Wednesday, July 04, 2007

No Deal With the Devil Possible

Pakistan's Musharraf's efforts to deflect jihadi anger toward the West in Afghanistan so it won't take him down are predictably failing:

About 700 followers of a radical mosque surrendered Wednesday as government troops with armored personnel carriers tightened their stranglehold on the building a day after clashes killed at least 16 people, officials said.

However, Minister of Information Mohammed Ali Durrani said that "a few hundred" militants could remain inside the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, whose clerics have challenged the government by trying to impose a Taliban-style version of Islamic law in the capital.

The fanaticism could not be contained within the border regions. While the Pakistani government tolerated the jihadis in the border tribal area, the deal was supposed to be that the jihadis would just operate in Afghanistan against the government and NATO forces. We never liked that deal. And now Musharraf sees that the deal was never going to be more than a means for the jihadis to rest and grow. And prepare to take Pakistan itself.

So with a front within Pakistan to confront, Musharraf has to consider shutting down the frontier front where the jihadis incubate:

President Pervez Musharraf held a special meeting with top Pakistani officials Monday to discuss a new strategy to curb "Talibanisation" along the Afghan border, officials said.

The four-hour session came amid increasing concern that extremism is spreading not just in Pakistan's frontier regions but also to the cities, with a pro-Taliban mosque last week kidnapping several Chinese nationals.

Musharraf is learning a painful lesson that while he could get away with being neither with us nor against us regarding the Taliban, the Taliban are less forgiving.

Not to mention the Chinese.

And if we can ever gain access to Afghanistan through a friendly Iran, we can afford to be less forgiving, too.

UPDATE: Another problem with hoping nutballs won't notice you are awfully similar to the infidels they're supposed to focus on:

A suicide car bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a Pakistan army convoy near the Afghan border on Wednesday, killing five soldiers and five civilians, officials said.

We really need to pressure the Pakistanis into holding real elections before the jihadis gain enough strength to win such an election. Otherwise they may just take control when the government and political parties are seen as too corrupt to trust.