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Pakistan

 
 
blatham
 
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 08:41 am
I suppose, given events of the last few days, that there ought to be a thread for this new situation. And there's possibly not a better place to begin than with Juan Cole
Quote:
Bush and Musharraf's grand illusion
Democracy for Pakistan was never the deal -- and as Musharraf's latest power grab throws his nation into turmoil, Bush will gladly go along.

By Juan Cole

President Bush shakes hands with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf Sept. 22, 2006, after a White House press conference.

Nov. 6, 2007 | In the fall of 1999, as he campaigned for the presidency, George W. Bush was asked by a reporter to name the leader of Pakistan. Bush could not. He famously replied: "The new Pakistani general, he's just been elected -- not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country, and I think that's good news for the subcontinent." Although Bush didn't know Gen. Pervez Musharraf's name and was confused as to how he got into office, the soon-to-be American president was sanguine about the anti-democratic developments in Pakistan.

More than seven years later, Bush's illusions about Musharraf -- and any illusion of democracy in Pakistan -- have been shattered by the dictator's declaration of a state of emergency...
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/11/06/musharraf/
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,269 • Replies: 47
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 08:48 am
I've been amazed that this dramatic subject has took so long to reach these boards.

I've mentioned Pakistan a few times but no response has been forthcoming as if posters are unaware of the significance of that country and the fragile balance that exists there.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 09:22 am
Not good. Again.

Various commentary... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/11/05/BL2007110500704_pf.html
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 09:46 am
We know it isn't good Bernie. It is what it is.

Your soundbites are simply talking after the event.

What alternative was there to Musharraf? What alternative is there now?

Ms Bhutto's father was hanged and General Ul Hak (was it) was blown out of the sky. Ms Bhutto is even more pro-Western that Musharraf and can almost be relied upon to start a civil war and split the country. Ul Hak had Sharia law.

What would you like to see happen now. Sitting wailing is useless.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 09:54 am
Re: Pakistan
blatham wrote:
I suppose, given events of the last few days, that there ought to be a thread for this new situation.


There's already one running, but perhapswith the wrong title - and not much interest.

Pakistan certainly will be on the frontapges the next few weekks, at least.

And I fear, with even worse news than now (thinking of the planned demonstrations and strikes), when today 'just' thousands lawyers were beaten and imprisoned.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 09:55 am
Only last week about 150 people were killed in an attempt on Ms Bhutto's life.

And just think- we had it all taped once and American jealousy of our Empire brought us here. (That's an opinion held by many here).

I sometimes think that the US would rather be No1 in a complete bollocks-up than No2 in the gravy train.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 10:11 am
Thanks, walter. Didn't spot that one.


spendi said
Quote:
What would you like to see happen now. Sitting wailing is useless.
Girls wail. Men whale.

But on that scale of useless through useful, your prior posts sit where?
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 10:53 am
I offered the strong hint that we should support Musharraf and I think we will do. Was it not obvious?
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 10:55 am
But I asked you first old chap.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 11:02 am
Quote:

What alternative was there to Musharraf? What alternative is there now?


How about we went after AQ in Pakistan to begin with, instead of the whole Iraq idiocy?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
easyasabc
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 11:07 am
President Musharraf is merely trying to prevent Muslim Jihadists from seizing control of Pakistan -- just like the military junta in Burma is trying to do.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 11:09 am
Hamburger started a thread on this topic quite a long time ago, even before Miss Bhutto returned to Pakistan. There's nothing wrong with having more than one thread on such a topic, of course, but it is being thoroughly discussed; and, at least by some members, had been for quite some time.

Personally, i have felt that Miss Bhutto has not distinguished herself in this affair, but don't know who else plausible might be waiting in the wings. Miss Bhutto might be returned to power, faut de mieux . . .
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 11:20 am
spendius wrote:
I offered the strong hint that we should support Musharraf and I think we will do. Was it not obvious?


So your thinking is that expressing an opinion on a message board which might get read by a dozen people is more 'useful' than some statement of facts not opined upon? The latter constituting a 'wail', of course.

In an immediate sense, there's nothing else that these assholes can do other than support stability now.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 11:32 am
easyasabc wrote:
President Musharraf is merely trying to prevent Muslim Jihadists from seizing control of Pakistan -- just like the military junta in Burma is trying to do.


This is an absurd and specious contention; to my nose, it reeks of simple-minded conservative propaganda. Musharraf took power in a 1999 military coup. Bhutto's PPP took the most seats in the 2002 election, but it was less than 30% of the votes cast--and Musharraf had already issued an executive order prohibiting anyone from holding the office of Prime Minister more than twice, which effectively prevented Bhutto from again taking office. She was twice removed from office on charges that her government was corrupt before the 1999 coup.

Musharraf addressed the Pakistani people on September 19, 2001, and stated that while he supported the Taliban, Pakistan was between the rock and the hard place of India and the United States, and must bow to the realities of the situation and allow the United States to base forces in Pakistan for the assault on Afghanistan. In that, his policy was no different than that of Bhutto, who also had supported the Taliban, and had recognized their government in 1996. Any claim that Musharraf maintains his military dictatorship to oppose Islamic terrorism is, in the kindest construction, naive.

The government of Myanmar (Burma) claims that according to their most recent census, 89% of the population is Buddhist, with 4% Christians and 4% Muslims, the remained divided among other sects. The United States State Department, in a 2006 report, claimed the census was in error, but did not specify any proportion of the population who were Muslim. Muslim leaders claim that 20% of the population are Muslim. That is probably an exaggeration. The CIA World Factbook basically repeats the information from the Myanmar census:

Quote:
Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%


Even if the Imams are correct, and 20% of the population of Myanmar (Burma) is Muslim, that hardly constitutes evidence of a danger of Muslim terrorism. There have never been incidents of Muslim terrorism in Myanmar, nor any serious allegations that Burmese Muslims were involved in terrorist incidents elsewhere.

**********************************************

I cannot begin to express how deluded it is to claim that the military dictatorships in either Pakistan or Myanmar were formed to fight Muslim terrorism. That's the kind of doltish thinking, however, that conservative opinion leaders no doubt love to see.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 11:43 am
Text of the speech by Musharraf to the Pakistani people on September 19, 2001. (Source: The Associated Press)

USA Today's report on Musharraf's memoir, which states that Pakistan was forced to join the "war on terror" or it would have faced an American "onslaught."

There was also a story in 2006 by Reuters in which Musharraf claimed that the United States threatened to bomb Pakistan unless Musharraf cooperated in the American invasion of Pakistan. Unfortunately, i was unable to link this story at Reuters, who apparently don't maintain an archive.

It's goofy to claim that Pakistan's military junta was formed to fight Muslim terrorists.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 03:53 pm
I miss ya when you're gone, big puppy.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 04:45 pm
Kiss kiss Mr. Mountie.

So many times, they make it so easy to shoot them down in flames.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2007 07:55 am
So the US can pressure Musharraf to fight the Taliban supposedly against his desires, but we can't seem to pressure him to further the rule of law in his country. We can't convince him to step down either as president or army chief of staff, and we lend support to his BS argument that the state of emergency is in any way related to the "war on terror".

In ten years, Musharraf will be the Saddam Hussein du jour. We don't seem to ever learn from our mistakes.
0 Replies
 
xingu
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 06:20 am
Letter from a Pakistani lawyer Juan Cole posted;

Shahin M. Cole, Esq., writes:

'I am one of those Pakistan-trained lawyers you have been hearing about. I have spent the last few days watching on television how my colleagues have been dragged, kicked, and beaten by hired hands, just because of their political views. My former law school professors, some of whom are now judges or justices, are under house arrest. There is a real sense in which I left my country of birth precisely because of obstacles to the free expression of political and religious views.

Americans, who enjoy constitutional liberties of long standing, should support the lawyers in their protest against the suspension of the Pakistani constitution. Lawyers are supposed to act as the guardians of the rule of law. They are not supposed to be prisoners and hostages to the powers that be. There is no excuse for Gen. Pervez Musharraf to treat educated, accomplished attorneys and barristers, many of them human rights workers such as the prominent woman activist, Asma Jahangir, this way. Ironically, the general has often posed as a supporter of women's rights, as when he established quotas to ensure the presence of women in parliament. Yet, he is now moving against women intellectuals and politicians for being outspoken.

How much of the blame for this crackdown can be laid at the feet of the Bush administration's unconditional support for the Pakistani military? The events of this week put the lie to the idea of a democratizing Pakistan with an independent judiciary and rule of law. If the US wants to play a fair and honest role in helping Pakistan achieve democracy and reducing the threat of religious extremism, here is what it can do.

The US should be earmarking aid to Pakistan not for military use but for funding and building schools for the millions of poor Pakistani children (some of them still from refugee Afghan families displaced by the US struggle with the Soviet Union in the Cold War). Such schools should stress east-west understanding. That would be one way of keeping children out of fundamentalist-funded madrassas and keeping them from being turned into Taliban. Provision of rural adult education through television and of free country-wide wi-fi internet access would also aid development. This educational aid would cost a pittance in comparison with what is being spent on military aid, and would be far less expensive than is fighting wars in the region.


Washington should keep pressure on the present government to hold free and fair elections for parliament on schedule. US aid for election observers and voter education would be well spent. The Bush administration has stressed democratization and the rule of law in the Muslim world. If it does not take practical steps toward those ideals in this crisis, America will altogether lose the confidence of the educated Muslim middle classes. If that happens, the ultimate winners may well be the Taliban and al-Qaeda. '

Shahin M. Cole holds an LL.B. from Punjab University Law School in Lahore, Pakistan.



Good point here. Brainwashing children in the anti-Western madrassas gives recruits to the Teliban and AQ. Those madrasses were, and may still be, funded by our good friend Saudi Arabia (ever think about how many Teliban and AQ terrorist Saudi Arabia created vs. Saddam Hussein?). We have to compete for the young minds and not think the military is the only solution.

Our enemies are smart enough to know that this is a long term conflict and they start recruiting young children through their schools. We help them along by doing stupid things such as attacking Iraq and reinforcing their message that we are nothing more than colonialist trying to steal their oil.
0 Replies
 
xingu
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 06:41 am
Quote:
The stocky, bearded man they call the Subidar is an encyclopedia of the jagged mountains and insular tribes here along Pakistan's northwestern border. As a retired career officer now on contract to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), he would be just the man to enforce his government's declared policy: to stop Taliban and allied guerrillas from crossing into Afghanistan to attack U.S. troops.

But the Subidar's mission is just the opposite, say U.S., Afghan and Pakistani sources. Working from his home in this village, and reporting to the ISI office in the nearby town of Chitral, he recruits and organizes guerrillas to make those attacks, the sources say. In Afghan districts just over the border, guerrilla attacks have escalated this year, killing at least six U.S. soldiers since June.

President Pervez Musharraf and senior Bush administration officials say Musharraf is America's best friend in the war against al-Qaida and its Islamic extremist allies in this region. But the case of the Subidar (the Urdu-language title means "captain") appears to illustrate assertions by many scholars that Pakistan is deeply divided and playing a double role. Its ruling army denied any knowledge of the Subidar, whose name is being withheld by Newsday because he could not be reached directly to comment on this story.

While Musharraf is allied with Washington, many in his army and security services are wedded to the Taliban, say independent analysts including Boston University's Husain Haqqani. Parts of the ISI, the army and political and religious elites form a support network to help the Taliban and allied guerrillas recruit and train fighters, raise money and infiltrate Afghanistan, the analysts say.

In this shadowy war, the Taliban's main bases and support networks are hidden in rugged mountains of Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun tribal areas, along the border south of here. A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate report said in July that the same tribal districts are "a safe-haven" for al-Qaida. Those districts are closed to foreigners, except on occasional, army-escorted trips.

In the other main Taliban stronghold, around the southwestern city of Quetta, Pakistani authorities have harassed, arrested or attacked journalists who inquire into Taliban activities.


http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/ny-wopaki075405263oct07,0,5641947.story
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