So there have been two developments in South Asia with regard to the global terrorism problem. The first is the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. The second is a series of see-saw developments in Pakistan.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The military defeat of the Tamil Tigers can - indirectly - be credited to the Bush administration. They jacked up military support to the Sri Lankan government with the goal of a military solution in mind. It worked. I guess even a busted clock is right twice a day. But seriously, this is a case where the Bushies did something smart. The Tsunami hit the parts of Sri Lanka that had been controlled by the Tamil Tigers and the Tigers were on their heals. The Bushies were right to back the government's efforts to take advantage.
Meanwhile in Pakistan we had what looked like a disaster turn into some promising shifts in public opinion. The Pakistani government cut a deal with the Taleban to essentially hand over an entire province - outside of the tribal areas - for the Taleban to do with as they please. The Taleban took their inch and went for the mile. They immediately invaded a neighboring province - even closer to the capital - and started boasting about how they were taking over the country. Meanwhile, reports were coming out of the areas under Taleban rule about the harsh violence of their version of Sharia. The result was a dramatic shift in the public opinion of middle class, urban Pakistanis. They now support the military effort against the Taleban much more enthusiastically. AND there are even reports that Pakistanis now support direct US military action - in the form of drone attacks - on Pakistani soil against the Taleban leadership.
Perhaps more importantly it seems as if the Pakistani military has realized they can't deal with the Taleban they way they've dealt with civilian political forces in the past. The Pakistani army is now fully committed to defeating the Taleban in a way they have not been previously. The latest reports have the Pakistani military now fighting hard to push the Taleban out of the province involved in the original deal with the government. The government had declared the deal void when the Taleban invaded the second province. This is far from the end of problems in Pakistan. It might not even be the beginning of the end. But in the last few weeks in Pakistan we have seen the war against the Taleban enter a new phase.
Combined with pending troop increases in Afghanistan we may finally see the Taleban get squeezed from both sides of the border at once. This is exactly what needs to happen to defeat them. If that comes to pass, it will be a result of Obama's efforts not Bush's.
So for those of you keeping political score out there count May in South Asia as 1 for Bush and 1 for Obama.
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 5:24 AM