Falujah was lawfull? The treatments of prisoners in Abu-Gharib, GB and treatment of Koran was justifiable? Please dont hide your governments crimes here as we all know what happened, you can try your best to paint a better picture. We all seen the pics and you leader using the words “Crusade” to attack Iraq and Muslims and we all know the reputation of crusaders and what they did in Jeruslem to what your army did in babylon/Baghdad. Also what is hapening in Jeruslam at the moment because of uncondictional support of you are country of Israel.

“With the exception of a few criminal actions (every one of which was prosecuted)”

All actions they were carried out by the foot soldiers, except for few were given orders by the top guys specialy the Chief commander. Who went to war on false information provided by worlds so called best inteligence agency. The only ones got convicted were few foot solders who were made scape goats other than that I thhink Mr Rumsfeld, Dick chenny in my eyes are the biggest terrorist on the planet. As they oragnised the whole war and used Collin powell, to give presentation in UN full of lies no substance. I still remeber how the worlds superpower and holder of liberty was telling lies to the whole world.

Any comments on your country and the only one using Nuclear bombs? Now want to preach dont make them? Howvere turns blind eye when anyone points at Israeli Nukes? I guess the moderator wount even allow this post… but one canonly try and keep trying.

Posted by mAJID | Report as abusive
 

Majid,

Keith is not an American citizen. He is a Canadian. All Westerners do not become Americans. Please improve your global knowledge. Going by your perspective, Pakistanis are Indians.

 

In order to discuss properly, we should define the terms clearly so that people are not talking tangentially.

War – Between two countries.

Civil war – Between two groups of people within the same country

Proxy war – Using non-military personnel in one country who are given military training to fight in another country. Example – LeT operation inside India, Kargil.

Genocide – Organized killing of civilians within a nation, either by the government or by a group. Example – East Pakistan.

Rebellion – War staged by group of citizens against its establishment. Example – Indian held Kashmir

Insurgency – War staged by a group of people in one country, taking training and help from another country. Example – Maoists in India, Mukti Bahini, Kashmiri militants in India.

Interestingly, Pakistan has experience in all of these.

 

Keith:

@You have to understand that until very recently LeT was seen as something of an issue between India and Pakistan. It’s only when they started training Westerners for Jihad, plotting attacks in the West and carrying out attacks in India that specifically target Western citizens (like Mumbai) that the West figured out that LeT was far more than a South Asian problem.”
– Keith: Riedel saying bad guys do not stay in lanes sounds fancy, but there is not an iota of novelty here. I am talking from the West POV not about Indian interests only. Anyone with superficial knowledge of the region and history of terrorism will tell that’s the case—West will not remain peaceful until unless all terrorists in the region are dealt with. It is somehow very hard for those living in the West to understand. They need first-hand experience. LeT/JeMs or their subgroups and other similar sister hyphenated groups have long been known to have alliances with A-Q, sharing camps in Afghanistan for training terrorists to kill the Westerners and Jihadis for Kashmir against India (reference Ahmed Rashid). Mumbai 26/11 came late.

@They chose to cherry-pick from the intelligence, ignored the analysis that accompanied the reports, fired military officers and generals that told them Iraq would require more troops and more money. However, soldiers being soldiers most didn’t speak out about any of this. Criticizing a democratically elected government is simply not part of the US military ethos. In the US mindset, any criticism of a politician from the military comes awfully close to making policy. And that’s the job of the elected politicians, not the officers and generals.”
–Actually I meant political as well discussed in military circles. I meant more about the policy matters of Bush admn. I know civil-military relationship- I will not find fault with Generals as such. Iraq is the war without purpose and I do not know how the soldiers derive their motivation in that case. No wonder many quit. It is the Rummy/Cheney Inc. that I am talking about—Bush was dumb or part of the gang, I am still not clear. Clearly the real purpose (????) was something else—unrelated to terrorism. I was watching “Cheney’s law” Yesterday— a PBS presentation—tells a lot about the inside of how the decisions are taken and the power of Cheney dictatorship running under civil façade.

My simple point is that: Iraq war was a 100% unnecessary war and killed 100,000 Iraqis in first 3-4 months of the Shock-n-Awe (Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine has scientific analysis). Those dead would have been living today. 2. Created terrorists in Iraq and now you have terrorists from Kashmir, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq—the whole stretch—great job! 3. Strengthened terrorism and destabilized the region which all of us are watching. I know that someday when it suits US, it will apologize for Iraq war.

It was the ignorance of American public and politicians who voted for it. I was in US during 9/11 and watched how the media and the politicians came together to sell ignorance to the world. It was a case of foresight, not hindsight. Hillary Clinton voted for the war, but not Obama. This is simply a case of how the US thinks (using US, not the West since many in the West did not support the war; how about Canada, Keith?). A classic case of ignorant populace (we say this to Pakistanis all the time). Many Americans still think Saddam was the one who was involved in 9/11 conspiracy.

@ I will address this simply by saying that this gets awful to close to suggesting that any war that’s unpopular should be considered a genocide. It’s dangerous to abuse the word and use it so liberally. And it’s an insult to the victims of real genocides like Rwanda and Bangladesh.”
“Undoubtedly the war in Iraq killed a lot of Iraqi and that’s tragic. However, this does not make it a genocide. The US military was not out specifically targeting Iraqis.”
–I know it sounds bad when one associates genocide with West—that’s arguable though. You can give a better word than genocide since collateral damage does not suit here. All wars are targic, saying that is not enough in Iraq;s case, it needs bit better. One needs a hit to have collateral damage and there was none. A case of lion fighting against rat in show of power—with a suitably ugly name Shock-n-Awe, yeah sure! Was there a plan to save schools and civilians—zero in the beginning (i heard them calling smart bombs and when one fall over civilians Rummy comes to say Oops, later on collateral damage can be called messy. You explain things from the time the war started but I look at it since the time “why the war was started”. This topples any reasoning that follows that the death were collateral damage. What is the name you will give here when the war is based on lies. I am not making a big issue out of collateral damage by drones; I see some reasoning there. Dictionary meaning of Genocide is “the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.” See at the bottom of the post the links and discussion on whether or not that was genocide.

@ Iraq is no more a genocide than Waziristan for the PA or Kashmir for the Indian Army.”
– Since you drawing analogies, how about this one?: Iraq war is no less terrorism by US than by TTP/Taliban in Pakistan/Afghanistan, LeT/JeM in Kashmir, A-Q in the West. This is much closer analogy. Each of them except US has killed more civilians. My reasoning: All of these terrorists kill without genuine reason and/or perverted logics.

Indian Army in Kashmir is with reason—not based on lies like US did and I am bit surprised you found something akin to Iraq here. IA is responding to a genuine threat against the country by foreign terrorists in the name of Kashmir and the tragic collateral damage is the result of that. Politically and/or morally, India is careful about the collateral damage since Kashmiris belong to this area and whatever lies in the future, one thing is certain that India and Kashmiris are not going to move their bases and will stay as one or as neighbors. OTOH, what is the value of an Iraqi for an American war policy makers—almost nothing.

@Cobra II by Michael Gordon and Gen. Bernard Trainor for a decent overview of the interaction between the military and the Bush administration, and the mistakes made in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.”
-Thanks for the suggestion.

Keith and KPS: KPS, Thanks for the definitions. But more important is to give your take on Genocide. If I have to pick YES or NO, I will say YES, Iraq is a case of Genocide in bold.
@Iraq: Genocide or not? Well, I am not the only one. Here are links.
http://www.counterpunch.org/model0521200 8.html

Excerpt: “Whether or not the administrations of Bush Senior, Clinton, and Bush Junior intended to commit genocide in Iraq is irrelevant because the consequences of the bombings and sanctions could have been predicted by any reasonable person. The actions of these administrations clearly resulted in mass killing, serious bodily and mental harm, and the infliction of conditions calculated to bring about Iraq’s physical destruction in whole or in part. Iraq is a clear-cut case of genocide.”Unquote

Also:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/nov200 4/vet-n11.shtml

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Was NOT genocide? The use of unlawful wepaons in Falujah was lawfull? The treatments of prisoners in Abu-Gharib, GB and treatment of Koran was justifiable? Please dont hide your governments crimes here as we all know what happened, you can try your best to paint a better picture. We all seen the pics and you leader using the words “Crusade” to attack Iraq and Muslims and we all know the reputation of crusaders and what they did in Jeruslem to what your army did in babylon/Baghdad. Also what is hapening in Jeruslam at the moment because of uncondictional support of you are country of Israel.”
-Majid

Majid: Can you avoid bringing in Jerusalem and Israel for a change and stick to your point at hand, which essential is Iraq? These tags always pop up in many of your posts and do not help your case.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

I think you should be shameful to write this, are you telling the world that over million children that got killed because of sanctions imposed by the West. Was NOT genocide? The use of unlawful wepaons in Falujah was lawfull? The treatments of prisoners in Abu-Gharib, GB and treatment of Koran was justifiable? Please dont hide your governments crimes here as we all know what happened, you can try your best to paint a better picture…..
- posted by Majid

Again. Read the definition of genocide. From the Oxford English dictionary:

Genocide – the deliberate killing of a very large number of people from a particular ethnic group or nation.

Just cause a million children died because of sanctions, does not make it a genocide. The US was not out drafting state policies because they were hell-bent on killing Iraqi children. Those deaths were an impact of sanctions imposed, meant to target the regime.

How come you don’t blame Saddam Hussein for any of those deaths? Was his regime not responsible for trying to co-operate with the UN to end the sanctions (which would have been dropped if he accepted regular UN inspections). Were they not responsible at all for diverting the ‘oil for food’ money? Was Saddam’s regime not responsible at all for diverting donated aid supplies to the military and elite? Why is it all the fault of the US when Iraq did have many options to ensure their people did not suffer the impact of the sanctions? It was in Saddam’s best interest to see Iraqi’s killed so that he could complain about the sanctions and gain the sympathy of people like yourself.

Those deaths are tragic. But they aren’t genocide. Again, please don’t abuse the word. If you want to label Iraq a genocide, please provide evidence that shows it was US national policy to kill random Iraqi civilians. Do you have any evidence that the US was running something like Operation Searchlight?

As for the other stuff, you’ll note that incidents like Abu Gharib are prosecuted or penalized when they are found out. Here in the West, we don’t hide the bad stuff. We hold inquiries and prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes. Indeed, you would not have known about them at all, if the US was really trying to cover them up. Commanders have even been disciplined or fired in Iraq and Afghanistan where the use of air power or artillery has resulted in collateral damage. Would Pakistan fire or discipline military officers if an F-16 strike kills civilians in Waziristan? Would they prosecute soldiers for human rights abuses (like the videos out there of Pakistani soldiers beating Pashtun civilians)? If videos like that get out with a US soldier in them, you can be sure they would get disciplined and possibly court-martialed. Heck, they strung up a US Marine because of a youtube video of him hurting a puppy in Iraq (which he was euthanizing).

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

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