India has, in the last week,
twice tested an anti-missile missile that could shoot down Pakistani ballistic
missiles. This is a threat to Pakistani nuclear weapons, which are the
principal weapon defending Pakistan from a much larger and militarily more
powerful India. Israeli firms are working with India to develop the
anti-missile system, using technology from the Israeli anti-missile
India has cancelled a $600 million helicopter
purchase from European firm EADS, and will review bids again. Corruption was
suspected. Corruption in arms purchases is endemic throughout the region.
Meanwhile, India is having multiple problems with its largest arms supplier,
Russia. Several warship programs are at risk because the Russian builders have
demanded more money. The Indians are not inclined to pay.
December 6, 2007: Britain has arrested two Baluchi
men, suspected of supporting Baluchi separatists in carrying out terrorist
acts. This is part of the tribal separatist effort, to make southwest Pakistan
into a separate country, Baluchistan. The most recent effort by the tribes has
stalled, and the exiled separatists have become a more important component of
the separatist movement. Britain is also concerned because many Baluchi tribes
support the Taliban and al Qaeda.
December 5, 2007: In Pakistan's Swat valley,
three weeks of operations by some 15,000 troops has killed, captured or chased
away most of the several thousand Islamic radicals who had assembled there. The
operations actually began several months ago, as troops moved in to deal with a
popular Islamic radical clergyman. The army negotiated with the tribes first,
to get some degree of approval for attack on the pro-Taliban radicals. The
valley, in tribal areas of northern Pakistan, has a population of some
1.5 million people. Over 300 have been killed in the fighting, and nearly a
thousand wounded. Elsewhere along the Afghan border, it's Winter, and the
gunmen have largely gone home to wait for Spring.
December 4, 2007: In Pakistan, a female
suicide bomber attempted to attack a military check point, but when she was
challenged some way off, she detonated her explosives and killed only herself.
This was the first suicide bomber attack in Pakistan. The suicide bomb effort
in Pakistan has been fitful, sparse and generally ineffective. Unlike Iraq,
where thousands of eager, and fairly competent, volunteers are available from
surrounding countries, there are few capable people eager to kill themselves
this way in Pakistan.