India-Pakistan: They Know What's Going On

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December 20, 2010: The U.S. and India are putting more diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to kill or arrest the Islamic terrorists Pakistan knows the location of. Pakistan has delayed doing this for years since September 11, 2001, and says they will when they have all the forces they need in position. Many Indian diplomats and intelligence officials feel that Pakistani politicians are unwilling to finish off the Islamic terror groups, or agree with them and won't openly admit it. Thus the refusal to allow the American UAV attacks to hit key terrorist targets in the tribal territories. American pressure over this matter is becoming more public, and the Pakistanis are growing more annoyed about it. But there is no disputing the facts. The U.S. has Special Forces "trainers" inside Pakistan, many of whom are with combat units going after Islamic terrorist groups. They know what's going on. There are dozens of American UAVs operating over the tribal territories, collecting electronic information as well as taking pictures. They know what's going on. For the last two years, pro-terrorist commanders in the Pakistani armed forces have tried, anyway they can, to hinder American intelligence and anti-terrorist operations in Pakistan. This has to be done carefully, anything too blatant would make it too obvious that many Pakistani leaders are actually backing Islamic terrorism. But it is gradually building up to that. Once it becomes too obvious to the world that this is going on, Pakistan will have to do more than go through the motions of cleaning house. Otherwise, Pakistan becomes an international pariah. Some Pakistani politicians are promising a major offensive against the Taliban if the U.S. can assure them that the Pakistani Taliban won't be able to establish bases in Afghanistan. With the United States pledged to leave Afghanistan by 2014, that approach is in doubt. But an increasing number of Pakistanis are eager for some action against Islamic radicals. That is because there were 254 Islamic terrorist attacks (killing 216) in Pakistan in 2005, but this has escalated since then, until there were  3,816 (killing 12,000) attacks in 2009 nearly as many this year. The Islamic radicals were slowed down, but not stopped, by military and police action in the last two years. Many Pakistanis consider the Islamic radicals out of control and unwilling to negotiate any mutually acceptable peace deal. But because up to a third of the Pakistani population supports Islamic conservatism, the Islamic radicals still have enough popular support to interfere with government efforts to destroy the Islamic terror groups.

The campaign against Islamic terrorists does continue in Pakistan, just not in key sanctuary areas (North Waziristan and parts of Baluchistan). Soldiers and police continue to hunt down and capture or kill Islamic terrorists throughout the country. Bombing plots are broken up weekly, and stashes of explosives and weapons made. But the terrorist sanctuaries remain just that.

Meanwhile, the hammering Islamic radical groups in Pakistan have been receiving has forced them to keep their heads down and concentrate more on self-preservation than in launching attacks in the West. As a result, the al Qaeda members who have fled to Yemen are seen as a bigger threat to the West right now, than those still in Pakistan.

The Pakistani leadership has a different, and more local, view of Islamic radicalism and the Taliban. This is all part of the battle going on between the lowland peoples (called "the Punjabis" by the tribesmen) and the largely Pushtun tribes in the highlands. This conflict has been going on for thousands of years, and every few hundred years there have been particularly nasty incursions by the outnumbered, but more ferocious, tribes. There are 40 million Pushtuns in Pakistan and Afghanistan (most in Pakistan), and three times as many lowland (wealthier and better educated) people in the lowlands. That's just in Pakistan. Historically, the Pushtuns considered their potential target to be anyone in northern India. That means they were attacking a population more than ten times as large. But the Pushtuns didn't come down from the mountains to conquer, but to raid and loot, and then run back to their mountain sanctuaries. For the last fifty years, "the Punjabis" have been slowly moving into the mountains, bringing with them pagan customs (movies, pop music and education for women). The West may see itself as fighting international Islamic terrorism here, the Pakistanis see it as yet another phase of a much more ancient war.

Meanwhile, efforts by al Qaeda and other groups to instigate Islamic terrorism among India's 150 million Moslems are largely failed. A few young men have joined terrorist groups, but most of the terrorist threat still comes from government sanctioned terrorist organizations based in Pakistan. Even Bangladesh, with 160 million Moslems, generates little Islamic radicalism compared to Pakistan, where the army and government decided, in the 1970s,  to try and "use" Islamic radicalism for their own ends. That did not work out well, and many Pakistani leaders are still looking for a way out the mess their fathers generation created.

The Taliban is kidnapping tribal elders and not letting refugees (or attacks on Taliban held parts of Waziristan earlier this year) return to their homes. All this is an effort to force the Pakistani troops to pull back. Using roadblocks and patrols, the Pakistani troops have "peacefully" moved farther into territory the Taliban consider theirs. Neither side wants to resume the fighting, but the Taliban feel trapped, which they are.

It was recently revealed that, earlier this month, the name of the CIA station chief in Pakistan became known. The name of the station chief is normally kept secret. This is especially important in Pakistan, where Islamic terrorist groups would make a major effort to kill the station chief if they had an identity. Once the name was revealed, the station chief was quickly hustled out of the country. This is expected to cause some disruption in the CIA UAV campaign against the Islamic terrorists, and some American officials have accused Pakistani officials of revealing the station chief's identity. The reason for this would be to try and placate the Islamic radicals, who have threatened to start attacking senior Pakistani leaders if the CIA missile attacks did not cease.  There is also a lawsuit in the United States (where local laws allow suing foreign leaders) against Pakistani intelligence, for their involvement in terrorist attacks on India. Pakistani intel chiefs fear this lawsuit could make it difficult for them to travel abroad, and they are not happy about that.

The Indian campaign against Maoists in eastern India often finds that the most formidable foe is not the thousands of armed communist rebels out in the bush, but the corruption, indifference and incompetence of local governments. These attitudes have allowed the Maoists to form and grow, and the paramilitary campaign to root out the Maoists often does not address these political impediments.

December 18, 2010: China and Pakistan signed $35 billion worth of economic development deals. Many of these include the construction of nuclear and renewable electricity production facilities. China is a major economic and diplomatic lifeline for poverty-stricken and poorly run Pakistan. The Chinese see Pakistan as a useful ally against Russia and India. While $35 billion is a lot to Pakistan, it's pocket change to China.

December 17, 2010:  In Pakistan's tribal territories, three American UAV missile attacks killed over fifty Islamic terrorists.

 

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