India-Pakistan: Give Until You Hurt

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March 20, 2012: Pakistan continues to suffer far more from terrorism than neighboring India. Terrorism related deaths are running at the rate of over 150 a week in Pakistan, and one-tenth as many in India (which has six times as many people). In Pakistan a lot of the terrorism (usually non-fatal) is directed at religious minorities (Shia, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh mainly). There is also an increase in violence between terrorist groups. The Pakistani Taliban is currently suffering internal disputes, with at least two major factions fighting over control. Soldiers and civilians are encountering the bodies of dead Taliban, apparently killed by other terrorists.

Pakistan is seeking to extort more money from the United States, and freedom from responsibility for terrorism, by demanding that American UAV attacks on terrorists only be carried out with Pakistani permission after a sharing of intelligence with Pakistan. This is not done now because there are too many Islamic radicals in the Pakistani military and government who would pass on this information to terrorists. Many Pakistani counter-terrorism officials (military and civilian) realize that without these American UAV efforts, the Islamic terrorists would be much more powerful and could carry out more attacks on the Pakistani government and people. Most Pakistanis ignore this and see the West as more of a threat than Islamic terrorism. Pakistan has fought back at Islamic terrorism, while still maintaining partnerships with terror groups that will not attack Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Islamic terrorists have suffered tremendously from the UAV attacks over the last four years. Terrorist leaders have been the main target of the UAV operations and this has led to desperate measures to halt the attacks. Terror groups are urging their allies in the government, media, and military to do whatever they can to stop or cripple the attacks.

A fundamental problem in Pakistan is that so many Pakistanis believe that they are under attack by the West and are victims of a vast conspiracy against Islam in general and Pakistan in particular. All this is taken for granted by most Pakistanis and everything that happens is interpreted through this lens. Most Westerners, including journalists, are unaware of this outlook. Either that or the persecution complex is ignored or played down. Inside Pakistan, all this leads to harassment of American diplomats, businessmen, and aid workers. Many Pakistanis who migrate to the West hang onto this attitude for a long time. It's a hard habit to break.

What Pakistanis are tired of is the extensive corruption and Islamic conservatives' efforts to control how people live. There is growing public opposition to both of these activities, but it's going to take a while to make a lot of progress.

The Pakistani Army now finds itself under attack by the local media and courts because of the financial and political advantages enjoyed by senior officers. The majority of Pakistanis have realized that the military has been greedy and corrupt, and they now support openly criticizing the generals. So great has this blowback been that the generals fear that another coup will result in a civil war. Instead, the generals are more intent on avoiding prosecution for corruption and having their assets seized (and possibly stolen by corrupt police or court officials).

As part of this defensive effort Pakistan is prosecuting (for entering the country illegally) the wives of Osama bin Laden (killed last May in an American raid). This prevents the three women from leaving the country and telling others what they may have heard about, such as which senior Pakistanis made it possible for bin Laden, his wives, and children to hide out in a military town in Pakistan for five years. Most Pakistanis refuse to accept the fact that their government sheltered bin Laden and supports Islamic terrorists who kill Pakistanis. Supporting Islamic terrorists who kill foreigners, especially Indians, Afghans, and Americans, is considered okay.

Pakistan's economy has gotten a boost in the last year as remittances from Pakistanis working overseas (mainly in Arab Persian Gulf states) are up over 20 percent and are running at the rate of over $12 billion a year (6.7 percent of GDP). But Pakistan's economy is one tenth the size of neighboring India's. This is a major reason for why Pakistani politicians are ignoring their paranoia and resuming trade with India. Meanwhile, that larger GDP, and fear of Chinese and Pakistani aggression, has meant Indian weapons imports have increased nearly 40 percent over the last five years. India is now the largest weapons importer in the world.

March 18, 2012: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Kurram and Orakzai) army operations were resumed in the last week leaving 51 Islamic terrorists and four soldiers dead. Many of these casualties were the result of artillery fire and helicopter gunships. Many of these battles are attacks against camps or bases used by Islamic terror groups (including the local Taliban).  Other clashes are terrorist ambushes of military convoys or checkpoints.

March 16, 2012: The Indian investigation of an attack on Israeli diplomats in India last month has concluded that this was linked to a bombing plot in Thailand and that both were controlled by Iran. Israel believes similar attacks in Georgia were also part of this pattern. Both Thai and Indian investigators found many links with Iran, when they compared notes they discovered even more connections. This is all very embarrassing for India, which has tried to develop good relations with Iran. This was supposed to include no Iranian terrorism inside India.

In eastern India Maoists kidnapped two Italian tourists and demanded a halt to anti-terrorists operations and the release of arrested Maoists to get the Italians released.

March 15, 2012: In Pakistan's tribal territories (North Waziristan) a Swiss couple that had been kidnapped last July escaped and found their way to an army checkpoint. The Taliban said they released the couple after a ransom had been paid. Elsewhere in the tribal territories (Bajaur) five anti-Taliban tribesmen were killed by a bomb.

March 13, 2012: American UAVs fired missiles to kill a 15 Islamic terrorists (including two senior Taliban leaders) in Pakistan's South Waziristan.

March 11, 2012: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Peshawar) a Taliban suicide bomber killed several anti-Taliban tribesmen.

 

 

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