Terrorism Asia the Political Complexity Essay

Pages: 6 (2028 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Terrorism Asia

The Political Complexity of the Asian Position on Terrorism:

As Seen in Pakistan

The forces of economic, political and religious distinction which have driven a wedge between the Western World and the Arab world are steeped in a long history of divergent interests. The conflict as we know it today, largely waged between the United States and the Muslim world which populates North African, Asia and the region known as the Middle East, is the fallout of centuries of subjugation, exploitation and occupation. The colonial forces of Europe and the United States exist on a continuum within which Muslim states and cultures, once themselves a dominant and imperial global entity, have developed both historical and modern motives for violent and militant resistance. These motives relate as much to a sense of political resentment as they do to a belief in religious martyrdom, with the realities of western exploitation, a permeation of objectionable living conditions and the presence of deceptive governmental or media forces have collectively created a divide between East and West that implicates the Muslim culture as a militant defender of a waning tribalism.

Today, the greatest visible identifiers of this militant disposition are those 'terrorist' groups which perpetrated the attacks of September 11th and who continue to obstruct American interests in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. To the point, when Islamic extremists used American commercial airliners as missiles and felled the World Trade Center in New York City while simultaneously using the same method to punch a whole in the side of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the Western World came to understand the extent to which hatred between the modern and tribal worlds had grown. The ultimate implication of the events of 9/11 is that Islam has become, as a result of American foreign policy, economic patterns and military endeavors, a hostile and radicalized culture. This is largely based on perceptions in the Islamic World that the Western World acts with favoritism toward Israel in diplomacy, demonstrates a tendency to exploit Arab states with military acts and pursues opportunistic relationships based on its dependence on Mid-East oil.

One of the reasons that is most noted for anger with the Western World by Muslim leaders of state and by the average Islamist residing in the Middle East, is the fact that the United States has so strongly supported Israeli statehood. (Hitti, 256) the Palestinian situation, which currently sees several million Muslims living in extreme poverty in refugee camps of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, has given radical Islamic leaders fodder for recruitment. A similar motive is evidenced in the conditions impacting Pakistan, which has long viewed with hostility the presence of America in both its neighboring Afghanistan and in strongly bound diplomatic closeness with its border enemy in India.

The unique dichotomy of Pakistan's Islamic identity and its democratically structured form of governance have made it a strategically important party in its region. Each of its borders presents some matter of prime interest to the United States, from the implication to the War on Terror of its shared boundaries with Iran and Afghanistan to the diplomatic importance of its relations with the major regional players, China and India.

The latter of these countries is a long-standing and permanent ally of the United States, with whom it has enjoyed friendly relations and extensive economic support. Thus, the embittered circumstances between India and Pakistan have historically placed a strain on the relationship between the latter and the United States. This accounts for a key motive in the United States' close attention to the Kashmiri conflict, for which it has sought to broker some much-needed stability. During former President Pervez Musharraf's tenure of leadership, relations with India had both reached the brink of breakdown and have once again surged toward progress. Though the initiation of the War on Terror inflamed tensions between Pakistan's Islamic inhabitants of the disputed zone and India's Hindu authorities there, the United Nations helped to broker a ceasefire in 2002 that has remained essentially in place to date. (Kronstadt, 1)

Relations with the west, though, hinge on a multitude of factors for which decisive solutions continue to be fleeting. Missile capabilities and nuclear technology proliferation are issues of major concern to the United States and Pakistan is a key theatre in the global regulation of both. However, its most important role has been as a theatre in the global effort to produce effect counterterrorist measures. After the attacks on the U.S. In 2001 turned the world's attention to Afghanistan, Pakistan became a necessary ally for the stationing of U.S. troops and the hunt for escaped terror operatives.

As a result, the United States applied considerable pressure upon the Islamic Republic, forcing it to comply to all measures taken against Afghanistan and others associated with terrorist planning, funding or execution. As it had been characterized by President Musharraf, "soon after 9/11, U.S. Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage warned Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, head of ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, that the U.S. would 'bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age' if it did not immediately turn against the Taliban in Aghansitan and allow the U.S. To use military bases in Pakistan to invade Afghanistan." (Margolis, 1) After examining the contingency likelihood of its survival in a war with the United States, Pakistan determined that the outcome would not be a positive one, and therefore opened its doors to the U.S.

Its support in the War on Terror, though, has been availed with mixed results. Indeed, Pakistan's government has been responsible for many significant captures in the war, bringing more than 500 suspected Al Qeada operatives to justice at the behest of the U.S. In exchange, it has received extensive monetary support from the U.S. That notwithstanding, persistent rumors since the 2001 U.S. invasion of the region have indicated that terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is likely hiding in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Musharraf's incapacity or unwillingness to control this region has been an issue of continuing dismay for U.S. war-planners, who believe that Pakistani officials have, for political reasons, been reluctant to reveal or act upon the known whereabouts of bin Laden and other key operatives.

Conversely, its support of the United States has brought the Pakistani government into a sharp ideological friction with its own people, who by considerable margins harbor a deep hatred for the west and its war. This denotes the ongoing paradox encapsulated by Pakistan, which is allegedly a key ally in fighting the war against terror but which itself is emblematic of the underlying political implications of terrorism. Even as it works side by side with Americans to eliminate the threat of terrorism as it has formed within its borders, recent public discourse has demonstrated the resistance which is also evident here. Particularly, as of September of 2009, "Pakistan will not allow U.S. forces to undertake any operation inside its territory as this is the prerogative of the armed forces of Pakistan only. This was stated by Foreign Office Spokesperson Abdul Basit during his weekly press briefing here Thursday" ( DMG, 1)

This denotes the sense on the part of Pakistani officials that any withdrawal from autonomy in its approach to combating terrorism will only further alienate its government from the attitudes of the public. Indeed, present officials of the current administration have lashed out against allegations of past intervention on the part of western states with respect to Pakistan's political affairs. An official from former Prime Minister Sharif's political group declared that "The British and the Americans have no right to dictate terms on our internal affairs. When you involve elements from Britain to interfere, it compromises Pakistan's sovereignty.'" (Nelson & Siddiq, 1) This actually cuts directly to the core of the political motives which drive many Islamic extremists who would characterize themselves as resisting undue foreign intervention. Indeed, for many of the tribal groups and Islamic organizations that populate Pakistan, the perception that the United States has a greater input into domestic, political, economic and military affairs than do the nation's own citizens has had a catalyzing effect on the many disenfranchised by American policy. Certainly, America's closer cultural and political relationship wit India has contributed heavily to resentment over this scenario.

Quite in fact, it has become commonplace as a refrain of the current Gilani administration to respond to allegations of its failure to effectively and aggressively combat terrorism within its borders and along its shared Hindu Kush border with Afghanistan as a negative propaganda campaign generated by Indian media and government to diminish western support. Accordingly, a 2009 article in the Times of India reported that "in Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing that efforts by India to lobby the U.S. To pressure Pakistan on issues like the Mumbai terror attacks amounted to 'anti-Pakistan propaganda. We are confident that this propaganda cannot achieve anything. We are pursuing the Mumbai attacks with all seriousness and sincerity,' he said,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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