The last few decades have witnessed an effort by the 'puritanical' view of Islam from the Arabian heartland to penetrate the syncretist Asian periphery. There is a need to reverse the flow of Islamic ideas. Because Islam is not a political or economic ideology, the U.S. cannot get involved in intra-Islam discourse. It should only provide support to moderate Muslims to move forward on their own.
Since the declaration of war against terror, America and its allies have detained or killed 70 per cent of Al Qaida's senior leaders. But the frequency of terrorist acts has increased. This is because US strategy in Afghanistan assumed that terrorists couldn’t operate without state sponsorship. Ideological motivation is now more important for Al Qaida recruitment than a state sponsor.
Will the latest diplomatic engagement between India and Pakistan lead to lasting peace, or simply be another in a long string of disappointments?
The Taliban are regrouping in the lawless tribal region in the Afghan-Pakistan border. Poor strategy in Afghanistan is partly to blame but a key part of the problem is Pakistan. U.S. support for Musharraf who has helped capture most Al-Qaeda operatives, has meant that jihadi terrorists which the regime employs against India have been ignored. This will aggravate the problems in Afghanistan.
The rapprochement between Bhutto and Sharif could alter the course of Pakistani politics. During the last decade, Pakistan’s democratic evolution was hindered by the rivalry between these two leaders. Now, Sharif has expressed solidarity with Bhutto by withdrawing his nominations after hers were rejected. The battle between supporters of democracy and the military establishment has just begun.