Matters are coming to a head in Pakistain. And, conveniently, elsewhere...
The deadlock in US-Pak relations over resumption of NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A cautionary tale of cost-benefit analysis.... supplies is veering towards confrontation. And the confrontation between parliament-government and supreme court-opposition is edging towards a clash. The net losers are fated to be Pakistain's fledgling democracy and stumbling economy.
Pakistain's Parliamentary Committee for National Security has failed to forge a consensus on terms and conditions for dealing with America. The PMLN-JUI opposition is in no mood to allow the Zardari government any significant space for negotiation. COAS General Ashfaq Kayani ... four star general, current Chief of Army Staff of the Mighty Pak Army. Kayani is the former Director General of ISI... is also reluctant to weigh in unambiguously with his stance. As such, no one wants to take responsibility for any new dishonourable "deal" with the US in an election year overflowing with angry anti-Americanism. The danger is that in any lengthy default mode, the US might get desperate and take unilateral action regardless of Pakistain' s concern. That would compel Pakistain to resist, plunging the two into certain diplomatic and possible military conflict. This would hurt Pakistain more than the US because Islamabad is friendless, dependent on the West for trade and aid, and already bleeding internally from multiple cuts inflicted by terrorism, sectarianism, separatism, inflation, devaluation, unemployment, etc. Indeed, the worst-case scenario for the US is a disorderly and swift retreat from Afghanistan while the worst-case scenario for Pakistain is an agonizing implosion as a sanctioned and failing state.
A pointer to the direction in which US-Pak relations are headed is provided by the recent US decision to put $10 million "terrorist" head money on Hafiz Saeed ...founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its false-mustache offshoot Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The United Nations declared the JuD a terrorist organization in 2008 and Hafiz Saeed a terrorist as its leader. Hafiz, JuD and LeT are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Pak intel apparatus, so that amounted to squat... , the leader of the UN-banned Lashkar-e-Taiba ...the Army of the Pure, an Ahl-e-Hadith terror organization founded by Hafiz Saeed. LeT masquerades behind the Jamaat-ud-Dawa facade within Pakistain and periodically blows things up and kills people in India. Despite the fact that it is banned, always an interesting concept in Pakistain, the organization remains an blatant tool and perhaps an arm of the ISI... and Jamaat ud Dawa. There are two major motives behind this step. First, it reaffirms the US belief that the Defense Council of Pakistain, in particular LeT, is increasingly gearing up to play a significant anti-US role in Afghanistan and is therefore fair game for US policy makers. The US is signaling that if restored NATO pipelines are attacked or violently blocked by the DFC or its adjuncts, the US will consider it an act of terrorism-war by these groups and react accordingly. Second, it endears the US to India which has long demanded some such step and confirms a budding long term strategic relationship between them based on strong defense and economic ties.
A formal clash between the government and the judiciary is also on the cards. If there was any doubt about it, the aggressive speeches of President Asif Ali President Ten Percent Zardari ... sticky-fingered husband of the late Benazir Bhutto ... and PPP Co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto on April 4th at Garhi Khuda Baksh signal the readiness of the government to go down fighting rather than kneel at the altar of the Supreme Court. President Zardari's decision to camp in Lahore for a few days is aimed at marshalling his forces to meet the "Punjabi establishment" challenge. A conviction of the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, for contempt will trigger a series of political actions and reactions all round and provoke a military intervention that leaves political devastation and economic ruin in its wake. A house bitterly feuding and divided is hardly equipped to put up a united front against a desperate and overbearing superpower like the US in a volatile and friendless region.
There is a perverse irony in the developing situation. The generals of the Pakistain Army are solely responsible for formulating and implementing policy towards America, India and Afghanistan. Now those policies have come to grief in one way or another and also engendered anti-India and anti-American sentiment in the bargain. So the generals are asking the politicians to take "ownership" of, and responsibility for, these policies in an environment that is not conducive to rational and pragmatic review and reform.
The twist in the scenario is that the Pakistain military, more than any other institution or social group, is likely to be most adversely affected by any precipitous change in the external or internal status quo. If external relations with America deteriorate, the pipeline for weapons and coalition support funds will dry up and Pak soldiers and weapons could even be pitted against NATO forces in FATA and Afghanistan. Any diminishing of the status of Pakistain as an American ally in the Afghan war would also enable India to carve out a bigger role for itself in the Afghan end-game, which would be nothing short of a nightmare for the Pakistain army. Equally, if the Mighty Pak Army were to be sucked into the internal political quagmire as a result of the clash between the judiciary-opposition and the executive-parliament, it would find itself battling on two impossible fronts whose "ownership burden" would rest exclusively on its shoulders.
This is a moment of reckoning between the military and civilians, between democracy and autocracy, between civil society and thug extremism, between notions of national interest and national honour, between executive and judiciary, between government and opposition, between Pakistain and America, between Pakistain and India. This is Pakistain's moment of reckoning for paradigm change.
While the voluntary seppuku described above is the best known form, in practice the most common form of seppuku was obligatory seppuku, used as a form of capital punishment for disgraced samurai, especially for those who committed a serious offense such as unprovoked murder, robbery, corruption, or treason. The samurai were generally told of their offense in full and given a set time to commit seppuku, usually before sunset on a given day. If the sentenced was uncooperative, it was not unheard of for them to be restrained, or for the actual execution to be carried out by decapitation while retaining only the trappings of seppuku; even the short sword laid out in front of the offender could be replaced with a fan. Unlike voluntary seppuku, seppuku carried out as capital punishment did not necessarily absolve the offender's family of the crime. Depending on the severity of the crime, half or all of the deceased's property could be confiscated, and the family stripped of rank.
Posted by: Water Modem ||
Well, "honor culture" bullshit aside, unlike samurai, even disgraced, these are just turds which need to be flushed...
Posted by: M. Murcek ||
...but I'm not going to discuss why I think Israel should or shouldn't attack. I'm going to tell you why they will attack. It's already a done deal.
First, Israeli leaders believe that a nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to Israel and the Israeli public agrees. 90% think Iran is building nuclear weapons and 43% of the country support a military strike. Israeli leaders genuinely believe that they have a responsibility to keep the Jewish people safe and take a threat of this magnitude very seriously. The phrase "Never Again" isn't just rhetoric and Israeli leaders aren't just posturing when they say that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable.
Second, Israeli leaders know that world powers will not stop Iran. Israeli warnings have been ignored for a decade. The sanctions being imposed now may have had an impact, if they had been instituted ten years ago when Israel first sounded the alarm. For the Israelis, it's too little too late. By time sanctions take full effect in July, the Iranian nuclear program will be so deep underground that even the world's most powerful munitions may not be able to reach it. The Israelis know that the US is not going to attack Iran. The US fears an increase in Iranian-sponsored attacks on US forces in the Middle East more than they fear a nuclear armed Iran. Israel knows that it is on its own.
Or possibly US leaders believe the Iranian nuclear program is less of an immediate threat than, say, the implosion of Pakistan with a concommitant proliferation of tactical nukes into the hands of various hard-to-trace terror groups.
The loss of Abyssinia was much less important than the reoccupation of the Rhineland. But both should have been opposed. And opposing the first might have prevented the second. The Pakis need to be made to understand that the nukes make them more insecure rather than less. Making Persia an example might help. Pour l'encouragement des autres.
I think the issue is exactly what they think. And they should think that if control structures currently in place fail, they're all dead. And that should be the message from an attack on Israel. We should be trying to make the Paks come to the conclusion they are better off without nukes.