India-Pakistan: The Phony Peace And The Real War


July 16, 2008: The U.S. has given Pakistan over $10 billion in military and economic aid in the last seven years, and billions more are promised. But with the newly elected Pakistani government unwilling to shut down the Taliban (and many other Islamic radicals), the U.S. is using its foreign aid as a club to force the Pakistanis to ignore the growing number of border crossing incidents by U.S. forces. American UAVs regularly cross into Pakistan, and small groups of soldiers sneak across to collect intelligence, or guide smart bombs on targets.

The new Pakistani government completed another cycle of Pakistani history, in which a civilian government replaces a military one. Throughout Pakistan's 60 years of existence, military governments deposed corrupt civilian ones, wear out their welcome with unpopular measures, and are in turn replaced with elected governments that proceed to make themselves unpopular with their corruption and inability to carry out policies. The last military government had some success against the Taliban and Islamic radicals. But the new civilian government wants to make deals with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Ignoring the fact that the Islamic radicals see democracy as "un-Islamic" and consider it an obligation to lie to their enemies, the new government is moving forward with "peace" deals. The government is trying to appease the Islamic radicals, to craft a deal whereby the terrorists will not launch attacks inside Pakistan, while the government spouts the usual anti-terrorism drivel.

The government is applying the same strategy to the five year old peace deal with India. This deal included curbing Islamic radicals who were running training camps in Pakistan, and moving Islamic terrorists into India with the aid of Pakistani border guards. After several years of crackdowns on these Islamic militants, the new Pakistani government has backed off, and more Islamic terrorists are crossing into India. The Indians are not happy.

Afghanistan is being less diplomatic than India about the role Pakistan is playing in hosting Islamic radicals, and allowing them to operate along the border. Afghan officials are calling out their Pakistani counterparts, and vowing to send the war back into Pakistan, by allowing Afghan troops to use "hot pursuit" (of Taliban fleeing into Pakistan.) If the Pakistani army tries to block this, the Afghans will call on their U.S. and NATO allies for air and ground support. This could get messy.

After five years of attracting Islamic radicals, Iraq is no longer the place to go. A year ago, about a hundred Islamic radicals entered Iraq to fight (and usually die) each month. Now, only a few dozen enter, with most of the others either staying home or reconsidering Islamic radicalism. But 20-30 a month are heading for Pakistan, to either fight there, or across the border in Afghanistan.

The Taliban are defying the army along the border. The Taliban are kidnapping paramilitary (recruited from the tribes) border police and threatening to kill them if Taliban leaders are not released from prison. This puts the government in an awkward position. If they comply, the Taliban tribes are stronger, if they refuse, and the hostages are killed, the anti-Taliban tribes are angry at the government.

July 14, 2008: Indian Maoist rebels have been attacking cell phone towers, either to force the phone companies to pay protection money, or to prevent police informers from reporting in. The Maoists are difficult to wipe out as long as rural poverty persists (as it has for thousands of years) in the countryside. India crippled its economy for half a century after independence by trying to make socialist methods (state control of key industries, restrictions on foreign investment)  work. No economic growth meant the rural poor stayed poor. The politicians finally wised up in the 1990s, and the economy has been growing ever since. But the prosperity is getting to the countryside slowly. And until it does, the Maoists will have plenty of support for their solution (a communist dictatorship).

July 10, 2008: Pakistan has signed a peace deal with the tribes around the Khyber Pass (into Afghanistan). This came after a week of fighting pro-Taliban tribesmen. The government doesn't care if the Taliban tribes go fight in Afghanistan, or impose strict lifestyle rules on their own people. But the new Pakistani government will fight if the Taliban try to extend their influence into the towns and cities of the tribal areas. Over the last half century, the government has taken control of the urban areas in the tribal zone along the Afghan border. The government will not give this up, even though the pro-Taliban tribes make a big deal out of taking back the urban areas.


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