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What's Wrong With This Picture?
by James Dunnigan
January 16, 2008

Discussion Board on this DLS topic

Al Qaeda is shifting resources from Iraq (where terrorist leaders openly admit defeat) to Pakistan, where they don't have to face Western troops. But the Pakistani government has long experience with Islamic radicals. After all, it was one of Pakistan's military governments that encouraged Islamic militants (as a way to deal with corruption) three decades ago. What a mistake that was, and the Pakistani government is still grappling with it. Killing a presidential election candidate, and former prime minister, like Benazir Bhutto, makes a big splash in the media, and excites Islamic radicals, but hurts them in the long run. Like the mosque bombing last week, the violence against women (especially popular female politicians like Bhutto) turns more people against the Islamic radicals. Since the government began its crackdown on Islamic militants last July, 800 people have died, half of them in suicide bombing attacks. The Islamic militants don't have the armed strength to do much else. Their most potent, if often counter-productive, weapon, is the suicide bomber. Even then, the terrorists have only been able to carry out six suicide bombings in the last two weeks. Police and army counter-terror efforts are destroying terrorist bases and capturing key personnel. Attacks on mosques and female politicians only makes more civilians willing to inform on the terrorists. The generals want to go ahead with the January elections, because they believe their guy, Musharraf has the best chance to win. Civilian politicians would rather delay the elections, so they can organize behind a civilian candidate who might win. The Islamic radicals have always been a violent minority, and now they are following the classic pattern of letting that violence turn them into an even smaller minority.

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