India-Pakistan: The Stench Of Fresh Air

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August 19, 2010: In a surprise move, the Pakistani ISI (combined intel organization), declared that Islamic terrorists, not the Indian armed forces, were now the greatest threat to Pakistan. This has been known to most Pakistanis for over a decade, but the ISI always had a special fondness for Islamic radicals. ISI created the Taliban in 1990s, and nurtured them ever since. The Taliban were but one of many Islamic radical groups ISI has backed since the 1980s, all in the vain effort to use Islamic radicalism to clean up the corruption in Pakistani society, and win victories against foes (Afghan rebels and the Indian armed forces) where the Pakistani military was inadequate. But the Islamic radicals proved unmanageable and eventually turned on their creators. Many in the ISI refused to accept this, but in the last few years, reality, and a new civilian government, has changed a lot of minds in the ISI (and removed a lot of pro-terrorist officers). Some ISI officials still believe in Islamic radicalism, but they are a minority. The majority have come out in favor of recognizing reality. But old habits die hard. India has offered Pakistan five million dollars worth of relief materials for flood victims. The Pakistani government did not immediately accept it, and might not let the Indian aid in at all. While the military has been diverted to flood relief operations, terrorists are still active in the tribal territories, making several attacks a week against police, officials or soldiers.

While the Pakistani armed forces have largely suspended operations against Islamic radicals in the tribal territories, the bad guys have not. Two Islamic terrorist groups (the Mullah Nazir group and the Taliban) fought each other, leaving at least three dead. The Naziris agreed to sit out the government offensive against the Taliban, largely because of a Taliban attack on the Mullah Nazir group last year. Part of this is tribal tensions. The main Pakistani Taliban are all members of the Mehsud tribe, while the Mullah Nazir gunmen belong to the Waziri tribe.

The floods in Pakistan have reached the lowlands (Punjab and Sind) where most of the 170 million people live. About 20 percent of the country has been hit by the floods, which are expected to last at least another two weeks. Relief is coming in slowly, because of the extent of the disaster, the  damage to the roads and the usual corruption and inefficiency of the government. Pakistanis are miffed that only about half a billion dollars worth of aid has been pledged to help the 20 million flood victims. This is much less than the $7 billion pledged to help Haiti after the major earthquake there last January. That disaster affected less than two million people (but killed over 250,000, compared to under 2,000 in the Pakistani floods). Pakistanis don't want to contemplate the fact that the world holds Pakistan responsible for creating and providing sanctuary for Islamic terrorists for decades, and that corruption in Pakistan has, in the past, seen much of the foreign aid stolen. Donors don't forget.

In Indian Kashmir, street riots (and lots of stone throwing) continue. While the Islamic terrorism has been crushed, the economic disaster created by over a decade of that violence has created widespread poverty in the once prosperous Kashmir Valley. The locals expect the government to do something about it.

August 18, 2010: Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian border posts in Kashmir, using machine-guns, rifles, RPGs and mortars. Since this happens several times a month (despite the 2003 ceasefire), Indian border troops tend of keep close to their bunkers and largely avoid casualties. This attack was on the border with Pakistani  Punjab, and apparently not covering fire for Islamic terrorists trying to cross the frontier. Pakistan tends to deny the these attacks take place, or simply ignore Indian complaints. Pakistani commanders appear to see these attacks as a morale building exercise.

August 16, 2010:  Indian Maoist rebels have asked for a three month cease fire and peace talks. The government is reluctant to accept this offer, as they do not trust the Maoists to actually negotiate a peace deal. The Maoists want revolution, and that cannot be negotiated (as the Nepalese Maoists are discovering.) The government believes their massive police operation in eastern India is hurting the Maoists, and should continue unabated.  

August 14, 2010:  In North Waziristan, an American UAV fired several missiles, killing twelve Islamic terrorists. In the south, violence in Baluchistan left 16 dead, although it's unclear exactly who was behind the Baluchistan violence.

August 13, 2010: The Indian Air Force has been given permission for its helicopters to fire back if they are fired on by Maoist gunmen. The air force helicopters are now carrying troops and supplies over Maoist infested territory in eastern India. The government is reluctant to allow the military to get involved with internal unrest, and reluctantly allowed the armed air force helicopters to defend themselves.

India has arrested four men suspected of being Maoists and found that they had links to gangsters controlled by Pakistna's ISI. The four were being sent to Dubai, where many Indian gangster leaders, especially those with ISI connections, base themselves. These gangsters have aided Islamic terror attacks inside India.

The U.S. amphibious carrier USS Peleliu arrived off the coast of Pakistan and began sending its 19 helicopters (mainly 12 CH-46Es and four huge CH-53Es) north to assist in aiding flood victims.

 

 

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