I have been warning of the slipping into the Psycho-Islamist Camp of both Pakistan and Turkey. My fears and notice of a possible turning for Turkey are from July 25, 2007 and can be read here. My many warnings of the long obvious turning for Pakistan are found in articles dated November 5, 2007, and August 24, 2008. Since then, I had resisted commenting on what was to me plainly obvious. Well, one more time into the breach as both issues have been front and center pertinent of late.
I will start with the easier of the two, Pakistan. If we were to look all the way back to the beginning of the War on Terror, starting in Afghanistan, we would find a bribed and arm twisted Pakistan supposedly standing with the United States as we needed their cooperation in order to resupply our forces. But in order to reveal all that is important, we need to go back even further, all the way back to the birth of the Taliban after Russia pulled out of Afghanistan. Looking closely at the birth of the Taliban one finds the fingerprints of the ISI, Pakistan’s equivalence to the CIA, all over their forming and supporting their takeover of Afghanistan. This was done in order to prevent Iran and the Shia or non-Muslim India from taking control of Sunni Pakistan’s northern and western borders and to assure a friendly Afghanistan as Pakistan’s neighbor. In many ways one could point to this as the first steps to events that eventually led to September 11, 2001 terror attacks. From the initial start of the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan has at the best of times been tepid about their support for the efforts against the Taliban. We should remember that Pakistan was founded as a Muslim state to separate the Muslim population of India from the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and secular population that makes up India.
Despite the less than enthusiastic support we received from Pakistan under President Musharraf, the levels of cooperation since the United States enforced elections has been even worse. Perhaps we should have heeded Musharaff’s warnings that holding elections would lead to the exact problems we have had with the new government. Since day one of the rule of the newly elected government in Pakistan, not only has the level of support been less enthusiastic, we have often found ourselves in conflict with the new government. The new approach in Pakistan with relation to the tribal regions, and the Taliban and al-Queda bases being accepted and hidden inside these areas of Pakistan, has been less than helpful. There have been increasingly more verbose condemnations of any attacks on these bases inside of Pakistan, even when we have observed these forces retreating into Pakistan by our unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles (UAV’s). Other troublesome events have included Pakistan reaching accords with the Tribal Chieftains that also allowed free access and movement within these areas of both the Taliban and al-Queda as well as protecting the training areas that have been established for training new troops for the war against us in Afghanistan.
Now, for the most recent and possibly more serious of events. An accord has been reached by the Pakistani government with the Taliban about the recently contested area known as the Swat Valley. This agreement has surrendered the legal system of the newly infiltrated area within Pakistan to the Taliban’s strict version of Sharia Law. This is just another indication that the Taliban’s, and with them, al-Queda’s, spreading influence inside of Pakistan. This has aroused fears that the radical Islamists may soon replace the elected government of Pakistan with the support of most of the rural population. This is being made possible by a combination of Pakistan’s poor economics and the peoples’ mistrust and hatred of the West and any level of support that the current government is seen to supply. Needless to point out that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons would fall into the hands of the radical Islamists, and from there take a small step into the hands of al-Queda. This is the 800-pound gorilla that nobody wants to even talk about, let alone face it for real. Pakistan is going to necessitate some serious planning for worst-case scenarios and the steps that will necessitate.
On the other end of the Caspian, we find the other ticking time bomb, Turkey. A few years ago, the Turkish military was considering exercising their Constitutional option of removing the newly elected government on the grounds that they were sliding too far into the religious base of ruling and discarding Turkey’s secular make-up. The United States and Europe both scolded the Turkish military leaders pointing out that “civilized” countries do not allow the military to oversee and remove the elected government. Sufficient threats of consequences to Turkey’s detriment were voiced so as to force the military to stand down and not exercise their Constitutional right to monitor and replace any government that strayed too far from the secular ideals implemented by the founder of the modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Signs that this less than brilliant move by the Western Powers’ elites may have loosed the dragon became bare-facedly evident this week with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walking out to protest the comments by Israeli President Peres on Gaza at the World Economic Forum in Davros, Switzerland. This was just the latest of a long line of events illustrating Turkey’s slide away from secular rule towards Sharia based rule.
This slide has strained almost to the breaking point the once friendly relations between Turkey and Israel. These events also could lead to preventing Turkey’s admission into the European Union. But what is most disturbing about these events have been the overtures by Iran to strengthen their relations with Turkey and the favorable reactions of some in the ruling party in Turkey, Justice and Development party ( AKP). The biggest danger is having Turkey, which has had a long and deep friendship with both the Muslim world and the West and acted as a bridge between the two, slip off into the Islamist Camp and ally with Iran. This would allow Iran a gateway into the heart of Europe and increase the ramifications of the Jihadi actions supported by Iran.
Both these fronts need to be kept under a watchful eye. Monitoring alone may not be sufficient, stronger actions might be necessitated. Tie all this together with Hezballah’s take-over of Lebanon, and this could lead to an Iranian controlled crescent bordering the heart of Europe in the Balkans in the West all the way to India in the East. Such an eventuality would present many serious complications for the non-Islamic world.
Beyond the Cusp