Tuesday, January 05, 2010
War in Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan by the Numbers
The New York Times has the progress of the War on Terrorism and internal development in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in chart form. While some of the variables are different for each country, it is easy to realize Iraq is improving, Afghanistan is a mixed bag on the decline, and Pakistan has issues that can only get worse until they improve.
Iraq is indeed improving and the war is over. By this I mean al Qaeda cannot hold towns any more, the nationalistic Sunnis are busy establishing political parties with the removal of American troops from the countryside denying targets of opportunity, and the Shia are mostly settled with the exception of Iran's puppet Khatib Hezbollah. A martial police action is needed to target the terroristic, Klu Klux Klan-like al Qaeda that can set off bombs and assassinate Sunnis who wish to participate in the system. Meanwhile, Iraq's economy is recovering from the late 2008 global crisis while the electronic infrastructure expands and continues to improve.
Afghanistan's economy continues to develop as well as its infrastructure. School enrollment is up and drug production is slowly but steadily going down. However, the Taliban and other Islamist forces are using the influx of money, roads, and communication systems to attack the government and the international forces. The big difference between al Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban is that the Taliban were always from the country they are fighting in and wish to have a reasonably well kept country to take over while the terrorists in Iraq hoped for an all out war to cleanse the country of "unbelievers." The glass is either half full or half empty in Afghanistan but any tie goes to the Taliban.
Pakistan, meanwhile, is learning that one cannot play with fire for too long without getting burnt. After decades of supporting the most Islamo-Pashtuns of all groups in Afghanistan, these groups have friends and family in Pakistan who do not like Pakistan's double dealing. The Taliban-proper and allied Pakistani Taliban groups have expanded their vision from retaking Afghanistan to forming a Pashtunistan and supporting an Islamist takeover of Pakistan. After the extremists nearly took over Abbottabad and flirted with an attack on Islamabad itself, the Pakistani government started a real campaign to push back the Islamists. However, the hill tops of the Swat Valley and much of the tribal areas are still under the extremists control. Pakistan now seems serious about fighting but whether or not they have enough military power to win is another question. Right now the militants are on a defensive militaristic stance but still sending out sucidie bombers against government and Sevener Shia targets.