India-Pakistan: Living Large Off The Mythical Threat


October 31, 2011: Pakistani generals continue to refuse to clear terrorists out of their last sanctuary; North Waziristan. Meanwhile, the Pakistanis demand more American and Afghan efforts against Pakistani Taliban based in Afghanistan. Pakistani troops have chased the Taliban out of most of the tribal territories (except for North Waziristan), forcing some of these terrorists to move across the border. For the local tribes, the border does not exist. In fact, by law (from the 1890s), the tribes living astride the border can ignore it. The tribes tend to avoid both the Pakistani and Afghan governments. They don't ignore the Taliban because some of their tribesmen belong. For many of these tribesmen, the Taliban are a job, even if it is only a raiding and looting society. Captured Taliban are often ignorant of Taliban religious and political goals, but not what they pay (not much, but something) and what the privileges (a license to steal and kill) are.

The terrorist related violence in Pakistan continues to kill or wound several hundred people a week. Because of the cold weather and snow, operations are slowing down. But trucks still have to move goods, and terrorists prefer to carry out attacks year-round, just so the media does not forget them. Pakistani violence continues to cause about ten times as many casualties as India suffers (from Islamic terrorists, leftist rebels and tribal separatists).

The Pakistani Army insists they simply don't have sufficient troops to go after North Waziristan. This is because most of the Pakistani Army must remain on the Indian border. This is necessary to maintain the illusion of imminent Indian invasion. Of course, any Pakistani with access to the Internet can quickly confirm that India has no interest in invading (and then being responsible for) Pakistan. No one wants to be responsible for Pakistan, and that seems to include most Pakistani leaders (who are more interested in plundering, than protecting, Pakistan). The military cannot back away from the Indian invasion myth, because without it the military has no justification for the large chunk of the national wealth they get (or take, depending on who is running the country at the time). This is becoming more of an issue in Pakistani politics, much to the discomfort of military officers, who have lucrative careers because of the "Indian threat."

Pakistan continues to tolerate American UAV missile attacks on terrorist leaders in North Waziristan. While upset when pro-Pakistan terrorists are killed, most of the victims have Pakistani blood on their hands. Most Islamic terrorists in Pakistan have declared the Pakistani government an enemy, and continue to carry out terror attacks against officials. Thus the generals have a very personal interest in seeing these terror organizations weakened. What annoys the Americans is that Haqqani Network terrorists, based in North Waziristan, continue to carry out attacks against Americans in Afghanistan. Pakistani generals are not concerned about this. Staying alive and maintaining their own comfortable lifestyle is more important, and that means constantly making noises about how hard the army works to protect Pakistan from foreign enemies. Many Pakistani media outlets run with this, even to the point of praising Haqqani for sticking it to the Americans. Pakistanis have convinced themselves (this is something of a national myth) that the September 11, 2001 attacks were carried out by the CIA, and blamed on al Qaeda, so that the U.S. could invade Afghanistan and, eventually, Pakistan. Pakistani diplomats can't preach this stuff, with a straight face, to their American counterparts (or any other Western diplomats), but back home they have to accept that it is considered the only true explanation for what's going on along the border. Thus the Islamic terror attacks are blamed on America, and India, who have stirred up things as part of a plot to destroy Pakistan.

Anti-corruption efforts in Pakistan continue to be stalled by the corrupt officials themselves. This is pretty standard in any nation fighting this level of corruption. The thieves want to hang on to their loot and stay out of jail. So a lot of the money will be spent on lawyers and, in some cases, hired muscle. Killing anti-corruption officials is generally frowned on, but it does happen from time to time.

In North Waziristan, American UAVs fired missiles that killed four Islamic terrorists.

Indian Moslems are mostly (about 80 percent) Sufi. This is a sect that is more mystical, and much less violent, than most. The umbrella organization for Indian Sufis has increasingly come out publically to denounce the growing popularity of Wahhabi Islam. This is a much more violent and conservative sect of Islam. Wahhabism comes from Saudi Arabia, and most Islamic terrorists belong or admire the Wahhabi way. Sufis are considered heretics by many Wahhabis, but increasingly Sufi Moslems are fighting back when attacked.

The counter-terrorism campaign against Maoists in eastern India has been reorganized. The special police units can now cross state lines to pursue Maoist groups. Before that, the special police battalions were assigned to specific states and only allowed to operate in one state. The Maoists adapted by setting up bases just across state lines. This tactic will no longer work.

October 30, 2011:  In southern India, police found and disarmed a roadside bomb apparently meant for a local politician. A local villager tipped off the police about the suspicious package in a culvert under a road.

October 29, 2011: In northwest Pakistan, near the Khyber Pass, a suicide bomber killed two policemen. One of the dead policemen had, last month, killed a Taliban leader. The Taliban like to discourage this sort of thing, and going after police responsible sends a message.

In Kashmir, the senior Islamic leader in the region is demanding that Christians stop converting Moslems. This is legal in India, while in Pakistan it is illegal, and liable to get you killed by Islamic radicals.

October 27, 2011: Taliban leaders said, via a TV documentary, that they had long depended on the Pakistani Army for supplies and sanctuary. This has never been a secret, but it was interesting seeing Taliban leaders openly boast about it for the first time. The Pakistani military promptly denounced the statements as lies. They always do that.

Pakistan Taliban revealed that recent American UAV attacks had killed five Pakistani Taliban leaders.

October 25, 2011: In northwest Pakistan, a roadside bomb killed a member of a pro-government tribal militia. In Pakistani Kashmir, a senior judge was shot and wounded by an unidentified man. There is usually little terrorism in Pakistani Kashmir, because of the presence of so many terrorist bases (for training men to cross the border into Indian Kashmir) and a large number of soldiers (to guard the border and keep an eye on all those terrorists.)

In Indian Kashmir, someone tossed hand grenades at police, wounding three of them. This was a rare attack, after several months of peace in the area. The Islamic terrorists who have operated in Indian Kashmir for three decades have been in decline, and under growing pressure from police, troops and a Moslem population that is more inclined to inform on the radicals.

October 23, 2011: In Kashmir, bad weather caused an Indian helicopter to inadvertently cross the border. Intercepted by Pakistani jet fighters, the chopper landed at a Pakistani base, where the two pilots and two passengers were questioned, and then allowed to fly back to Indian Kashmir. Everyone hailed this as a step forward, as in the past the four Indians would have been tossed in prison and the incident would have become another dispute between the two countries.

October 22, 2011: American and Pakistani commanders on both sides of the border in eastern Afghanistan have agreed to coordinate their operations against Taliban groups based on both sides of the border. These Taliban live as civilians in villages, and use cell phones and radio sets to plan and coordinate attacks, most of them in Pakistan (where most of these Taliban come from.) But there is another problem developing. In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan), more Taliban are setting up bases along the Afghan border. They are getting away from this because the government has turned more territory over to tribal militias, and withdraw more police (who are needed elsewhere to battle Islamic terrorists.)


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