Pax Indica: Understanding Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex

Identifying the source of the threat

Excerpt from today’s Pax Indica column at Yahoo!:

The military-jihadi complex is a dynamic network of military, militant, radical Islamist and political-economic structures that pursues a set of domestic and foreign policies to ensure its own survival and relative dominance.

What does the military-jihadi complex comprise of? Obviously, it includes the Pakistani armed forces, their intelligence agencies, their commercial enterprises (that Ayesha Siddiqa refers to as ‘MilBus’) and cliques of retired military officers and their associated political-economic interests. These might be said to constitute the first node.

The second node consists of radical Islamist organisations and their large networks of militant groups, such as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Given that these groups rely on Islamism to recruit and motivate their cadres, they are also connected with international Islamist causes and networks such as al-Qaeda. Organised crime syndicates are another aspect of this node.

The third node is formed by political and bureaucratic actors who might be members of various political parties and occupy positions in the government, but represent the interests of the military-jihadi complex. The fourth node includes civil society groups, think tanks, NGOs and sections of the media. [Yahoo!]