Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Distracted from the Real War in Afghanistan?

Strategypage writes that events in Pakistan may lead the jihadis there to focus on the fight in Pakistan rather than in Afghanistan:

While it's difficult to evaluate the longer-term effects, there's a possibility that recent developments in Pakistan may help the situation in Afghanistan. With Pakistani Islamists focusing their attention on general-president Musharraf's crackdown, and probably on the Bhutto-led anti-Musharraf "liberal" movement as well, they are likely to be less willing to send men and money to Afghanistan.

With jihadis getting waxed in Iraq and Afghanistan and even in Lebanon, I thought that the Pakistani-based jihadis might focus on the near enemy rather than continue to send resources to far jihads where they get little return:

The jihadis surely gained strength because of the ceasefire they obtained from the Pakistani government, but the jihadis don't seem to be able to turn their strength in Pakistan into power they can project. Their increased attacks in Afghanistan just result in the slaughter of the jihadis themselves and just enough civilian casualties to piss of the Afghans rather than terrorize them.

And if the international brigade from the Arabian peninsula is reduced, the jihadis in Pakistan will only be able to wage war against Pakistan itself.

If Pakistan may finally realize that they cannot make deals with jihadis, al Qaeda and their jihadi Taliban allies may be waging war on Pakistan because they have no choice.

If Pakistan will fight this war with no quarter, this could be the final jihad.

The martial law in Pakistan complicates this, of course, by making the stability of Pakistan an open question. But then again, prior to martial law, that question was very much open if not obvious.

Yet perhaps martial law is providing the jihadis with one more reason to wage war in Pakistan instead of Afghanistan. Maybe the jihadis will try for a bridge too far, distracted by the hope of seizing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and get chopped up in a war with Pakistan's regular armed forces.

Of course, the Pakistani government has to actually fight this war and keep the people of Pakistan behind their efforts.

With nukes on the line, losing this fight could be very, very bad. But if Pakistan will actually fight the war instead of hope to talk their way out of it, we could gain an awful lot if we win.