Beyond the cosmetic crackdown

Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex remains unaffected by the latest ‘crackdown’

It would be one thing if Pakistan’s ‘crackdown’ on its jihadi groups was sincere and thoroughgoing. But it’s not. It is as much a temporary, cosmetic and unsatisfactory exercise as the ones under General Musharraf five years ago (see this archived post). The leaders and operatives of the Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammed will be ‘released’ once the heat is off and the dust settles. Pakistani officials are saying as much, actually. Unless India produces evidence, the jihadi leaders will be let off from “preventive custody”. The United Jihad Council, a clique of jihadi outfits led by Syed Salahuddin and focussed on Kashmir ‘disappeared’ by the simple expedient of taking down its signboards.

Perhaps this is as much as the Asif Ali Zardari and his government can do. Yet it won’t do. If the civilian government cannot take meaningful action to cleanse Pakistan of the military-jihadi axis that is directed against India, then the genuineness of its own sincerity is of little consequence.

There is much to say for the assessment that there are deeper, structural reasons why Pakistan’s governments will not take decisive action against the jihadi infrastructure. And it is Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal that protects Osama bin Laden and Hafiz Mohammed Saeed right down to the jihadi foot soldier. In other words, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons not only deter India from militarily attacking Pakistan, but, more importantly, deter any country from targeting the military-jihadi complex. Where does this leave us? Pakistan’s nuclear weapons must be made irrelevant if the global war against Islamist terrorism is to be won. They used to call it the Islamic bomb. It certainly has become the Islamists’ bomb.

16 thoughts on “Beyond the cosmetic crackdown”

  1. Only the US can do it and they have shown no sign that even they are interested in going so far.

  2. AG,
    Israel did what it did before the Iraq made its bomb…or came close. As you can see, they are handling Iran differently.

    It’s not a question of guts. It’s a question of brains.

    You mean the guys who got snookered by a nutcase with a weird hairdo presiding over a broken state, not once but twice, are the only ones who could do it?

  3. Never quite occured to me why after 9/11 Armitage only extracted from Mushy a promise to merely do a U-turn on ties with the Taliban. Just this much for the threat of bombing Pak back to the stone age??

    I think the above was only for public consumption.

    More likely, the US asked for and was given access to Pak’s N-arsenal which the US justifiably feared could get into Al Qaeda hands as so,e sorta suitcase delivered dirty bomb etc.

    So why is the US still not confidently acting in dealing with Pak? Because pak could always have ordered more chinese take-out. IOW, back to square one.

  4. When the US is out of Iraq, they may devote more attention to the Pakistani problem. That is assuming Obama would want to intervene more in Pakistan as he said which is not necessarily the case. Until then, the current arrangement will probably continue.

    Besides, the Pakistani army is savvy enough to play its cards well. If they can persuade or force the LeT to return to killing only Indians (as against all the ‘Americans, Jews and crusaders’, that would probably be sufficient to head off stronger American intervention while keeping the jihad against India going. I would not bet on this not happening. After all, the LeT’s main focus remains India even if it has extended its reach to other places.

    By the way, after 9/11, there were reports of the 262nd airborne division training with the Israelis to take out Pakistan’s nukes. Pakistan’s foreign minister even called a conference to assure the US that they were in safe hands. I am sure contingency plans are in place with the Pentagon to do just that but nothing has been heard of it in the public domain ever since.

  5. Correction: That is not the 262nd airborne but members of Israel’s Unit 262. Not sure who was the US counterpart of that.

  6. Islamofascism cannot be defeated with an exclusive focus on foreign policy, much less with this almost pathological obsession with the failed Pakistan State. Domestic policy must be an integral component of any strategy to eradicate this scourge. And, by that, I don’t mean appeasement of the followers of Islam. For instance, the war on terror is not helped much by this insane talk about letting the British Muslims be governed by Sharia. Au contraire!

  7. Given that the free world (for want of a better word to describe us ‘kaafirs’) has a lot to lose in an all-out war, we can rest assured that it is not the good guys who will precipitate the clash of civilizations. Sadly, the longer we wait the bloodier the toll shall become in the coming war.

    We can only hope the jihadists, given their stellar record at shooting self-goals, will force our hand by doing something incredibly stupid (like nuking a western city or tel aviv) prematurely (before the believers in the west have the numbers to sabotage a deadly response).

  8. Sanjay,

    Thanks for keeping us updated with the latest. The proper place to post them is the open thread. I’ve now put a prominent link to it on the sidebar.

    Please keep the comments section of other posts on-topic.

  9. Hoollahoo!

    Continuing from my post#6 up there, proof at last….

    Recently some Pakistan officials have felt it necessary to quietly remind New Delhi – and the world in general – that it is a nuclear power. However, there must still be some doubt as to how many usable nuclear devices Pakistan actually has. Some estimates have been as low as just two 20 kiloton warheads.

    Whatever the correct figure may be, Washington’s studied indifference to Islamabad’s implied nuclear warning goes some considerable way to confirming reports that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is very closely monitored, if not actually controlled in some way by the United States.

    It is quite possible that any attempt to move these weapons, let alone deploy them would result in a swift US response and their total destruction.



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