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NYTimes.com Article: Al Qaeda Provoking War
by alvi_saima
31 May 2002 14:56 UTC
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This article from NYTimes.com 
has been sent to you by alvi_saima@yahoo.com.

ABSTRACT: Unlike the Taliban regime or the feckless Palestinian Authority, 
Pakistan is a nation with nuclear missiles, capable of responding massively to 
any hot pre-emption. 


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Al Qaeda Provoking War

May 30, 2002


WASHINGTON - The emergence of terrorism as a global threat
has forced nation-states of the world to adopt a new view
of sovereignty: If a governing body cannot stop terrorists
victimizing others from its territory, then governments of
the victims will reach across borders to do the necessary

Former Secretary of State George Shultz told an audience of
diplomats yesterday in Virginia that "we reserve, within
the framework of our right to self-defense, the right to
pre-empt terrorist threats within a state's borders - not
just 'hot pursuit,' but hot pre-emption." 

The first example of the Bush strategy of hot pre-emption
was, of course, the U.S. strike against Al Qaeda in
Afghanistan, where the Taliban regime was actively
sponsoring terror. We did not consider this formal war
against a state, but pre-emption of further attacks based
in that state. 

The second recent example is Israel's roundup of terrorists
in the West Bank conducted when the governing authority
supported, condoned or refused to take action against
terrorists targeting Israeli civilians. 

I submit a third example: India, exercising its right of
self-defense, is now threatening to employ that strategy of
hot pre-emption against terrorists in the
Pakistan-controlled part of divided Kashmir. Three times,
well-organized terrorists - with ties to, or directed by,
Al Qaeda - have struck deep into India, even to a bloody
assault on the Parliament in New Delhi. 

There is this difference: Unlike the Taliban regime or the
feckless Palestinian Authority, Pakistan is a nation with
nuclear missiles, capable of responding massively to any
hot pre-emption. 

That is the most worrisome issue in the world today. India
has 700,000 troops massed on its border; Pakistan has
300,000, and has been openly flexing its missile muscles
almost daily. 

The Indians point to the new global antiterrorist principle
enunciated by George W. Bush and practiced by Ariel Sharon,
and say, with unassailable logic, they have been patient
enough. But India, which could win another conventional war
with Pakistan, surely wants no nuclear exchange. What can
it expect from the world in return for more restraint? 

India demands pressure on Pakistan to exercise its internal
sovereignty. Either the government of President Pervez
Musharraf controls Pakistan's portion of Kashmir or it
invites policing from outside. 

But there's this complication: The U.S. needs Musharraf to
help root out Al Qaeda, which has gone underground in
Muslim Pakistan and is trying to provoke nuclear war with
Hindu India. And too many Pakistanis fail to realize that
the terrorists railing about the "occupation" of Kashmir by
India hope to call down millions of casualties on both

What to do? 

1. Lean harder on Pakistan to assert internal sovereignty
by warring on the terrorists, not wasting manpower by
posturing against India's army. Sweeten this with
non-military aid and trade openings from the European Union
as well as the U.S. 

2. Lean on India to agree to talks with Pakistan about
Kashmir after Al Qaeda is rooted out and terror attacks
cease from the Pakistani side of the Line of Control that
splits Kashmir. 

3. Start pushing the concept of "de facto autonomy" in
divided Kashmir, as most of its residents want, without
upsetting the current claims of sovereignty by both India
and Pakistan. Both sides will deride this as a non-starter,
but the object of such a temporary solution is to non-start
a war. 

What if the prospect of mutual destruction acts as a
deterrent to going nuclear, but conventional war breaks out
instead? India would start to win again, and Pakistan would
prevail on its closest ally, China - India's strategic
rival - to open a second front. To counter that mass of
troops, India might then turn to Russia. 

Endangered human beings don't need any of this. The West is
trying to prevent a war, but where is diplomatic help from
the nation that made Pakistan a nuclear power, and with
most influence on its leaders? 

That's China. Time for a call from Dick Cheney to his
counterpart in Beijing, Hu Jintao, the man chosen by
China's rulers to take over from Jiang Zemin. Presumably Hu
understands the new doctrine of hot pre-emption. Let's see
if he is up to prevailing on Pakistan to put fighting
terror first - so as to preserve both its sovereignty and
peace on the subcontinent. 


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