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Militancy thrives in Pakistan; How to end it !

THE attack on Karachi airport was something that the government had been trying to postpone through dialogue with the militants. It could have been postponed but not avoided.

The enemy has territory in the tribal areas and can disappear into the border region with Afghanistan. It has hundreds of mosques and madressahs across the country where it can hide and recuperate and from where it can launch attacks at will.

It can broadcast its message free of cost, courtesy our national media, and boast about its deeds and terrorise the country through threats. In fact, it seems the media is as pleased to terrorise the public as the terrorist.

There is no doubt that an overwhelming majority in the country is not with the Taliban, even in the tribal areas, and for bringing back peace, both leaders and the population will have to bite the bullet. If it is only the government that refrains from following the path of least resistance, extremism would increase as the population may accept a radical version of Islam, if its proponents ensure them and their children safety.

We will become a violent nation with beautiful roads.
Our leaders have their game plan all worked out. They are in the country now. But as soon as it becomes too dangerous here, they will use their fallback position to leave for freedom and luxury in foreign lands, where their mansions and luxury cars await them.

All our rulers can think of are high-visibility projects, which they will leave behind as their legacy. There is apparently no time and money to focus on education and health issues, but plenty of both for roads and metro buses. We are already ahead of our neighbour India and Bangladesh where our road infrastructure is concerned, but we are way behind in essentials such as education, health and population control. That does not rattle our rulers. We are well on our way to becoming an illiterate, violent and extremist nation with beautiful roads.

The policy of keeping dialogue on the table and hitting back when hit has been followed with success. There is no need to abandon it, even with the Karachi airport provocation. The government can still talk of dialogue, while hitting back firmly where necessary. Declaring an all-out operation raises too many hopes, displaces too many people, disempowers the civil administration, and ends up with the army not being able to leave the area.

The option of dialogue continues to create fissures in the ragtag ranks of the enemy, where unhappy factions can come over to the government’s side to get even with the adversary, as in the case of the Sajna group.

Concrete steps can still be taken to pull us back from the brink.

Firstly, the political leadership should realise that terrorism is the main problem of the country, far more than electricity, the economy or infrastructure. These can only be present in a country that’s there. So this year should be focused on eradicating terrorism. All financial resources, all manpower resources, all newspaper ads should be focused on controlling terrorism and not on new roads and metro projects.

Secondly, there should be a ban on publishing or broadcasting any statement to do with the terrorists that glorifies them.

Thirdly while the government should be clear about its strategy it should not be announced.

Fourthly, a strategy for regulating madressah and mosque activity is needed. Madressahs and mosques need to be monitored closely by the various intelligence agencies, making it obligatory for them to be absolutely transparent with the administration. Enough laws exist but if a new law is necessary, it should be there on the books. Mosques and madressahs cannot be allowed to be used against the state. It would be better to face the reaction now, rather than when it becomes impossible to do so.

Fifthly, a strategy for the tribal areas should be prepared to bring back the old empowered administration. If the powers of the political agent need to be enhanced or decreased, let it be done through local consultation and the process of holding jirgas. The army needs to swallow its command instinct for a while and play its part in providing an enabling environment for civil officers to be able to regain their lost self-confidence and esteem .

Sixthly, a strategy should be formulated to strictly monitor all educational institutions in the country, to see that no matter, faith-based or otherwise, that can create a destructive, biased or angry Pakistani, is taught at the educational institutions. Let the rulers show their passion to ensure that Pakistanis are taught to forge themselves into a harmonious nation.

True, this sounds like a tall order, but if we don’t act immediately, we will go back to the dark ages, even if the rulers are able to supply us with ample and free electricity.

By Tasneem Noorani, www.dawn.com , The writer is a former federal secretary interior. 
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    Peace-Forum Network 

    The old partition of the Middle East is dead. I dread to think what will follow

    “Sykes-Picot is dead,” Walid Jumblatt roared at me last night – and he may well be right.
    The Lebanese Druze leader – who fought in a 15-year civil war that redrew the map of Lebanon – believes that the new battles for Sunni Muslim jihadi control of northern and eastern Syria and western Iraq have finally destroyed the post-World War Anglo-French conspiracy, hatched by Mark Sykes and François Picot, which divided up the old Ottoman Middle East into Arab statelets controlled by the West.
    The Islamic Caliphate of Iraq and Syria has been fought into existence – however temporarily – by al-Qa’ida-affiliated Sunni fighters who pay no attention to the artificial borders of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or Jordan, or even mandate Palestine, created by the British and French. Their capture of the city of Mosul only emphasises the collapse of the secret partition plan which the Allies drew up in the First World War – for Mosul was sought after for its oil wealth by both Britain and France.
    The entire Middle East has been haunted by the Sykes-Picot agreement, which also allowed Britain to implement Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour’s 1917 promise to give British support to the creation of a Jewish “homeland” in Palestine. Perhaps only today’s Arabs (and Israelis) fully understand the profound historical changes – and deep political significance – that the extraordinary battles of this past week have wrought on the old colonial map of the Middle East.
    The collapsing Ottoman Empire of 1918 was to be split into two on a north-east, south-west axis which would run roughly from near Kirkuk – today under Kurdish control – across from Mosul in northern Iraq and the Syrian desert and through what is now the West Bank to Gaza. Mosul was initially given to the French – its oil surrendered by the British in return for what would become a French buffer zone between Britain and the Russian Caucasus, Baghdad and Basra being safe in British hands below the French lines. But growing British commercial desires for oil took over from imperial agreements. Mosul was configured into the British zone inside the new state of Iraq (previously Mesopotamia), its oil supplies safely in the hands of London. Iraq, Trans- jordan and Palestine were under British mandatory control, Syria and Lebanon under the French mandate.
    But the new geographical map created by al-Qa’ida and its Nusra and Isis allies runs not north-east to south-west but east to west, taking in the cities of Fallujah, Tikrit and Mosul, and Raqqa and large areas of eastern Syria. Jihadi tactics strongly suggest that the line was intended to run from west of Baghdad right across the Iraqi and Syrian deserts to include Homs, Hama and Aleppo in Iraq. But the Syrian government army – successfully fighting a near-identical battle to that now involving a demoralised Iraqi army – has recaptured Homs, held on to Hama and relieved the siege of Aleppo.
    By chance, economist Ian Rutledge has just published an account of the battle for Mosul and oil during and after the First World War, and of the betrayal of the Sunni Muslim Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who was promised an independent Arab land by the British in return for his help in overthrowing the Ottoman Empire. Rutledge has researched Britain’s concern about Shia power in southern Iraq – where Basra’s oil lies – material with acute relevance to the crisis now tearing Iraq to pieces.
    Volunteers join the Iraqi army in Baghdad
    Photo by: AP
    For the successor power to Sharif Hussein in Arabia is the Saudi royal family, which has been channelling billions of dollars to the very same jihadi groups that have taken over eastern Syria and western Iraq and now Mosul and Tikrit. The Saudis set themselves up as the foundational Sunni power in the region, controlling Arab Gulf oil wealth – until America’s overthrow of the Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein led inexorably to a majority Shia government in Baghdad allied to Shia Iran.
    Thus the new Middle Eastern map substantially increases Saudi power over the region’s oil, lowering Iraq’s exports, raising the cost of oil (including, of course, Saudi oil) and at the expense of a frightened and still sanctioned Iran, which must defend its co-religionists in the collapsing Baghdad government. Mosul’s oil is now Sunni oil. And the vast and unexplored reserves believed to lie beneath the jihadi-held deserts west of Baghdad are now also firmly in Sunni rather than in national, Shia-controlled Baghdad government hands.
    Rebels parade through Mosul
    Photo by: Reuters
    This break-up may also, of course, engender a new version of the terrifying Iran-Iraq war – a conflict that killed 1.5 million Sunni and Shia Muslims, both sides armed by outside powers while the Arab Gulf states funded the Sunni leadership of Saddam. The West was happy to see these great Muslim powers fighting each other. Israel sent weapons to Iran and watched its principal Muslim enemies destroy each other. Which is why Walid Jumblatt now also believes that the current tragedy – while it has killed off Mr Sykes and Mr Picot – will have Arthur Balfour smiling in his grave.

    NATO Re-surfaced Map of the New Middle East

    By: Chris_Kitze
    Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya writes: A relatively unknown map of the Middle East, NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, and Pakistan has been circulating around strategic, governmental, NATO, policy and military circles since mid-2006. It has been causally allowed to surface in public, maybe in an attempt to build consensus and to slowly prepare the general public for possible, maybe even cataclysmic, changes in the Middle East. This is a map of a redrawn and restructured Middle East identified as the “New Middle East.”

    “Hegemony is as old as Mankind…” -Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor

    The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”

    This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.

    Middle East violence and bloodshed blurring century-old borders

    CTV News - ‎14 hours ago‎
    CAIRO, Egypt -- Working in secret, European diplomats drew up the borders that have defined the Middle East'snations for nearly a century -- but now civil war, sectarian bloodshed and leadership failures threaten to rip that map apart.

    Defiant Maliki vows to defeat Iraq rebels

    Aljazeera.com - ‎12 hours ago‎
    Top News. Iraqi army claims slowing down rebel advance · Ukraine hits back after rebels down plane · Afghans brave violence to elect new president · Arrests made in search for missing Israelis · Egypt sends 13 to trial for Tahrir sex attack.