President Musharraf is the
third army general to take over Pakistan in its sixty year history. The two
previous general/dictators lasted about ten years before they were removed (one
by a democratic uprising, the other by an assassin). Musharraf has
survived several assassination attempts, and the nations democrats are getting
organized and angrier. The basic problem is the corruption. The politicians are
among the most corrupt and inefficient on the planet. By comparison, the
military is run by virtuous men, who feel it's their duty to take over and,
well, no one has quite figured out what to do once in charge.
Musharraf has tried to deal with the corruption, but has been sidetracked
by the need to battle Islamic militants, and make peace with India. Pakistan is
a mess, has not been able to govern itself throughout its sixty year history,
and is armed with nuclear weapons.
May 22, 2007: India continues to fight a four
front war against Maoist separatists in Kashmir, tribal separatists in the
northeast, Islamic and Hindu terrorists throughout the country and Maoist
rebels throughout central India. Together, these largely unreported (outside
India) situations account for more dead each year than does the more widely
reported counter-terror operations in Pakistan.
May 21, 2007: In southern India, four bombs
were found on a train, about to leave a Hindu holy city. The bombs were crude,
and were disabled by police.
May 20, 2007: In Pakistans capital, an
uprising based in a large, radical, mosque (the "Red Mosque") has
escalated from religious students attacking music stores, to the kidnapping of
four policemen. The clerics in the mosque threatened to kill the cops if eleven
mosque staff were not released from jail. Four of the jailed radicals were
released, as were two of the captive policemen. The mosque is surrounded by
police, but the government does not want to storm the place. This might cause
thousands of other Islamic radicals in the capital to get organized, and
violent. Meanwhile, along the Afghan border, a hundred armed tribesmen seized
eight government aid workers. Apparently, the government workers are being held
until the government gives into some demand. Taking hostages for this purpose
is an old tribal custom.
May 19, 2007: In Bangladesh, the interim
(until new elections can be held) military government has Islamic militants
threatening a terror campaign if jailed Islamic militants are not released. The
government refuses, and is redeploying police to try and stop terrorist
May 18, 2007: In southern India, a bomb went
off in a mosque, killing eleven. Hindu nationalists were suspected, but the
government believes that Pakistani agents did it in order to create religious
unrest in India. This bombing caused Moslems to riot, and police killed five of
them. Two other bombs were found and defused.
May 17, 2007: In Pakistan's tribal territory,
the government made a peace deal with warlord Maulvi Faqir Mohammed, who had
previously been close with al Qaeda. These deals don't always hold, and the
tribesmen that break their word lose some face because of it. But the open
signing of such deals is important to show that the government is winning in
its battle against Islamic militants.