Heeft Amerika een ultimatum gesteld aan Pakistan om de Taliban in eigen land hard aan te pakken? Het zou mij niet verbazen, mede gezien de actuele escalatie en de harde wijze waarop de regering-Bush in 2002 Pakistan aan haar zijde dwong bij haar Global War on Terror.
Zou de VS dit binnen de NAVO bespreken met haar bondgenoten? Een intrigrerende vraag omdat Bush Jr destijds (ook?) niet zijn voorgenomen invasie van Irak in NAVO verband aan de orde heeft gesteld.
Stepping up pressure on Pakistan to take concrete action against the Taliban, the US has given Islamabad two weeks time to eliminate the insurgents from its soil before Washington determines what it will do next. General David Petraeus, who heads the US Central Command, has told US officials that the coming two weeks would be "critical to determining whether the Pakistani government will survive", Fox News reported.
"The Pakistanis have run out of excuses" and are "finally getting serious" about combating the threat from Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists operating out of the country’s northwest, the general said.
Criticising Pakistan’s attitude towards fighting the insurgents, Petraeus said "we have heard it all before" that Pakistan was doing its best to eliminate the Taliban threat.
He said that he is looking forward to see concrete action by Islamabad in the next two weeks before determining the US’ next course of action, which is presently set on propping up the Pakistani government and military with counter-insurgency training and aid.
Petraeus made these assessment in talks with lawmakers and Obama administration officials this week, the news channel reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.
The sources also told the channel that no one in Washington has an "understanding of Taliban’s true objective".
It remains unclear to policymakers here whether the Taliban wants to overthrow the Zardari government or merely to carve out territory within Pakistan in which it can establish safe haven, impose Sharia law, and plot attacks against external targets.
President Obama’s strategie voor Aghanistan en Pakistan (‘AfPak’) zou beter kunnen worden gewijzigd – en uitgebreid – in een strategie voor Pakistan en Afghanistan (‘PakAf’). Want het stabiliseren van Afghanistan heeft geen zin zonder dat tegelijkertijd de politieke en sociaal-maatschappelijke omstandigheden in Pakistan worden verbeterd. Maar dat houdt een langdurige en veelzijdige betrokkenheid met dat, door binnenlandse tegenstellingen verscheurd land, in, betoogt deze analist. [Maar dat zou in feite inhouden dat Amerika moet gaan nation-rebuilding , waartoe zij m.i. niet is toegerust noch ingesteld].
Pakistan begint te begrijpen dat de binnenlandse dreiging van de Taliban groter is dan de externe dreiging van ‘eeuwige vijand’ India, constateert president Obama tevreden – maar zeer bezorgd. Maar in hoeverre werkt de Amerikaanse bemoeienis in India (en Afghanistan) contra-productief, vraagt Al Jazeera zich af in een leerzame (video) reportage.
..The Times quoted an unnamed senior Pakistani official as saying, This was a bloody revolution in Swat. I wouldnt be surprised if it sweeps the established order of Pakistan.
The Obama administration is now intervening to prop up that established order of feudal land relations, vast social inequality and military domination over the government. This will involve the suppression of not merely a handful of terrorists, but an insurgency with broad-based popular support, which is fueled in large measure by US military attacks on civilians on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Having intervened in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003 with the aim of asserting American hegemony over the strategically vital and oil-rich regions of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, American imperialism has succeeded only in spreading instability and creating the conditions for new and even more bloody wars.
Apocalypse Now. Run for cover. The turbans are coming. This is the state of Pakistan today, according to the current hysteria disseminated by the Barack Obama administration and United States corporate media – from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to The New York Times. Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said on the record that Pakistani Talibanistan is a threat to the security of Britain.
But unlike St Petersburg in 1917 or Tehran in late 1978, Islamabad won’t fall tomorrow to a turban revolution.
Pakistan is not an ungovernable Somalia. The numbers tell the story. At least 55% of Pakistan’s 170 million-strong population are Punjabis. There’s no evidence they are about to embrace Talibanistan; they are essentially Shi’ites, Sufis or a mix of both. Around 50 million are Sindhis – faithful followers of the late Benazir Bhutto and her husband, now President Asif Ali Zardari’s centrist and overwhelmingly secular Pakistan People’s Party. Talibanistan fanatics in these two provinces – amounting to 85% of Pakistan’s population, with a heavy concentration of the urban middle class – are an infinitesimal minority.
The Pakistan-based Taliban – subdivided in roughly three major groups, amounting to less than 10,000 fighters with no air force, no Predator drones, no tanks and no heavily weaponized vehicles – are concentrated in the Pashtun tribal areas, in some districts of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and some very localized, small parts of Punjab.
To believe this rag-tag band could rout the well-equipped, very professional 550,000-strong Pakistani army, the sixth-largest military in the world, which has already met the Indian colossus in battle, is a ludicrous proposition…