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Pakistan wobbles « Previous | |Next »
March 5, 2009

Pakistan is an unstable country due to political turmoil and unrest that looks to become a failing state. It is politically fractured and economically destitute, with a weak central government. The country is isolated and in danger of imploding. It has a military, which as Tanveer Ahmed points out in the Sydney Morning Herald, has fostered Islamic groups:

A large share of responsibility for the current chaos must be put at the door of Pakistan's army and its Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. For more than 20 years, the ISI has deliberately and consistently funded a variety of Islamist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group most likely to have co-ordinated the Mumbai bombings. The agency has long seen the jihadists as an ingenious and cost-effective means of controlling Afghanistan (which occurred with the retreat of the Soviets) and bogging down the Indian Army in Kashmir (achieved from the early 1990s).

Washington,is more concerned about defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Central Asia than preserving the shell of a democratic system. The rise in cross-border attacks by US forces using Predator drones armed with missiles has further alienated tribal leaders and encouraged radicalisation in the north-western tribal areas dominated by Pakistani Taliban groups. So it is even possible that the attack in the Pakistani city of Lahore on a convoy carrying Sri Lankan cricketers was carried out by disgruntled Punjabi militants trained by the Inter-Services Intelligence,

Will the financial crisis heightens the risk of global terrorism? If militants thrive in places where no one is fully in charge, then the global recession threatens to create more such places especially in Pakistan. Ian Bremmer says that Pakistan:

is a country that is home to lawless regions where local and international militants thrive, nuclear weapons and material, a history of nuclear smuggling, a cash-starved government, and a deteriorating economy. Pakistan is far from the only country in which terrorism threatens to spill across borders. But there's a reason why the security threats flowing back and forth across the Afghan-Pakistani border rank so highly on Eurasia Group's list of top political risks for 2009 -- and why they remain near the top of the Obama administration's security agenda.

Pakistan could prove to be more of a danger to global peace and security in the long run than Afghanistan, because of its nuclear weapons and its highly politicised and Islamicised secret service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:58 AM | | Comments (1)


It's the law of unintended consequences in action, as anyone familiar with chaos theory predicted.

Instead of engaging in smug triumphalism about how they finally 'won the war' in Iraq, the architects of US Middle East policy would more profitably reflect on the potentially catastrophic genie they've let out of the bottle in the region. Not that they will of course, they're too busy shrieking about the glories of Teh Surge.