Fanning Fundamentalist Flames

Michael McAlister Blog 1 Comment

The International Herald Tribune offers an interesting piece on the implications of this past week’s attacks. The major theme shouldn’t surprise any one.

The terrorists’ barely concealed ties to Pakistan suggest that a key objective of the Mumbai assault was to fan the dying flames of Indian-Pakistani conflict.

Because of this, neither the Pakistanis nor the Indians will serve themselves or the world at large if they give in to the politics of attachment. This necessitates much needed communication among all parties and offers  India’s PM Manmohan Singh a chance to show some leadership by articulating to his people that the Mumbai attacks, while probably Pakistani in origin, should not be allowed to refuel the engines of hatred that destabilizing forces so badly desire.

… extremist Pakistani groups as well as Al Qaeda have a strong interest in provoking fresh hostilities between Pakistan and India. A revival of India-Pakistan tension could relieve much of the domestic pressure on those groups; it could justify a renewal of support for the Taliban on the part of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence; and it could return the domestic focus in Pakistan to the plight of Muslims in Indian-ruled Kashmir.

Bows to all that are hurting in this process, and blessings to those with the courage to let tragedy open their eyes, hearts and minds.

Comments 1

  1. Pamposh Dhar

    I agree that this tragedy does have the potential to help us all open our eyes, hearts and minds. And I think you make a very valid — and insightful — comment about the need to give up old attachments to old ways of thinking that have led only to mistrust and conflict.
    Whether out of necessity or choice, the Pakistani Foreign Minister said something that is quite new in terms of Indo-Pakistani relations: he said it is in Pakistan’s interest to cooperate with India now.
    Given the number of terrorist attacks on Pakistan in recent times, it is easy to believe he meant this. The government of President Asif Zardari in Pakistan appears to be as much under threat from these same terrorists as the government and people of India.
    The question is: what is the Pakistani government willing and able to do to counter the terrorists who continue to be indoctrinated and trained on Pakistani soil, apparently with the backing of the military intelligence agency ISI?
    Even though the President’s office and the Cabinet may be firmly committed to countering terrorism, a very powerful part of the Pakistani establishment clearly is not.
    I do NOT mean to imply in any way that India and Pakistan should give up the attempt to find a new approach likely to lead to peace. I think both countries, and their governments and peoples, should try their very best to find an approach that leads to peace despite the difficulties presented by these ground realities. This means that people in both countries need first to acknowledge these realities.
    Pakistanis need to acknowledge that the ISI, and perhaps the military as a whole, has over the years grown into a law unto itself and now needs to be brought back under civilian control. Indians need to distinguish between different wings of the Pakistani establishment and support those that are willing to work for peace on the subcontinent.

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