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October 22, 2003

Nuclear Taliban
Kaveh Khodjasteh  [info|posts]

Pakistan is the only Muslim country with declared nuclear weapons. They are still at war with India over Kashmir: They have defiantly tested their missiles and weapons in a [cold war style] weapons race with India and are allegedly receiving help from China and North Korea[rumors?]. The country is ruled by General Parvez Mosharraf who overthrew a more or less democratically elected government but then there's always the chance that he himslef might be overthrown by    --guess what, the Taliban. He might not even be overthrown, for that matter, he simply might be replaced in the coming elections.

The Taliban were originally religious students, an evolved form of Muslim seminary students; who were trained in the Islamic schools of Pakistan during the cold war; who roamed across the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan during the Soviet occupations to teach and satisfy the intellectual needs of a poor and underdeveloped nation; who took to arms [Who gave them weapons?] and fought alongside other Mujahedeen against the Soviet army; who are now back to the tribal areas of Pakistan and Waziristan [North of Afghanistan, reminds me of "The Man Who Would be King", It's time they made a "remake".]

Where did the Taliban go? Well Simple answers won't do this time, unless if one is willing to forget what Islamic Fundamentalism can bring. They simply went back to their origins, their strongholds, the seminaries in Pakistan. Last year, the elections in those regions, brought back the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a pro-Bin Laden, anti-United States religious coalition, which vehemently opposes the invasion of Iraq, back into power after 30 years. In the newsest elections they proved to be even stronger. To most of them America has started a war against Islam and as Muslims they have to launch Jihad against Americans and believe it or not, this is what the Pakistani president said recently on Pakistani TV about his views on American war against Terrorism.

On a different note, the news of Taliban activity comes almost once every week from Pakistan and apparently, CIA's hunt for Bin Laden and Molla Omar has been mainly in the South Pakistan area, were apparently, al-Qaeda is not using the high-tech means of communications any more; They have enough manpower to use people as messengers and protection, which makes it even harder to monitor them with high-tech instruments. The attitude of Pakistani police and information agents seem to be not quite what is expected of a country which is an ally of the US in the war against Terror.

The US adminstartion might be safe ignoring Saudi Arabia [the source of the Sunni Muslim Fundamentalism, in my opinion] for a while but a nuclear Pakistan under MMA is a clear and eminent danger that threatens India, Afghanistan, Iran, occupied Iraq, Israel and Russia. And a friendly reminder to those subscribing to Zinn-Chomski rhetoric: That rhetoric ignored the Taliban situation in Afghanistan and failed after September 11, 2001. In fact that rhetoric was too late in adjusting itself to a sudden change of the world order, while the neo-conservatives were quick to ride the wild horse immediately. Unfortunately it's a wild horse.

[This is also interesting: Pakistan nuclear programme from Now magazine]
[And a feature from CBC: Pakistan-Taliban Nexus]

A persian girl in California at October 23, 2003 03:21 AM [permalink]:

Will we ever be able to rid ourselves of the Taliban?

Kaveh Kh. at October 23, 2003 03:13 PM [permalink]:

Will we ever be able to rid ourselves of evil? It always finds some new form, because we change as well. Sometimes I think the concept of "evil" is a necessary part of any society. For supporters of the Taliban, evil is of course the West.

Arash Jalali at October 24, 2003 10:27 AM [permalink]:

What do you mean by the Zinn-Chomsky rhetoric having "failed after September 11, 2001" ? Do you mean to say that they should have seen it comming ?

Also, I am not a "Michael-Morist" and I do not to sound conspieracy theoretical but I don't think the Pakistani-Taliban would ever come to power unless the U.S. wants them to.

Kaveh Kh. at October 24, 2003 12:43 PM [permalink]:

That was how they CAME to power, but US does't like them anymore; in fact if there's a change in US presidency, I am sure they will be badly after the Saudis.

That rhetoric was too simple minded when it came to terrorism, that is why it was hard for them to distance themselves from their original position on terrorism (one man's terroris is another man's freedom fighter), and that was not popular. Belive me, popularity is everything in the West.

Elnaz at October 24, 2003 01:36 PM [permalink]:

I actually had a question more than a comment. It's true that Taliban are very popular in Pakistan but it's also true that Pakistan's army is a very strong institution there.(look at the number of Coup's). My question is: Does anybody know what the position of Pakistan's army generals is? Are they secular and Pro West as in Turkey or more or less the same as ordinary Pakistanis?

Arash Jalali at October 24, 2003 05:49 PM [permalink]:
Kaveh, I am going to deal with your two paragraph comment in reverse order. I realize it's kind of long, so please take your time, read only pargraph per day :-). But I would really appreciate it if you could eventually provide an answer. I don't think an original thinker like Noam Chomsky should concern himself with what is popular or not. In fact he shouldn't. I realize that his ideas go beyond mere academic theories. One could say he is on some kind of a life-long campaign to criticize the U.S. governments' policies. Yet, as a scholar, when formulating an idea, he cannot, and quite frankly should not, take popularity into consideration. Ratings are for TV networks, acceptance rates are for politicians running a campaign, and popularity and publicity polls are for the people in the show business. It's probably become a bit of a cliche but again I can't help quoting Russell here: One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. You said "US doesn't like them anymore". I think this is probably as good a time as any to bring up this subject and get it over with once and for all. As I said already I do not usually adhere to conspiracy theoretical tenets - this case included. However, I believe the following questions which are raised by some conspiracy theorists are quite worthy of notice and cannot be shrugged off simply because they sound fantastic: When President Bush came to office, the economy was already showing the signs of diving into another recession. The dot-com bubble had already burst and the Enron and WorldCom fiascoes were about to surface. A big diversion was needed. Something that would take the minds of the American public off of what was, and still is, going on. Noam Chomsky himself pointed out to it in an interview. Even if one rejects the possibility of the existance of some intrinsic American elements in 9/11 attacks, one has to admit that what happened on September 11, 2001 was like a gift sent from heaven to those who were looking for a diversion. A few months after President Bush came to power, he took a European tour, in an attempt to gather support for his controversial anti-ballistic defense shield. The thing was that he even had problem being taken seriously as a politician with all his famous speech blunders, let alone making a case for his version of the Star Wars. All he had to say in its defense was that it's a measure to ensure the safety of "freedom-loving nations" against "those who hate our way of life". Nobody quite knew whom he was talking about. Russians took it kind of personally. I remember Bush offering Russia NATO membership to ensure him that this missile defense thing is not for them. "Who is it for, then?", everyone asked. They indeed needed an enemy. What could possibly be better than a nameless one. One that doesn't belong to any country and could be anywhere in the world? In his 2000 presidential campaign, Mr.Bush pledged to rebuild and reboost what he claimed to be the dampened morale of the U.S. military. Now, I don't know about you, but I personally do not know of any way to boost the morale of a military except for it to engage in a war they could easily win. This morale uplifting became particularly a more pressing issue after the row the U.S. government had ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Kaveh Kh at October 25, 2003 04:00 PM [permalink]:

Idealists like Russel are always needed however the change will not come from idealists but from those who can publicise the ideals and put them into action. Marxism would be yet another "-ism" if it was not for Lenin and Trotsky. In that sense I put people like Chomsky and Zinn in the category of pragmatic activists while I would put people like Derrida and Boudrillard into the category of philosophers and idealists [I love categories!].

Chomsky does care about the public and his activities are not purely academic, in fact even his ideas on media, syndicalism and democracy are all based on real people. He is not a resident of the Tower of Ivory for that matter, as you see his books being best-sellers, and his speeches being heard by many on their personal headphones. The z-magazine, also available and very popular online is nothing but a public and down to earth presentation of their ideas. You might argue that the simple, reasonable and satisfactory nature of the Chomski, Zinn and Vidal [to complete the Trinity] has accidentaly attracted the attention of the public. So could you then explain why, they have lost their "popularity" in the last couple of years among the new generation of students?

Popularity, once shed aside by the intellectuals, WILL become an instrument of carnival acrobats, showmen, monkey trainers and corrupt politicians. People might be ignorant but they are usually not degenerate and stupid; they are ready to assimilate ideas that do not need too much of thinking on their parts.

I am not the US president or his advocate for that matter, and have indicated by some text in brackets in my text, that the Taliban were armed by the US. The questions you asked and some other disturbing questions on the Saudi-Bush relations were asked by Michael Moore and others but Did you see on TV how George Bush reacted when he was heckled by senators in Australia? He smiled, laughed a bit and continued.

I am sure no one will answer those questions in the near future.

yashar at November 3, 2003 12:24 PM [permalink]:

i just found something in NYtimes, that kind of weakens your claim that "they[Zinn-Chomsky] have lost their "popularity" in the last couple of years among the new generation of students?".

check it out:

[Deborah Solomon to Chomsky:]: "Your critiques of U.S. foreign policy have brought you a new following in the wake of 9/11 -- you haven't been this revered since the sit-ins and teach-ins during the Vietnam War. Do you see any connection between your work in linguistics and your work in radical politics? "

Kaveh Kh. at November 3, 2003 12:36 PM [permalink]:

Maybe I myslef have been a victim of the neoconservative propagandas.