India-Pakistan: And They Have Nukes

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November 8, 2011:  Indian, and many Western intelligence analysts, believes that most Pakistani officers are anti-American and favorable to Islamic radicals. This despite the fact that many of these same Islamic radicals are trying to destroy the Pakistani government, along with the armed forces. The evidence for this is obvious for anyone who checks out the Pakistani media, and talks to a few Pakistani officers. The CIA and American military has been doing that a lot over the last decade, but still have a hard time convincing the politicians back home that our main ally is a major fan of the enemy. The Pakistani military likes Islamic terrorism because it was the military that created most of the Islamic terror groups in the region (including the Taliban) and are unwilling to admit that this was a mistake. That was done because Pakistan needs scary enemies so that the Pakistani military can justify the large chunk of the economy they take for themselves. The Pakistani military has become this huge, well-armed and greedy parasite that will go to extremes to protect itself. Pakistanis despair of dismantling this monstrous drain on the national economy, and major supporter of corruption and civil disorder. And they have nukes.

Persistent criticism about the lack of security for these nuclear weapons has led to Pakistan announcing that an additional 8,000 personnel will be trained to protect the hundred or so Pakistani nuclear weapons, and the various production and storage facilities. The U.S. has long expressed unease at the security (or lack thereof) for Pakistani nuclear weapons. This is said to be a big issue within Pakistan as well, and there are rumors of various extraordinary security measures, including keeping most of the weapons disassembled, with components stored in separate locations. This is meant to protect the weapons from potential civil war factions, as well as Islamic terrorists.

After months of intense pressure, the Pakistani military has agreed to impose some restrictions on the Haqqani Network. This Afghan group has been headquartered in North Waziristan for decades, but is now moving many of its operations into Afghanistan because of movement restrictions imposed by the Pakistani security forces. The Pakistani army still refuses to directly attack Haqqani, or any other Islamic terror group in North Waziristan. These terrorists are considered a national asset in the Pakistani war against India. This is going on at the same time that the elected civilian government is trying to negotiate a peace deal with India. The fact that the Pakistani military has its own foreign policy (and thousands of terrorists to help carry it out) has caused considerable problems for Pakistani and Indian peace negotiators.

While the Pakistani army refuses to touch North Waziristan, they are very active in the rest of the Pushtun tribal territories. This is all part of what appears to be an unspoken peace deal between Islamic terror groups and the Pakistani government. North Waziristan remains a terrorist sanctuary, while the terrorists refrain (as much as this anarchistic coalition can) from major terror attacks within Pakistan. This is a shaky arrangement, as there are many terrorist factions who want to overthrow the Pakistani government and establish a religious dictatorship. The "arrangement" requires the Islamic militants to supply information on anti-government operations. Too many attacks within Pakistan will cause a public uproar to shut down the North Waziristan sanctuary. Despite the importance of this sanctuary to the militants, the nature of Islamic radicalism tends to be self-destructive. There is always the chance that the militants will do something to anger the Pakistani population.

The ethnic, religious and political violence in Karachi has died down. For most of this year, there was a lot more large-scale violence between ethnic, religious and criminal groups. Over a thousand died, and several waves of paramilitary police reinforcements arrived to stop the fighting. But the groups, and their hatreds, remain. The violence will be back.

India's major military operation continues to be the campaign against Maoist rebels in eastern parts of the country. Actually, this war is being fought largely by paramilitary police battalions, with some help from the military (which is reluctant to get involved with internal security operations). The war with the Maoists is more of a grind than a blitzkrieg. Aggressive patrolling seeks out Maoist camps, while political operatives seek to deal (not as successfully) with the corruption and poverty that created the Maoists and enabled them to survive for decades. The growing military pressure is hurting the Maoists, causing losses the group has never experienced before. In response, some Maoist bands are moving into the tribal northeast. Here, there are a lot of unhappy people, but the demands here have to do with autonomy and separatism, not the establishment of a communist dictatorship.

Maoists are turning their attention to more large scale terrorism. Attacks on the railroads are more frequent, and the government has had to spend a lot of money to cope with this. The Maoists have also increased their use of assassins to kill government officials, politicians and local leaders that oppose them.

There have been about 62 American UAV attacks in Pakistan's tribal territories this year. Pakistani politicians use these attacks to stir up more anti-Americanism, while at the same time not doing what they could to stop them (because many of the terrorists killed are also out to kill Pakistani politicians.) Nevertheless, the U.S. has been moving the UAVs from Pakistani air bases, to ones in Afghanistan, just in case.

November 7, 2011: Afghanistan has accepted a long-standing Pakistani offer to train Afghan troops. This comes a month after India agreed to train Afghan troops, as part of a "strategic agreement". Afghanistan considers Pakistan its most dangerous neighbor. Although India is not a Moslem state, it is considered a useful ally against Pakistan. The training agreement with Pakistan is believed to be more for soothing Pakistani anger (at the strategic agreement with India) than for obtaining training services from a hostile nation.

November 5, 2011: Pakistan has arrested two policemen who, along with five Pakistani Taliban, will go on trial for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto four years ago.

 

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