Tuesday, March 06, 2007

“Al-Qaeda’s last laugh?”

The Friday Times
by Najam Sethi

"President Bush is a deeply worried man. His Iraq strategy is in tatters and Afghanistan is unraveling the same way. Britain and his other NATO partners have got cold feet. And the American people want him to “bring the boys home, asap”. Therefore everyone knows that the Bush administration’s bluster of sending more troops into the two theatres of war is running on empty, that it is only a matter of time. Under the circumstances, all the old and new players are already conscious of making adjustments to protect their national interests. And these include Pakistan."
"The straw that broke Pakistan’s back was US dependence for state building in Kabul on Tajik and Uzbek elements of the Northern Alliance (NA) that had been in bed with India throughout the 1990s. Tensions between Kabul and Islamabad exacerbated in 2005 when Islamabad began to suspect that India and Afghan intelligence might be involved in fueling the insurgency in Balochistan. That is the time when Pakistan’s military establishment began to have second thoughts about how to deal with Kabul. That is when the strategy of confronting and eliminating rebellious Pakhtun-Taliban elements in FATA was changed into one of trying to making peace “deals” with them and limiting Pakistani casualties. Unfortunately, this “reprieve” has enabled the Taliban to regroup and stage a comeback, and in the process threaten both Kabul and Islamabad."
"If this democratization isn’t accomplished in Pakistan while the moderate and mainstream parties still have roots in the masses, extremist religious groups will fill the vacuum of opposition politics. Should that happen, Pakistan will degenerate like much of the Muslim world, ruled by military-monarchial oligarchies in which the fundamentalists are constantly trying to break down the gates of the failing state. In the event, Al-Qaeda will have the last laugh."

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