April 17, 2007:
In the Pakistan capital, a
defiant religious school is demanding the imposition of religious (Sharia) law,
and is using girls from the school to stage media events to that end. Most of
the 3,000 female students are orphans or from poor families in the tribal
areas. The girls have been radicalized and the government is assembling an
all-female police team to storm the school and shut it down. The government is
reluctant to crack down on radicalized religious schools and mosques in the
capital, fearing a mass uprising by supporters. But the leaders of the mosques
are calling on their followers to me more and more disruptive, and the
government may soon have no choice but to respond.
April 16, 2007: In Bangladesh, political
violence, corruption and Islamic terrorism have all declined over the last
three months as the military has gradually taken over the government. This was
in response to the failure of national elections to take place, on schedule, in
January. Technically, a caretaker government is in place until elections can be
held. The two largest political parties have both been disruptive, and accusing
each other of being corrupt. Both are correct, and the government has been
barely functional. Now elections are scheduled for late next year. But the
military rule is not likely to fix the country's problems. But in the meantime,
hundreds of suspected Islamic terrorists have been arrested, terror attacks are
way down, and over 100,000 people have been arrested for corruption.
April 15, 2007: In northeast India, tribal
separatists have been getting stronger, and successfully defending their
extortion based economy. But all that money has caused fighting inside
separatist groups. The region is becoming increasingly lawless, and the
government is unable to reverse the process.
April 13, 2007: Indian soldiers and police
have increased their patrols in eastern India, looking for Maoist hideouts.
There have been several dozen casualties a week as a result of this. Meanwhile,
governments in the Maoist infested areas, have passed laws against many forms
of Maoist political activity, making it more difficult for the Maoists to
recruit new members and organize.
April 11, 2007: In western Pakistan, fighting
between tribesmen and foreigners (mainly Uzbeks and Chechens) has largely
ended. Pro-Taliban tribesmen killed some 300 of about a thousand pro-al Qaeda
foreigners. The tribesmen suffered over a hundred casualties, including about 60
dead. Army helicopters could be seen in the area, apparently providing
intelligence for the tribesmen. Army artillery was also seen bombarding
locations where the foreigners were dug in. The tribesmen are generally
considered pro-Taliban, but that's more because tribal customs are very
conservative and in line with Taliban beliefs. But the squabble with the al
Qaeda crew (mainly about drug related money) probably won't change support for
the Taliban. The army, however, believes that the tribes are now more agreeable
to halting their support of Taliban operations in Afghanistan. Time will tell.