The Enemy of My Enemy is???

How do you solve a problem like Maria Musharraf? It’s so dang hard to figure out what we should (much less can ) do with him. Lets be clear, by nearly any measure, he sounds like a pretty awful leader. And yet, perhaps he’s a Stalin in our conflicted time — someone we’d otherwise hate but whom other, more pressing international circumstances force us to extend a bit more, uh, courtesy than we’d like. If his umpteen missteps have brought us to the verge of actively “regime changing” him (a great read, BTW!), then perhaps this latest diatribe from the Hitler of our time (no, not Bush, sheesh) wins Mushie back a few more points –

Not in the Musharraf Fan Club Either

I talk to you today on the occasion of the criminal aggression carried out by Musharraf, his army and his security organs – the Crusaders’ hunting dogs – against Lal Masjid in Islamabad, and on the occasion of the dirty, despicable crime committed by Pakistani military intelligence – at the orders of Musharraf – against Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi when it showed him on television in women’s dress.

This is a message of blinding clarity to the Muslims in Pakistan, the Pakistani Ulema, and indeed, the Ulema in the rest of the Islamic world, and this crime can only be washed away by repentance or blood. I call on the Ulema in Pakistan and tell them: this is what you are worth to Musharraf, and this is the treatment that awaits you in the prisons of Musharraf’s hunting dogs, and this is what you are worth to the Crusaders. Musharraf and his hunting dogs have rubbed your honor in the dirt in the service of the Crusaders and the Jews, and if you don’t retaliate for your honor, Musharraf won’t spare any of you, and won’t stop until he eradicates Islam from Pakistan. Lowly Musharraf, who has sold his honor and religion to the Crusaders and Jews, is arrogant with you in the extreme and regards you with the utmost contempt, and treats you like animals and dogs, and only is satisfied by portraying you in the lowliest and most despicable light.

This is an eloquent message [from Musharraf] to every scholar and every free and honorable person in Pakistan: that resisting Musharraf, confronting him and demanding that he adhere to Islam and refrain from worshiping the Crusaders and Jews will only get you the worst types of contempt, humiliation and degradation.

Of his litany of complaints, it’s almost comical that perp-walking Ghazi on TV in a dress ranks quite so highly. Perhaps there’s some insight here into the Honor/Shame dynamic commentators have noted in the shadowy corners of Arab society that breed Zawahiris…. Whatever the case, if the other guys think he’s out to destroy Islamism, then perhaps there’s another twist to this Gordian Knot. A tough problem to solve indeed.

73 thoughts on “The Enemy of My Enemy is???

  1. I do not think Musharraf is Stalin. In some ways, he has been good to his people and his country. He knew when to ditch Taliban, and cash in with US. He looks after his country interest quite well. In long run, Pakistan is better off with democracy but then politicians there are Class-I thugs. On Lal Masjid, it is very tricky situation. He has depended on hardliners for support, and he knows that they can set off a very dangerous chain reaction. I think Zia has done permanent damage to Pakistan by radicalizing its fabric in 70s, and CIA also is complicit.

    I agree with Kush on both points especially the one about Zia.

    Dude, in that situation it was Muslims causing the trouble too. But in a religious place not even of their own religion. And vicious as the RSS and the Hindutva crowd can be, would you really compare them with the hardest of the hardline Muslims?

    Those damn Muzzies! Somebody is spending a little too much time at Little Green Football.

  2. I think Mushie is exaggerating the Islamist threat to Pakistan. As Fareed Zakaria put it:

    The danger is not that radical Islamists would come to power if Musharraf goes—as several American presidential candidates have claimed. Islamic fundamentalists have never gotten more than 10 percent of the vote in Pakistan. The country’s two main political parties are secular.

    Here is the whole article.

  3. I think Mushie is exaggerating the Islamist threat to Pakistan. As Fareed Zakaria put it: The danger is not that radical Islamists would come to power if Musharraf goes—as several American presidential candidates have claimed. Islamic fundamentalists have never gotten more than 10 percent of the vote in Pakistan. The country’s two main political parties are secular. Here is the whole article.

    Once again, Fareed Zakaria boldly goes where many analysts in the last 6 months or so have gone before. Such consistent courage and hindsight is rare.

  4. Once again, Fareed Zakaria boldly goes where many analysts in the last 6 months or so have gone before. Such consistent courage and hindsight is rare. I hope you are not being facetious :)

    I don’t disagree with his essay, just don’t think Zakaria is insightful or prescient in any real sense. He’s just conveniently the right color and religion at the right time for this kind of stuff.

    The drumbeat about Musharraf has been going on for months now. After all, when this government is beginning to reevaluate its policy towards him, you know that the tide has truly turned.

  5. I think Mushie is exaggerating the Islamist threat to Pakistan. As Fareed Zakaria put it:

    He isn’t exaggerating but he’s not being sincere either. Pakistanis have one definition of what constitutes an Islamist, the rest of humanity has another. It is a baseline concept among all political parties in Pakistan that any part of the subcontinent that has a majority Muslim population has the right to be a part of state defined by their religion, the considerations of significant minority populations be damned. Most people who proclaim a liberal disposition would find this concept anathema. In Pakistani parlance, an Islamist is someone whose troublemaking goals extend beyond the subcontinent to powerful countries that matter (i.e. not India).

  6. just don’t think Zakaria is insightful or prescient in any real sense.

    You Blasphemer! Do you not know the seventh commandment of the Mutiny. ‘You shall not make wrongful use of the name of Fareed, for the Mutiny will not acquit anyone who misuses his name’

  7. You Blasphemer! Do you not know the seventh commandment of the Mutiny. ‘You shall not make wrongful use of the name of Fareed, for the Mutiny will not acquit anyone who misuses his name’

    Well, I better keep my opinions about Sanjaya, M.I.A, or TMBWITW to myself then. And don’t even get me started on what I really think of coolies.

  8. Muslim Jew hatred goes back to the story of Ishmael and Isaac in the Old Testament Bible (Torah).

  9. Looks like Musharaff has staged a nice drama and refurbished his image in the “west”, nevermind killing a few hundred madrassah students (who are probably poor kids from NWFP / Balochistan ). If you think that the worst crime the Mullahs committed was kidnapping (that too they released the few women without any harm), you can’t justify the massive retribution by the army under Musharaff. Everything looks like a drama enacted by Musharaff.

    I don’t believe the moderate / not-so-moderate / secular distinctions of various Pakistani regimes (louiecypher was right). If you think about it Ahmediyas were officially made non-Muslims in 1974 under the supposedly “secular” Bhutto regime (long before Zia).

  10. Actually Ponniyan Selvan, the status of Ahmadiyas in Pakistan is not so clear cut. Like quantum mechanics, the observer plays a role. If it is an issue of an observer who needs to be convinced of Pakistan’s scientific prowress, then almost magically Dr. Abdus Salam is magically transformed from apostate to true believer. When no one is looking….

  11. I think this is not really an “Enemy of my enemy is my friend” doctrine but an “Asshole” doctrine*. The asshole doctrine states that an entity however repugnant it might be to a neutral observer, is entirely acceptable to the concerned person who adopts this doctrine as long as the aforesaid entity is controlled by the concerned person.

    Or as Bush would say: ” I know he is an asshole, but he is MY asshole”

    • All copyrights reserved and trademarked. Patent Pending.
  12. I think Mushie is exaggerating the Islamist threat to Pakistan. As Fareed Zakaria put it:

    I don’t think so.

    Hear me out. I agree that the Islamists are a minority and that the bulk of the population isn’t extemist. But the problem, the way I see it, is that the fundamentalists have solid access to the power channels in a chaotic political environment. In a stable state where the majority can keep an extremist minority in check, sure, it isn’t an issue. But 10% of over a 100 million population isn’t chump change nor can it be ignored, especially when the state is governed by a dictator, civil institutions under democratic rule were corrupt and nepotistic. Bottom line, the majority would need to get its act together, else that vocal and passionate minority has a good chance for projecting itself in a power vaccum.

    There are so many competing forces within Pakistan (Islamists, ISI, the military, political parties), yet none have true control, nor are they effective in working together with each other.

    My 2 cents. Considering the personalities they’re housing on their borders, an Islamist threat exists. I don’t think they’re going to become the next Caliphate. That doesn’t mean those guys can’t create serious trouble.

  13. The enemy of my enemy is my friend as long my enemy is in the equation and after that the equation has to be re-written. Maybe now the enemy of my enemy is my new enemy and my old enemy now is the now the enemy of my new enemy and therefore now my friend. phew! Wait a minute, who is my enemy again?

  14. “And vicious as the RSS and the Hindutva crowd can be, would you really compare them with the hardest of the hardline Muslims?”

    No comparison at all. The Hindutva crowd are much better organizers and politicians, more popular amongst their own community, and better at only killing members of other religious communities. Islamists are generally unpopular, have to rely on bombs because they can’t organize popular (and police-supported) killing sprees like the Sangh Pariwar, have never managed anything like gaining elected control of the world’s largest democracy, and focus the majority of their time and attention on killing members of their own religion.

  15. No comparison at all. The Hindutva crowd are much better organizers and politicians, more popular amongst their own community, and better at only killing members of other religious communities. Islamists are generally unpopular, have to rely on bombs because they can’t organize popular (and police-supported) killing sprees like the Sangh Pariwar, have never managed anything like gaining elected control of the world’s largest democracy, and focus the majority of their time and attention on killing members of their own religion.

    Wow, thats some desperate attempt to turn the tables.

  16. Musharraf is the best thing that has happened to Pakistan. He has opened up the media, 10 year ago there was only state run channels. Now there is a multitude of channels. The censorship laws have been relaxed tremendously. He has saved the economy through good management which we have not had in Pakistan for nearly 15 years! He even tried to get rid of the arbitrary blasphemy law. He is a moderate modern ruler who wants to improve Pakistan. What I don’t understand is why people in the west are so critical of him?

    Yes of course maybe he does exaggerate the extremist threat but what politician is totally clean? He’s certainly not an angel, I know that. But he is by FAR the best that Pakistan has to offer. May god keep him in power for another 20 years.

  17. Faraz: I think it’s because Americans believe that democracy is the best, regardless of how undeveloped a country’s civil institutions are. Never mind that in many cases (e.g. emancipation of slaves in US, civil rights in 1960s) the morally right thing would have never been done if it were up to a popular mandate. While as an Indian I don’t feel as enthusiastic about Musharaff as you do, I do feel it is easier to negotiate with the people in charge, which in Pakistan has always been the military, instead of pretending that the power emanates from some elected civilian like Benazir Bhutto

  18. If his umpteen missteps have brought us to the verge of actively “regime changing” him (a great read, BTW!), then perhaps this latest diatribe from the Hitler of our time (no, not Bush, sheesh) wins Mushie back a few more points -

    Ummm, “Hitler of our time”? Joke? Tongue-in-cheek? I hope so. Pretty ridiculous comparison even in jest.

    I think that the utter instability of any kind of democratic government in Pakistan is directly related to “Islamist” groups gaining and maintaining power… by setting up this dichotomy between “enemy” and “enemy of my enemy” we’re missing some perspective.

  19. this post was doing so well till that daniel pipes inspired honor/shame “insight” – dude, have you not gone to india? tell me “shame” or “honor” don’t exist there. china? same thing. its a meaningless dichotomy which is applied to Arabs b/c it promotes Otherization. The link you go to starts by evaluating “honor killings” which aren’t an “honor” problem at all; they are a patriarchy problem. methinks thou hast been consuming too much right-wing verbiage, herbivore.

  20. “honor killings” which aren’t an “honor” problem at all; they are a patriarchy problem

    Can you please explain how they are a patriarchy problem and not ‘honor’ problem?

  21. circus, gladly:

    “honor” which posits that a woman can be retaliated upon for her behavior is a form of masculine-insecurity, in which the woman is the proxy through which a man relates to other men in world.

    i.e. if your sister sleeps with another man, an “honor” position essentially argues that (because of her) you have slept with another man.

    if that is not patriarchy — men imputing the power to speak for women — then I don’t know what is.

    honor is a tool. patriarchy is the vice. let’s not confuse the two.

    word.