Thursday, November 08, 2007

The devolution of Pakistan

Pakistan is in a meltdown, and that may be a literal event.

Pakistan is best thought of as a three ring circus-- the military, civilian politicians, and the Jihadists. These three contestants have been fighting for control of the dysfunctional state of Pakistan ever since the Partition of 1947.

Mostly, however, control of the state has switched from generals to corrupt politicians back to the generals (General Perv being the latest), and thus continues the cycle. The current strife in Pakistan is a repeat of the pattern. Problem is, no one can rule this wreck of a nation very well, with corruption and violence spiraling on and on without let up. Compared to Pakistan, India is a smashing success.

This explains why Perv is going first and foremost after opposition leaders, politicians and lawyers. After all, they are the traditional political 'enemy' of the generals, who (so far) have the loyalty of the army, and are Pakistan's most powerful faction.

The problem with a three-sided struggle for power is that it allows one side to play off the two others and possibly gain an advantage. Thus, the third party to this undeclared civil war, the Taliban jihadists, operating from secure bases in the Paki tribal hinterlands, are free to exploit the mess and press for maximum advantage. And this is what they are doing. Whilst the army cracks down in Karachi and Islamabad, the Jihadists in the countryside gain ground and expand their domain with little or no opposition.

General Perv, the self-appointed leader of this mess of a country in 1999, is far less popular in his own country than another likely denizen of Pakistan, Osama himself. Even worse, he is either unable or unwilling to turn the full might of his faction on the true threat-- the Taliban/Al Qaeda alliance.

What's truly ironic about all this is that it is Pakistan's own intelligence services who sponsored the birth of the Taliban in next-door Afghanistan in the 1990s. And now, in a supreme example of 'blow back', it is this movement that has carved off its own jihadist state within Pakistan's borders, are the sworn enemies of Perv's government, and who have repeatedly call for (and have attempted to carry out) his assasination.

What makes this desperate struggle a terrifying one for anyone observing this from afar are several dozen Pakistani nuclear weapons. Who will get the nukes? There is no doubt the terrorists would do anything to get their hands on such a weapons, and then use them.

Meltdown, indeed.


Anonymous said...

I thought Burma was bad. But their generals dont have nukes. Maybe Hollywood would like to make this into a movie.

Anonymous said...

They have, it's called Iraq.