Musharraf Hangs On

It hasn’t gotten much notice, but in the aftermath of Pakistan’s elections, the post-Benazir Bhutto PPP has been drifitng closer to Pervez Musharraf, and is essentially now standing in the way of the efforts to remove him from office through conventional means (ie. the reinstatement of judges likely to rule him ineligible to hold office). The result has been for the anti-Musharraf movement to harden its posiiton, calling for his removal through article six of Pakistan’s constitution. That procedure would leave Musharraf, if tried and convicted, facing the death penalty for high treason. Arif Rafiq of Pakistan Policy Blog has […]

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan — As the United States prepares for its presidential election, many Afghans are anxiously watching the race that will bring an end to the administration that triggered the 2001 U.S. intervention in their country and that has designed much of the continued military and development strategy there. Given that Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has become almost completely dependent on the foreign assistance the U.S. intervention has brought, Afghans perhaps have good reason for their anxiety. “The important issues to Afghans are Afghanistan — and Pakistan,” said 29 year-old Roya Aziz, an Afghan-American filmmaker […]

Earlier this month, Royal Dutch Shell and Spain’s Repsol pulled out of a proposed Iranian natural gas development project that was estimated to be worth over $10 billion. The decision by the two European energy firms to pull out of phase 13 of the South Pars project was seen as a setback for Iran’s efforts to court foreign interest in its energy sector at a time when the Bush administration is actively trying to discourage it. Shell and Repsol executives did not publicly comment on their reasons for pulling out of South Pars. But whether it was due to concerns […]

Finishing the Job in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – Derailing counterinsurgents in Pakistan and combating the state’s narcotics enterprises remain two of the largest obstacles to peace and stability in Afghanistan, and the solutions to these problems might not arrive for years to come, Jeremy Shapiro, director of Research at the Brookings Center on the United States and Europe, said at a May 21 briefing here sponsored by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “The first goal from the U.S. and European perspective is to ensure Afghanistan isn’t a source of instability for the world,” Shapiro said. “The military on the ground sees it this way, and they see […]

India, Pakistan Resume Talks

The resumption of India-Pakistan confidence-building talks following six months of tit-for-tat cruise missile launches is good news in and of itself. But this passage from a Hindustan Times article on the latest round of the discussions caught my eye: New Delhi is looking for concrete action by Pakistan for ending cross-border terrorism and infiltration, which have witnessed a spurt recently. India believes terrorism is a “common concern” for both the countries and that it is in the interest of Pakistan itself to clamp down on the scourge as it has lost former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to it. New Delhi, […]

NEW YORK — Sri Lanka, celebrating its 60th anniversary of independence from British colonial rule this year, is using a carrot-and-stick strategy in the war that has enveloped the island nation for some 25 years and brought it to the brink of economic disaster. The country’s government has achieved some initial success in containing the home-grown terrorism perpetrated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, as it tries to wean away the Tamil population from supporting the LTTE’s agenda of carving out an independent state in the northern and eastern parts of the […]

Measuring Pakistan’s Indifference

While browsing through this interim GAO report (.pdf, via the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs) on Coalition Support Funds reimbursed to Pakistan for its antiterrorism operations in the FATA, I was surprised to see that the amount of requests for reimbursement that were denied spiked from $5 million to $25 million in February 2007. That’s almost a third of the monthly operational expenses that Pakistan was “billing” to the program at the time. Almost as surprising was the fact that the amount of reimbursements that were denied immediately dipped back down to roughly $15 million by […]

When it emerged in mid-March that the perpetrator of a deadly suicide attack on American troops in Afghanistan had come from Germany, the American media showed remarkably little interest. On March 3, 28-year-old Cüneyt Ciftci from Ansbach in Bavaria drove a pick-up loaded with several tons of explosives into a guard post in Khost province in southeastern Afghanistan and then detonated his payload while still inside the truck. According to U.S. Army and Afghan sources, two American soldiers and two Afghans were killed in the attack and another seven persons, including four soldiers, were wounded. The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), […]

Zardari, Sharif Reach Agreement

Pakistan’s governing coalition is apparently safe for now, as Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have hammered out an agreement on reinstating Pakistani judgesremoved by Musharraf, as promised during the election campaign. It doesseem to say a lot about the state of Pakistani democracy, though, thatthe deadlock-breaking meeting took place in a hotel in Dubai, where thePPP is still headquartered. Update: After posting this, I ran across this Arif Rafiq post on the potential obstacles for the agreement. And if you haven’t already, bookmark Rafiq’s site, the Pakistan Policy Blog.