This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:
- ‘Butcher of Swat’ Fazlullah named as new chief of Pakistan’s Taliban
- Fazlullah rejects peace talks with Pakistan’s government
- European Central Bank cuts rates to fight deflationary spiral
‘Butcher of Swat’ Fazlullah named as new chief of Pakistan’s Taliban
Pakistan’s citizens are expressing dismay that Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP -the Pakistan Taliban) on Thursday selected Mullah Fazlullah as theirnew leader.
Fazlullah has gotten the name “Butcher of Swat” because he led theTaliban in 2007-2009 to create rivers of blood with terrorist acts anda reign of terror in the Swat Valley of northwestern Pakistan, whichused to be a beautiful tourist and ski resort. Finally, in 2009,Pakistan’s army was able to drive Fazlullah and his terrorists intothe tribal areas, and then across the border into Afghanistan.
Fazlullah led a campaign to end a United Nations program to vaccinatechildren against polio, by murdering doctors and nurses whoadministered the vaccines. The result is that polio is endemic inPakistan, as well as in Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Fazlullah earned international notoriety for ordering the November2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl from Swat who hadcampaigned against the TTP’s bombing of schools. She narrowly survivedafter being airlifted to the United Kingdom for specialist medicaltreatment. She has since been feted across the world for her bravery,narrowly missing out on the Nobel Peace Prize. McClatchy and BBC
Fazlullah rejects peace talks with Pakistan’s government
TTP’s previous leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed by anAmerican drone strike, as we reported last week. The drone strike triggered anangry reaction from some Pakistani politicians, who claimedthat Mehsud was about to enter into peace talks with thegovernment.
Imran Khan, the former cricket superstar turned anti-Americanpolitician, said one Wednesday that America launched thedrone strike on purpose to prevent peace in Pakistan:
Absolutely deliberate – this was a deliberatetargeting of the peace process. The US clearly knew what wasgoing on and everyone in Pakistan knew what was going on.
We’d been waiting for two months for this peace process to startand then finally when everyone had come to a consensus for peace,they destroyed the peace process.
The people of Pakistan want peace so we will do whatever is in ourhands – which is to block the supply to put pressure on the US tostop this madness, because all it’s doing is fanningfanaticism.
The last sentence is a threat by Khan to close the Nato supply linesfrom the port of Karachi through Pakistan and across the Khyber Passinto Afghanistan. The government opposes this plan, but Khanthreatened to ask his supporters to block the supply routes unless theU.S. ends the drone strikes permanently.
The selection of Fazlullah as the new TTP leader confuses the picturesubstantially. For one thing, Fazlullah has always rejected any talkof peace plans, and he immediately repeated that rejection onThursday: “Holding off peace talks is not even an issue todiscuss – this government has no authority, it is not a sovereigngovernment, it is a slave, a slave of America. Holding peace talksis a waste of time.”
However, other changes may be in the works. The choice of Fazlullahwas a surprise to a number of analysts because they had expected thethe new TTP leader to be another “Mehsud” — that is, another memberof the Mehsud clan which has led the TTP in the past. The choice ofFazlullah, who lives in Afghanistan and who is more bloody andhardline than previous TTP leaders, may signal that the entire TTPorganization is becoming even more bloody and hardline than in thepast. Some analysts have suggested that the selection of someoneother than a Mehsud indicates that the TTP is splintering into groupsthat are more moderate and more violent. BBC and