A dovetail joint of news, art, science, politics, philosophy & global affairs

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"







June 4th
3:23 PM

India And Operation Geronimo

In no country did Osama bin Laden’s demise generate as acute a sense of vindication as in India. For the past twenty years, India has pointed to Pakistan as the epicentre of regional and global terrorism.

None of this means that India is guaranteed to use force, and an array of other constraints - military readiness, fear of nuclear escalation, civilian reticence – will play their part. Nonetheless, the diplomatic environment in which the choice would be made has changed.  >continue<

May 12th
11:07 AM

Why We're Stuck with Pakistan

…the U.S. supported Pakistan as it armed and trained Afghan mujahedin to take on the Soviets. This required both subterfuge and a certain amount of denial: since U.S. law forbade aid to a nation pursuing nuclear weapons, Washington chose to pretend Pakistan was doing no such thing. When Soviet forces pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, Pakistan was left with more than 3 million Afghan refugees and a generation brought up with the culture of jihad. Then, in 1990, Pakistan’s nuclear program was finally recognized, and the U.S., which had already cut aid, imposed sanctions on Islamabad. “You used us, and then you dumped us,” says Qadir, the retired general, echoing national sentiment. “And Pakistanis are convinced you are going to do it again.” >Read more<

A good survey of historical and regional factors woven into current Pakistani reality.

Appreciating this fabric appears to be a sine qua non, assuming the need for heavy concern over the possibility of a failed nuclear state and the need for imaginative diplomatic work.

May 9th
5:13 PM

Osama bin Laden mission agreed in secret 10 years ago by US and Pakistan

The US and Pakistan struck a secret deal almost a decade ago permitting a US operation against Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil similar to last week’s raid that killed the al-Qaida leader, the Guardian has learned.

The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion. >continue<

May 6th
6:00 PM
Via
Pakistan, Contingency and Kashmir
…The picture appears bleak enough to prompt concern for the survival of Pakistan itself. Stephen P. Cohen, author of The Idea of Pakistan, has authored an important new essay, ”Coping with a failing Pakistan”:


 

 
“…will it gradually disintegrate, shedding its character as a moderate Muslim state, losing control over more and more territory? The country is in the metaphorical position of someone who has swallowed poison, sits on a keg of dynamite, is being shot at, all while an earthquake is rumbling through the neighbourhood.”  &gt;read more&lt;

 Turbulence in Pakistan has only grown more gnarly since our initial posting. We believe it has been obvious for some time that the spectre of a failed nuclear Pakistan is so potentially catastrophic as to warrant intense efforts to move both India and China toward a suitable resolution of the Kashmir issue. Since the bin Laden affair has brought more attention to the regional chaos, its our hope that sustained attention will build critical mass behind this sentiment. Stronger, healthier powers need to work harder fashioning a new approach for India/Pakistan peace.
Protests Flare In Kashmir: 2010 |  “Kashmir: The time has come”
Osama was the least of Pakistan&#8217;s problems

Pakistan faces severe problems beyond militancy that will not go away with [bin Laden&#8217;s] death. In the hours leading up to the fatal raid Pakistan&#8217;s president was busy cobbling together an unnatural political alliance to enable his government to pass legislation now that previous allies have parted ways with the ruling party. Meanwhile, and in response, a leader of the main opposition party was meeting with army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, pointing to the role the military still plays in politics. Gas shortages have shut down industry in Punjab province and protests against power cuts are getting violent. The fiscal deficit is ballooning as the government fails to put in place an effective tax net. Recovery from last year&#8217;s floods remains slow for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Gujranwala saw protests this weekend against the alleged burning of the Quran by local Christians, a development that could easily lead to their trial for blasphemy. Literacy remains shockingly low, and is even falling in some areas. &gt;continue&lt;.

Inside the Pakistani Taliban | America&#8217;s Inscrutable Partner
Climate of fear over Pakistan blasphemy laws
Why US mistrusts Pakistan’s powerful spy agency
Why We&#8217;re Stuck with Pakistan
Acclaimed Baughman film: Bhutto

Sad, sad Pakistan. Your birth was romantic, even if marred by violence, your childhood idealistic, but somewhere along the journey you lost your way. - Hamza Usman ~ Not Jinnah’s Pakistan

Pakistan, Contingency and Kashmir

…The picture appears bleak enough to prompt concern for the survival of Pakistan itself. Stephen P. Cohen, author of The Idea of Pakistan, has authored an important new essay, Coping with a failing Pakistan”:

“…will it gradually disintegrate, shedding its character as a moderate Muslim state, losing control over more and more territory? The country is in the metaphorical position of someone who has swallowed poison, sits on a keg of dynamite, is being shot at, all while an earthquake is rumbling through the neighbourhood.”  >read more<

 Turbulence in Pakistan has only grown more gnarly since our initial posting. We believe it has been obvious for some time that the spectre of a failed nuclear Pakistan is so potentially catastrophic as to warrant intense efforts to move both India and China toward a suitable resolution of the Kashmir issue. Since the bin Laden affair has brought more attention to the regional chaos, its our hope that sustained attention will build critical mass behind this sentiment. Stronger, healthier powers need to work harder fashioning a new approach for India/Pakistan peace.

Protests Flare In Kashmir: 2010 |  “Kashmir: The time has come”

Osama was the least of Pakistan’s problems

Pakistan faces severe problems beyond militancy that will not go away with [bin Laden’s] death. In the hours leading up to the fatal raid Pakistan’s president was busy cobbling together an unnatural political alliance to enable his government to pass legislation now that previous allies have parted ways with the ruling party. Meanwhile, and in response, a leader of the main opposition party was meeting with army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, pointing to the role the military still plays in politics. Gas shortages have shut down industry in Punjab province and protests against power cuts are getting violent. The fiscal deficit is ballooning as the government fails to put in place an effective tax net. Recovery from last year’s floods remains slow for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Gujranwala saw protests this weekend against the alleged burning of the Quran by local Christians, a development that could easily lead to their trial for blasphemy. Literacy remains shockingly low, and is even falling in some areas. >continue<.

Inside the Pakistani Taliban | America’s Inscrutable Partner

Climate of fear over Pakistan blasphemy laws

Why US mistrusts Pakistan’s powerful spy agency

Why We’re Stuck with Pakistan

Acclaimed Baughman film: Bhutto

Sad, sad Pakistan. Your birth was romantic, even if marred by violence, your childhood idealistic, but somewhere along the journey you lost your way. - Hamza Usman Not Jinnah’s Pakistan

February 28th
10:42 AM

Manifestations of Force

Citizen Zed - 2/28/11

The NY Times and Souad Mekhennet point out the odd situation faced by Al Qaeda in Middle East: As Regimes Fall in Arab World, Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By

"For nearly two decades, the leaders of Al Qaeda have denounced the Arab world’s dictators as heretics and puppets of the West and called for their downfall. Now, people in country after country have risen to topple their leaders — and Al Qaeda has played absolutely no role.

In fact, the motley opposition movements that have appeared so suddenly and proved so powerful have shunned the two central tenets of the Qaeda credo: murderous violence and religious fanaticism. The demonstrators have used force defensively, treated Islam as an afterthought and embraced democracy, which is anathema to Osama bin Laden and his followers.”

Though events are fresh enough to feed possible naiveté, it very much looks like we are witnessing the manifestation a new concept of force. An historical surprise, almost ex nihilo, interrupts the conflict dynamics of both Al Qaeda and the United States. Suddenly, breathtakingly, both are revealed caught up in what should have been obvious - as geared into inadequate concepts of force.

Both will, however, naturally aim to prey upon the Jasmine flower, projecting spectres of the other as a means to influence and access.

But the quasi-imperial power has the most to lose, and perhaps the most to gain. For if the new force is greeted above all with the simplicity and the substance of recognition (rather than predatory opportunism), Al Qaeda may lose all vital traction. And yet, since the mystery of recognition moves in two directions, America and the West may be surprised to find they are seen neither as democratic nor as expressions of modern community.