Yes, but rational thought in US Foreign Policy is not necessary when fighting the "war on terror". The origins of the Taliban in Pakistan and Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, the fundamentalist nature of the latter and the move towards fundamentalism in the North of the other point to a threat from other than Iraq.
As much as Iraq needs a regime change, it is not a source of terrorism, aka al Qaeda. It is a threat to Israel and the stability of Middle-East Oil flow. The sooner they (Washington) admits it and drops the rhetoric the more rational they will sound. Just think, and invasion of Iraq will result in the moderate political elements in the Arab world becoming anti-American. Then the US will have multiple fronts to fight in its war on terror, even if they succeed in replacing the Caliph of Bagdad with General Tommy Franks. Our Generals (in Australia) have decided they can only fight on two fronts, so East Timor and Afghanistan or East Timor and Iraq, not all three. At least this mess has meant an increase in our Defence Budget, now we are fighting in the halls of Russel Hill whether we should have more soldiers or smarter weapons or both some how. They seemed to have made a decision to by (jointly develop and manufacture) the Lockheed Martin JSF fighter-whatsit. What's a few billion dollars here and there. Clifford M Dubery ----- Original Message ----- From: Marc A. Schindler Sent: Monday, 28 October 2002 10:51 To: zion-l Subject: [ZION] Oh, what a lovely ally It's awfully hard not to say "I told you so...." But Pakistan is the real concern, not Iraq, as the election results show. See article below, from the 19/10/02 issue of The Economist: Pakistan's election Oh, what a lovely ally Oct 17th 2002 | LAHORE >From The Economist print edition An anti-American grouping makes important gains that are likely to embarrass President Musharraf Get article background “AMERICANS are the killers, the butchers, the murderers,” observes the mild mannered but plain speaking secretary-general of Pakistan's Jamaat-i-Islami party, Syed Munawar Hassan. The views of Mr Hassan and his party are not new. Like much of the Muslim world they are convinced that the United States and Israel have formed a tag team for the purpose of oppressing Muslims, a belief fanned into fury by the American bombing of Afghanistan, Israel's assaults on Palestinians and now the threat of war against Iraq. Until now, such views could be treated as dissent, blasting Pakistan's pro-western policies without injuring them. Pakistan has been among the most valuable members of the American-led coalition against terrorism. Last week's general election may have changed that. The MMA grouping of religious parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, stormed from the fringes of Pakistani politics into the centre, positioning themselves to govern two of Pakistan's four provinces and winning more seats in the national parliament than they have ever done. There is a chance that this group will be part of the coalition in charge of the central government. Opposition to Pakistan's anti-terrorist alliance with the United States was the centrepiece of their campaign and will be their top priority in government, says Mr Hassan. The two provinces they look set to govern, North West Frontier Province and Balochistan, blur into Afghanistan. They are prime hunting grounds for refugee members of al-Qaeda, including, perhaps, Osama bin Laden. George Bush and Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, must now be wondering what the religious parties can do to sabotage the hunt. They are not the only ones in shock. The days of freedom of expression in parliament are behind us, laments Aitzaz Ahsan, a leader of the centrist Pakistan People's Party. He recalls that in 1999 a handful of fundamentalist senators so intimidated their colleagues that only four voted for a resolution condemning honour killings of women who had eloped. Will tradition now smother modernity? India, Pakistan's perennial enemy, is also worried. Its foreign minister, Yashwant Sinha, called the gains of the religious parties a bad signal. How much closer will fundamentalists get to controlling Pakistan's arsenal of nuclear weapons? The rise of the religious parties is the sum of some fears, not all of them. It brings an illiberal, anti-American element to the centre of Pakistan's political arena, which cannot but complicate the war on terrorism. General Musharraf, who tried, though not very consistently, to curb the influence of religion in public life in the three years since seizing power in a coup, will probably stop trying. Concessions to India over the disputed state of Kashmir, never imminent, are even less likely. But there is little danger of Pakistan becoming a rogue Islamist state, an Iraq with a hankering for martyrdom. Some of the religious parties are pro-Taliban, but are more worldly and pragmatic than their defeated Afghan brothers. Access to political power will make them more so. They must contend with many other forces, including rivals in the fragmented parliament, the armed forces, which can veto almost anything politicians do, pressures from the United States and divisions within their own ranks. Pakistan is in for a period of uncertainty, perhaps even instability, but not revolution. The elections knocked Pakistan askew. The idea had been to restore democracy after three years of military rule without bringing back the habitual sins of corruption, political vendettas, masochistic economic policies and clashes between civilian and military authorities, which often ended with the army taking over. To this end, General Musharraf first secured his own position as president by holding a referendum in April, which almost no one but he regards as legitimate. He then amended the constitution to give the president the power to dismiss parliament and to give the armed forces a permanent role in government through a National Security Council, headed by the president and including the top generals and elected officials. Finally, he tried to engineer the election so that the parliament it produced would acquiesce in all of this. Criminal proceedings against Pakistan's two pre-eminent politicians, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, both former prime ministers, kept them out of the country. A split was arranged in Mr Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League; PML(Q), the bit friendly to General Musharraf, got extra help from the administration and won more seats than any other party. The election had serious flaws, said observers from the European Union. Not serious enough, though, to deliver a comfortable result for General Musharraf. The religious parties were supposed to do well (a decent showing would make the general look all the more indispensable to the West as a bulwark against extremism), but not too well. As things turned out, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), the six-party religious alliance, won enough seats in parliament to deny the general's allies, PML(Q) plus assorted others, a reliable majority. General Musharraf's other potential partner is the People's Party of Miss Bhutto, which agrees with him about fighting terrorism but, like the MMA, rejects the constitutional innovations that place him above parliament. He seems to face a choice between a party with a hostile ideology and one that is merely hostile to his ambitions. Just what will emerge from the parliamentary scrum is uncertain. The price the People's Party will set for joining the government, which may include dropping cases against Miss Bhutto and her husband, who is in jail, may be too high for General Musharraf to meet. Other coalitions are quite possible. A friends-of-Pervez government, including everyone but the MMA, the People's Party and Mr Sharif's faction of the Muslim League, might eke out a majority, though it would be too slender to last. The current parliament, however, is unlikely to deliver stable government. Avowed foes of military rule have about half the seats. Even seemingly compliant civilian prime ministers have a way of turning on the generals once they sniff power. The current political line-up seems doomed to constant bickering over position and policy, which may end with the president dismissing parliament or even with the politicians getting rid of the president. None of this would be new for Pakistan. What is new is that the religious right will have a big say in what happens. The official line, from the government, headed by General Musharraf until he gives way to a prime minister, from the religious parties themselves and from potential coalition partners, is that the MMA will use power responsibly. It is not fundamentalist or militant, merely religious, says Pakistan's information minister. Some Pakistanis compare it to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu-nationalist party that rules India. The MMA downplays its radicalism, eager to be seen as a savvy player in the give and take of parliamentary politics. Even on its top priority, ridding Pakistan of American terrorist-hunters, the party sounds reasonable. It's a process, says Mr Hassan of Jamaat-i-Islami, not a switch button. Parliamentary polish does not quite obscure the MMA's rough pedigree. Some of its constituent parties have a soft spot for the Taliban. One leader said that if the United States molested Mr bin Laden Americans in Pakistan would be attacked. Largely non-violent themselves, their advocacy of jihad has underwritten violence in Afghanistan, against Indian rule in Kashmir and even against other Islamic sects within Pakistan. In their commingling of violence and respectability they are typical of Pakistani institutions, including the army. Fazlur Rahman, issuer of the threat to kill Americans, heads the most powerful faction of the Jamiatul Ulema-i-Islam (JUI). Its madrassas (religious schools) educated the Taliban and supplied legions for its army. Its fierce creed, a puritanical brand of Sunni Islam, developed during the 19th century in the Indian town of Deoband, spawned even fiercer groups. Sipah-i-Sahaba, a Punjab-based group started by former JUI men in 1985, has a record of killing Shia Muslims. It spun off an even more violent group, called Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, which is suspected of involvement in recent attacks on westerners and foreigners. Sipah-i-Sahaba is banned, and too disreputable for the MMA, but its leader, Azam Tariq, won a parliamentary seat in the southern Punjabi city of Jhang, boasting in a campaign brochure of loving the great soldier, Osama bin Laden. Mr Rahman is more politician than warrior. He was chairman of the foreign-affairs committee of parliament and an ally of Miss Bhutto, and has been named by his party as a candidate for prime minister. His nickname, Maulana Diesel, testifies to a reputation for commercial acumen, which some suggest can be exploited in the cause of moderation. Like many stalwarts of the religious right, he is thought to be partly beholden to the armed forces, which, through its Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI), has used religious parties for tasks as diverse as promoting Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, fighting Indian rule in Kashmir and clipping the wings of political parties at home. Jamaat-i-Islami, the driving force behind the MMA, has had nothing to do with the narrow ideologies that spawn violence among Islamic sects; though it was a pioneer of promoting jihad in Afghanistan and in Indian-administered Kashmir. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, its leader, is more moderate than Mr Rahman, but perhaps less yielding. He is generally considered the MMA's weightiest leader. Its other constituents make strange bedfellows. Shias and Barelvis, an easier-going sort of Muslim, have both been victims of savage Deobandi attacks and answered in kind. Yet they have shown up in the MMA. The fusion of these and other groups is something of a miracle, brought about, some say, by the army, which wanted a counterweight to the mainstream political parties besides PML(Q). It betokens moderation. Or maybe, its adversaries hope, an eventual falling out. Their rising stake in democratic politics could tame them further. This is what General Musharraf counts on when he declares that Pakistan will remain a key member of the coalition against terror. If the United States attacks Iraq, the MMA can express Pakistan's rage from the podium, making it less likely that people will do so with guns. Despite the brave face some Pakistanis are putting on it, the MMA's success has put it in a position to slow down, if not derail, the initiatives that have made General Musharraf a popular figure in Washington. By just how much depends on the outcome of the multi-sided tussle now taking place in Islamabad, the capital. Fighting al-Qaeda is mainly the job of the central government. The brunt is borne by such agencies as the ISI, by the army and by centrally run militias such as the Frontier Constabulary. Some 60,000 Pakistani troops and a handful of Americans are ranged along the border with Afghanistan, most in the federally administered tribal areas of North West Frontier Province, which are governed by the centre to the extent they are governed at all. If the MMA tries to undermine the fight against terrorism, the government has hinted that General Musharraf's National Security Council will block it. One message this sends out is that Americans ought to love the council, even though most Pakistani parties want to dismantle it. But the MMA can make trouble. Even if it sits in opposition, the MMA chief ministers of the North West Frontier Province and Balochistan will occupy two seats on the 13-member council. It could get more, through such offices as the speakership of parliament and the chairmanship of the Senate. Most MPs from the tribal areas are MMA men who may, some analysts worry, provide havens for foes of Afghanistan's American-backed government. In Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, newspapers report that a dozen local Taliban were freed from the district jail on instructions from newly elected MMA representatives. This could be a taste of sabotage to come. And what of those nukes? The prime minister will head the National Command Authority but de facto control of the weapons rests with the armed forces, says Hasan Askari Rizvi, an expert on the Pakistani military. The army will not countenance an extremist as prime minister; if he rashly ordered deployment of nuclear weapons, says Mr Rizvi, the military would disobey. If the MMA's anti-American agenda is blocked, its domestic wishlist may become more important. It has called for the implementation of sharia, Islamic law, which it says can be done within the framework of the revived constitution. The party wants to banish interest from bank lending. Its aversion extends to the financial-aid programmes within Pakistan that are underwritten by the IMF and World Bank. Whether the MMA sits in government or opposition, it is hard to see a revival of a programme to modernise madrassas, which General Musharraf had already put on a slow track. In the North West Frontier Province and Balochistan state schools may come to resemble madrassas rather than the other way around. Pakistani liberals now fear a chilling effect that will close minds, hinder reasonable expression and make women timid. Prelude or interlude? Those who fret about fundamentalists taking over used to be reassured by the religious parties' consistent failure to win more than a few seats in elections. That comfort is no longer available, but that does not mean that Pakistan is succumbing to fundamentalism. The MMA's success arises in part from a fleeting alignment of circumstances: the hobbling of the mainstream parties, the Afghan war and the fragile alliance itself. It won a tenth of the popular vote, not much more than religious parties had won in previous elections. The difference was that this time they pooled votes rather than splitting them. The vote for the MMA is not a vote for beards, burqas, and jihad, wrote one columnist, but rather a vote against imperialism and indignity. And against political fat-cats, some of whom shifted from the mainstream parties to General Musharraf's PML(Q). The new affection could be strengthened by war in Iraq, or weakened by incompetent government, which would not be surprising with so many newcomers in the assemblies. Blacking out cable stations could alienate people. People love to see Indian movies, even in the villages, says Haji Muhammad Adeel, a candidate whose pro-American party was decimated by the MMA. After one or two years will everything return to normal? Not quite. General Musharraf has had three years to set Pakistan firmly on the road to modernisation. The elections confirm that he has failed. -- Marc A. Schindler Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland “We do not think that there is an incompatibility between words and deeds; the worst thing is to rush into action before the consequences have been properly debated…To think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action.” – Pericles about his fellow-Athenians, as quoted by Thucydides in “The Peloponessian Wars” Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// REE MSN Explorer download : http://explorer.msn.com [Non-text portions of this message have been removed] ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ==^^=============================================================== This email was sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://topica.com/u/?aaP9AU.bWix1n.YXJjaGl2 Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail! http://www.topica.com/partner/tag02/register ==^^===============================================================