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Al-Qeeda Targets Pakistan for Total War

Politics / Pakistan Aug 23, 2008 - 04:55 AM GMT

By: Anwaar_Hussain


Whoever started it, however we got involved in it, the time for blame game is long past. This is our battle now and this is a battle to the death.

In the four days after General Musharraf resigned from Pakistan's presidency, more than 130 innocent people have been blown to bits in just two suicide bombings across the country. Scores of others have been maimed for life. The message from the God-men is clear. It is Pakistan they are after; its governments, democratic or autocratic, be damned.

The cowardly murderers now leer in their dark caves, foam drooling from their mouths, at the prospect that they will soon have the whole of Pakistan, transported back in time and all trussed up, lying at their feet. Somewhere in the back ground, cuddling their explosive laden jackets, legions of brainwashed children sway back and forth in a trance worshipping a deity that knows no compassion. The orders for the next strike will be here soon and the programmers will set these children, with catches released, on course to yet another carnage, tick-tocking all the way.

The News is the most widely read English language newspaper in Pakistan. This is how its Friday's editorial reads;

“This is a fight very much to the death — for our very way of life, to protect and preserve it from people whose ‘qualities' include intolerance, bigotry, hatred and downright bestiality. The sooner this is realized — by all Pakistanis, by the state and its various institutions and by the present government — the better.”

Finally someone has said it. Yes. What exactly needs to be said is this. Whoever started it, however we got involved in it, the time for blame game is long past. This is our battle now and this is a battle to the death. Nothing less will suffice. Like the Interior Minster said the other day, we either fight back or hand over the country to these terrorists.

First let us understand the God-men. In plain language, we are dealing with ruthless killers who are constrained by neither the laws of war nor the bounds of human decency. This has been proven over and over again. In the garb of religious piety they will do any thing, repeat any thing, to advance their cause of complete subjugation of Pakistan.

Next what needs to be understood is that at the beginning of all such conflicts insurgents always have the strategic initiative. Though we are rather late in responding, this is still the initial stage of the conflict. Any more delay will be devastating of course. The more the government delays the response, the more strength the enemy gains and the more disruptions he creates throughout the country.

Further, the challenge of this battle is complex, demanding, and tedious in execution. There are no simple or quick solutions. Success may often seem elusive but will surely be there if we persevere. It is a battle and casualties are a natural outcome of wars. We should be willing to accept attrition without developing feet of clay. The effort requires grit, determination, a firm political will and extreme patience on the part of both the government and the people.

For our soldiers, this battle is going to be a rather odd blend of offensive, defensive, and support operations. It will require our soldiers to employ a mix of both familiar combat tasks and skills more often associated with nonmilitary agencies, e.g. re-building, providing food, sanitation and health facilities etc. This is not going to be easy. Our soldiers must adjust their approach constantly, ensuring they are ready each day to be greeted with a handshake or a hand grenade in any given locality.

But perhaps the most fundamental aspect of all that needs to be understood with complete clarity is the fact that this battle, like all battles, is nothing but a clash of wills. The victor will have his will imposed upon the vanquished. The enemy's medium is the general populace. He operates using this medium not only as a camouflage but also as his target to instill terror in the hearts of the unyielding sections of the society. To defeat such enemy, this same medium has to be denied him. That in turn means discrediting his cause first. One cannot stress enough that this is the single most important factor in this battle. Never has a battle been won when sizeable ranks from within one of the protagonists sympathize with the enemy.

As the support of the general citizenry is the center of gravity in this battle, gaining and maintaining it is of paramount importance. Both the God-men and us will be struggling for the same; the God-men through terror, we through the state's resources. Only popular support will allow us to develop the intelligence necessary to identify and defeat the enemy. Intelligence is what drives operations in successful counterinsurgency operations.

Designing and then executing a campaign to garner the support of the population, therefore, lies at the heart of this battle. Successful counter insurgency operations, for the same reason, require unity of effort in bringing all instruments of national power to bear. T.E. Lawrence once noted “The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander.” There were no Geo, ARY, Dawn and Aaj TVs then of course. Now there are.

Unfortunately, even at this rather late phase in the battle, nowhere does one see the mealy-mouthed anchor men and women of our media discussing the terrorists or their dark manifesto. They are rather busy in turning non-issues into issues. Switch on a channel and you will find wooden faced commentators discussing non-stop the worn out topics of the ZarNawz duet or the ex-chief justice of Pakistan. Nowhere does one find an assemblage of well informed politicians and clerics animatedly debating the most disastrous calamity facing Pakistan. None are coming forth clearly, emphatically and without mincing their words on the agenda and the deeds of the God-men. They forget that in a Taliban dispensation, the Amir will rule and the local Mullahs will be ordering the limb choppings. There will be neither a place for our honorable justices nor for the ZarNawaz duet in that set-up.

The general populace needs to be informed on continued basis that our home grown God-men are allied with Al Qaeda type of elements in a new kind of globalized insurgency, which seeks to transport the Islamic world back in time and reorder its relationship with the rest of the globe, in a ruthless, bloody campaign of course. They need to be informed of the horrors committed by such groups in countries like Algeria. Our people need to know that these elements feed on local grievances to integrate them into dubious ideologies having global implications. They need to be told that this is our war now and there is no running away from this one. This is a battle to the death.

In the end what must be remembered is that counterinsurgency too, like the insurgency, is a violent political struggle waged with military means. The political issues at stake defy nonviolent solutions because they are often rooted in culture, religious bigotry, pseudo-ideology, societal tensions, and injustice. Military forces can compel, defeat and secure but cannot, by themselves, achieve the necessary political milestones. The scribe has already discussed those aspects in his article ‘Welcome to the Badlands' .

Who was it that said ‘praise the Lord and pass the ammunition'?

By Anwaar Hussain

Copyright © 2007 Anwaar Hussain
Anwaar Hussain is an ex-F-16 fighter pilot from Pakistan Air Force. A Masters in Defense and Strategic Studies from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, he now resides in UAE. He started writing as a hobby not very far back and has, since then, published a series of articles in Defense Journal, South Asia Tribune and a host of other web portals. Other than international affairs, Anwaar Hussain

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23 Aug 08, 10:41
Pakistan Ground Reality Ignored
Although Pakistan is facing a barbaric enemy who do not follow any rules of engagement and can massacre scores of innocents for there gains, also yes the only force that will triumph in this battle which have support from the masses of Pakistan. Clearly both sides do not have that, cannibalistic Talibans are hated more then ever so is the government which is considered by most Pakistanis as a stooge of USA.

This article ignores the ground realities and demands too much of Pakistani soldiers, some how like it was of US soldiers but its impossible to do so much. Getting the local tribes to wage a war against such elements is the only way not bombing indiscriminately like NATO and Americans, more recruits are being provided to Taliban with such tactics. Only the local tribes can eradicate them, they have to be taken into confidence there insecurities answered, only then.

Please be my guest to propose more force, but make sure you lay your life on the line as well because my country men have already paid a huge enough price for a war that was never ours to begin with.
27 Aug 08, 10:27
Al-Qaeda Targets Pakistan for Total War

There is more at risk in Pakistan than Iraq or Afghanistan.

Pakistan has nukes. No extremist/terrorist should be allowed to get their hands on nukes. It may hurt to stop Al Qaeda in Pakistan, but it's going to hurt a lot worse if Al-Qaeda succeeds in Pakistan. Life often requires us to pick the lesser of two evils.

27 Aug 08, 17:39
GW Press release ?

Pure hatred, nothing less. Your ususal unbaised writing looks more like a GW Bush press release and less like constructive journalism than anything I have ever seen.

Carry on.

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