January 11, 2008

Pakistan's deepening security crises

..."Shortly before she was assassinated, Benazir Bhutto warned that, left unchecked, Taliban forces would be marching on the Pakistan capital, Islamabad, within two to four years."

While recent and present headlines about the U.S. are focused on the White House Race, Bush's visit to the Middle East and that gutless attempt to stir the U.S. Navy by Iranian speedboats, opinion columnists are increasingly pointing out how imminently dangerous Pakistan is becoming. In an short op-ed piece, this mornings Australian reminds us that Taliban elements are on the rise and pose a very real threat to security interests.

"As US President George W. Bush makes a nine-day visit to the Middle East in an attempt to reactivate the stalled Annapolis Israeli-Arab peace talks and bolster the alliance of moderate Arab states against Iran, the more pressing developments continue to unfold further to the east, in Pakistan. The head of the UN atomic watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, has put his name to what has until recently been the world's great unspoken fear - that al-Qa'ida could use the deepening security crisis in Pakistan to seize the country's nuclear arsenal. Many of Pakistan's nuclear warheads are in regional areas where support for the Islamic extremists has been growing unchecked by an increasingly ill-disciplined national army."

"There is a growing consensus that what were once considered unreasonable fears about the extent of the threat posed to Pakistan by Islamic extremists are no longer quite so far-fetched. This is particularly so given the Pakistan media's increasingly brazen reporting of "the extent of the penetration of state machinery" by radical Islamic militants. Shortly before she was assassinated, Benazir Bhutto warned that, left unchecked, Taliban forces would be marching on the Pakistan capital, Islamabad, within two to four years."

In the meantime, my fear as that world Governments are watching, noting with too little comprehension. Pakistan owns a small nuclear arsenal and both past and current events remain unsettling. We recall how they supplied crucial elements of North Korea's nuclear programme. AQ Khan, the nations foremost nuclear scientist was selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea throughout the 90's, something he admitted in 2004.

Yesterday the BBC reported that, "Pakistan has strongly criticised remarks by the head of the UN nuclear watchdog that its nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist groups. The concerns were expressed by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper."

Pakistan remains a tough call, for the nation is not unstable enough to warrant direct intervention but nevertheless, too disorderly for our comfort and nothing about its present state of democratic progress instills confidence.

For previous posts on Pakistan click here, here and here.

2 comments:

Tapline said...

Otto, it is my understanding the general in charge is American schooled and friendly to American interest, or so I heard,,,,stay well......

American Interests said...

tap: yes, but there are many other forces at work over there...stay well and I thank you for commenting....