Sunday, March 29, 2009

In Which I Try To Come To SOME Understanding of Pakistan

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Using that clip from The Princess Bride was awesome. Also, Rachel didn't get slapped down by Brzezinski this time. Dude knows a lot, but he doesn't appreciate the fine art of snark.

What I understand of Pakistan is this: As to population, it is the fifth largest country in the world, with a population of over 1.5 billion. I know it shares a shadowy semi-border with Afghanistan. I know it really does have WMD. I know that Pakistan is, at least nominally, our ally. I know that I was stunned by the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. That is about it. As it becomes clear that our war in Afghanistan cannot be separated from our relationship with Pakistan, I seek to learn a little bit more.

The tribal leader thought to be at least tangentially responsible for Bhutto's assassination is Baitullah Mahsud. He is a member of the Pashtun tribe. As you can see below, the Pashtun are in a combined Pakistan/Afghanistan region.

Since Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari is the President of Pakistan, it's not hard to see why the Pakistani government might welcome some U.S. help to overcome the tribal militants on both sides of their Afghan border. Since Al-Qaeda has taken up residence in the Pashtun tribal area, primarily in Pakistan, the U.S. will get right on that.

I know I've just barely touched the surface, but that is all my tiny mind can handle on the subject right now. Please, feel free to correct the mistakes I have undoubtably made.

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