Archive for October, 2006
The greatest challenge to civilisation is the upsurge in terrorism in the world, this threat force-multiplied manifold since the 9/11 benchmark. Meant to contain and eliminate this menace, the war waged almost solely by govts has instead resulted in proliferation of terrorism. Annunciation of mission statement requires clarity, it is now abundantly clear that in both Afghanistan and Iraq this was ambiguous, the real objective being regime and systems change. Because the Talibaan refused to give up Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of 9/11, in fact seeming to condone his actions, their removal from governance of Afghanistan was justifiable. The exercise in Iraq had oil written all over it, the script to dominate the Middle East calling for the overthrow of the Syrian and Iranian regimes by peaceful political means if possible, by force if not. Once political and military aims are at cross purposes, the resulting tactical confusion affects strategic objectives.
Senator Tariq Azeem has the credentials and the integrity to do a much better function for the Government of Pakistan (GOP) than the likes of Muhammad Ali Durrani. His present job description as Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting seems limited to requesting the Minister of Information and Broadcasting to request the President to speak. At the Iftar/Dinner hosted for the media at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad on Wednesday Oct 11, 2006, Durrani’s courtier-like introduction of the President was positively embarrassing. He went overboard with his unadulterated flattery. A hard-bitten Pakistani media does not take kindly to such public displays of fawning and servility. This clouds the Pervez Musharraf-image of a blunt, no-nonsense soldier who speaks his mind and is not given to such public displays of adulation.
Five years after naively occupying fixed defences along conventional lines and receiving the drubbing of their lives, mainly by B-52 bombers, the Talibaan have re-grouped in the districts around their original base Kandahar and are resorting to classic hit-and-run tactics, the hallmark of guerillas everywhere. During the 80s the Afghan Mujahideen outfought the combined might of the Soviet Union and a strong Afghan Army, multiple times more men, material and helicopters than that presently deployed by NATO. The Mujahideen could then count on a constant flow of arms, equipment and other supplies from (and through) Pakistan. Every one of the nine Mujahideen factions had a Talibaan contingent. After the Soviets left in 1989, the excesses of brutal warlords, corrupt officials appointed by the Northern Alliance led by the Tajiks who controlled Kabul, the general anarchy prevailing and the emergence of a charismatic one-eyed cleric in 1993-94 made them into a unified force.
Pakistan stands adjacent to the ground zero of terrorism, any book by Pervez Musharraf, written well or otherwise, would be an outstanding source for much of the facts since before 9/11, a hot selling item with or without publicity. With Humayun Gauhar, having about the best English among Pakistani columnists at this time, helping Musharraf write his autobiography, the book should not suffer for want of lucidity and/or expression. The stating of facts is a different proposition, there are always many sides to a story, once in print its credibility can be called into question depending upon the facts themselves and/or the motivation of the beholder. Given that those coming out second best in the best will have no love lost for him, the autography is bound to be extremely controversial.