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October 16, 2004
Al-Qaeda Focusing On Pakistan

Analysts have determined that al-Qaeda has shifted its focus from American targets to Pakistan instead, trying to destabilize what it sees as the weak link in the coalition to stomp out Islamofascist terror:

Diplomats and other analysts believe al Qaeda cells are using Pakistan as a key battleground in its broader war against the United States and are exploiting long-standing enmity between Sunni and Shi'ite extremists to further this aim.

They say the government's failure to crack down on groups it has used for years as tools of policy in the divided Kashmir region and in Afghanistan has played into al Qaeda's hands. ...

In the past month, Pakistan has been rocked by a fresh wave of bombings of majority Sunni and minority Shi'ite Muslim gatherings that have killed nearly 80 people. It has also seen its ties with its closest ally China tested by the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan in which one of the foreign hostages died.

Having failed twice to kill Musharraf directly, AQ now wants to create a breakdown in Pakistani discipline severe enough to either force Musharraf out of the war for his own survival, or cause a popular uprising to a civil war that will remove him from power. At the very least, the string of bombings and terror attacks will keep Musharraf from democratization, a stated goal for which he has shown little enthusiasm anyway. So far, the attacks have been as strategically successful as their assassination attempts were tactically, but that will surely change if the attacks continue and especially if they inflame Shi'ite-Sunni divisions, as intended.

However, as the article reminds us, Musharraf deserves a lot of the blame for this himself. The same groups that have answered AQ's call worked for Musharraf in Kashmir against India, conducting terror operations in order to convince India to pull out. His own Islamofascist tools have turned in his grip, and yet he still has not tossed them aside completely:

After Musharraf joined the U.S.-led war on terror he announced a ban on several militant groups, but some simply began working openly under new names, while others went underground. The government has also failed to follow through on its vow to reform Islamic schools that are militant recruiting grounds.

Diplomats say the government appears reluctant to act because it feels it still needs the militants for their original purpose -- to advance policy aims, particularly against nuclear-armed rival India in the divided Himalayan state of Kashmir.

Pakistan rejects Indian charges that it has continued to assist guerrillas conducting a bloody war in Kashmir, but diplomats say that, even if it had stopped doing so, it did not yet feel ready to cut the militants completely adrift.

In the meantime, seeing Musharraf's peace moves with India and role in the war on terror as a threat to their existence, the militants have been doing all they can to end his rule.

Musharraf wants to eat his cake and have it, too. He still has not learned the lesson that the US wants to teach rogue nations in this war: legitimate governments must cease using terror groups as proxies to fight wars, or else they cease being legitimate governments. Ironically, the terrorists will wind up delivering that lesson to Pervez Musharraf in a way that cannot be ignored.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 16, 2004 6:36 AM

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» Pakistan learning Al Qaeda makes a poor pet from Airborne Combat Engineer
1240Z SAT 16OCT04. Captain's Quarters. A Reuters report says: "Diplomats and other analysts believe al Qaeda cells are using Pakistan as a key battleground in its broader war against the United States and are exploiting long-standing enmity between Sun... [Read More]

Tracked on October 16, 2004 7:47 AM

» A warning about Pakistan from Terror Debate
Via Captain Ed, a foreboding article on Al-Qaeda's focus on Pakistan and Musharraf's tactics for fighting terror. [Read More]

Tracked on October 16, 2004 10:31 AM

» Miscellaneous links from A Physicist's Perspective
I did want to put up some links to some things I thought were interesting: Captain Ed posts on how Al Qaeda is focusing on Pakistan with the hope removing Musharraf from power. Check out the story. Also, while I'm linking to Captain's Quarters... [Read More]

Tracked on October 18, 2004 11:48 AM

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