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November 6, 2007
Douglas Farrah on Pakistan
Douglas Farrah turns his attention to Pakistan and what he sees should send chills down your spine:
It even less clear now that it was a few months ago who is really in control in Pakistan and who controls the nuclear arsenal. There is certainly no guarantee that secularists or moderates have any control at all over the arsenal. Musharraf, forced largely by circumstance to play both ends against the middle, is in deep trouble:
A.Q. Khan himself remains an ardent Islamist who has shown no hesitation in arming the worst elements of the world, be they secular (North Korea) or Islamist (Libya when he started, Iran, and Pakistan, among others). His network, active from Europe to Dubai, China to Latin America, was never dismantled.
Al Qaeda and its related groups have made no secret of their desire to possess a nuclear weapon to use against the West. The best chance these groups have is through its friends in Pakistan, where the relationships from the days of jihad in Afghanistan against the USSR remain strong.
The realization of the nightmare scenario is closer now that Musharraf has chosen to plunge Pakistan even further into chaos. He has managed to alienate just about everyone, from Islamists to moderates. All it will take is some well-timed strikes and demonstrations and Musharraf's position with the army could become untenable. And then the question becomes who will rise up and replace him? The ISI is riven with Islamists and Islamist sympathizers. It is not beyond imagining that if the extremists ever get control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, the nightmare of terrorists with access to nuclear weapons will be realized.
Military and foreign efforts necessarily center on reaching some sort of stability while mitigating the abuses of the civilian population. But that attention means less attention elsewhere, including on nuclear issues. There is little between the Islamists and the bomb. That has been the case for some time. Now there is even less.