Saturday, March 28, 2009

Obama's Afgh-Pak Policy Already Unraveling

Delhi, India. United States President Barack Hussein Obama unveiled his much awaited South Asian strategy in a globally televised speech last night (Indian time). Today many Indians told me, as one put it, that Obama “lived up to his middle name by showing the face of a pro-Pakistan US policy,” a critical component of which that policy is to find “moderate Taliban” with whom the United States and its allies can negotiate a peace. Imagine if in 1942, Franklin Roosevelt said the US was going to look for moderate Nazis who could negotiate peace. Americans would have been outraged then, and history would show the policy to have been a calamitous mistake. Fortunately, we do not have to wait for the passage of history since those moderate Taliban have already provided evidence that the policy is terribly flawed.

Obama’s template for it is the agreement earlier this year between the current Pakistani government and the Taliban that gave the latter control of Pakistan’s Swat Valley and accepted the imposition of Sharia law there. In exchange, the Taliban “promised” not to launch further attacks against the Pakitani government. Yet just hours before Obama’s speech, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque located in the Khyber region near the Pakistan-Afghan border. So far, the dead or injured number at least 170 of the 250 worshippers. The mosque was completely destroyed. Most news outlets reported the event as a message to Obama that defeating the Taliban will not be easy and that the “militants” could strike at Pakistan pretty much at will. The media also said that no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. All of that is true, but very few outlets reported the fact that several security sources have evidence that the attack was the work of Tehrik-e-Taliban, a deadly Islamist group headed by Batullah Mehsud. What makes that especially significant is that Tehrik-e-Taliban and Mehsud were one of those “moderate Taliban” that entered into that agreement in the Swat Valley. One of the Hindi language channels reported that the group’s spokesman claimed it abrogated the treaty because “it is against the will of Allah to fight for Sharia only in Swat Valley, that all of Pakistan must be under Sharia.”

It took only a month for these “moderates” to do what Hamas, Hizbollah, and other radical Islamists terror groups have done consistently; treating all agreements with us as nothing more than temporary respites valid only until they believe it in their interests to fight. It is a clearly established pattern among these groups yet no one in the Obama Administration seems able to make a connection.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Clinton Smiles in the midst of South Asian disaster

Rudrapur, India. If Americans (or anyone else) needed proof that our government is hopelessly lost in South Asia, this morning’s Indian papers provide all the confirmation they need from a beaming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praising the Pakistanis for “themselves resolving [their] difficulties.” What idiocy! While President Asif Ali Zardari and his political rival Nawaz Sharif resolved their personal rivalry (because the military “convinced” Zardari that it would be in his best interests to give into Sharif), Clinton’s belief that this deal can “stabilize civilian democracy and the rule of law” in Pakistan would be laughable were it not so tragic.

Despite apologists for the Pakistani mess, the Taliban is cutting through that country like a knife through butter. Moreover, as it does, this government that Clinton praises cut a deal with “moderate Taliban” that ceded Pakistan’s Swat Valley to the it, allowing its imposition of Sharia law on over 1.2 million people. This is precisely the course now recommended by the Obama Administration and Obama himself! The Swat Valley, it should be noted, is only 100 miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. While we worry about Iran, we might soon see an Islamist State that already has nuclear weapons. And Obama and Clinton smiling about it like a couple of Cheshire cats.

Their allies who made the deal claim that it was “not capitulation but the price of peace.” Yeah, much like unconditional surrender was the price of peace for Germany and Japan after World War II. But that’s Pakistani democracy for you—and Obama’s surreal notion of finding moderate Taliban.

All the while, they are content to allow what has become a river of misery to flow from Pakistan to India’a Punjab: a mass exodus of Pakistani Hindus. This remnant of a community was once one in five Pakistanis and has been reduced to one percent of the population. With Taliban forces in effective control over greater portions of the country, the Hindu population is fleeing fast, either after atrocities have been committed or just ahead of them. According to several informants among them, Taliban officials told them to get out of the country fast or face “dire consequences.” Those officials had a personal stake in that, too, as Pakistan’s Enemy Property Act then gives them the right to seize that “non-Muslim” land and distribute it to a Muslim; likely a relative, ally, or purchaser. Clinton’s praise for this government under which this problem has only grown is consigning the Hindus of Pakistan to extinction through death, forced conversion, or flight. The Pakistan government said this was not “capitulation but the price of peace.” Tell that to the millions streaming across this sad border. They are also victims of a deal with “moderate Taliban,” such as President Obama said he wants to make elsewhere in South Asia.

Are we still smiling Secretary Clinton?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Islamist Nuke Coming Soon!

Maybe the sky isn't falling right now, but Pakistan is. I'm in India, so I do not know how widely this is being covered back in the United States, but there is a major crisis in Pakistan right now--which, for those who might not know, is an Islamic Republic that already has nuclear weapons. It also has longstanding conflicts with India and is right next door to nuclear wannabe, Iran.

Last year, that country held elections which ousted a military strongman who--for all his faults and limitations--cooperated with the US in the war on Islamist extremism, while keeping a lid on Al Qaeda expansion and anti-Americanism in his country. Many in the West hailed this as a triumph of democracy, forgetting that elections are the last step, not the first to democracy. There followed a veritable cottage industry of apologists who were quick to offer excuses every time the government behaved in an undemocratic, incompetent, or anti-American fashion.

Well, in words made famous by President Obama's former pastor, "the chickens have come home to roost." That government is days away from a complete collapse. Al Qaeda forces are marching through the country like a knife through butter, and the government already has agreed to its demands for a state within a state that imposes Sharia law on populations where it has taken power. The Pakistani government said that this was not "capitulation but the price of peace." Yes, as was unconditional surrender for Germany and Japan in World War II.

The military has given the government the sort of ultimatum that says it's time to start clearing out its desk and looking for asylum in one of those havens for deposed and corrupt rulers. And in fact, it is clear that only a military takeover will prevent an Al Qaeda takeover of nuclear Pakistan. Meanwhile, politicians are squabbling, calling each other traitors, and threatening to action against one another instead of acting against their common enemy.

People expect the military to take power in Pakistan around March 16. Unfortunately, that will only delay the Islamist victory there, especially with senior elements in the military and in Pakistani intelligence already sympathetic to that end. This could pose a serious if not grave threat to the United States and our allies. But do we have any indication that our government is acting; or even has a plan?

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