How to Bring Jihadist Fundamentalism to Its End, Part Two

The Pakistani Army's Game

Bin Laden was living a few kilometers from the Pakistani capital and close to a major military center. Was the military aware of his presence, and were they protecting him? Actually, this is not the real problem. The problem goes deeper, and involves Pakistan's foreign policy.
It is universally known that the Pakistani Army attracts and trains terrorist groups.

Former President Pervez Musharraf admitted in an interview with Der Spiegel that Pakistan had trained underground militant groups to fight India in Kashmir.

OBL was a linchpin of the Pakistani military's informal jihadist army, used as a geopolitical tool to bring the Taliban to power in Afghanistan and to blackmail the world with acts of terrorism (9/11, London Tube, Spanish train, etc.). Indeed, the Pakistani army and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) not only knew where bin Laden was -- they managed him. Every country has an army, but in Pakistan an army has a country; and the tolerant soul and civil traditions of the country are dying.

The Pakistani army decided to sacrifice the head of the monster in order to preserve the body; giving up OBL to U.S. intelligence in order to continue leveraging the jihadists as a tool of Pakistani foreign policy. This is unbeknownst to the Pakistani parliament, which is busy defending national sovereignty, denying the legitimacy of the raid.

Bin Laden as a Tool of the Pakistani Army

In exchange for bin Laden, what has the Pakistani army got in return? U.S. aid dollars are insufficient to explain the sacrifice. The point is Afghanistan, and the return of the Taliban as a geopolitical tool of the Saudi-Pakistani power axis. The London Telegraph writes: Osama bin Laden's death could hasten the withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan brought down the obscurantist Taliban regime, which had been installed by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. In the aftermath, the Bush administration committed too many errors, befriending the Taliban's prime supporters. Thus, the Taliban have resurfaced, again threatening security and increasing the human and economic costs of the war.

Obama, aware of the costs of perpetual war, decided to withdraw, beginning in July of 2011. By ending an expensive war during an economic crisis, Obama will enhance his 2012 re-election chances. OBL's death reinforces this decision to withdraw. It is believed "the United States has a strong interest in seeing Afghans succeed in securing and rebuilding their country, but not so strong an interest that it means Americans will do the job in their stead."

So the Obama administration leaves and the Taliban return. Could this be the calculation that led to bin Laden's undoing? The negotiations between the Taliban's leading group (the Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura) and the Karzai government appear to confirm this view.

The anti-Taliban Afghans gathered by Abdallah Abdallah and Amrullah Saleh (successors of Ahmad Shah Masoud, Northern Alliance leader) grasped the danger and staged a large protest meeting in Kabul May 5. In theory, America could leave the Taliban to participate in a stable government; but those who know the Taliban more deeply feel that exactly the opposite will happen: Eliminating one terrorist while accepting the return to power of a terrorist organization will not lead to either stability or security. OBL is gone, but the body of worldwide fundamentalism is alive -- as is the womb that continually gives birth to spiders. In the name of fighting terrorism, the Pakistani army seizes international aid, mostly American, and at the same time, attracts and trains jihadists, while supporting the Taliban against the legitimate government maintained and supported by the International Coalition forces stationed in Afghanistan under the UN mandate. The ISI delivers orders to the Taliban to spread terror in Afghanistan.

The legitimate Pakistani establishment must realize the country is losing its best traditions of tolerance, while the jihadists are transforming the country into a sectarian arena. In Afghanistan, there could be a solution based on federalization such as described by Latif Pedram (in an interview with Davood Gharizadeh, BBC Persian, 15 August 2009). If the Durand Line is recognized and respected, Taliban could win the south in federal elections. In that case, the honorable and proud Pashtuns will decide if they want to live with the strict rules of the Taliban, or seek more humane solutions.

An End to Terrorism?

If the Pakistani-Saudi axis would cease their support, this would end the Taliban as a political force. Seeking some sort of "deal" with the Taliban will not lead to security, but to more instability worldwide. It is well known that the heart of the Taliban are simply regional arms of al-Qaida.

To end terrorism, four things are necessary:

1. Structural Reform in Saudi Arabia. Recognize democratic legitimacy and make transparent the "charities" and donations to religious institutions that perpetuate Wahhabist ideology. The Taliban are formed in Deobandi madrasas, which perpetuate the Wahhabist orthodoxy of God and terror in the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent.
2. True Civilian Rule in Pakistan. The Civilian Government in Pakistan should be supported and should predominate, and the Pakistani Army, currently the center of power, should become the servant of legitimate civilian government. Both should respect internationally recognized borders and commit to resolving the problem of Kashmir. Importantly, international aid must flow to the civilian sector and not to the military. The religious schools (Dini Madrasas) that numbered 500-600 in the postwar period, but now reach the alarming number of 28,000 units, must be placed under the control of civil authority and international institutions.
3. A Palestinian State. President Obama has decided to push the Palestinians and Israelis towards a resolution of the conflict and, by emphasizing the 1967 borders, with mutual swaps, as the rational basis for the future Palestinian state, has taken a bold step.
4. "Clean Energy." Worldwide fundamentalism is linked to the world economy. This is why international powers are tolerant of Saudi Arabia. If the U.S. invests in green energy and decreases its dependence on Saudi oil, most of the problem would be solved. The goal must be to come to terms, to strike a deal, with fundamentalism. Instead, a responsible policy must have as its goal the virtual end of jihadist fundamentalism. For that, we must deprive the monster of its food. Perhaps this is what President Obama means in calling for "Clean Energy to Out-Innovate the Rest of the World."