Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

h1

Musharraf: More Troops in Afghanistan

September 25, 2009
By CHRIS CUOMO, CHRIS STRATHMANN and KATE McCARTHY [ABC News]

President Musharraf - The Hope for Progressive PakistanFormer Pakistani president Gen. Pervez Musharraf said that President Obama should have complied “yesterday” with Gen. Stanley A. McChyrstal’s recommendation to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

“I think you should take it immediately. You should have taken it yesterday,” Musharraf told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

Musharraf made his comments following the leak of McChrystal’s security assessment that called for additional U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan. In the assessment, McChrystal said more troops alone cannot achieve success “but will enable implementation of the new strategy. Conversely, inadequate resources will likely result in failure.”

In February, Obama authorized an additional 21,000 troops be deployed to Afghanistan and now he must decide if the situation requires even more.

Musharraf said he “absolutely” believes there need to be more troops in Afghanistan.

Sending more troops could also mean an increase in casualties, something Musharraf says the United States should be prepared for.

“We must avoid, as much as possible, casualties. But when soldiers move and armies act, casualties will be there, and we should accept casualties,” Musharraf said.

“We have to win,” the former general said. “And quitting is not an option.”

Musharraf even proposed what he called a “drastic” measure to secure the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“As far as I’m concerned, we should mine it so that people can’t go across,” Musharraf said.

While he acknowledged that mines are a controversial weapon, Musharraf argued that it is an “unusual war.”

Musharraf dismissed Afghanistan’s long history of defeating foreign armies, including the Soviet army in the 1980s.

“There’s always a first time,” Musharraf said.

He argued the United States could succeed where the Soviets failed because “the whole world” was helping insurgents fight the Soviets.

At another point, the former Pakistani general said, “It was you who invaded and came into Afghanistan, so you better face it now and win there.”

When asked what the consequences would be if the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, Musharraf said it would result in destabilizing Afghanistan. He said the country would become the center of all al Qaeda “sanctuaries” and consequently could extend its influence into Pakistan and possibly even India.

Musharraf said he believes Obama has “intentions of improvement” since taking office.

“He’s saying the right things. He wants to focus more on Afghanistan, compared to Iraq, which is the right strategy at this moment,” Musharraf said. “He wants to reach out to the Muslims.”

Musharraf added that “we need to see [results] on ground.

Returning to Pakistan

Musharraf came to power in 1999 following a military coup and resigned in 2008 amid threats of impeachment after he removed a Supreme Court judge from the bench and imposed emergency rule on the country.

The former president said he “will return to Pakistan” despite the possibility of facing trial as soon as he sets foot in the country.

“Well, these are realities which one has to face. But however, I am very sure of one thing — that whatever I have done till now, constitutionally and legally, there is no charge against me,” Musharraf said.

When asked if he would try to return to power, Musharraf would not answer the question directly.

“Well, I give thought to what is happening in Pakistan. And I give thought to what the people of Pakistan are desiring, and I also give thought to whether I can do anything for Pakistan,” Musharraf said. “Collectively, I have to make a decision based on all these three elements.”

The former general, who is currently living in exile in London, is prohibited by law from running for political office until this December, two years after he took off his military uniform.

Should Musharraf decide to return to politics, he likely would face Nawaz Sharif, a political opponent and someone the former president called “abrasive” and confrontational.

“He has never been on good terms with any president of Pakistan, so I don’t know what kind of a mental make-up he has. But the man is abrasive against the other power brokers of Pakistan,” Musharraf said.

The former general even went so far as to call Sharif a “closet Taliban.”

“Even on Pakistan television these days, talk shows are going on saying that he has met Osama bin Laden five times — five times before 9/11 — and he has been financed by Osama bin Laden,” Musharraf said. “Then the other element is that he never speaks against terrorism and extremism.”

But when pressed for proof of Sharif’s meetings with bin Laden, Musharraf said he personally could not offer any.

“No, I can’t do that, but there are certainly there are people who vouch for it, who were present there,” Musharraf said.

Source: ABC News

Advertisements
h1

A Plea for Enlightened Moderation

February 20, 2009

Muslims must raise themselves up through individual achievement and socioeconomic emancipation.

By Pervez Musharraf

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The world has been going through a tumultuous period since the dawn of the 1990s, with no sign of relief in sight. The suffering of the innocents, particularly my brethren in faith — the Muslims — at the hands of militants, extremists and terrorists has made it all the more urgent to bring order to this troubled scene. In this spirit, I would like to set forth a strategy I call Enlightened Moderation.

The world has become an extremely dangerous place. The devastating power of plastic explosives, combined with high-tech remote-controlled devices, as well as a proliferation of suicide bombers, has created a lethal force that is all but impossible to counter. The unfortunate reality is that both the perpetrators of these crimes and most of the people who suffer from them are Muslims. This has caused many non-Muslims to believe wrongly that Islam is a religion of intolerance, militancy and terrorism. It has led increasing numbers of people to link Islam to fundamentalism; fundamentalism to extremism, and extremism to terrorism. Muslims can protest however vigorously they like against this kind of labeling, but the reality is that such arguments are not likely to prevail in the battle for minds. To make things even more difficult, Muslims are probably the poorest, most uneducated, most powerless and most disunited people in the world.

 

The stark challenge that faces anyone with compassion for the common heritage of mankind is determining what legacy we will leave for future generations. The special challenge that confronts Muslims is to drag ourselves out of the pit we find ourselves in, to raise ourselves up by individual achievement and collective socioeconomic emancipation. Something has to be done quickly to stop the carnage in the world and to stem the downward slide of Muslims.

My idea for untangling this knot is Enlightened Moderation, which I think is a win for all — for both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. It is a two-pronged strategy. The first part is for the Muslim world to shun militancy and extremism and adopt the path of socioeconomic uplift. The second is for the West, and the United States in particular, to seek to resolve all political disputes with justice and to aid in the socioeconomic betterment of the deprived Muslim world.

We need to understand that the root cause of extremism and militancy lies in political injustice, denial and deprivation. Political injustice to a nation or a people, when combined with stark poverty and illiteracy, makes for an explosive mix. It produces an acute sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. A nation suffering from these lethal ills is easily available for the propagation of militancy and the perpetration of extremist, terrorist acts. It is cannon fodder in a war of terrorism.

I would be remiss if, in defense of the people of my faith, I did not trace the genesis of the Muslims’ being labeled as extremists or terrorists. Before the anti-Soviet Afghan war, the sole cause of unrest and concern in the Muslim world was the Palestine dispute. It was this issue that led to a unity of Muslims — in favor of Palestinians and against Israel. The Afghan war of the 1980s, supported and facilitated by the West as a proxy war against the Soviet Union, saw the emergence and nurturing of pan-Islamic militancy. Islam as a religion was used to harness worldwide Muslim support. Subsequently the atrocities and ethnic cleansing against Muslims in Bosnia, the Chechen uprising, the Kashmir freedom struggle and the invigorated Palestinian intifada all erupted in the ’90s after the Soviet disintegration. To make matters worse, the militancy that was sparked in Afghanistan — which should have been defused after the Cold War — was instead allowed to fester for a decade.

During this time, hostility among fighters from the Muslim world turned multidirectional, seeking new conflict zones in places where Muslims were suffering. Enter the birth of al Qaeda. Meanwhile, the Palestinian intifada kept gathering momentum, uniting and angering Muslims across the globe. And then came the bombshell of Sept. 11, 2001, and the angry reaction of the United States against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. All subsequent reactions of the United States — its domestic responses against Muslims, its attitude toward Palestine and the operation in Iraq — led to total polarization of the Muslim masses against the United States. It is not Islam as a religion that has created militancy and extremism but rather political disputes that have led to antagonism among the Muslim masses.

This is all history now. What has been done cannot be undone. But this situation cannot be allowed to fester; a remedy must be found. I call on the West to help resolve these political disputes with justice, as part of a commitment to a strategy of Enlightened Moderation.

When I think of the role of Muslims in today’s world, my heart weeps. What we need is introspection. Who are we, what do we as Muslims stand for, where are we going, where should we be headed and how can we reach it? The answers to these questions are the Muslim part of Enlightened Moderation.

We have a glorious past. Islam exploded on the world scene as the flag bearer of a just, lawful, tolerant and value-oriented society. We had faith in human exaltation through knowledge and enlightenment. We exemplified tolerance within ourselves and toward people of other faiths. The armies of Islam did not march forward to convert people by the sword, despite what the perceptions may be, but to deliver them from the darkness through the visible example of their virtues. What better projection can be found of these deeper values of Islam than the personal example of our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.), who personified justice, compassion, tolerance of others, generosity of spirit, austerity with a spirit of sacrifice, and a burning desire to make a better world.

Today’s Muslim world is distant from all these values. We have been left far behind in social, moral and economic development. We have remained in our own shell and refused to learn or acquire from others. We have reached the depths of despair and despondency. We need to face stark reality. Is the way ahead one of confrontation and militancy? Could this path really lead us back to our past glory while also showing the light of progress and development to the world?

I say to my brother Muslims: The time for renaissance has come. The way forward is through enlightenment. We must concentrate on human resource development through the alleviation of poverty and through education, health care and social justice. If this is our direction, it cannot be achieved through confrontation. We must adopt a path of moderation and a conciliatory approach to fight the common belief that Islam is a religion of militancy in conflict with modernization, democracy and secularism. All this must be done with a realization that, in the world we live in, fairness does not always rule.

The Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) is our collective body. We need to infuse new life into it; it is now in a state of near impotence. The OIC must be restructured to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to fulfill the aspirations of the Muslim world and to take us toward emancipation. Forming a committee of luminaries to recommend a restructuring of the OIC is a big step in the right direction. We have to show resolve and rise above self-interest for our common good — in the very spirit that Islam teaches us.

The world at large and the powers that be must realize that confrontation and force will never bring peace. Justice must be done and be seen to be done. Let it not be said by future generations that we, the leaders of today, took humanity toward the apocalypse.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

%d bloggers like this: