Henry Kissinger rightly noted that it’s often more dangerous being an ally of the United States than its enemy. The latest victim of this sad truism is Pakistan, a loyal ally of the US since the dawn of our era. President Donald Trump’s visceral hatred of Muslims (never mind what kind, or why, or where)... Read More
The divided south Asian mountain state of Kashmir is like a volcano: forgotten when quiescent, but terrifying when it comes alive. After the first India-Pakistan War in 1947, in which the British Indian Raj was divided into Hindu and Muslim-dominated states, India ended up with two-thirds of the formerly independent mountain state of Kashmir, and... Read More
The deaths in South Asia of three of the West’s ‘Great Satans’ were announced in recent weeks: Mullah Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani in Afghanistan; and Pakistan’s Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul. I never met Mullah Omar though I was present at the birth and expansion of his movement, Taliban. Mullah Omar was a renowned combat veteran... Read More
Pakistan’s former military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was indicted last week on charges of murdering former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and for treason. Benazir Bhutto was killed during a bomb attack on her convoy in Rawalpindi during an election rally in December, 2007. She had just returned from exile in Britain and Dubai and was... Read More
“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce,” wrote Karl Marx. Exhibit A: look at Pakistan this week where former dictator Pervez Musharraf’s monkeyshines made a laughing-stock of the nation created in 1947 to be a model of good government for the world’s Muslims. The former self-styled “president-general returned from exile last month to... Read More
ISTANBUL - Reports of fighting along Kashmir’s cease-fire line don’t normally receive much attention in the western media. Last week, for example, saw a series of clashes on 8 and 10 January that killed both Pakistani and Indian troops. One of the Indian soldiers was decapitated, provoking fury across India and calls from its extremist... Read More
By the time her season’s greeting card and a handwritten note arrived in my office, my old friend Benazir Bhutto was already dead. The card mailed in Pakistan days before her murder, remains on my desk to this today, a touching last link from this remarkable lady. So, too, the names of the men who... Read More
WASHINGTON – I was visiting Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States when the phone on his desk rang. “The hot line,” he said. “Sorry I have to take this call.” As he listened, his face grew darker and darker. Finally, he banged down the phone and exploded: “Another US drone attack that killed a score... Read More
The US is now risking a military confrontation with old ally Pakistan that is both highly dangerous and unpredictable in the extreme. It’s awfully hard for the world’s greatest power to admit its high-tech military forces are being beaten in Afghanistan by a bunch of lightly-armed mountain tribesmen that we dismiss as "terrorists." But that’s... Read More
It’s awfully hard for the world’s greatest power to admit its high-tech military forces are being beaten in Afghanistan by a bunch of lightly-armed mountain tribesmen. But that’s what’s happening. Washington is blaming everyone else for the bloody fiasco in Afghanistan, the “Graveyard of Empires.” Right now, the chief whipping boy for US fury is... Read More
Does anyone remember Kashmir? Well, we certainly should. If nuclear war ever breaks out, the most likely place would be in Kashmir. The fabled state of Kashmir lies in majestic isolation amid the towering mountain ranges of the Himalayas and Karakoram that separate the torrid plains of north India from the steppes and deserts of... Read More
The US government just decided Islamic shariah law is not so bad after all – at least not in the case of jailed CIA agent Raymond Davis. The burly Davis, an ex-US Special Forces soldier, former Blackwater gunman, and now CIA “contractor” (jargon for mercenary) was jailed in Pakistan after shooting dead two Pakistanis, who... Read More
This writer has been warning for years that US and NATO efforts to defeat resistance to Western occupation by Afghanistan's fierce Pashtun tribes would eventually lead to spreading the conflict into neighboring Pakistan, a nation of 175 million. We've seen it all before in Vietnam. It was then called, "mission creep." The focus of the... Read More
Bob Woodward, the investigative reporter of Watergate fame, has a new book, Obama's War, that gives new insights into the White House's struggle over Afghan War policy. Woodward's most interesting revelation: the US Central Intelligence Agency is operating a secret, 3,000-man Afghan mercenary force whose mission is assassinating Taliban and al-Qaida fighters. The hunter-killer force... Read More
Most Americans still have not figured out the difference between Shia and Sunni or Kurds. Or, for that matter, Bosnians and Kosovars. But the insatiable demands of our imperium keep plunging us into new, mysterious places and murky conflicts. Welcome to Kashmir, the divided Himalayan state that is world's longest-running and certainly most dangerous international... Read More
According to the UN, the vast floodwaters have affected 20 million Pakistanis. Over 1,500 people have died, 800,000 homes have been destroyed. Pakistan's government reports that 10% of this nation of 180 million is now destitute and 20% of Pakistan's land is submerged by the filthy, contaminated floodwaters. Two more waves of monsoon flooding are... Read More
Washington is finally getting some of the democracy it has long been calling for in Pakistan. The result is a disaster for US "Afpak" policy. The Obama administration is fast discovering that its man in Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari, may be an even bigger ethical and managerial liability than its overseer in Kabul, President... Read More
PARIS — The US keeps kicking hornet's nests around the globe and wondering why it continues getting stung. The latest example: Pakistan's once beautiful Swat Valley has been turned into a battlefield. Last week, Pakistan finally bowed to Washington's angry demands to unleash its military against rebellious Pashtun tribesmen of Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) —... Read More
PARIS — The worldly French and British who are taught history and read books are looking with wry amusement and some pity on the Americans who are now gripped by a renewed bout of Taliban terror. About ten days ago, a bunch of lightly-armed Pashtun tribesmen rode down from the Malakand region on motorbikes and... Read More
President Barack Obama has now taken full ownership of the Afghanistan War. Gone are Washington's pretenses that a western "coalition" was waging this conflict. Gone, too, is the comic book term, "war on terrorism," replaced by the Orwellian sobriquet, "overseas contingency operations." Obama's announcement last week of deeper US involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan —... Read More
The inauguration this week of Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, widower of the slain Benazir Bhutto, should have brought some hope and direction to embattled Pakistan. It did not. A sense of weary déjà vu hung over the event. Zardari's first major policy statement was a vow to continue waging the so-called "war on... Read More
Soon after the US invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban government in 2001, I predicted that Taliban resistance would resume in four years. My fellow pundits, who were cock-a-hoop over the US military victory over a bunch of lightly-armed medieval tribesmen, became drunk on old-fashioned imperial triumphalism, and denounced me as "crazy," or worse. But... Read More
Benazir Bhutto's murder increasingly resembles an Agatha Christie whodunit in which all the potential suspects look guilty as hell. Pakistan's now civilian dictator, President Pervez Musharraf, pleads innocent. But his henchmen ordered the crime scene hosed down, destroyed evidence, and forced doctors who examined Benazir's body to make the preposterous claim a fall, not bullets,... Read More
It took one suicide bombing in Karachi to undermine the short-lived political marriage of convenience that Washington engineered between Pakistan's embattled president, Pervez Musharraf, and former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. The Musharraf government immediately blamed the usual Islamic suspects for the deadly explosions that greeted Bhutto's long awaited return to Pakistan from self-imposed exile. At... Read More
Plans by President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to attack Iran have been at least temporarily derailed by the mounting crisis in Pakistan. Not only is this important South Asia nation a key US ally in its conflict with anti-western Muslim groups (aka "the war of terror"), the US also planned to use... Read More
Just before departing for her dramatic return to Pakistan after years of self-imposed exile, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto told me of her joy at going home, and plans to rebuild democratic government in her nation. Tragically, Benazir's triumphant homecoming turned into a bloodbath as an attempt to assassinate her in Karachi left nearly 150... Read More
The Bush Administration may be preparing to lash out at old ally Pakistan, which Washington now blames for its humiliating failures to crush al-Qaida, capture its elusive leaders, or defeat Taliban resistance forces in Afghanistan. One is immediately reminded of the Vietnam War when the Pentagon, unable to defeat North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong... Read More
US Vice President Dick Cheney's visit last week to South Asia was not what one could call a rousing success. Cheney, the real power behind the Bush Administration, arrived at Bagram air base, formerly the nerve center for the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Today, it plays the same role for the US occupation. A suicide... Read More
While interviewing Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf after the 1999 military coup that brought him to power, I was struck both by his plain-spoken honesty, and doubts this rather eccentric general turned politician would survive. Running turbulent, unstable Pakistan, is one of the world's toughest, most dangerous jobs. I felt at the time Musharraf was not... Read More
WASHINGTON — The 1988 assassination of Pakistan's President, Zia ul-Haq remains one of our era's abiding major mysteries. Only the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy has produced wilder speculation and more conspiracy theories. A recent article claiming the late President Zia ul-Haq was assassinated by Israel's foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, has been totally... Read More
Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.
He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Lew Rockwell. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.
His internet column www.ericmargolis.com reaches global readers on a daily basis.
As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow.
A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.
A native New Yorker, he maintains residences in Toronto and New York, with frequent visits to Paris.