|"Living Off Delusions Of Victimization|
May 3, 2012: Islamic terrorism remains a threat in India, although a declining one. This is just as well, because India is a federation of 28 states and the states resist interference by the central government. This has caused problems with establishing nationwide standards for counter-terrorism efforts. Meanwhile, Mumbai remains a bitter memory that just won't fade. The Pakistan-sponsored 2008 attack not only killed nearly 200 people, but poisoned relations with Pakistan (which still refuses to prosecute the organizations in Pakistan responsible for planning and supervising the attack. Worse, Mumbai has long been a target for Islamic terrorists. In the last 12 years, 458 have died in Mumbai from terrorism. The states don't trust the central government (partly because of the rampant corruption) and prefer to go off on their own. This leads to widely varying effectiveness when it comes to counter-terror efforts. Fortunately, Islamic terrorism has declined, among Moslems, in popularity over the last decade. In Pakistan, for example, less than 20 percent of the population approve of al Qaeda, although local terror groups that attack India are more popular. But not in India, where the local Moslems (who outnumber Moslems in Pakistan) have largely declined to be radicalized.
But there are still pockets of radicalism. Although India has crushed the Pakistan based terrorist operatives in Kashmir, two decades of these groups operating in Kashmir has infected a generation of young men with Islamic radicalism. Although these terrorism enthusiasts now have great difficulty getting support from Pakistan, a few still have an urge to kill and maim, and do that with what few weapons they can scrounge. Most Kashmiris are hostile to their local militants, because the economy is beginning to revive. The foundation of prosperity in Kashmir is tourism, especially from other parts of India. Too much Islamic radicalism and the tourists will stay away and everyone will suffer. Thus the local Islamic radicals have to fear their fellow Moslems, as well as the security forces.
The Indian war against its Maoist rebels is not going well. The Maoists are a presence in about a quarter of the country. These are mostly rural areas in the east. Increasing police pressure (including dozens of paramilitary battalions) has resulted in the Maoists becoming more ruthless and savage. The police often respond in kind and civilians are caught in the crossfire. This fighting is likely to on for years, possibly until the end of the decade.
Meanwhile, Pakistan remains a much more violent place, with more than 30 times more people killed (per capita) than in India. There are regularly 5-10 times more terrorist deaths each month in Pakistan, a nation with a sixth of the population of India.
A year after the American raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, and captured thousands of al Qaeda documents, it appears that those documents did not identify specific Pakistani officials who helped hide bin Laden. It appears that bin Laden took advantage of the corruption in Pakistan, along with the "Pushtun Mafia" (tribal gangsters much feared in lowland Punjab and Sind provinces, where most Pakistanis live) to set up his hideout in the military city of Abbottabad and evade detection for all those years.
At the same time, Pakistan continues to claim it knew nothing of bin Laden's location and that the intelligence sharing agreement with the United States provided important information leading to locating bin Laden. Pakistanis also point out that Islamic radicals went to war with Pakistan after Pakistan sided with the U.S. in the War on Terror, and sent death squads after national and local leaders. But Pakistan continues to ignore the very real fact that Pakistan continues to provide support and sanctuary for Islamic terror groups that have carried out major terror attacks in India. This effort is controlled by powerful factions in the military and intelligence services. The military also sponsors the decades old propaganda campaign that paints India and the West as obsessed with destroying Pakistan and Islam. The truth of the matter is that India (increasingly) and the West (always) ignore Pakistan, considering it a failed state that only get any attention because of its proclivity for murderous mischief. This view is unacceptable within Pakistan, where illusions of power and glory are worshipped. Anyone who says otherwise is punished, driven out of the country or killed.
One area where Pakistan is a major player is in Afghanistan, which Pakistan considers within its sphere of influence. That is, other nations must consult with Pakistan before doing anything significant in or with Afghanistan. The Afghans are not happy with this attitude, or the harmful Pakistan interference that has taken place over the last three decade.
The U.S. and Pakistan remain stalemated over the resumption of truck traffic from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and Pakistan refusing to attack Islamic terrorists in North Waziristan (North Waziristan) or Quetta (Baluchistan). These two places have become the most dangerous terrorist sanctuaries on the planet, but the Pakistani government refuses to shut them down. India also wants Islamic terror camps (run by groups specializing in attacks on India) in other parts of Pakistan eliminated. Again, Pakistan defies the world and refuses to act against the terrorists. The United States has shifted to a supply line to Central Asia, and continues UAV attacks in North Waziristan, which the Pakistanis consider illegal. The U.S. has respected the Pakistani prohibition of UAV attacks in Quetta, despite repeated requests for permission to go after the Afghan Taliban leadership based there, along with many mid-level Taliban leaders. The U.S. could just go ahead and start hitting targets in Quetta, and the Pakistanis could escalate by attacking the UAVs with missiles or F-16 fighters. But this could quickly escalate, and the Americans can do more damage to Pakistan than the other way around. The Pakistani leadership understands this. They also understand that their steadfast support for Islamic terrorists has made them an international pariah (except in Moslem states, where killing non-Moslems is still considered acceptable behavior, no matter what the rest of the world thinks.)
In Pakistan, self-delusion is a popular activity. For example, in Abbottabad, civilians will insist that bin Laden never lived there and that the American raid was all theater staged by the Americans to try and make Pakistan look bad. This attitude is not unusual in Pakistan, where delusions of victimization trump taking responsibility for your actions.
In northwest Pakistan, two Taliban bombs, meant for pro-government tribal elders, went off and left five dead."