President Clinton's trip to Pakistan and India isn't likely now. As
the following articles suggests, among other reasons it's too dangerous. On the periphery
of the Middle East, even further East than Iran, what happens in and to Muslim Pakistan
remains very important to the entire region.
It is for that reasons that the Saudi Regime has always paid special
attention to Pakistan, courted its leaders, worked closely especially with its military
and intelligence service. When Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah gets to Washington shortly,
what's going on in Pakistan and Iran are sure to be on the agenda.
And it is for that reason that the Israelis too have always been
specially interested in Muslim Pakistan, even while developing especially close relations
with the Indians. Indeed, during the days of Benazir's reign, the Israelis used their
friends in the Jewish lobby in the States to cozy up to the Pakistanis. Benazir even
hired, for a while, her old school friend Mark Siegel, a long-time Democratic Party and
Israeli lobby operative, to actually represent Muslim Pakistan as a Washington lobbyist!
Then the scandal over all this broke through a column published by today's MER Publisher.
And it is for this reason as well that the Americans and Israelis
are always so traumatized by the notion of the "Islamic Bomb" and are following
so closely the new declaration by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan should
officially become a Muslim State governmed by the supreme law of Islam, the
"This is not Taliban. This is not a throwback to fundamentalist
extremism. This is a long-standing demand of the people. The average Pakistani feels he
has no access to justice, that crime and corrupton are rampant," says Information
Minister Mushahid Hussein. "We are trying to establish a new ethos, a new political
culture, and we are doing it by democratic and parlaimentary means."
There's a great deal wrong in Pakistan. And the Sharif government is
hardly without some fault and blame, though on a comparative scale it may be the best
Pakistan has ever had.
Whatever the details, Mushahid Hussein is certainly right in the
macro sense. And this important understanding is needed not only in 100+ million Muslim
Pakistan, but in nearly all of the fragmented and manipulated Arab Muslim countries of the
200+ million Middle East.
Note: For disclosure reasons, MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky is a
long-time friend of Mushahid Hussein and his visited the country a number of times at
Hussein's invitation before his becoming Information Minister.
A radical Islamic group threatened
Sunday to attack U.S. property and kidnap Americans in Pakistan unless Washington
apologizes to the Muslim world for a missile strike in Afghanistan.
An estimated 15,000 members of the militant Movement for the
Enforcement of Islam in English marched in Peshawar, a frontier town on the Afghan border,
shouting ``Death to America.''
It was the largest anti-American demonstration to date in Peshawar,
75 miles east of the capital, Islamabad. The United States launched a cruise missile
strike against suspected terrorist sites in Sudan and Afghanistan on Aug. 20 in
retaliation for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 258
Washington believes terrorist camps in Afghanistan were run by Osama
bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire whom the United States blames for funding the embassy
During the rally in Peshawar, militant leader Maulana Sufi Mohammed
threatened to attack American property in Pakistan and kidnap Americans unless Washington
apologizes for the missile strike. He did not set a deadline.
The group was founded in 1992 to push for the strict enforcement of
Islamic law. The fast-growing group's violent actions include attacks on an airport and
Pakistani government installations in 1994.
The United States has already evacuated more than half its
diplomatic staff and all dependents of government employees from Pakistan because of
rising anti-American sentiment.