This thread is intended to explore the situation in Pakistan, in all its complexities and manifestations. We hear much in the news about instability
related to North Korea, Iraq, or Israel/Palestine, but comparatively little attention is devoted to Pakistan. And yet I would argue Pakistan every bit
-- if not more -- as explosive, unstable, and potentially destabilizing as any other place on earth. It is a nation that deserves a lot more attention
than it is getting.
I may occasionally use the term “Af-Pac” in this thread, in reference to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. As will hopefully become apparent,
the interface between these two nations plays a particularly important role in just about everything that goes on in rest of the nation, and it is not
always possible to speak of frontier regions of Pakistan as being separate from Afghanistan in any meaningful way. Of particular interest will be the
so-called FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas) of Pakistan.
For general context on the wider Central Asian situation, I recommend SLAYER69's
threads on the "Great Game" and the various geostrategic factors in play in the area.
A map is always a good place to start:
So why should you care about what goes on in Pakistan?
1) It is a nuclear-armed nation with a highly unstable government. That alone should give anyone pause. And what little stability exists is rapidly
2) To give a sense of the acceleration of chaos, consider the following. Prior to 2002, Pakistan had experienced only one suicide bombing in its
history. In 2009 alone, almost 90 suicide attacks were staged, killing over 3,000 people.
2) The US war in Afghanistan is increasingly becoming a war in Pakistan. Umanned aerial
or "drones" are playing an important and controversial role in this new area of conflict. Calling 2009
"the year of the drone"
, the New America Foundation noted that “under the Obama
administration, there were 51 reported strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, compared with 45 during the entire administration of George W. Bush.”
(I have no intention of starting a puerile Bush-versus-Obama thread…there are a zillion of those elsewhere on the Internet, so if that’s your cup
of tea, please take it elsewhere. I’m just pointing this out to note the escalation of the instability in Pakistan.)
With this thread, I would like to focus, in as non-partisan and non-ideological a manner as possible, on the general realpolitk mechanics of Pakistan
– a nuclear-armed “failed state” that is becoming more rather than less violent and less rather than more in the public eye. Please feel free to
add whatever you like. Possible directions for discussion include: historical background; Pakistan’s place in the wider tectonic, geostrategic
struggles among the great powers; current events; underreported developments: “piecing together” an accurate picture of a confusing multi-ethnic
nation and a conflict with many roots; and possible future scenarios. More to follow.
[edit on 7/7/10 by silent thunder]