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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 30-Apr-2009
Peace deal with Taliban collapses as Pakistan comes a step closer to civil war.

Web Log - April, 2009

Peace deal with Taliban collapses as Pakistan comes a step closer to civil war.

The Taliban promise revenge, as army helicopter gunships and artillery target militant hideout.

This is a familiar story.

In September, 2006, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf signed a peace agreement with pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan's tribal areas. The militants promised to end their terrorist activities if the Pakistan army withdrew.


Northwest Pakistan <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Northwest Pakistan (Source: BBC)

The army withdrew, and the militants continued their terrorist activities, eventually expanding them out of the tribal areas into the Malakand region of the NorthWest Frontier Province.

It was just a couple of years ago that the Swat Valley was a bustling high-class tourist destination for skiers. That ended after months of Taliban terror that included beheadings, kidnappings, and the destruction of girls' schools. Up to one million people have been displaced from their homes.

In February, the new Pakistan government signed a new peace treaty with the Taliban militants in Swat. The government gave the Taliban complete control of Swat, in return for which the Taliban would end their terrorist activities.

However, the Taliban didn't stop their terrorist activities. Instead, they've been extending their control south, into Buner and Lower Dir districts.

Now the Pakistan army has reacted back in the other direction. They've suspended talks with the Taliban, and they've launched an offensive in Lower Dir with helicopter gunships and artillery, targeting militant hideouts.

As the fighting escalates, Taliban militants have promised revenge.

One interesting description of the situation is Time Magazine, which characterizes the Taliban militants as follows:

"It isn't hard to recognize a Pakistani Taliban fighter. Most of the thickly bearded men are barely in their 20s members of a new and fiercer generation of jihadists. Their long black hair flows down past the shoulders on which they rest their rusty Kalashnikovs. Some wrap their heads in a black turban; others favor an embroidered red skull cap, modeled on the type worn by Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the militant leader killed during the army's high-profile siege of Islamabad's Red Mosque in July 2007. They shield their bodies with camouflage bulletproof vests, which usually have a grenade or two hanging from them. And under their hiked-up baggy trousers, all sport a pair of dirty white sneakers, with which they swagger menacingly around their freshly captured territory."

This tells the whole generational story. While American kids might be on their computers playing Warcraft with shields and weapons in virtual worlds, Taliban kids are playing the same game, only in the real world, with real guns and real beheadings. Just good clean fun.

President Asif Ali Zardari called on citizens to put political differences aside and give their backing to the troops fighting Taliban militants in a northwestern region:

"Time has come for the entire nation to give pause to their political differences and rise to the occasion and give full support to our security forces in this critical hour. ...

This is the only way to demonstrate our will, to keep Pakistan as a moderate, modern and democratic state where the rights of all citizens are protected. The operation in Buner and Lower Dir is meant to re-establish the writ of the constitution."

This flip-flop between peace agreements and resumed warfare is typical of the lead-up to a full-scale genocidal crisis civil war. I've described how this happened in the two crisis wars going on in the world today -- in Sri Lanka and Darfur -- and how it's been happening in Gaza and Israel as that region approaches a major war.

Now we see it happening in Pakistan. And, as is typical, each new round of warfare is more genocidal than the last one.

It remains to be seen whether the current round of warfare will fizzle out temporarily, or whether it will spiral into a larger war.

Another critical question, as the swine flu outbreak expands into worldwide pandemic, is this: What happens to this war (and other regions where conflict is occurring) if everyone in a conflict region gets sick?

During the middle ages when the Black Death was at hand, armies would catapult their dead soldiers into the enemies' camps, so that the other side would get sick as well. Will something like that happen again?

For several years, analysts have been calling Pakistan the most dangerous place on earth. As the fighting between the Taliban and the army escalates, that danger is only increasing.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Afghanistan, Pakistan and India thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.

Also see the Swine Flu Pandemic thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.) (30-Apr-2009) Permanent Link
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