April 2008 Archives

Guest Voices  |  April 1, 2008 10:43 AM

Pakistan: From Counter-Terrorism to Counterinsurgency

By Haider Ali Hussein Mullick

When a new government takes charge in Pakistan, there will be little time to celebrate the return of civilian rule. Faced with a plethora of socioeconomic problems made worse by rising suicide bombings, Pakistanis have not felt this insecure in their homes and cities since the conventional wars with India. The United States administration is equally nervous about its estranged, nuclear-armed ally facing the nearly insurmountable task of eradicating al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. Given the electoral loss of Islamists in insurgency hotbeds in northern Pakistan, Pakistani civilian and military leaders, backed by the United States, have an excellent opportunity to go beyond short-lived counter-terrorism tactics to a multifaceted sustainable counterinsurgency strategy.

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Guest Voices  |  April 2, 2008 10:52 AM

Kidnapped: My Friend and American Ideals

By Hady Amr

DOHA, Qatar -- You have not read this in the news before.

Three months ago, an American citizen was kidnapped in Northwest Pakistan. He was murdered. His body was just recently recovered by his bereaved family. I learned about the kidnapping shortly after it happened, when my dear friend Ayesha wrote to tell me that her brother, Imran, had been abducted in Northwest Pakistan, still bravely expecting him to be recovered.

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Guest Voice  |  April 4, 2008 11:13 AM

The Two Wars in Iraq: Ours and Theirs

By Lisa Schirch

Americans and Iraqis tell two different stories about the war in Iraq. Most Iraqis say that the U.S.-led invasion and occupation have fueled violence. The dominant American story is that U.S. forces are curbing sectarian violence and making things better in Iraq. This gap in perception severely undermines public diplomacy efforts throughout the Muslim world, and demands much greater effort toward understanding the Iraqi point of view.

Recently, I was sipping tea with a group of Iraqi community development workers in Amman, Jordan. The conversation shifted from a focus on their attempts to reconcile Sunni, Shi'a and Kurdish leaders in villages across Iraq to the larger question of how to reconcile U.S. and Iraqi narratives about the war.

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Guest Voices  |  April 8, 2008 4:11 PM

Spring Election Crossroads for Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY -- The recent resignation of members of the Kuwaiti government and subsequent dissolution of parliament reflects severe structural imbalances and an ongoing conflict between a government lacking in strategy and a parliament lacking in vision.

The challenge for Kuwait today is to take advantage of next month's election to shift strategy and prepare for privatization, smaller government, good governance and a diversified modern economy. To succeed, the government must find a way to support meritocracy, open the way for international and regional investment, and relax cultural restrictions surrounding co-education, tourism, women’s rights in the social and personal spheres, entertainment and censorship.

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Guest Voice  |  April 9, 2008 3:50 PM

An Iraqi's Anniversary of Saddam's Fall

When I first saw images of Saddam's statue being torn down five years ago today, I was struck by two conflicting emotions. I was happy, of course. But deep inside, I felt sadness that Iraqis had not been able to take down the statue of tyranny, that we couldn't do it ourselves because we didn't have then a united, trusted leadership who could gather all Iraqis and move them toward change.

Today, five years later we still don't have this leadership.

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Guest Voice  |  April 18, 2008 11:01 AM

Turkey's Turmoil: A Blessing in Disguise?

By Diba Nigar Goksel

ISTANBUL - It is nearly impossible for anyone to win hearts and minds in Turkey nowadays.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso treaded carefully on Turkey's political minefield during his visit last week, because any of his moves could have caused the country’s delicate and divided political scene to rupture.

In his speech to the Turkish Parliament, he did not mention the ongoing legal case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been accused of anti-secular activity, and he tiptoed around the headscarf debate. Further attempting to show his even-handedness, he spent time with all of the opposition leaders, visiting them personally in their offices.

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Guest Voice  |  April 18, 2008 6:35 PM

Fed Up With Mugabe

By Njoroge Wachai

On Wednesday, the Washington Post ran an editorial blasting the South African President, Thabo Mbeki, for cozying up to Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, a totalitarian demagogue who has been hoarding the results of a presidential contest held three weeks ago, an election many believe he lost.The Post decried Mbeki’s fraternizing with Mugabe at a time when the international community is in consensus that the opposition Movement for Democratic Movement (MDC) won presidential elections three weeks ago.

What actually caught my eye was not the strong language the Post used to ridicule Mbeki – who asserted a week ago that the situation in Zimbabwe falls short of a crisis. What caught my eye were the comments the editorial generated.

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Guest Voice  |  April 28, 2008 10:24 PM

Four Ways to Partner with Pakistan

By Arif Rafiq

The need to redefine our relationship with Pakistan – a nuclear-armed, frontline state in the war on terror – has never been greater. Now there is considerable opportunity to do so.

U.S. Senate Democrats issued a letter to President George W. Bush this month urging him to "embark on a new relationship with Pakistan based on cooperation with institutions rather than individuals, and to support the will of the Pakistani people as expressed in the February 18 parliamentary elections."

Historically, ties between the United States and Pakistan have been strongest with a Republican in the White House and an army general in power in Islamabad, with the political goodwill usually ending when Democrats start governing in Washington and elected representatives take power in Islamabad. This has been the story of the on-again, off-again U.S.-Pakistan relationship since the 1950s.

U.S. Democrats could break this cycle by supporting the new civilian government in Islamabad during this period of transition, in which democracy and nationalism are being renewed. But the Bush administration must also follow suit. The policy of relying heavily on one general (in this case Pervez Musharraf) has proven shortsighted. What’s needed now to fulfill long-term mutual interests are strong ties with the people, nation and state of Pakistan.

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Guest Voice  |  April 29, 2008 9:13 AM

Al-Qaeda Readies in Pakistan, While America Waits

Picture this: A terrifying new report is delivered to the U.S. President. It states starkly that al-Qaeda is in the last stages of preparing to attack the United States. But the response is…nothing. The President takes no action, and the report goes basically unreported in the media.

We’ve heard this story before. But this is not the infamous August, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” This happened just over a week ago, when the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a scathing report about the mounting danger of a reconstituted al-Qaeda growing and plotting in the tribal sections of Pakistan. The President’s reaction now, as it was in 2001, was silence.

According to the report, “al-Qaeda’s central leadership, based in the border area of Pakistan, is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the United States…” In 2002, after the al-Qaeda-supported Taliban was forced from power in neighboring Afghanistan, al-Qaeda members and their Afghan extremist allies fled across the border into the mountains of northwest Pakistan, known as the “Federally Administered Tribal Areas” (FATA).

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.