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


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 30-Dec-07
Pakistanis are increasingly joining forces with al-Qaeda

Web Log - December, 2007

Pakistanis are increasingly joining forces with al-Qaeda

The contrast with the Iraq war and al-Qaeda in Iraq is instructive.

In January of this year, female students at a large seminary complex known as Lal Masjid or Red Mosque in Islamabad began protesting against the government of President Pervez Musharraf, demanding that Taliban-style Sharia law be imposed.

Protesting female students at Red Mosque seminary wearing burkas and carrying bamboo sticks
Protesting female students at Red Mosque seminary wearing burkas and carrying bamboo sticks

The girls began wearing head-to-toe black burkas and, in a move heavy with erotic sexual symbolism, began carrying bamboo sticks. They demanded that all the Islamabad prostitutes be arrested for violating Islamic law, but they weren't taken seriously until they began abducting prostitutes and locking them in the seminary.

In July the girls abducted some Chinese prostitutes. That prompted an objection from the Chinese government, and Musharraf's government finally decided to crack down. That led to a 36-hour siege and gunfight -- the male students were carrying guns, not bamboo sticks -- ending in a bloodbath on July 10. Over 100 people were dead.

Prior to the gunfight, a Time reporter interviewed Umma Aman, 22, a "pretty seminary student." Saying that she's prepared to die for God, she says, "We must practice Islam. We must act on God's will." Later, after six hours of the gun battle, she says, "We are never afraid. One day all lives will end, and if this is the case, then why not give our life to Islam?"

Another young female student tells the reporter, "Tell them how angry we are. Write in your story how willing we are to die for our cause."

After it was all over, it turned out that al-Qaeda has been using the Red Mosque to store a huge cache of weapons.

Since July, over a dozen suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan have killed 50 people. (To put this into perspective, imagine how Americans would react if there were just ONE suicide bomber attack on American soil.)

When Benazir Bhutto narrowly escaped death from suicide bombers on October 19, she blamed al-Qaeda and Taliban militants for the assassination attempt, and declared she would risk her life to restore democracy in Pakistan and prevent an extremist takeover:

"We believe democracy alone can save Pakistan from disintegration and a militant takeover. We are prepared to risk our lives and we are prepared to risk our liberty, but we are not prepared to surrender our great nation to the militants."

Later, in an interview in mid-November, Bhutto said the following:

"The situation in Pakistan is very grave. Pakistan is imploding from within. And yet, there's very little appreciation of the deepening crisis here. I receive reports on the Frontier [NorthWest Frontier Province] and how the Taliban are advancing, advancing into our cities, and the Administration simply can't fight. The military is leaderless. It's a great military, it knows how to fight, it's fought wars in the past. But it needs the will of the people behind it, and that will is not there, and I'm just worried, as I said yesterday, where will they go to next?

Benazir Bhutto, in a mid-November interview <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Benazir Bhutto, in a mid-November interview (Source: CNN)

I believe that democracy is the only way that can save Pakistan, and I believe that it's the free expression of the will of the people, mobilizing the strength of the people, that can save our country. Unfortunately, General Musharraf's regime is more concerned about containing democrats than it is about containing extremists."

Bhutto's warning that the country is "imploding from within" was confirmed, in a sense, by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who says that al-Qaeda has been unsuccessful in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that "Al-Qaeda right now seems to have turned its face toward Pakistan and attacks on the Pakistani government and Pakistani people."

Many people are comparing the situation in Pakistan today to the situation in Iraq a year or two ago. In fact, there are a lot of similarities:

These are the shallow, naïve similarities being noted by journalists, pundits and politicians, many of whom probably need a spell-checker just to spell "Pakistan." These people, in denial about pretty much everything going on in the world, believe that what's going on in Pakistan must be the fault of the Bush administration, and that the right magic words from the American President would cause the Pakistani people to eject al-Qaeda elements, just as the Iraqi people have done with al-Qaeda in Iraq.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the situations in the two countries are very different, especially when the Red Mosque event is taken into account.

Things like roadside bombs and suicide bombings are acts performed by individuals or small groups of people, while Generational Dynamics looks for attitudes and behaviors of large masses of people. In April, when I wrote "Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq," I was able to show by quoting documents from a variety of sources that the Iraqis themselves had little interest in fighting against each other, though al-Qaeda did everything possible to provoke them.

One of the most interesting examples was a letter of complaint from al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden, including the following:

"Jihad here unfortunately [takes the form of] mines planted, rockets launched, and mortars shelling from afar. The Iraqi brothers still prefer safety and returning to the arms of their wives, where nothing frightens them. Sometimes the groups have boasted among themselves that not one of them has been killed or captured. We have told them in our many sessions with them that safety and victory are incompatible, that the tree of triumph and empowerment cannot grow tall and lofty without blood and defiance of death, that the [Islamic] nation cannot live without the aroma of martyrdom and the perfume of fragrant blood spilled on behalf of God, and that people cannot awaken from their stupor unless talk of martyrdom and martyrs fills their days and nights."

Now contrast this appraisal of the Iraqis with some of the things we've learned about the Pakistanis, and their attitudes toward al-Qaeda in Pakistan:

Bhutto added, "I believe that democracy is the only way that can save Pakistan, and I believe that it's the free expression of the will of the people, mobilizing the strength of the people, that can save our country."

Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking; those girls in the Red Mosque would not have had their minds changed by some sort of expression of democracy; those bamboo sticks they were carrying were targeting prostitutes, not people opposed to democracy.

Pakistani analyst Najam Sethi confirmed the spread of al-Qaeda and Taliban membership into Pakistan:

"Clearly, Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan doesn’t just comprise Arabs and Uzbeks and Tajiks. It also comprises Pakistanis; and among such Pakistanis it comprises Pathans and Punjabis and possibly Urdu speakers who constitute the Pakistani Taliban. Certainly, it is known that a number of Pakistani sectarian and jihadi Sunni organisations have joined the Al Qaeda Network after the government launched efforts to disband them since the “peace process” started with India. So Al Qaeda is now as much a Pakistani phenomenon as it is an Arab or foreign element."

None of this happened in Iraq. Even at the worst, there was always a clear distinction between al-Qaeda foreigners and Iraqi Sunni insurgents.

The difference between Iraq and Pakistan is generational. Iraq is in a generational Awakening era, since only one generation has passed since their last crisis war, the genocidal Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. Pakistan is in a generational Crisis era, since three generations have passed since their last crisis war, the genocidal bloodbath accompanying Partition in 1947.

In Iraq, there are still plenty of survivors of the 1980s war around, and they're determined to prevent any such bloodbath from recurring. in Pakistan, there are few survivors left of the Partition, and young people, such as those in the Red Mosque, have no fears of any such recurrence.

To see how naïve journalists and analysts, here's a quote from analysis appearing in the Guardian:

"Is Pakistan on the brink of civil war?

Pakistan is in crisis but not about to implode. The 60-year existence of the state has seen a series of huge upheavals, bridged by periods of relative calm. A civil war is unlikely for the simple reason that it is difficult to see who would fight whom. Bhutto's supporters are not armed or organised into any kind of militias, and it is hard to see them marching on the lawless tribal areas where the likely killers of their leaders come from, trying to purge militants from the cities of the Punjab, for example, or taking on the army.

So is there a threat of an Islamic militant takeover?

Not immediately. Though the militants are strong in the west of the country, have some political representation, and have roots in a well-embedded structure of religious schools and colleges, they are divided among themselves and lack genuine broad-based popular support."

This is typical of the kind of airhead analysis we so often on different subjects, whether it's the credit bubble, the Iraq war, the Darfur war, or the Pakistan situation.

But it's exactly this naïveté that leads to a new crisis war, since it can lead to panicked reactions.

Here's one description of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution:

"The revolution was unique for the surprise it created throughout the world: it lacked many of the customary causes of revolution — defeat at war, a financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or disgruntled military; produced profound change at great speed; overthrew a regime thought to be heavily protected by a lavishly financed army and security services; and replaced an ancient monarchy with a theocracy based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (or velayat-e faqih). Its outcome, an Islamic Republic "under the guidance of an 80-year-old exiled religious scholar from Qom," was, as one scholar put it, "clearly an occurrence that had to be explained.…"

Not so unique but more intense is the dispute over the revolution's results. For some it was an era of heroism and sacrifice that brought forth nothing less than the nucleus of a world Islamic state, "a perfect model of splendid, humane, and divine life… for all the peoples of the world." At the other extreme some disillusioned Iranians explain the revolution as a time when "for a few years we all lost our minds," and as a system that, "promised us heaven, but ... created a hell on earth."

This is the event that al-Qaeda hopes to emulate in Pakistan, and there's no reason why it can't happen. A Pakistani civil war would be no more impossible than Iran's Islamic Revolution was. (Iran was also in a generational Crisis era; its previous crisis war was the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1910.)

Some people might say: Not enough time has passed. Just as Iraq took a few years to expel al-Qaeda, maybe it'll take 3-4 years for Pakistan to expel al-Qaeda.

Saying that misses the point of what I'm saying.

Since 2003, I've been saying that a civil war in Iraq was IMPOSSIBLE because Iraq is in a generational Awakening era. I stuck to this prediction when some papers were actually claiming that the Iraq civil war had already begun, when NBC News made the ridiculous announcement to call it a "civil war," and when Senator Joe Biden, easily the stupidest man in the Senate, he went on Meet the Press in April and said that American troops should be moved from Iraq to Darfur.

Finally, by November 1, it was clear that Generational Dynamics had been proven right, and just about every other politician, pundit, analyst and journalist in the world had been proven wrong.

In fact, every Generational Dynamics prediction I've made -- on the Mideast, Darfur, China, Burma (Myanmar), Japan, global finance, and so forth -- has either come true or is trending true. Not a single one has turned out to be wrong. As I've been saying for years, I defy anyone to find any web site in the world that has anything close to the successful prediction record that this one has. I've looked, and I know that there isn't any.

So now I'm talking about Pakistan. Just as I was able to confidently predict that a civil war in Iraq was completely IMPOSSIBLE, I can just as confidently predict that a war in Pakistan is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN.

The way that the Generational Dynamics forecasting methodology works is that it tells you what your final destination is, but it doesn't tell you what scenario will take you there, or how long it will take to get there. That's called a "long-term forecast," since the prediction is 100% certain, but the time window can be years or even decades long. The next step is to match up day-to-day events to identify trends that are consistent with the long-term forecast, and merge them with the long-term forecast. This is what we do on the web site every day. The result is a short-term forecast with a probabilty of 80-90% of being correct, in a window of a few months, or perhaps a couple of years.

The last few days have been difficult ones, because there has been a maelstrom of events and and analyses, and it's not always possible to figure out whether these events match or conflict with the Generational Dynamics long-term prediction of a new war re-fighting the 1947 Partition genocide.

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:

The following list is intended to be somewhat educational, by illustrating the kinds of issues that I've been thinking about the last few days and weeks, and what conclusions can be drawn:

Conflict risk level for next 6-12 months as of: 6-Nov-2007
W. Europe 1 Arab Israeli 3
Russia Caucasus 2 Kashmir 3
China 2 North Korea 2
Financial 3 Bird flu 3
Key: 1=green 1=Low risk 2=yellow 2=Med 3=red 3=High 4=black 4=Active

In other words, the situation in Pakistan is still very murky, but it's headed toward increasing chaos, according to the Generational Dynamics long-term prediction.

However, there's little doubt that with all its instability, Pakistan is currently the most dangerous region in the world.

Just one more comment. The American Presidential candidates have been scrambling to figure out what to say in the aftermath of the assassination. What Republicans and Democrats have been saying is so vacuous and idiotic that it's actually been giving me a headache to listen to them.

There was just thing that was said that's of interest to this web site. On Sunday morning on CNN, Hillary Clinton made the following comments:

"I don't think the Pakistani government at this time under President Musharraf has any credibility at all. They have disbanded an independent judiciary, they have oppressed a free press. Therefore I'm calling for a full, independent, international investigation, perhaps along the lines of what the United Nations has been doing with respect to the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon. I think it is critically important that we get answers, and really those answers are due, first and foremost, to the people of Pakistan, not only those who were supportive of Benazir Bhutto and her party, but every Pakistani. Because we cannot expect to move towards stability without some reckoning as to who was responsible for this assassination."

The terror bombing that killed Rafiq Hariri in Lebanon February 2005 is comparable to the Bhutto assassination for the amount of international shock that it caused. As Clinton mentioned, there has been an ongoing UN-sponsored investigation to see if Syria played a part in the assassination of Hariri.

However, once again we see a politician try to compare two countries that can't be compared. Like Iraq, Lebanon is in a generational Awakening era, following the genocidal Lebanese civil war of the 1980s. There's been enormous political conflict in Lebanon in the past two years, and that's to be expected in a generational Awakening era. But there can be no civil war. In that highly politicized atmosphere, an outside investigation is a possibility.

But can you imagine the leaders of al-Qaeda in Pakistan agreeing to any sort of outside investigation of the Bhutto death? Whereas disagreements in Lebanon can lead to major political conflicts, in Pakistan such an agreement could lead to violent conflict. That's the difference, again, between a generational Awakening era and a Crisis era.

But this illustrates the point that policy-makers make mistakes all the time that could be avoided by studying generational theory. This was certainly true in Iraq, over and over again. And yet, all attempts by me to get government or academic officials interested in Generational Dynamics have just resulted in me getting blown off. Even though they make one mistake after another, they'd rather keep doing that than consider a new methodology and discipline that could make a real difference. (30-Dec-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.