Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Taking on the TTP, part X

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Postscript: I have had a lot of comments from friends on this piece and here is a summary:
1. The deep state has a coherent Afghan policy that requires maintaining Jihadi proxies. That show is still the main show. This farce will go on and the deep state probably doesnt mind the fact that it will go on. 
2. The deep state has already launched an anti-taliban operation, but not yet in Waziristan. Still, its coming. 
3. More of the same. Nothing new has happened, nothing new is about to happen. 
4. The proverbial shit has already hit the fan. Pakistan is beyond the point of no return. 
And so on.
Take your pick. I have no inside info. Every theory falls apart as you pursue it some distance (some fall apart before the pursuit starts. Alas, the left has left the building ;) ). 

Maybe nobody is in control, but Saudi Arabia, Amrika and GHQ all think they know what they are doing and all think they are about to make monkeys of everyone else.  With that cheery thought in mind, read on..

Apparently the army is about to do something or the other against some group or the other in North Waziristan. This is big news because North Waziristan has been off limits to "operations" for years, with various jihadi groups living, training and carousing in the region with nothing to fear except the occasional drone attack. If the operation goes ahead, this may cause the TTP (the main Pakistani Taliban group) to conduct revenge operations even in the safe zones of Punjab, which may cause real anxiety in real Pakistan.

Aware of the possibility of a coming operation and being serious players, the TTP has wasted no time taking the initiative. They have made monkeys of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chodhri Nisar  and completely hijacked their idiotic "talks" gambit. It is likely that the "talks" were always meant to be a farce, and MNS and company thought this was just a good way to expose the bloodthirsty Taliban and their civilian supporters (like the PTI and the Jamat e Islami) before the serious business of killing starts and the inevitable blowback causes the Punjabi people to look around for a scapegoat. If so, the gambit has failed spectacularly. The TTP proved cleverer and more capable than the government of Pakistan and announced their own farcical committee to hold negotiations with Nawaz Sharif's farcical committee while their brothers continued to knock off opponents and spread terror. It has been a brilliant performance, nicely cataloged here by Ayaz Amir. 

But a bloodier phase may start soon. 50,000 Pakistanis have already died and more (unfortunately) are going to pay the price in the days to come. It probably didnt have to be this bad. More efficient ways of terminating (betraying) the Jihad experiment were possible, mostly involving cleverly cooperating with the US, India and China, but sometimes elites dont know what side they are on. Even though Pakistan's rulers were never going to set up some Jihadi North Korea and wave the Juche flag, they couldnt bring themselves to bite the bullet and 12 years of waffling have certainly raised the casualty count and made the next phase more painful that it had to be.

But these are mere details. Since even birather China wants the Jihadi safe havens terminated with maximum prejudice, its gonna happen, one way or the other. Liberals should keep their heads down and occasionally protest the human rights abuses to come. The rest is not up to them...
The story line remains a problem though. All the indications are that operation is going to rely on the CIA-RAW conspiracy template to justify the action. This, coupled with the presence of Imran Khan and media Taliban (like Orya Maqbool and Ansar Abbasis) is going to confuse the narrative in so many ways, its hard to even describe it. The confusion is so bad, our well armed elite may end up losing the war just because it didn't have a good enough story to fit the war.
500,000 man army, 200 nuclear weapons, 3000 tanks...but no story that can hold it all together.
Pakistan remains sui generis.
See what our tax rupees are paying for:

The Taliban meanwhile are sending some messages of their own:

So, the Taliban brought headless (freshly killed, blood soaked) bodies in an open pickup truck and dumped them on a "government controlled" road in Mohmand and filmed the scene...for 11 minutes. You can watch the video if you are up to it. I know there are bigger problems in Pakistan, but from here this seems vaguely disturbing


  1. You have been writing on this topic for a while, and while I am weak on Pakistani politics, I want to explore another view. Bear with me here.

    Is there a possibility that this is simply the latest manifestation of Punjab(Sindh) sedentary farmers vs Afghan (or Central Asian or Turkic or Mongol) nomad conflict. Is there a possibility that this is now genetically coded in the sedentary farmer's gene to simply not resist the Afghan invader? More precisely, I am asking if there was a referendum to cede all of the region between the Indus to Oxus (I am turning into what I despise) to Afghan nomadic herders, would it not be acceptable to Punjab/Sindh Mohajir majority? Is there a possibility that this is not a view of failure, but simply, a genetic survival strategy?

    For well over 2000 years, from the time of Greeks,Muryans, bactrians, Indo-sassanids, the Hunas, Turkic Ghaznavids, Ghoreids, Turkish Slaves, Timorids. Mughal Grandsons of Timorids, have entered through Khyber. We have a limited set of battles, but the most sterling battles seem to have been fought in the Gangetic plain. Is it posssible, the farmers are quite willing to allow the Nomads to have their way, knowing fully well that they would not be able to rule a complex empire, and eventiually collapse. They have seen the empires come and go, but the primary thing retained has been Islam, the canal system and food. All the invaders are gone. Is it possible the MAO or some other gene has evolved in the last 2000 years to simply accept the aggression? This means that the farmers of the Indus plain are willing to wait and outlast the Afghan aggressor, first, by ceding some territory, and next to ceding some role as ruling class, to the invading hordes.

    This is not to say that Pakistan should cede to Afghan invaders; just an alternate model of what has happened before, and now. Whereas, the Indus plain farmer does not have a historical battle with the Gangetic plain sedentary farmer, the idea of ceding to that sedentary farmer population is an anathema to the Punjabi farmer class.

  2. I am saying that we need an alternate genetic/biological pathway model of violent (non-violent) response of the Indus Valley man to aggression from Aghan Hunter/Nomad, Indo-Ganetic plain sedentary farmer, and the Hanchinese. may be the brains and genetics are wired to respond differently, based on a 2000 year evolution process.

    1. And we go on Hindu Vs. Muslim; GHQ vs. Liberals, Mullah-vs-people, ad-infinitum, while ignoring that differences in opinion among Pakistanis on most subjects is very minor (as shown by Gallup and Pew polls).

  3. TV Anchors with too much make-up and obviously-bleached hair?

    A) Zaid Hamid interviewed in English by Pakistani woman with fake American accent
    (See video in post above)

    B) Zaid Hamid interviewed in Urdu by Pakistani woman with fake American-accent projection.

    Why are these anchor-women so pretentious? What is it with the fake American accents with some of our women-journalists? Are they trying to flee their Pakistani identity to overcome a deep sense of inferiority. If they are, it is sad, but I don't blame them.

    So who is the REAL person in these interviews? I would point to the recently-assassinated Dr. M. Farooq Khan in Clip B. That man was very, very, very real. No nonsense, no pretense. He was medical doctor, a scholar of religion, and a fearless man with a profound sense of personal integrity. Unfortunately, we have lost him.

    The righteous are being killed in Pakistan, whilst the shallow and the wicked seem to thrive. Where is the Messiah? Where is the Mehdi? Why is he not here? Why is it taking him so long?

  4. Kodhambo. When the farmers decided to do it they did. The farmers of Punjab rallied themselves and built up an army that took the battle to Kabul. It was the Brahminical system that discouraged farmers from organizing themselves as a fighting force. When they eventually did in the Punjab they managed what three millenia of Brahminism could not. Remember that when the Rajputs had compromised with the Mughals except for one or two, or retreated to the Himalyas they left North India open to invasion. Maharatha and later Sikhs and of course Jats around Delhi then stepped into the breach.

  5. Genes don't work this way. If someone can find a gene that makes sedentary farmers more likely to wait out nomads invading through the Khyber Pass, that would be one crazy gene! And when would such a gene have evolved - before or after the Khalsa?

  6. Three religious dogmas of the anti-PTI camp: 1. PTI are Taliban supporters exactly in the same way that Iraq war opponents were Saddam supporters. 2. NATO strategy in Afghanistan was a raging success and questioning it makes one a Taliban supporter. 3. TTP performance in the talks has been very impressive so far.

  7. Ok, I will try a second time; this time I will take out the genetic model (that will invite the wrath if Razib Khan) and putting down Punjabis (that will invite the wrath of Internet Hindus). Over the past 2000 years, the farmers of the Indus-Jhelum-Chenab-Ravi farmers have developed socially and politically to invoke three responses to invasion of Turkic/Afghan/Mongol hordes:

    1. Delhi that way!
    2. Land to the west of Indus is yours to rule as you wish; we will not even step foot past Khyber (variously called the FCR act or the ungovernable Pathan model)
    3. You can have some palaces and gold and rule us, but do not get on the way of our farming.

    This model has worked perfectly; Megasthenes in Indika noted that there we less than 100,000 people in the indus region requiring the Mauryan empire to relocate to Gangetic plain. Whereas, there are close to 180 million people now between Karachi and Peshawar. What ahs happened to the Kushanas, the bactrians, the Saasanids, the Turkic, the slaves, Ghoerids, Mongols, Mughals? they are all gone!

    Why should this response change? what is new? Note that the People of Punjab and Sindh (see various Pew and Gallup studies) are possibly one of the most conservative (outside of the Pathans). Some believe that conservatism is an outcome of Islam, I contend that the conservatism is an inherent belief system of the Farmer (small trader). Islam just provides an additional butress to this belief system. If we conduct a poll of how to interact with "Taliban" (How I hate this word! the corect word is the hunter/nomad of the khyber), I am willing to bet that the results of Punjabi people, the various braying TV anchors, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif will be in perfect alignment:- give the invaders some thing and let us go on as we have done for 2000 years. This model has worked perfectly now, why change? is the response.

    Now Omar and Ali Minai write a million essays; all the stuff about GHQ, liberalism, the taliban Khan, the Mullah-media-GHQ axis, all miss the point. Ultimately, the farmer-small trader wants to be left alone to do what they ahve done a 1000 years. Give something to the invading hunters; lacking administrative sophistication, they will collapse in a few years, and the world will go on as always.