World View: Pakistan Plans Large-Scale Military Attack on Taliban

World View: Pakistan Plans Large-Scale Military Attack on Taliban

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Pakistan reverses itself, plans large-scale military attack on Taliban
  • Pakistan protesters end their blockade of the NATO supply route
  • Russian fighter jets patrolling the Ukraine border
  • Large pension company will leave an independent Scotland for UK

Pakistan reverses itself, plans large-scale military attack on Taliban

In a major policy reversal, the government of Pakistan’s primeminister Nawaz Sharif is planning to launch a full-scale militaryoffensive against the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban – TTP). Theattack will be focused in the Taliban strongholds in the tribal areathat borders Afghanistan.

This is a reversal of a bizarre policy of trying to end terroristattacks by “negotiating” and “peace talks” with the TTP. When Sharifwas elected as prime minister in May of last year, he said that hewould fulfill campaign promises by opening negotiations. But as soonas the peace talks were proposed, the TTP immediately started toimpose conditions: TTP prisoners must be released from jail, the armymust be withdrawn from the tribal areas where it has been fighting theTaliban, and the government must agree to impose Sharia law on thecountry. Furthermore, the TTP promised that they would continueterrorist attacks while the “peace talks” were proceeding. Finally, Sharif is tired of allowing the TTP tohumiliate him over and over.

There’s been no official announcement of when the military operationwill begin, but an unnamed Pakistani official says that Pakistanalready has 150,000 troops in the tribal region ready to “begin afull-fledged clearing operation.” 

Pakistan’s new policy is focused on restricting attacks within itsborders. That means that militants who use Pakistan for a stagingbase to attack U.S. and Afghan forces in neighboring Afghanistan willstill be allowed to operate, as long as they observe a cease-fire inPakistan. The News (Pakistan) and McClatchy and Dawn (Pakistan)

Pakistan protesters end their blockade of the NATO supply route

The Movement for Justice party, which governs Pakistan’s northwestprovince (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) announced on Thursday that it was endingits blockade of the “Khyber pass,” a major route into Afghanistan.This route was heavily used by NATO forces to truck equipment betweenthe port of Karachi and NATO bases in Afghanistan. NATO was stillable to use other, less convenient routes, but reopening this routesolves a major headache for NATO as it tries to move equipment out inanticipation of the end of NATO’s military actions in Afghanistan. 

The blockade was announced in November by the party’s leader, ImranKhan, who is a former cricket superstar who has turned into a veryanti-American politician. He claimed that the terrorist attacks inPakistan were caused by American drone strikes on Taliban terrorists,and he announced that the blockade would continue until the Americandrone strikes ended. The American drone strikes did end in December,at least for the time being, and that was given as a reason onThursday for ending the blockade. 

This is a significant change of policy, because it’s the end of thein telling the Pakistani people that America was to blame for theTaliban’s terrorist attacks in Pakistan. That was always prettyobvious anyway, since the vast majority of the attacks were on Shiasand Sufis, whose extermination was completely unrelated to eitherAmerican drone strikes or NATO’s activities in Afghanistan. 

The change is significant also for the reason that it could lead to aconflict that could spiral into a larger war within Pakistan, whichcould then spiral into a wider war in the region. The bloodiestrefugee crisis in the 20th century was the war between Hindus andMuslims that followed Partition, the 1947 partitioning of the Indiansubcontinent into Pakistan and India. Generational Dynamics predictsthat the partition war will be re-fought. It’s now been over 60 yearssince that war ended, and all the generations of survivors of that warare gone. The time is ripe, and a new war could begin at any time.Daily Times (Pakistan) and AP and SATP (India)

Russian fighter jets patrolling the Ukraine border

A day after it was revealed that 150,000 Russian troops were massed onthe border with Ukraine, Russian fighter jets began patrolling theborder. Concerns are rising that a Russian invasion of Ukraine isabout to begin, possibly with the objective of annexing Crimea toRussia, in the same way that Russia annexed two provinces of Georgiaby means of an invasion in 2008. 

However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry allayed all those concernson Thursday by announcing that he had just spoken to Russian ForeignMinister Sergei Lavrov, who assured him that large-scale Russianmilitary exercises near the Ukrainian border were previously scheduledand not connected in any way to the unrest in Ukraine. Voice of America

Large pension company will leave an independent Scotland for UK

With a referendum scheduled for September 18 for Scotland to decidewhether it wants to separate from Britain and become an independentcountry, a large pension firm that employs 5,000 people in Scotlandout of a total head count of 8,500 says that it’s already makingpreparations to move some of its operations out of Scotland if thevote on the referendum is “yes.” The company, Standard Life, is basedin Edinburgh and has been based in Scotland for 189 years, so the losswould be significant. The announcement strikes a symbol blow againstthe referendum, which polls already indicate will be voted “no” inSeptember. BBC

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Nawaz Sharif, Afghanistan,Pakistan, Tehrik-e-Taliban, TTP, Pakistan Taliban,Movement for Justice party, Imran Khan, Partition,Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov,Scotland, Standard Life, Britain 

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