Thursday, May 7, 2009

Provoking Radical Insurgencies

Hypothesis: the Pakistani-Afghan insurgency is largely not a threat to the U.S. but a Pashtun liberation movement that the U.S. military presence in the region is creating.

The following comments nicely sum up the argument:

Mullah Zubiallah Akhund, a Taliban leader in Uruzgan, believes that foreign attacks helped turn their fight against the foreigners into a nationwide popular struggle,

“The people who are fighting with the Taliban are the brothers, uncles and relatives of those killed by the Americans. They have joined the Taliban and are fighting because they want to avenge their brothers, fathers or cousins.

“There are now Taliban in every village; many of them have rejoined the movement after the savage attacks carried out by Americans.”

Obama has shifted the deadly burden of air strikes onto Pakistani border Pashtun tribe people.

This would seem to be an especially flawed tactic insofar as most Pashtuns adhere to the code of Pashtunwali where a mal deed against a family member requires revenge. In other words, such attacks causing civilian injury or death are creating an endless supply of new resistance fighters.

The evidence in support of the hypothesis is multiplying before our very eyes. The latest from Afghanistan:

Up to 100 civilians, including women and children, are reported to have been killed in Afghanistan in potentially the single deadliest US airstrike since 2001. The news overshadowed a crucial first summit between the Afghan President and Barack Obama in Washington yesterday.

And the latest from Pakistan:

"We didn't see any Taliban; they are up in the mountains, yet the army flattens our villages," Zaroon Mohammad, 45, told McClatchy as he walked with about a dozen scrawny cattle and the male members of his family in the relative safety of Chinglai village in southern Buner. "Our house has been badly damaged. These cows are now our total possessions."

Is Washington doing to South Asia what Israel did in 1982 to Lebanon, invading and provoking the emergence of the radical liberation movement Hezbollah? Washington decision-makers should consider very carefully whether or not war against radical Islam is in the interests of U.S. national security. It does not logically follow that if one dislikes a possible outcome, one should therefore use force to prevent it from occurring: gasoline is a bad tool for putting out a fire.

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

The US and Pakistan have been making war against the poor, not the Islamists.

Socialist revolution in Iran, would do quite a bit for Afghan and Pakistani workers and peasants.