India-Pakistan: The Avengers

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January 14, 2010: Pakistan's leadership is not happy. Many, especially military leaders, see India, not rebellious religious fanatics (the Taliban) in the tribal territories, as the biggest threat. India is not a military threat, as India has no interest in conquering and running Pakistan. Both countries have nuclear weapons, so war is no longer the option it used to be.

Many Pakistanis feel humiliated by the greater prosperity and political stability in India. The much larger GDP makes it easier for India to spend more on defense. Part of this tension is the result of competition that has existed, for centuries, between "Moslem India" (now mostly Pakistan and Bangladesh) and "Hindu India". The Hindus have won, and the Moslems, especially the rich and powerful Pakistanis, don't like it. Some of these Pakistani swells have clung to Islamic radicalism as a solution, and are particularly humiliated at the American use of UAVs to attack Islamic terrorists in the tribal territories.  But many Pakistanis also believe it is bad policy to stir up the Pushtun tribes. For thousands of years, these tribes have periodically invaded the lowlands, going as far as central India, causing much death and destruction. Their first targets were always the current Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sind (where 80 percent of the Pakistani population lives). Despite the fact that modern Pakistan has armed forces that are better armed and trained than the Pushtun tribesmen, there is still the fear. On the other end of the spectrum are Pakistanis who believe that now is the time to subjugate the tribes once and for all, and end thousands of years of fear. The idea is not to just militarily defeat the tribes, but to educate and civilize them. To exorcize the demons that have caused so much violence for so long.

The war against the tribes has slowed because of the Winter, and the debate, over what to do with the tribes, within the government. The security forces are looking for known Taliban, especially leaders. This is police work. Meanwhile, the Taliban attack army checkpoints and bases, usually without much success. Many leaders in the security forces are opposed to the war against the tribes, and are expressing their displeasure by harassing American diplomats at every opportunities (with long waits at check points). The U.S. is threatening diplomatic retaliation if this doesn't stop.

In Indian Kashmir, terrorists were surrounded in a house, refused to surrender, and were killed. A policeman died in the battle as well. One of the dead was a leader of terrorist group Hizbul Mujahedin. Indian Kashmir still contains a lot of angry people. Two decades of Islamic terrorism has brought in police reinforcements from India, and these cops often had no sympathy for angry Moslems.

In Pakistan's North Waziristan, an American UAV fired two missiles at a religious school and killed ten Islamic terrorists. Apparently, Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was the target of this attack, but had moved on before the missiles hit. This was a bitter reminder to Mehsud that, even though he was behind the suicide bombing that killed seven American CIA agents just across the border in Afghanistan, on December 30th, the CIA was still tracking him. And since Mehsud boasted on video of his involvement in the deaths of the CIA personnel, the CIA is more determined to track him down and kill him, as they did his predecessor. The CIA has openly pledged to avenge the December 30th attack, and the agency has avenged attacks on its personnel in the past. Meanwhile, Hakimullah Mehsud says he is avenging his predecessor, who was also a member of the Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan. The Taliban are desperate to halt these missile attacks, which are increasingly lethal, and frequent (at least seven in the last ten days). The latest gambit is an appeal to the Pakistani media, claiming that dozens of civilians are killed when each American missile hits. These claims make no sense, and have no evidence to back them up, but for those who are pro-Taliban, or just anti-American, logic and evidence matter little.

The growing violence between Maoists and security forces in eastern India, has caused many Maoist leaders to leave their rural hideouts and find safety in urban areas. The Maoists are bracing for a major government military operation against long held rural strongholds of the communist rebels.

January 8, 2010:  Near Pakistan's Khyber pass, in the tribal territories, the headquarters of Islamic terror group Ansar ul Islam was attacked by a suicide bomber from rival Islamic terror organization Lashkar e Islam. The two have been feuding for at least five years. Islamic radical groups tend to believe they alone know the true path to truth, or whatever. This sometimes leads to bloodshed.

In Karachi, Pakistan, a house blew up when, it was later discovered, six Islamic terrorists died when a bomb they were building went off. About 15 percent of Karachi's population are  Pushtun, and some of these are pro-Taliban or Islamic radicals.

January 7, 2010:   In Kashmir, Indian police surrounded a hotel and killed two Islamic terrorists who had taken refuge there.

 

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