Tag Archives: Afghanistan

ISLAM PAKISTAN

Move On Pakistan, Let the Old General Go!

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 22, 2013, No Comments

Watching General Pervez Musharraf's humiliating treatment in Pakistan is a painful experience.  The vibrant Pakistani press is full of all sorts of stories.  Al Jazeera had an interesting discussion with a number of prominent Pakistanis on the subject.  I have been a long-time watcher of General Musharraf from Washington.  I find him interesting but more paradoxical than that Islamist General Zia ul-Haq.  My personal preference is that, if Pakistan were to really mature into a democracy, it needs to let the old General leave the country, with a promise not to return anytime soon.  This is a crucial time for Pakistan to move on with its business of conducting its next general election. (more…)
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Afghanistan: The Enduring Battlefield of the ‘Weak’ and the ‘Strong’

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 9, 2011, 1 Comment

India and Pakistan are two strange countries in a number of ways.  I will mention only one such trait here, to get the discussion going.  Despite India's denial to the contrary, Pakistan is its chief obsession.  Pakistan feels similarly toward India, but it has many reasons to feel that way.  First, on the scale of economic development, these two countries are really a world apart.  Despite India's intricacy as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state, it is relatively trouble free, while Pakistan is a simmering cauldron of sectarian and ethnic hatred.  The Takfiri extremism – which was prevalent in Egypt, post-Saddam Iraq, and Saudi Arabia – has found a home in Pakistan throughout the first decade of the 21st Century.  India is envisaged worldwide as a secular democracy and an up-and-coming cradle of modern education and technological development, while Pakistan is a place where Islamist-driven obscurantism is running rampant.  In view of these contrasting featur
AFGHANISTAN PAKISTAN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SOUTH ASIA STRATEGIC AFFAIRS OF SOUTH ASIA UNCATEGORIZED

Negotiating with the Taliban to Switch Sides

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 20, 2011, No Comments

After the death of Usama Bin Laden the Afghan conflict seems to have entered the "final phase," at least in the minds of those Americans who during moments of candor never gave much credence  to the proposition that the United States can come out as a "winner" from that  conflict.  Bin Laden's death has provided them the best opportunity to define victory on their own terms and make an argument for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. (more…)
AFGHANISTAN IRAQ UNITED STATES

The Commonalities Between Obama and Bush

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 9, 2010, No Comments

In an insightful OpEd, "What Eisenhower Could Teach Obama," Melvin Goodman, an ex-CIA functionary and a former Professor at the National War College, pointed out the difficulty of current presidents in dealing with the military, because most presidents come to office with no background or knowledge about the U.S. military.  He compared the almost encyclopedic knowledge about the military that President Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower brought to the office – because he himself was a professional soldier – with a number of recent presidents, especially President Barack Obama, who has no knowledge of the military culture and the military frame of mind.  In his farewell address to the nation, Ike rightly warned the nation of the dangers of allowing a military-industrial- complex (MIC) to take the control of the United States.     (more…)
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Replacing the Current AfPak Strategy with a New One

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 4, 2010, No Comments

With the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, President Barack Obama appears to be writing his own edition of "lessons in disaster," a book of the same title that he so publicly read and supposedly drew lessons from before committing 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. One wonders whether he knows it, but Afghanistan is increasingly looking like a disastrous place for his administration as long as he sticks to the current AfPak strategy. (more…)
AFGHANISTAN ASYMETRIC WAR COUNTERTERRORISM

The Kamikaze Act of a Special Forces Warrior

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 23, 2010, No Comments

The "runaway" General, Stanley McChrystal, was fired today by President Barack Obama. The general committed a number of major faux pas. First, he granted a candid interview to a tabloid magazine, Rolling Stone, seemingly without establishing strict ground rules about what can or cannot be reported. Second, his key aides adopted trashy language to disparage Vice President Joe Biden and James Jones, Obama's National Security Advisor, a retired Marine Corps four-star general and former SACEUR commander. Third, McChrystal's low regard, if not contempt, for Obama also came through loud and clear in that interview. (more…)
AFGHANISTAN ASYMETRIC WAR IRAQ UNITED STATES

Political Legitimacy: Key to Victory in Afghanistan

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 10, 2010, No Comments

As new idiosyncrasies of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan are becoming pronounced, one wonders how many of them are pushing it toward a potential disaster, which President Barack Obama is as determined to avoid as his three predecessors – Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and George W. Bush – did in Vietnam and Iraq, respectively. Every new president's approach to major unresolved issues is entirely different from those of his immediate predecessor, simply because the predecessor's approach is regarded as inept or even wrong-headed. So, the successor proceeds to 'reinvent the wheel' on those issues by approaching it entirely differently. Since Barack Obama entered office criticizing Bush's involvement in and his handling of the Iraq war, his own war – the one in Afghanistan – was going to have his 'superior' mark on it. (more…)
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Al-Qaida’s Long Reach and the Need for a “Smart” American Approach Toward Terrorism

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 4, 2010, No Comments

In my lectures and speeches all over the world on the issue of transnational terrorism, I used to proudly point out that American Muslims are immune to any contagious influence by al-Qaida or any other terrorist group. I had many reasons for saying so, but the foremost of which was the fact that American Muslims were much more integrated in the American achievement-oriented culture than their counterparts anywhere in the West. But in my heart, I had uneasy feelings about my own claim, because I have not seen the kind of cultural integration among the Muslim community that I think is a precondition of emerging as an American. The recent incidents involving Major Hasan Nidal, Colleen LaRose ("Jihad Jane), Najibullah Zazi, Faisal Shahzad and other American-born Muslims proved that my unease was not unfounded. As much as I have been emphasizing the propaganda power of the Internet in my lectures and writings, I was caught off guard about its deleterious role in radicalizing American Mu
AFGHANISTAN IRAN IRAQ PAKISTAN UNITED STATES

‘Plus ça Change’ Factor of the QDR 2010

by Ehsan Ahrari on February 12, 2010, No Comments

Reading the pre-final draft of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2010, one is reminded of the old adage, "plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose," in the Pentagon's handling of asymmetric war, counterterrorism, and other related issues. The ghosts of the Vietnam War, of how not to lose another war, are also very much alive. Since the QDR is usually long on the details of weapons systems–in its making, the four Services fight the bare-knuckle war of pushing their preferred weapons platforms, notwithstanding their commitment to joint warfare–and short on the discussion of strategy, it is seldom clear whether ample attention will be paid to strategy when it becomes operational. (more…)