Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 19-Nov-07
Sunni/Shia violence increasing in Pakistan tribal areas as Taliban gains strength

Web Log - November, 2007

Sunni/Shia violence increasing in Pakistan tribal areas as Taliban gains strength

The Pakistan army is massing for an assault against Taliban in Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), as Taliban militants have taken control of the Swat valley.

Official map of Pakistan, with the addition of the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas),  highlighting Swat Valley <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source:</font>
Official map of Pakistan, with the addition of the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), highlighting Swat Valley (Source:

Pakistan army helicopters and artillery are pounding militant positions in the Swat Valley, in anticipation for a ground assault in the next few days.

According to a rare media briefing by the army, a senior commander said the army had assembled about 15,000 troops in the Swat Valley's main town, and would launch its main offensive within days because militants from Afghanistan as well as the lawless Pakistani border regions of Waziristan and Bajaur had reinforced the followers of rebel cleric Maulana Fazlullah in Swat.

The plan was to push the militants back into the rugged Piochar side valley where they had established bases. "We will bottle up as many of them as possible and then eliminate them," said General Ahmed Shuja Pasha. "This is our killing ground," he added.

For some time, al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, including Osama bin Laden himself, have had control of the lawless FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) -- not officially part of Pakistan, but administed by the Pakistan government.

In recent days, Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah has led his army of Taliban militants from the tribal areas into the settled areas of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), and have gained control of the Swat Valley.

This was one of the reasons given by President Pervez Musharraf to explain the imposed state of emergency.

In a related matter, dozens are dead in a clash between Sunnis and Shia in the tribal areas near Balochistan.

In an interview broadcast on CNN on Sunday, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto blamed the increasing violence on Musharraf. The following is my transcription of her remarks:

"I want to say that what General Musharraf has done is simply not enough, because al-Qaeda and Taliban have regrouped, and pro-Taliban elements now control the tribal areas of Pakistan. They have entered into the settled areas of the Frontier Province of Pakistan, and there is a fierce battle taking place between the military and the militants. Now the military is engaged in blanket bombing at times, and instead of targeting just the terrorists, it actually ends up targeting the local population too. We'd like to see the local population co-opted. We'd like to see the military go in instead, for combat against the militants like the Americans did in Pujera(?) [[probably Bakubah]] - what was that place in Baghdad - near Baghdad, a holdout of the militants. That's the kind of support we need from our military.

And we need to support our military by also co-opting the local population. I know the local population would have defended their town if we had given them the arms and the guns. They turned to me and asked me to get them some help, and I spoke about this at a diplomatic reception to caution the government that the militants were coming.

But unfortunately, the people aren't given the support they need to fight and face the militants themselves, and in the meantime, the militants spread. So I think that what General Musharraf has done may have been a little bit, but it hasn't stopped the spread of militancy and extremism in Pakistan.

... The issue for me is to have fair elections, and to have the people of Pakistan to express their view. I believe that the attempts to block my leadership and to block democracy are actually paving the way for the extremists to spread their influence, and I feel that the focus ought to be really on the extremists, not diverting the attention away from the real battle in Pakistan.

In my view it's the threat by the extremists that threatens today to disintegrate Pakistan. They're already into the Valley of Swat, and soon they'll be spreading outwards, toward our capital city of Islamabad. I may have my critics, but I leave the decision of Pakistan's destiny to the people of Pakistan. And the people of Pakistan have stood by me. Three million of them turned up at Karachi airport to receive me. 18,000 were imprisoned in the witchhunt launched to stop our "long march" to apply pressure for the restoration of democracy. The people want a democracy. They're marching with their feet so that their voices can be heard, so that their march can be heard.

And I would make a plea for fair elections. My concern is that if the elections are rigged, and I think they're heading towards rigged elections, well General Musharraf's team might end up giving more control to the religious parties under whose influence these extremists have spread, and then we would really be in the soup."

One thing that I'm understanding more and more about Benazir Bhutto is that she's an extremely careful politician who weighs every word she says for its political import. Many of remarks about democracy and popularity should be viewed through that filter.

There is one particular portion of her comments that I'd like to focus on:

"We'd like to see the military go in instead, for combat against the militants like the Americans did in Pujera(?) - what was that place in Baghdad - near Baghdad, a holdout of the militants. That's the kind of support we need from our military."

Bhutto is suggesting that Musharraf execute a military strategy similar to the "surge" strategy devised by General Petraeus in Iraq. The end result of that strategy is that the Sunni insurgents turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq, and ended up fighting on the side of the Americans.

It's important to understand that this strategy cannot possibly work in Pakistan.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Iraq is in a generational Awakening era, just one generation past the end of the last crisis war, the genocidal Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. That means that the Iraqi people are "attracted away" from war, and will do everything possible to keep another genocidal war from occurring. That's why the Iraqi war was never a crisis civil war, and could never have been a crisis civil war. Any attempt to ignite a civil war, which is what al-Qaeda in Iraq tried, was doomed to failure, and any such war would fizzle out quickly. That's exactly what happened.

But Pakistan is in a generational Crisis era, three generations past the end of the last crisis war, the genocidal war that followed Partition in 1947. That means that the Pakistani people are "attracted towards" war.

Thus, Bhutto's suggestion to provide arms and weapons to the people of Swat Valley and expect them to eject the Taliban militia is far more likely to spiral out of control into full-scale warfare.

Iraq today and Pakistan today are in totally different generational eras. There is NO COMPARISON between the two. Anyone who tries to apply lessons learned in one country to the other country is on a fool's errand. If there is any "rule" to be learned, it's that Pakistan will most likely do exactly the opposite of what Iraq does in a like situation.

Possibly the thing that struck me the most when I did my in-depth analysis of Pakistan last week is that Musharraf and Bhutto are themselves split along the major internal Pakistan fault line -- Urdu-speaking Mohajirs (migrants from India) versus Sindhi-speaking Sindhis. This means that there never was a snowflake's chance in hell that Musharraf and Bhutto could have governed together in some power-sharing agreement, even though encouraging such an arrangement was (and perhaps still is) official US and British policy.

A web site reader has pointed out a related fact that's perhaps even more crucial.

I've said many times that I have great admiration for both Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and his Indian counterpart, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, because these two leaders have engineered a remarkable détente that has prevented a conflict, indeed a nuclear conflict, between the nations, and they've pulled back from the continuing seething dispute over Kashmir and Jammu.

What my web site reader has pointed out is that both Musharraf and Singh share the same ethnic group -- Punjabi -- though of course they have different religions (Muslim and Sikh, respectively). Singh was born in 1932 in what is now Pakistan's Punjab province, and Musharraf was born in 1943 in Delhi, adjacent to what is now India's Punjab province.

That means that once Partition took place in 1947, Singh's family was in the forced relocation of western Hindus and Sikhs to India, while Musharraf's family was in the relocation of eastern Muslims to Pakistan.

That's very significant, and explains a great deal about why Musharraf and Singh have developed such a close relationship, and why they've been able to forge the remarkable détente that I've discussed.

It also means that any similar arrangement between Bhutto and Singh would be very unlikely.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the genocidal bloodbath war that followed Partition in 1947 will be re-fought with 100% certainty. There are two major scenarios. The first scenario is a regional war in Kashmir spreading throughout the region; and the second scenario is an ethnic or sectarian war starting somewhere and spreading through the region. Either way, a major nuclear between Pakistan and India cannot be avoided. (19-Nov-07) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2016 by John J. Xenakis.