Thursday, August 29, 2002

Back from Vacation

What a day to return to the Blogging world. There are two really interesting articles today in the Times of India. The first written by Chidhu Rajghatta, in which he states what many South Asians, terrorism watchers, and readers of Ahmed Rashid's Taliban book have known since September 11. American desires, it seems, to promote democracy around the world have suddenly taken a backseat to this war on terror. Perhaps, instead of focusing on Iraq or Iran in search of terrorists and Al-Qaeda, the more relevant move would be to sternly threaten Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to change its underlying support for extremists Islamicists. Iran, with its highly Shiite quality, would seemingly have no interest in supporting Al-Qaeda as Iran publicly backed the Northern Alliance, and Al-Qaeda is known to be pro-Sunni in characteristic. The Iraq issue is a sticky one. Saddam Hussein should be a candidate for U.S. sponsored regime change not because he is supporting Al-Qaeda (I don't think he is), not because he is a dictator, lack of Iraqi human rights and political freedoms (then there would be many countries who would be candidates for U.S. sponsored regime change), but soleley because of the dangers he creates by continuing the proliferation of Chem/Bio weapons and the perception in the terrorism community that perhaps he has the money, the psychology, and the delivery mechanisms to use these weapons.

The Second article, written by Rashmee Z Ahmed fits in well with my point, as Ahmed points out that Pakistani dictator cum President, Pervez Musharraf is not guaranteeing the stop in Pakistani support for military infiltration.

Pakistan has set "no time limit" for its new policy of government non-cooperation with cross-border terrorist infiltration, General Musharraf has said, even as he warned this might be hard to sustain without "some movement on Kashmir, some reciprocation from the Indian side".

What I gather from this then is that indeed Pakistan, as a state, is not ruling out again state sponsorship of militant activity in Kashmir. I wonder why Pakistan, for all these years has been missing from the State Department's list of State sponsors of terrorism, could it be perhaps, that the list is not accurate, and solely a political one?

Another aspect that is interesting is that possibly Musharraf, as interest in the West is slowly lulling with regards to Kashmir, is trying to reinvigorate the flames of war in South Asia. Musharraf knows, as does much of the Kashmir-watching World, that if any increase in militant activity occurs, as a result of Pakistani sponsorship, than this will lead to a possible war in the Sub-Continent. It is relevant to remember that elections will be occuring in Kashmir soon, and these elections are not in the interest of Pakistan. I think Musharraf is gambling, gambling on the fact that again the U.S. will get involved, and this time, not only enact travel warnings that were devastating financially for India, but that India will again issue threats that will not be backed up.

My guess is that if infiltrations increase, that this time India will attack, but not until after elections have been completed, leading again to a very dangerous situation. Hopefully, Musharraf, like many dictators unsure of their political support, is just talking to raise his own domestic levels of support.

My posts will continue to be slow as I am working on an article and Fulbright applications.


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