World View: Taliban Terror Campaign Seeks to Sabotage Pakistan Elections

World View: Taliban Terror Campaign Seeks to Sabotage Pakistan Elections

This morning’s key headlines from

  • The Generational Dynamics view of Syria’s conflict
  • Russian migrants to Israel form closed ultra-nationalist community
  • China preparing for popular unrest following Sichuan earthquake
  • Taliban terror campaign seeks to sabotage Pakistan elections
  • Greece passes bill ending lifetime guarantee of civil service job

The Generational Dynamics view of Syria’s conflict

Syrian army shells exploding last year in the Syrian village of Bariqa (AP)
Syrian army shells exploding last year in the Syrian village of Bariqa (AP)

I frequently receive questions about the nature of Syria’sconflict, in particular why it isn’t a generational crisis war,since it seems horrible enough to qualify.

The Syria conflict is a typical generational Awakening era war (likeAmerica’s Vietnam war in the 1960s). There is little energy on eitherside. There’s little hand-to-hand or face-to-face combat. Besides afew gunfights, most of the war is fought by shooting missiles orexploding remote-control bombs. If it were a crisis war, you’d see alot more of what happened, for example, in Cambodia’s killing fieldsor in 1994 Rwanda — or in 1982 Syria.

The major behavioral characteristic of a generational crisis war isthat the value of an individual human life plummets to zero, while theonly thing that’s important is the survival of the country or ethnicgroup and its way of life. America’s last generational crisis war wasWW II, and remember that we sent thousands of soldiers onto thebeaches of Normandy, to be shot down like fish in a barrel by theNazis. Did we do anything like that in the Korean War? The VietnamWar? The Iraq War? Absolutely not.

I’ve analyzed probably hundreds of wars throughout history in the lastten years, and I’ve developed a pretty good intuition about whatdirection they’re going in. However, I don’t want to convey theimpression that it’s all intuition. To the contrary, it would bepossible to define behavioral and attitudinal metrics that wouldprovide some clear distinctions. However, this would be a bigresearch project, too big for me to attempt on my own. Perhaps somegrad student in the 2020s will take it on. But understanding thegenerational classification of a war would make a HUGE difference inimproving policy decisions, both during the war and in the aftermathwhen the combatants are trying to recover and resume normal lives.

Returning now to Syria, in the end it’s going to make littledifference that Syria’s war is an Awakening era war, since it’sturning into a proxy war between Crisis era countries — Russiasupporting al-Assad, Saudi Arabia and Qatar supporting the jihadists,and Europe half-heartedly supporting the other opposition. WithoutRussia’s support in particular, this war would have petered out a yearago, in my opinion. But it’s increasingly clear that Russia isdetermined to push it to victory, and the Arab countries are going tooppose that.

Russian migrants to Israel form closed ultra-nationalist community

When a young generation of Russian Jews migrated to Israel after thecollapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, it was expected that theywould assimilate into the general population, especially since thepre-1948 Jewish community in Palestine was shaped by immigrants fromCzarist and early revolutionary Russia. However, the oppositehappened. The Russian migrants live in a separate community,comprising 20% of the total Israel population. The speak Russian,read Russian newspapers, have little contact with other Israelis, knowlittle of Israel’s history, and vote for their own party, led byultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman. They hate Arabs, reject peaceand support the settlers. Soviet Russian contempt and rampant racismdirected at dark-skinned citizens from southern Russia has translatedin Israel into contempt and racism directed towards Arabs and evenother Israelis.

Israeli society consists of five main sectors, of almost equal size,as follows:

  • Jews of European origin, called Ashkenazim, to which most of the cultural, economic, political and military elite belongs. The Left is almost completely concentrated here.
  • Jews of Oriental origin, often called (mistakenly) Sephardim, from Arab and other Muslim countries. They are the base of Likud.
  • Religious Jews, which include the ultra-Orthodox Haredim, both Ashkenazi and Oriental, as well as the National-Religious Zionists, which include the leadership of the settlers.
  • Arab-Palestinian citizens, mostly located in three large geographical blocs.
  • The “Russians”.

The Arabs and many of the Ashkenazim belong to the left-wing peacecamp, and all the others are solidly right-wing. Uri Avnery – Palestine Chronicle

China preparing for popular unrest following Sichuan earthquake

On Saturday, April 20, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuanprovince in China, followed by thousands of aftershocks, killinghundreds and affecting over 2.3 million people in Sichuan. Thisoccurs five years after the May 12, 2008 8.0-magnitude earthquakeclaiming nearly 70,000 lives. Beijing poured aid into the region,including some 3,000 soldiers and 120 tons of relief materials.

However, public fury is growing as it turns out that thousands ofgovernment-built houses, schools and other buildings built since the2008 earthquake did not survive the new earthquake, while manyprivately-built buildings survived. Local residents are saying thataround 10,000 troops and armed police have arrived in the region byThursday, not to provide humanitarian aid, but to suck up resourcesand guard against feared popular unrest amid widespread anger over therescue operation and the level of damage to buildings. Beijing Review and Radio Free Asia

Taliban terror campaign seeks to sabotage Pakistan elections

At least 28 people have been killed in terrorist bombings acrossPakistan during the last week, targeting political party candidatesand offices in the days prior to the landmark May 11 election. Theal-Qaeda linked Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistan branchof the Taliban, is claiming responsibility for the bombings, and ispromising that they’ll continue through the election, apparently withthe intention of sabotaging the entire election. The TTP isspecifically targeting the secular political parties, including theAwami National Party (ANP), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and thePakistan People’s Party (PPP), which they claim are “secular doctrine”parties. According to a spokesman for the TTP:

“Islamic laws and values are from Allah and seculardoctrine is from Rousseau, Kant and Bentham. A man cannot besecular and Muslim at a time. These are two different doctrines innature.”

So far, the Taliban bombings have not attacked offices of PakistanTehreek-e-Insaf (PTI – the Pakistan Movement for Justice), which isled by former cricket star Imran Khan, who is strongly anti-American,though as far as I know, he hasn’t expressed any hostility to Rousseauand Kant. Daily Times (Pakistan) and Russia Today

Greece passes bill ending lifetime guarantee of civil service job

On Sunday evening, in its last session before Orthodox Easter Sundayon May 5, Greece’s parliament passed a bill ending the provision inGreece’s 1911 constitution that civil servants have lifelong jobsecurity. These are the harshest austerity measures yet imposed bythe Europeans in return for its bailout. The bill calls for 15,000civil servants to be dismissed by the end of 2014. All 15,000 will bereplaced by “young, capable people” in the same jobs with lower wages.Greece now expects to receive its next 8.8 billion euro bailoutpayment by mid-May. Kathimerini

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