Jihadists Have Become the Pakistani Frankenstein’s Monster

March 8 2023

On January 30, a suicide bomber killed 101 people, most of whom were policemen, at a mosque in Peshawar. The attack was likely the work of Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), a sister organization of the similarly named group that now rules Afghanistan. As Husain Haqqani explains, the TTP’s current power—and the serious terrorist threat Pakistan now faces—is the result of extensive support it and other Islamist groups have received from the Pakistani government:

After the success of the Afghan mujahideen in driving out the Soviets—with U.S. support—Pakistan’s security services mobilized similar ideologically motivated groups to try to force India out of long-disputed Kashmir. Pakistani jihadists fought in the civil war in Afghanistan that followed the collapse of the Soviet-backed regime from 1992 to 1996, and later alongside the Taliban beginning in 2001. (Pakistan supported the Afghan Taliban regime in the 1990s.)

Islamist groups recruiting in Pakistan cited hadith—traditions and sayings attributed to the prophet Mohammed—that prophesied a great battle in the Indian subcontinent. Pakistan’s security services expected that radicalization through religion could help break the deadlock over Kashmir and empower Pakistan’s allies in Afghanistan. The strategy instead made Pakistan a battleground of competing interpretations of radical Islamist ideas. In the last 30 years, Pakistan has supported some jihadist groups and tolerated others, while also participating in the United States-led war against terrorism.

This juggling act has eroded Pakistan’s international standing and led some jihadist factions to target Pakistan’s military and security forces, occasionally inviting retaliation. When the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021, Islamabad saw Kabul’s new regime as a potential close ally. After 2001, Pakistan continued to cultivate the Taliban as a counterweight to more liberal United States-backed factions; these were seen as too closely aligned with India.

Pakistan’s security services and some politicians, including Khan, have advocated a nuanced approach to the TTP and other militant groups, suggesting the groups reflect Islamic aspirations that need not be seen as inimical to Pakistan. But events have repeatedly proven that compromise with armed and violent radical Islamist groups is impossible.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Afghanistan, Jihadism, Pakistan, Taliban, War on Terror

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship