Ceding The Fall Of Pakistan
The outlook for Pakistan can be assessed at least in part by considering what is not discussed in most respected analysis: How Musharraf can defeat (or enable the defeat of) al-Qaeda or the Taliban in Pakistan. This, in my view, by default represents Ceding the Fall of Pakistan, considered in an analysis published this morning by David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine.
In reaction to Britain's Knighting of Salman Rushdie, author of the book “Satanic Verses” and subject of an Iranian fatwa for blasphemy, the Pakistani Ulema Council responded by granting the title of Saif'Ullah (Sword of Allah) to Usama bin Laden. This should not be viewed as a perfunctory title which carries no more significance than the ceremonial Knighting of “Sir” Salman Rushdie. It is a significant and rare title granted few within Islam.
There really is no Western equivalent to this. Christians formerly used the phrase "Defender of the Faith." But by the time of Henry VIII, if not before, it was of less significance. Even at its prime, as an honorific, it lacked the historical connotations that being Saif'ullah has to many Muslims - including those who are not jihadiyun. Muhammad called a select few warriors 'Saif'ullah.' And in the years that passed afterwards it was used even less often by his followers in large part because the companions that it had been used to refer to were so significant and considered pious and rightly guided. To use it on a terrorist is shameful and Muslims should be outraged at these supposed learned and pious men calling Usama bin Laden Saif'ullah.
Regardless of the events viewed, whether the compounding troubles of Pervez Musharraf, the steadily increasing percentage of Pakistani territory controlled by the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance or the persistent rise in bin Laden's stature and popularity, the pattern and trend in Pakistan is both clear and persistent. The Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance continues to gain inertia, strength and power while Musharraf grows weaker and more ineffective in confronting and abating the rise of the Islamist terrorist power that will ultimately consume him and, thus, Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal.
This is the steadily deteriorating state of Pakistan.
The analysis was written days before Musharraf ordered the Red Mosque sieged in Islamabad, perhaps the only positive development for and strong decision by the Pakistani president in quite some time.
Even so, the thrust of my analysis remains unaffected. It's conclusions are clearly debatable, which is a good, productive and encouraged exercise.