[Marxism] What's going on in Pakistan?

Suresh borhyaenid at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 21 15:58:38 MST 2004

This is an interesting article from the Asia Times,
that suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated groups may
have intentionally insitgated the fierce combat in the
extreme west of Pakistan as part of a larger war of
attrition. I have no idea how credible their sources
are, but it's worth noting the complexities of the
"War on Terror". From the perspective of Washington
policy makers it is a multi-front campaign involving
at least two main theaters in Iraq and
Afghanistan/Western Pakistan, as well as subsidiary
zones of conflict from local Islamist groups in
countries like Morocco, Indonesia, the Philippines,
and so on. In this latest instance it remains unclear
who it is that the Pakistani government has been
fighting - there are reports that Chechens, Uzbeks,
Arabs, and Uighers from Western China have been
captured from among the militants, yet another
indication of the international orientation of these

But, the question remains whether we should take
seriously the vigorous promotion of the rationale
behind this so-called war. Afterall, if the
imperialists were mostly concerned with al-Qaeda in
terms of it being an insurgent anti-colonial force, it
would be inexplicable why they would turn almost
immediately after 9/11 - as allegations which have
again recently emerged regarding Defense Secretary
Rumsfeld - to planning for the invasion of the
relatively secular, Baathist Iraq.

Still, in going to the other extreme, I think facile
comparisons between al-Qaeda and fascism only play
into the hands of the right. That Islamic
fundamentalism is one of the major political movements
of our time is emblematic of the failure of socialism,
both reformist and revolutionary, in the 20th century.
Once Iraq had the largest Communist party in the
Middle East, a vibrant feminist movement, and a strong
current of Arab nationalist sentiment among the
intelligentsia. Today, we bear witness to a country
torn along sectarian lines, with clerics like the
Grand Ayatollah Sistani having gained the greatest
popular support.  Moreover, a healthy Soviet worker's
state would have been less prone to getting bogged
down in Afghanistan to begin with, and thus helping to
spawn Osama bin Laden and his ilk. 

I can't help but note that for a couple generations
before the first World War, all varieties of
heterogeneous ideological trends pervaded Russian
society - from peasant populism and anarchistic
propaganda of the deed to Christian pacifism in the
Tolstoy mold and Pan-Slavism. Out of this ferment,
Marxism emerged as the only genuine answer to
capitalist hegemony. In the pre-revolutionary
conditions which exist today, once again we are faced
with disparate and often reactionary responses to
imperialist violence. Trotsky in response to the
liberal John Dewey denounced the "moral eunuchs" who
equated revolutionary violence with the violence of
the ruling class. Although both sides in the current
discussion are objectively our enemies, it is clear
which of the two opponents is the genuine, long-term
threat in this young century of ours:

"Afghan offensive: Grand plans hit rugged reality
By Syed Saleem Shahzad 

KARACHI - The plan to eradicate the Afghan resistance
was straightforward: US-led coalition forces would
drive from inside Afghanistan into the last real
sanctuary of the insurgents, and meet the Pakistani
military driving from the opposite direction. There
would then be no safe place left to hide for the
Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants, or, presumably, for
Osama bin Laden himself. The plan's implementation
began with the launch of operation "Mountain Storm"
around March 15. 

But the insurgents have a plan of their own, which
they have revealed to Asia Times Online. Conceived by
foreign resistance fighters of Bangladeshi, Pakistani
and Arab origin, it is a classic guerrilla stratagem
that involves enmeshing the mighty military forces of
the United States and its allies in numerous local
conflicts, diverting them from their real goal and
dissipating their strength."


Here's another article on the matter from the
Pakistani newspaper Dawn: 

100 captured in S. Waziristan: 13 civilians killed in
attack on vehicles 

By Ismail Khan 

PESHAWAR, March 20: Thousands of troops battling
foreign militants holed up in South Waziristan on
Saturday captured over 100 suspected Al Qaeda remnants
and their local supporters, a senior military official

Also on Saturday, 13 people, including women and
children, were killed and seven others wounded when
the vehicles they were travelling in came under attack
from helicopter gunships. 

"Over 100 people have been captured, many among them
could be foreigners. But I cannot say how many of them
could be foreign militants and how many locals
supporters. They are going to be interrogated by our
intelligence agencies and only then will we be in a
position to say something with certainty," Corps
Commander Peshawar, Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain, told Dawn.


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