Destroy Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex

And can we not get distracted please!

At a time when the astute businessmen running the Times of India are exploiting (via Oh, Teri!) the quintessentially Indian tendency to allow hope to triumph over experience, it is all the more important not to lose sight of reality. At the core of one of the most significant threats to India’s national security—and to the security of countries such as the United States—lies Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex. In the short term, it must be contained. In the medium-term it must be dismantled. Ultimately, it must destroyed.

‘Peace processes’ that merely rely on ‘people-to-people’ contacts, “cross-border cultural interactions, business seminars, music & literary festivals & citizens meets” are at best ineffective and at worst damaging, to the extent that they divert attention and resources from the necessary project of destroying the military-jihadi complex. (As for Times of India, it must decide whether it is for a newspaper to report facts as they are or introduce saccharine into its Pakistan reportage in pursuit of its objective to manufacture greater ‘understanding’.)

India doesn’t need yet another lofty-softy ‘peace process’. In the military-jihadi complex it faces a strategic adversary that is resolved to destroy India as we know it. You cannot confront, less defeat, such an adversary with clever-sounding slogans. For that, you need unity of purpose. You need a Project to Destroy the Pakistani Military-Jihadi Complex.

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30 Responses to Destroy Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex

  1. Neelakantan 2nd January 2010 at 11:19 #

    Heres what I wrote yesterday about it…link

  2. Palahalli 2nd January 2010 at 11:40 #

    If the notion of an “Military-Jihadi” complex is an intellectual tool to understand the problem of Islam, then I feel, that should be clear.

    If that is not the case, it would be useful to get hold of a definition of what this term means, what are it’s premises, how it corresponds to lay Pakistani reality and how different such a complex is as opposed to what can be expected in an Islamic environment – an environment that is otherwise abled by Islam.

    These clarifications will prove helpful in deciding why one must choose the destruction of such a “complex” over ToI’s “peace initiative”.

  3. Joker 2nd January 2010 at 11:53 #

    Renewing friendship with a country that vowed to bleed India through a thousand cuts. In a saner world, this activity would amount to treason. Good job TOI, you've hit a new low.

  4. Joker 2nd January 2010 at 14:24 #

    Haven't you published the comments yet or is something wrong with the comments section?

  5. SR Murthy 2nd January 2010 at 20:37 #

    Palahalli wrote:
    “If the notion of an “Military-Jihadi” complex is an intellectual tool to understand the problem of Islam, then I feel, that should be clear.”

    It is not an “intellectual tool”, falls more in the realm of common sense and information about Pakistan’s ground reality. You need to pay attention to the ground realities in Pakistan…will provide sources at the end of this comment.

    There are millions of young people who have been brainwashed with violent jihad thoughts in the past decade by their schoolbooks and their preachers, and these people think that India needs to be destroyed for the sake of “Islam’s wellbeing”. Pakistan’s claim to being the fortress of Islam is the central idea that the Pakistani army and the Pakistani people care about.

    This is what is known as the MJC because these jihadi groups are all formed and trained by the Pakistani ISI/Army. Their capabilities are a result of military training….such military training does not come easy without the support of a real military.

  6. SR Murthy 2nd January 2010 at 22:15 #

    “Ghost Wars” by Steve Coll is an excellent book on how this Military-Jihadi-Complex came into being as part of the US-USSR cold war during the early 80s.

  7. SR Murthy 2nd January 2010 at 23:00 #

    “Fulcrum of Evil: ISI, CIA, Al Qaeda Nexus” by Maloy Krishna Dhar (ex-IB India) is also an excellent reference as to how the USA and ISI allowed groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba to flourish in the 80s.

    After the US withdrew fro Afghanisthan in the early 90s — this Pakistani MJC took over all most of Afghan territory bringing about what is currently referred to as the “terrible Afghan Taliban rule”. The “Afghan Government” was run from Islamabad in those days, with Pakistani Phone numbers.

    After 9/11, during the early days of the 2001 Afghan war against “the taliban”, these pakistani personnel were airlifted out of Kunduz by US/Pakistani personnel. Most of the remainder of the personnel were killed by the furious local Afghan public that hates the Pakistanis even today for foisting the taliban on them in the 90s.

    Between 2001-2009, the islamization of the Pakistani public is complete — large sections of Pakistani society prefer jihadi publications over publications like Dawn newspapers. In fact, Pakistani english newspapers are mostly read by foreigners and not locals.

    It is this exact scenario that will once again come to pass if the US quits afghanisthan after failing to rein in the MJC leaving Kiyani or some successor of Kiyani in charge of Pakistan. This is more than likely given as the US govt. has no intention of acknowleding that they cannot win their war on terror with the biggest terrorist of them as an ally in that war. It is likely that this is malice on the part of the USA towards India rather than incompetence.

  8. Palahalli 3rd January 2010 at 01:05 #

    The case for the Military-Jihadi complex rests, as one sees clearly, completely on an artificial and isolated construction of such a complex.Therefore the argument assumes;the complex is destroyable without facing the Islam/Muslim question.

    My argument is against such unrealistic reasoning – I’m saying a Military-Jihadi complex cannot come about without the Muslim people inherently wanting it or rooting for it in any case. Islam being the prime motivator.

    The argument that Muslims are ‘brainwashed” by such a complex or in any case, is a “conspiracy of influences” may be true; but they are in line with Islamic tradition. They are not outside of what the Muslim is made to believe about the non-Muslim. Therefore the co-operation is greater and more effective.

    Pakistan of course has greater motivation to demonize a Hindu country – (Let us not make a mockery of this truth by assuming Pakistan would behave the same if by some miracle Hindusthan would be a Muslim country)- out of which it was born.

    The entire thesis of a Military-Jihadi complex assumes an architechture that once destroyed, will be unable to rise up on it’s own (Islamic) steam.

    Can someone tell us the start of the construction of such a structure?

    Let us not forget that even in 1857, Muslim involvement against the British was a Jihad under Bahadur Shah; against the infidel.

    If the late 80s and early 90s was the start of such a M.J.C. then i’d like to know about Zia UH, ZA Bhutto, Ayub K etc etc…readers may work way back as far as they want to on the Islamic trajectory – and explain which Muslim leader of Muslim people would have opposed the Jihad project. Indeed, which Muslim people would have opposed it?

    There are some hopeful noises about Waziristan Muslims rising against the Taliban and wanting anybody-just anybody to rescue them – lest we forget the Afghans allied with the US against the Soviets. Any (relative to Muslims) lesser evil will do just as long as they serve the larger purpose.

    So, I can see the Military-Jihadi complex but cannot see how one can destroy it without squarely facing the problem of Islam.

  9. Palahalli 3rd January 2010 at 01:10 #

    PS – A Muslim against the Taliban is still a Muslim and not a non-Muslim. Taliban are bad showmen, that’s all. Let’s not be fooled.

  10. SR Murthy 3rd January 2010 at 01:47 #

    Palahalli wrote:
    “The case for the Military-Jihadi complex rests, as one sees clearly, completely on an artificial and isolated construction of such a complex.Therefore the argument assumes;the complex is destroyable without facing the Islam/Muslim question.”

    “artificial and isolated”, eh? Cutting through all your “logical” verbosity to hide your prejudices, it is clear that your intent is to make the Af-Pak question a religious discussion that puts down Islam as the culprit rather than the well-nourished Pakistani military machine that sustains the military camps. I am sure Acorn does not allow such bigotry on this blog and rightly so.

    Before pretending to make logical arguments, one must pay obeisance to reality and the ground situation, along with pakistani military/ISI’s decades of experience at creating mayhem in the region. Everything seems to boil down to Hindu/Muslim/religious issues for you, so I don’t really have any response to your “logic”.

  11. Nitin 3rd January 2010 at 06:36 #

    Palahalli

    No, the military-jihadi complex is not an analytical construct to understand Islam. If you want to understand and debate Islam, this blog is not the place. So let’s not waste time & bandwidth here.

    You are right though, that we must define more clearly what we mean by the military-jihadi complex. That is an ongoing project and I hope to be able to define & describe in more detail in 2010.

  12. Palahalli 3rd January 2010 at 08:08 #

    ““artificial and isolated”, eh? Cutting through all your “logical” verbosity to hide your prejudices, it is clear that your intent is to make the Af-Pak question a religious discussion that puts down Islam as the culprit rather than the well-nourished Pakistani military machine that sustains the military camps. I am sure Acorn does not allow such bigotry on this blog and rightly so.”

    “If you want to understand and debate Islam, this blog is not the place. So let’s not waste time & bandwidth here.”

    - I am not interested in understanding or debating Islam. What I am interested in, however, is how one can come up with a theory of a Military-Jihadi complex without taking into account the obvious rootedness of Jihad in Islam? If you can show me it has nothing to do with Islam, I’m fine with that. Can we stick with this very narrow and straight path please?

    Shri Murthy, I wish you could take yourself out of an “personally accusative” PC frame for once and address the point I have raised, without getting perturbed about my “bigotry”, and explain how any animal can exist on Earth, without oxygen? If you think the money and infrastructure is it, then you may want to explain why or how one can be sure that such a M-J complex will never rise up again – once it is destroyed? Of course, short of occupation.

    Again, I don’t want to “understand Islam”. I’ve understood it already.

  13. Nitin 3rd January 2010 at 10:42 #

    Palahalli,

    The empirical evidence suggests that Pakistan is the only Islamic country with a military-jihadi complex. Needless to say, my use of the word ‘jihadi’ as part of the MJC indicates a connection with Islam. If you want to use this to debate the causality, then as I said, please do that elsewhere.

  14. Palahalli 3rd January 2010 at 11:30 #

    Nitin,

    I am reiterating, again, that I do not want to discuss Islam as cause. That much is already clear. What I am interested in is the chances of the M-J-C post destruction, to resurrect itself. Any policy that seeks it’s (M-J-C) destruction must at least keep the possiblity of resurrection in mind?

    How would you address that area?

    As for M-J-C being a Pakistan-based novelty, how do you see Iran’s various sponsorships of Jihad? It’s stated aim was to sponsor similar “revolutions”. Prior to Iran, it was Syria and Libya. What about S.Arabia’s sponsorship – Obviously territory of S.Arabia has not been used but the cash flows?

    The reason why Pakistan endures is also clear – The US.

    Syria and Libya lost out when the USSR went down. Iran is closest to Pakistan in the matter of like-ness and Iran survives because of China and Russia and their inability to make common cause with the US.

    All this is of course a bird’s eye perspective – empirical.

    I’ll be happy if anyone can address the first portion of this post.

  15. libertarian 3rd January 2010 at 15:23 #

    Nitin, You are right though, that we must define more clearly what we mean by the military-jihadi complex. That is an ongoing project and I hope to be able to define & describe in more detail in 2010.

    Looking forward to the development of this idea. We need to shift our thinking from prescriptive medicine to lethal injection.

  16. Nitin 3rd January 2010 at 19:19 #

    libertarian sir,

    I already proposed lethal injection, but you didn’t like the idea :-)

    But yes, hope to focus energies on the analytical project. Be warned: it’ll be more physiology than prescription, therapy or invasive surgery.

  17. Pankaj 3rd January 2010 at 22:08 #

    The trans – national profiteers are behind this initiative.

  18. fchiramel 3rd January 2010 at 23:02 #

    Even while agreeing that the MJC is at root of most evil in Indo-Pak relations, the above position against a harmless and maybe ineffective TOI-Jang initiative strikes as needlessly ideological to me. I am of the opinion that any indirect or direct Indian effort at the destruction of the MJC will actually need an exemplary people to people component.

    It can be argued that this is the first time Pakistani civil society is truly experiencing the terrorism it had nurtured for export, and therefore more receptive to Indian concerns.

    Not knowing the reach or details of the TOI-Jang initiative it is hard to predict an outcome, but I am on the skeptical side.

  19. Primary Red 4th January 2010 at 06:08 #

    It’s a profound tragedy in our national character that we remain emotionally vested in Pakistan. This is the spring from which our misguided peaceniks draws their sustenance

    Imagine that it were the dictators in Burma who were waging war on us via terrorism as a tactic. One suspects our reaction would be a lot more clinical and devoid of sappy emotion that it is (pathetically) with Pakistan

    Such emotion, that some view as virtuous, is anything but. At best, it lays bare a cardinal weakness that doesn’t befit an aspiring superpower. At worst, it invites exploitation by an enemy who is not in the least emotional. The former makes us an object of mirth, the latter a victim of violence

    Either way, Pakistanis can be forgiven for rationally assuming that we are masochists who can’t be punished enough

    The good news is that we have been so predictable to date, any change in attitude — a refreshing coldness and detachment from the Pakistani elite and their rancid affairs — will be very unnerving to the MJC. In this way, we can begin diminishing the oversized hold they seem to have on our fears

    Let’s focus on strengthening our defenses and moving past the sorry chapter that Pakistan has been in our lives

    Happy new year!

  20. Oldtimer 4th January 2010 at 08:24 #

    There is generally nothing wrong with peace, love, brotherhood, motherhood, apple pie and carrot halwa. They are all sweet stuff. My problem with Toi-Junk initiative is two-fold:

    1. ToI is extremely commercial in nature. We all know what sort of stunts it performed to go on to occupy the dominant position it has in print today. There was this notorious school porn MMS episode, in which the paper played up the incident of a leaked sex video on the front page for several days. The parents of the students of the school felt angry and helpless at the ruthless exploitation by ToI of a silly incident involving two of the students of the school. Sharing their anger, the judge of a Delhi court summoned the publisher to the court. While this incident marked a new low for ToI’s style of “journalism”, there are several other problematic aspects of ToI’s business model that even other media houses find distasteful: private treaties and paid news being an example. Given this background, are we to believe that the ToI Peace Process is devoid of a commercial angle? Who exactly is funding it and why? Note that this is a question worth asking even if the initiator is not ToI.

    2. ToI does not explain how their initiative will help reduce terrorism and save innocent lives. What use is a “peace process” if it does not really bring peace to potential victims? I’d have liked to see firm guarantees on the lines that “this initiative will bring down attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists on Indian soil by X percent”. Surely, a successful commercial enterprise knows the importance of quantifying expected outcomes?

  21. Palahalli 4th January 2010 at 08:52 #

    I agree with Primary Red but would not stop with Myanmar. Sri Lanka, Nepal too.

    Even the NDA took the skewring of BSF personnel by the BDR in its stride.

  22. libertarian 4th January 2010 at 20:36 #

    Nitin, your case for troop deployment didn’t seem like lethal injection. The probability for a bloody and costly stalemate is high.

    Looking forward to the ideas and the debate.

    Happy New Decade.

  23. Jai_C 5th January 2010 at 09:40 #

    Troops to Af. look more likely to strengthen than to weaken the MJC in Pak.

    HNY to all.

  24. sanjay 5th January 2010 at 09:53 #

    It gives a sence of deja vu. even IK Gujral outsourced diplomacy to rank amaetures, MMS has gone a step further and is letting US decide even our internal matters. So if US decides to keep pak in good humor for letting its army contain alqaida and taleban for them or even for just going through the motions of doing so by promising them their piece of cake, our media is more than happy to oblige.

  25. K 5th January 2010 at 19:59 #

    The line from the article takes the cake – “The 26/11 Mumbai assault confirmed what New Delhi has believed for a while”. Seems the TOI author is living in the 70s. We had proof of pakistan’s involvement long before Kargil and he is still questioning the basis of our suspicions. I feel a signed letter from the ousted Kashmiri pandits and relatives of those massacred every year by terrorists sponsored from across the border ought to shut up the TOI Editor as well as those who keep getting bouts of amnesia and ask us to build bonhomie with the hostile neighbours.

  26. Chari 9th January 2010 at 04:37 #

    There should be no question of destroying or not. The real question is dimplym how to?
    How can be present AFPAK be used for this purpose?
    How can India act after US leaves the place?
    How can India use its present presence in Afghanistan to this end?
    How can India do this without annoying the Phaktuns?

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