A Breakup of Pakistan: Good or Bad for The West?

Pakistani Military Post
Heading for a Yugoslavia-style bust up?

The assault last night on Mehran Naval Air Base in Karachi that left at least a dozen soldiers dead and destroyed anti submarine/ marine surveillance aircraft is the strongest evidence to date that Pakistan is losing the battle against home grown militants. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani described this latest attack by the Pakistani Taliban as a “cowardly act of terror”. While I certainly don’t condone the militants’ actions, as someone with 23 years military experience, I can say without reservation that last night’s raid was hardly cowardly.  Unlike previous attacks, the Pakistani Taliban did not detonate a vehicle borne explosive device or take a few pot shots and run away.  They staged a direct ground assault on a secure military installation.  An operation of that nature takes supreme confidence, good organization and a healthy dose of fearlessness.

This is an extremely alarming development, especially given that Pakistan’s military installations have been on high alert since the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad earlier this month. Because if the country’s security forces can’t stop insurgents from penetrating a well-fortified military base, why should anyone believe they can defend the nation’s nuclear assets against terrorists?  It is more important than ever now that we examine the goals and motives of Pakistan’s insurgent groups and how the pursuit and/or realization of those goals would impact western interests in the region. Continue reading

bin Laden’s Death: A Game Changer in Pakistan

The death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US forces will no doubt bring closure to many throughout the world who’ve lost loved ones to al-Qaeda’s terror campaign. But far from signalling the end of the battle for supremacy in South Asia, bin Laden’s demise only marks the end of the beginning.

The United States reportedly launched the attack on bin Laden’s luxury, Pakistani hideaway without informing the Pakistani authorities. The failure to gain prior consent lays bare the lack of trust which has characterized relations between Islamabad and Washington since the beginning of the War on Terror.  Speculation has been rife for years that Pakistan has been playing a double game with the West – posing as a cooperative ally in the war in neighbouring Afghanistan while secretly aiding the Afghan Taliban which gave bin Laden sanctuary.  Classified US documents posted online by Wikileaks repeatedly accuse the ISI, Pakistan’s most powerful intelligence agency, of supporting the Afghan Taliban. Continue reading