Daniel R. DePetris: The Political Docket

The Pakistani Smack-Down

Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan/Central Asia by Dan on October 27, 2009



Will Pakistan's offensive in Waziristan turn the tide against Islamic terror?


With all of the hype surrounding Pakistan’s military operation in Waziristan- the militant stronghold that has caused so many problems for the United States in the region- it is tempting to automatically assume that the raid will result in nothing but total and absolute victory.

While it is certainly difficult to restrain from feelings of overt accomplishment in the War on Terror, it would be rather premature for the United States to expect anything substantial from the Pakistani offensive.  After all, the Pakistani Government has launched very similar operations in the past, all to no avail.  In each circumstance, the Pakistani Army was demoralized to the point that the generals would strike a truce with Islamic militants to the west; not only conceding territory to the insurgency, but allowing some of the most dangerous elements in Pakistani society to fight for another day.

Despite recurring structural problems within the Pakistani army in general,, this Waziristan offensive differs from previous missions in a number of respects.  First and foremost, over 60 percent of the Pakistani public supports the army’s efforts.  Secondly, the intense barrage of terrorist acts across Pakistan- including a devastating attack on the army headquarters- is quickly persuading Islamabad to actually crack-down on fundamentalist activity.  And finally, the United States and Pakistan are deepening their military relationship against Islamic terror.

Therefore, while the capturing of Osama bin-Laden is out of the question, there is still some benefits that might result from Islamabad’s operation in the western-half of the country.  Realistically speaking, killing or capturing bin-Laden probably would not make much of a difference anyway, considering AQ’s decentralized character over the past couple of years.

-Daniel R. DePetris


2 Responses

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  1. Robert1234 said, on October 27, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    No wide-spread terrorist action has EVER been stopped by force of arms. It is only stopped by addressing the root cause of the problem. In this case, it’s the corruption of the government that makes the Taliban more attractive to the locals than the crooked government. The ONLY solution is to bring into being an honest government. But, considering our own is getting less and less honest by the day, that seems unlikly, doesn’t it?

  2. shzamiza said, on October 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I would find it hard to believe that any American officials would in fact have high expectations of any operation, knowing full well of their failure in afghanistan through a full-scale invasion there. Also, I don’t if you are implying that an operation like this should be staged in Karachi, but if so then that would be disastrous. It’s a city of 16 million people and the financial hub of the country. It would cripple the country financially.

    I agree with some of what has been mentioned below in the comments. While a lot of Pakistani’s think that an operation in Waziristan is necessary, that is just a small aspect of what’s needed. Funding needs to be dried up, development etc, madressahs need to be reformed and some shut-down. The United States need to do some good in afghanistan so that people stop using that as a legitimate rallying cry to brainwash people into revolting against the perceived american imperialism.

    It would be counter-productive for people to expect islamic extremism to magically dissapear. It’s interesting how washington has also managed to deflect all their failures in afghanistan on Pakistan. Both countries need serious fixing, afghanistan moreso than pakistan. Pakistan is going through a transitional period in its history and the American’s SHOULDNT expect this operation to achieve any lofty goals. It is what it is. An operation to break up the Tehreek-e-Taliban establishment in Pakistan. Osama bin laden is nearly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. It would be nice if Washington took better care of Afghanistan. And dealt fairly in their dealings on the india-pakistan border. People don’t trust america here, and they haven’t shown any reason to, help resolve the Kashmir issue and show some real superpower clout.

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