Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Here we go again - a new dodgy dossier?

The words 'dodgy dossier' immediately springs to mind.

With hindsight it is obvious to identify Mumbai (as the home of Bollywood) as a centre of international life and culture with a large muslim population at its' heart, similar to New York and London.

The immediate damage to the current internationalism caused by the attacks could be seen in how it affected the English test team on their cricket tour of India (they were actually staying in one of the hotels at the time of the attacks).

Add this to the reports of Osama bin Laden being harboured in Waziristan , arms trafficking across the ill-definied and uncontrolled NW Frontier Provinces, the 7/11 Mumbai train bombings, assassination of prominent politicians (Benazir Bhutto, among others) and continuous political agitation and all this feeds into a 'narrative' of Pakistan being at the heart of the nexus of international terrorism.

Barack Obama was forthright on the subject during his election campaign and new Secretary of State Hilary Clinton then announced that:
"If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured,"

So I'm very worried by the statement given by UK foreign secretary, David Miliband. It appears like a license to punish has been issued, with a strong hint that it is expected to be fulfilled.

This raises some serious practical questions:
-Is Pakistan willing and capable of catching the plotters?
-Does this mean international intervention in Pakistan/regime change may be justifiable on the grounds that they cannot prevent or catch terrorists?
-Does this mean historical rival, neighbour and fellow nuclear power, India, would have western support in an invasion and take-over of Pakistan?
-Will India now increase it's visible efforts in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, which have previously been restricted to protecting Indian recontruction efforts there?
-What then Bangladesh or Burma?

-if possession of nuclear WMDs prevents direct military action against Pakistan, doesn't this support Iran's argument for attaining such capability?
-does integration of India into the free international (English-speaking) alliance set a collision course with China?

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