Tag Archives: Pakistan

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The Solution to Islamist Extremism Leads to Riyadh

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 23, 2013, No Comments

The Boston bombings only underscore a reality that has been quite apparent to the Obama administration: the scourge of extremism is constantly seeping into the Internet through the so-called Saudi-trained or Wahhabi-influenced "imams" who have nothing better to do but to propagate anger and hatred toward everything Western, including democracy, Islamic moderation, the Shias, the Ahmadiyas, and even Harry Potter movies!  The international dissemination centers for Islamic extremism are located in Riyadh as well as in other major cities of Saudi Arabia.  So, a global solution for stemming the tide of extremism must initiate from Saudi Arabia, and the Obama administration has to prompt an acute campaign toward that end. (more…)
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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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Whither “Savior” Musharraf Pervez?

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 18, 2013, No Comments

My surprise was second to none when I saw that the former dictator of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, had arrived in his native land with the audacious self-depiction of himself as a "savior."  My estimation was that it was too soon for him to return to Pakistan; there were too many angry politicians and persons in the legal community and institutions chomping at the bit to get even with him.  One angry lawyer even hurled his shoe at him.  The ultimate "Bush welcome" in Baghdad of December 2008 has become a permanent symbol of popular contempt for unpopular politicians in Muslim countries.  Besides, the people of Pakistan had shown no affinity for the idea of his return.  The professional commando decided to go on a "suicide mission" on his own.  (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
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With Friends Like You…

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 24, 2011, No Comments

"With friends like you, who needs enemies?" is an adage that both the Pakistanis and the Americans seem to be hurling at each other.  The outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, has recently stated that the Haqqani group is the "veritable arm" of the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service.  Even though that was a known U.S. position, officials of the Obama administration were careful not to state it publicly.  Now the gloves are off.  Pakistan shot back.  General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan's Army Chief, as well as Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, strongly denied the charge.  In the meantime, deteriorating ties (which the American side still mindlessly refers to as an "alliance") promise to get even worse.  I even foresee a limited U.S. military action across the Pakistani borders to eradicate the Haqqani fighters. (more…)
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The Only Realistic Solution to Afghanistan Is Fixing it

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 5, 2011, 1 Comment

Former Secretary of State Collin Powell famously told President George W. Bush before he invaded Iraq, if you send troops to that country "you are going to own it."  That is otherwise known as the "the Pottery Barn rule," "You break it, you own it."  Now, the United States "owns" Iraq as well as Afghanistan.  Even though President Barack Obama publicized the fact that he read Gordon M. Goldstein's book, Lessons in Disaster, in order to learn how to avoid them before implementing the troop surge of his own in Afghanistan, no one told him that each major conflict has obdurate realities that forces the sitting U.S. President to commit idiosyncratic faux pas of his own.  The problem is not knowing how each major U.S. military deployment is going to be different from the previous ones.  Somehow, President Obama thinks that, if he were to announce a rational timetable to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, the conflict would remain highly manageable. (more…)
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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…)
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Is Religious Moderation Dying in Pakistan?

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 6, 2011, No Comments

The recent assassination of the Governor Salman Taseer of Punjab, the most populous state of Pakistan and the state that formulates a large chunk of its Army, raises that perennial question:  Is religious moderation dying in Pakistan?  Assassin's bullets are notorious about leading to major cataclysmic events, and one should be careful about reading too much into such events.  However, in Pakistan's case no amount of broad sweep of analytical thinking may be regarded as exaggeration.  (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…)
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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