The Trumpet; Pakistan is turning into the Iranian Revolution—plus nuclear weapons. Like Iran in 1979, Islamist radicals are taking a weakly governed country by the throat and preparing to shape it according to their twisted spiritual vision.
The immediate danger is heightened exponentially by Pakistan being one of the world’s eight nuclear powers, possessing between 60 and 100 nukes, scattered throughout the country. Amid escalating chaos, some of those bombs are sure to slip into extremist Muslim hands.
Though the United States and others talk about preventing this scenario, they simply aren’t willing to take measures forceful enough. Signs are, in fact, that the Obama administration is beginning to realize this is a losing cause.
Brace yourself for the consequences. This situation threatens to change the world.
The Pakistani government certainly lacks the will to stop it from happening. It is plagued by infighting and conflicting loyalties. In fact, it has a history of supporting and exploiting Islamic militancy for its own purposes. Its military and intelligence services, besides being increasingly rife with individuals sympathetic to the Islamists, have, according to Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., always had “a strategic commitment to jihadi ideology”—particularly in order to mobilize Pakistanis as a hedge against arch-rival India.
Hopes of Pakistan policing its own extremists are quickly being smothered by reality. Having already taken over the border region with Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban are now violently expanding their control inward toward Pakistan’s heartland. After two years of fighting in the Swat Valley region, the outgunned government found it had little choice but to concede the area, forming a peace agreement with the Taliban in February. The Taliban promised to end the insurgency at the time—but that quickly proved a sham. Within a week of Islamabad putting its stamp of approval on the deal last month, the Taliban broke its promise and sent its army into Buner, a strategic area just 60 miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. It recruited local madrassa graduates to establish a new government there and began implementing its signature cruel sharia law system.
Pakistan’s army reacted by issuing a threat. The Taliban responded by announcing that it would soon sack Islamabad. “If a man or woman is working with the government, or they are supporters of the government or of the foreigners, we want to kill them,” the Globe and Mail quoted one Taliban organizer as saying. “And we want to dissolve the government.”
The Taliban’s ambitions and confidence are clearly growing along with the territory it governs.
The movement is gaining momentum among the populace. First it is tapping into the rich supply of young men who received free Islamic education at one of Pakistan’s 12,500 madrassas—men who view the Taliban as God’s army.
Second, it is intimidating others who are coming to recognize that the government can’t stop it. Since the insurgency is taking over, people don’t want to be seen as resisting it. The Taliban is notoriously brutal to its detractors. In this scenario, terrorism is a devastatingly effective tactic. When Islamists strike civilian targets, the people’s confidence in the government and in coalition forces drops.
Pakistan’s government launched an offensive in Buner that still continues. Observers expect it to dissolve into more deal-making soon. Critics contend—not without evidence—that Pakistan’s military strikes against the Taliban are meant more to preserve the flow of aid from America than to attain victory.
Thus, any hope for the situation to stabilize must come from outside. It’s not happening.
The Obama administration recently unveiled a new joint Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy. The plan was misguided from the beginning: It seeks to solve Pakistan’s problems by throwing money at them—funding the nation’s hobbled economy and boosting its compromised military. But now to make matters worse, it is also out of date. The insurgency is expanding far faster than America’s planners are keeping up with.
President Obama would really like to bring Afghanistan under control. He’s about to send thousands more American troops to tamp down the uprising there. But they face long odds. With neighboring Pakistan descending into anarchy—providing safe haven to Afghanistan’s Taliban and endangering coalition supply lines—it turns an unmanageable war into an impossible one.
“The Obama administration is clearly alarmed about the developments in Pakistan, but also is beginning to understand its limits in the region,” wrote Stratfor yesterday. “Insurgencies have long lives, and this is a region that has seen countless occupiers. Most of the militants that U.S., nato, Pakistani and Afghan forces are battling today have the motivation and patience to fight to the end.”
That is not the case with the U.S., and the Islamists know it. As America plans a troop surge into Afghanistan, the Taliban are planning a bloody response. They are eager to send a hard message to the new American president, and to test his reputation for weakness. In the months ahead, expect ugly.
Another comparison with Iran in 1979 bears mentioning: America’s responsibility—not this president, but his predecessor. In 2007, U.S. officials inexplicably drove Pakistan’s military leader Pervez Musharraf from power, opening an enormous power void that radicals rushed to fill. Our own editor in chief warned this is just what would happen at the time. “American leaders are telling Musharraf to take off his military uniform and give real freedom to that country. However, the military is the only institution that gives stability to that extremely divided country! This is another example of how little our leaders know about Pakistan,” Gerald Flurry wrote. “America’s problem is even worse than a weak will. We even help push our allies into the hands of radical Islam. That is a dangerous kind of ignorance.
Watch Video: Gerald Flurry speaks to an audience in Washington, D.C., in early 2008 comparing the situation in Pakistan with the Iranian Revolution. “We helped get rid of Iran’s ‘corrupt’ shah in 1979. He was replaced by Ayatollah Khomeini, who began state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East. Are we about to see another ayatollah rise to power? This time in nuclear Pakistan? And will America be mostly to blame?” (Read the whole article here. Also, watch the video at right to see some comments Mr. Flurry made at the time on the subject.)
These questions ring loudly today. We’re hearing a lot of official assurances not to worry. Last week President Obama said he was “confident that the nuclear arsenal will remain out of militant hands.” Considering Pakistan’s rickety government and the Taliban’s shocking gains, this is impossible to guarantee.
And these assurances are being drowned out by the chorus of intelligence, defense and diplomatic voices saying the devil has already slipped his leash.
Watch Islamabad. A coup is probable. Nuclear weapons escaping the government’s control is virtually assured. Where they go from there is the stuff of nightmares.