Friday, October 08, 2010

Pakistan Implodes as Zardari, Military, ISI play double games

Pakistan is going to be a failed nation-state, according to a senior minister in the NWFP I had a long conversation with while drinking endless cups of tea a decade or so ago on my last trip to that country. And as the internal cohesion of the country is tested by catastrophic floods, a low-level civil war in which the army is now beginning to take sides against itself and the nation's police, and a president who is a complete fool and has the charisma left by his martyred wife Benazir Bhutto, but not much else, including brainpower, to keep him on top.

The Economist puts it as bluntly as possible:
Responding to growing public outrage over cross-border drone attacks by the American-led forces in Afghanistan and to revelations in a recent book by Bob Woodward that 3,000 CIA operatives are active in its tribal regions, Pakistan closed the main supply route for NATO convoys. The interior minister, Rehman Malik, said: “We will have to see whether we are allies or enemies.”

Of course, it's been obvious from the beginning of the Afghan presence that Pakistan sees that war-torn country as a pawn in the struggle with India, which the Waziristan base to make mischief inside Pakistan itself is an obviously low priority---yet the foolish Pakis insist that the US is encroaching on a territory over which they admittedly have little or no control:
Given the reluctance of the Pakistani authorities to take on the terrorist groups in North Waziristan, particularly the brutal Haqqani network that is believed to have links with Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence agency), and given growing public fury over encroachments on the country’s sovereignty, the tension is unlikely to go away. Even the one potentially hopeful development this week—reports of American-backed secret talks between the Afghan Quetta Shura Taliban and the government of Hamid Karzai—could cause new strain if Pakistan reacts badly to being left out. A breakdown in relations between America and Pakistan is a real and dangerous possibility.

And if all implodes the way it looks now, the Pakistani Army, which is the only cohesive force in the country, will seize power and once again, the country will have forsaken democracy to pursue the internal demons which torment the country. And then that senior Paki minister's words might prove prophetic: Pakistan will be split into its four constituent provinces and India will have basically become unchallenged, but atomically armed Pakis will not stand for that.

Ergo, a war involving Pakistan & India might go nuclear, and then the fat's definitely in the fire. As Woodward's book outlines, Obama is very much into the details, but according to David Petraeus, so involved that he may become another Jimmy Carter in a Rose Garden of nit-picking and dithering, as Carter did before losing his re-election bid.

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