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More good news, this time from Pakistan, where Pervez Musharraf has united the tribes in South Waziristan in the mission to find, capture, and/or kill al-Qaeda 'militants', as the BBC calls them:
Tribesmen in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan say they will raise a force of 1,800 armed men to capture suspected al-Qaeda militants. The force would be the biggest armed militia - or Lashkar - so far raised for such a purpose.
The decision to form it was made by the Ahmedzai Wazir tribe in the main town of Wana, 400 km southwest of Peshawar. It is the first time that all the clans and sub-clans of the region have unified against al-Qaeda.
Musharraf has not won much popularity with his campaign against al-Qaeda in the western border regions of Pakistan. The tribes have felt pushed around and under attack themselves as Musharraf's army has campaigned against "foreigners", as they are referred to in Pakistan. The tribes have long been a source of security for Pakistan, arrayed as pickets against incursions from rival tribes in Afghanistan, acting almost as a tripwire defense or a sort of DMZ. The war on terror has been a destabilizing influence on this traditional (and traditionally fractious) barrier.
The new, united effort by the Waziris will be to force all foreigners in the area to register with the tribes. Failure to register will result in "other options," and the government expresses seriousness about the consequences, saying that there will be "no compromise" if foreigners do not comply with the new program.
Politically, Musharraf has scored a major coup. As difficult as it is to get these tribes to agree on anything, Islamic militants had some degree of sympathy in these regions, whence sprang the original movement to mobilize against the Soviets in the 1980s. This agreement indicates a more stable power base than previously thought for the unelected "president" of Pakistan, who has agreed to reduce his military authority in the near future by retiring from the Army and becoming a strictly civilian leader. This proposal caused some worry that Musharraf might lose his grip on power and be replaced by someone much more sympathetic to Islamofascists. The Waziristan agreement indicates that the worry might be overblown. Hopefully, Pakistan will hold free elections, and soon, in order to ensure a stable democracy, demonstrating the wisdom of opposing Islamofascists.Sphere It View blog reactions
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