Military news Analysis - The Role of India, Pakistan and America in the Coming War with Terrorism

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New York: While addressing Pakistanis yesterday, His Excellency Pervez Musharraf, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan said that:

- Pakistan would be decimated if it did not join the US in its fight against terrorism-

- India has already offered military bases to the US.

- Pakistan's best interests would be served by again becoming a frontline state for the USA.

Is Musharraf fighting Terrorism or is he fighting India?

The question that comes to mind is that " Is Musharraf fighting Terrorism or is he fighting India?". While India offered to join the fight against terrorism because it is a victim of terrorism itself, Pakistan has done so as a reaction that if it does not do so, then India will certainly do so; and that will be the nemesis of Pakistan.

What would have been the Pakistani response if it had another Muslim nation like Afghanistan to its East, instead of India? This question needs to be pondered upon.

One remote possibility that we still cling on to is that the Pakistani President has a Kemalist outlook at the bottom of his heart. This may not be correct. But let us assume that it is. If it is so then the present situation is a boon to fight out the Jihadi forces which are inimical to reform. Kemal Ataturk of Turkey (from whom President Musharraf is said to take inspiration) had to fight a violent internal battle; before he could reform Turkey into a modern progressive nation that it is today. Ataturk had to emasculate Islam.

Is President Musharraf wanting to fight the Jihadis as the Americans are preparing to do

Is President Musharraf wanting to do this? And if he is at all wanting to do this; then is he ready to do this? And if he his both wanting and ready to do this, then the situation today is the best one for him to do this.

With American aircraft over-flying Pakistani airspace and American marines on Pakistani soil; President Musharraf could well strengthen his position and use American military leverage to crush the Pakistani chapter of the Islamic Jihad. His current moves could be a grand design to do just that. Time will tell.

An India-Pakistan-American Entente?

If this happens then India and Pakistan (under a Kemalist Musharraf) come on the same side of the fight against Terrorism and the unthinkable could be on the agenda - an Indo-Pakistani entente! But all this could be a pipe dream, if our assessment about President Musharraf as a crypto-Kemalist are falsified.

The Pakistani Military - A Dark Horse

If Musaharraf has a wavering mind on fighting the Jihadis and he allows them to go on rampage in Pakistan, once the Americans start their operations, then there will be a dirty scene in Pakistan, with the Pakistani Army divided into Jihadi and loyalist camps.

The Americans would be on a sticky turf, with their base camps in Pakistan under threat from Pakistani Jihadis. And the Americans would be embroiled in a war on Pakistani soil itself against the Talibanis in Pakistani.

The Private Rogue Armies in Pakistan

The candidates for a fierce and desperately violent anti-American war within Pakistan are the Al Badr, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Laskhkar-e-Tayyaba, Laskhkar-e-Jhangvi, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammedi, and other private rogue armies, over which the Pakistani leaders have been claiming since the days of the Kargil crisis; that they has no control over.

The coming days could prove how much control they do have. And if they really have no control over these private rogue armies operating openly in Pakistan, the Americans would have their hands full with fighting in Pakistan itself. President Musharraf would be well advised to prepare counter measures right now to face this scenario and pre-empt the Pakistani Jihadis.

President Musharraf's Duplicity?

On the remote possibility of President Musharraf not whole-heartedly trying to defeat (and not just rein in) these rogue armies, he would face American distrust and later American ire, wherein Pakistan is clubbed as a part of the terrorist problem along with the Taliban. This could be the beginning of Pakistan's nemesis.

Either way, it is difficult for President Musharraf. His nervousness was evident in his address to the Pakistan people on PTV yesterday. It would be interesting to watch how he rises up to the coming challenge before Pakistan.

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