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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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I hesitate to disagree with Juan Cole, one of the few genuine experts posting regularly on Islam and the politics of the Middle East and South Asia. However, I do take issue with his most recent post on the burgeoning crisis in Pakistan. The lawyers are marching, Nawaz Sharif is piggybacking his political struggle with... Read More
The prevailing Western narrative concerning the massive blast that destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad is that this 9/11 style outrage will shove some GWOT backbone up the ass of Pakistan’s elites and compel them to get serious about the extremists they’ve been coddling on Pakistan’s western border with Afghanistan. Much of the anger and... Read More
A funny thing happened at the climax of the lawyers’ Long March to Islamabad to demand restoration of the pre-November 3 judiciary. Nothing. To widespread dismay and confusion, Aitzaz Ahsan, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, announced on June 14 that the marchers would disperse from their positions near the parliament building instead... Read More
Asif Zardari, the Wily Snake from Sindh... Faces Off Against... ...the Tiger of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif... ..In a No Holds Barred Battle... ... to Force Pervez Musharraf From Office! .. The Prize: Bragging Rights as the Savior of Pakistani Democracy! If Pakistani politics honored its striking kinship with the rivalries, bombast, and chair-throwing brio of... Read More
China Matters looks at what delayed the formation of Pakistan’s new ruling coalition for almost a full month. It’s not Musharraf, or the United States...though they’ve been doing their best. They key factor has been the ambition of PPP co-chairman (and widow of Benazir Bhutto) Asif Zardari. Zardari has been scheming feverishly to assert control... Read More
Pakistan’s two main opposition parties, the PPP and the PML-N, have agreed to form a coalition government. The fate of the judiciary and Musharraf have not been clearly addressed, so it’s not clear if this is a lasting coalition or a superficial and tactical alliance. But simply the fact that Asif Zardari and the PPP... Read More
Update to the Update: I see from Jim Lobe that Hussein Haqqani, the PPP’s flack-in-residence at Boston University, its spokesman to Capitol Hill, and designated quotemeister to the U.S. media, unveiled the current party position in the Wall Street Journal: The newspaper also published a column by Hussein Haqqani - an adviser to the late... Read More
The big winner in the February 18 general election was Nawaz Sharif. His PML-N party exceeded expectations by a significant margin, winning 66 national assembly seats, second only to the PPP’s 88. In the PML-N (and Pakistani political and economic) heartland of Punjab, Sharif’s party took advantage of the collapse of Musharraf’s PML-Q to win... Read More
The Battle for Punjab and Pakistan's Future
Whether the February 18 elections produce an immediate national crisis, an unpopular U.S.- friendly regime, or a stabilizing coalition of opposition parties depends on the Punjab. In terms of wealth, population, members of parliament, media attention, and elite clout, Punjab is the state that matters most in Pakistani politics. Its 148 national assembly seats are... Read More
Musharraf’s window for a graceful exit seems to be closing fast. For the time being, at least, the attempt to lure Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N into a pre-election government of national unity has failed . Perhaps the Sharif brothers decided that accepting Musharraf’s offer would have been calamitous for their party’s credibility as an opposition force... Read More
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Pervez Musharraf’s survival may have been greatly exaggerated. The same goes for the opposition alliance of Bhutto's PPP and Nawaz Sharif's PML-N. Musharraf’s government reached out to Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N, hoping to pre-empt the electoral challenge of the PPP with a government of national unity. Now it... Read More
With Pakistan in the middle of a burgeoning security and political crisis, the report from Islamabad is that Musharraf has finally turned to the opposition to provide his government with stability...and his nation with unity. But he’s not turning to Benazir Bhutto’s PPP, the supposedly empowering force that the United States has been promoting as... Read More
Beyond the immediate tragedy of Benazir Bhutto’s death by violence in Rawalpindi, the greater tragedy for Pakistan is that the opportunity for a peaceful transfer of power—one that did not involve assassination, judicial murder, or legal vendetta—has been lost. What was going to happen after January 8 parliamentary elections was probably not going to be... Read More
It's All Over But the Squealing
...About the vote rigging, that is. Update: IRI has its numbers and the ISI apparently has their own. And perhaps political strength and electoral success are two different things. According to a report in Dawn, reflecting assumptions in early December, when the parliamentary elections are done and the seats divied up, the PML-Q--though excoriated as... Read More
U.S. Ignores Own Polling Showing Bhutto's Weakness and Sharif's Strength
Benazir Bhutto has a clear strategy. Participate in the January 8 parliamentary elections under protest, contest the results with some street demonstrations, push Musharraf out of the presidency, and govern Pakistan from a strengthened prime minister office. The United States has a clear strategy, also. Back Bhutto and her political program, and rely on her... Read More
Looking at the circumstances around opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan, one has to believe that there is a deal between Musharraf and Sharif, despite Sharif’s vehement denials. Or, more likely, that there is a deal between Musharraf and Saudi Arabia and between Saudi Arabia and Sharif, with the Saudis acting as guarantors and... Read More
Western scribes are perhaps overly enamored of the “Musharraf has his back against the wall and is being forced to make democratic concessions” narrative, which grows organically out of misrepresentation of Benazir Bhutto and the United States as the leader and sponsor, respectively, of an anti-Musharraf democratic vanguard. Onthe contrary, events in recent days have... Read More
Analyzing the History of a Controversial Movement
Becker update V1.3.2
The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
The Surprising Elements of Talmudic Judaism
How America was neoconned into World War IV