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Musharraf's last straw
Thursday, August 16, 2007 :The consideration of a state of emergency has compounded Pakistan's crisis,reports Graham Usher from Islamabad
In spite of the palpable tensions between the two leaders, the Pakistani and Afghan presidents made an effort to patch up their differences. As close American allies, they appear sitting small in the antique Afghan chairs Even in the merry-go-round of Pakistani politics Thursday 9 August was a whirl. In the morning Islamabad residents awoke to newspaper headlines warning that a state of emergency in Pakistan "looms on the horizon". By afternoon the head of Pakistan's ruling Muslim League -- and main fount of the emergency rumours -- Chaudhry Shajaat Hussein told reporters "there is no possibility of an emergency."
The rumour mill began churning on Wednesday. Pakistan's president-general, Pervez Musharraf announced he would not be attending a grand tribal council or jirga in Kabul aimed at quelling the Taliban insurgency on the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The jirga had been the brainchild of George W Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Musharraf's absence was read initially as a snub. Pakistan's military ruler has been angered by recent American and Afghan criticism that his army was not doing enough against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the borderlands. He has been outraged by American threats to act unilaterally inside Pakistan should the army be found wanting.Read More
Thursday, August 16, 2007 : In a few weeks, the war in Afghanistan by one count will be six years old. By another, it has been going on for more than three decades. This war has made Afghanistan (especially its southeastern region, along with western Pakistan) the epicenter of global Islamist-jihadist terrorism.
The war during the 1980s, directed, funded and waged for geopolitical reasons through irregular fighters often proudly praised as "mujahideen," led to three significant influences: the propagation of irregular sub-conventional war through terrorism in the name of religion; a phenomenal spread and diffusion of military-specification sophisticated weapons to the jihadist groups; and important perceptions of the outcome of that war.
All these are dominant templates in the current war in Afghanistan, though in an enormously expanded scale that undermines security and stability in the Middle East and beyond. Perhaps the most difficult issue to deal with, having ramifications in terms of its impact on the ongoing war in Afghanistan (and Iraq), are the perceptions of victory and defeat. The Soviet Union pulled out after a decade in a fairly organized manner, leaving behind a well-entrenched Afghan regime with a capable military force that successfully defended its outposts for years. But across the world, especially among Muslim populations, the perception rapidly grew that the jihad waged by Afghan mujahideen had "defeated" a superpower and its surrogate regime in Afghanistan.
Radical jihadist terrorism erupted from the Balkans through Kashmir to the Philippines. An even more radical Taliban was created to unseat the mujahideen regime in Kabul. The 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and other acts of Islamist terrorism were but some of the tragic consequences. Religious terrorism itself became an instrument of policy for many, promoted and propagated by an increasingly fundamentalist army in Pakistan that invoked holy scripture to legitimize terrorism after including "jihad" in its motto.Read More
Thursday, August 16, 2007 :The United States is secretly urging Pakistan's embattled president, General Pervez Musharraf, to share power with Benazir Bhutto as a means of shoring up his authority, it has been reported.
Although Gen Musharraf is a key ally in the fight against al-Qaida, the White House is understood to be increasingly concerned at his precarious hold on power, which has been loosened by his failed attempt to fire the country's chief justice.Read More
Friday, August 17, 2007 : Pakistan, a key U.S. ally, is marking the 60th anniversary of its creation. The celebrations have come in the midst of a political crisis in that country that could bring down President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.