“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nobody loves you when you're down and out.

Has Musharraf, like George W. Bush lost his base?
Imran Khan: President Musharraf must resign

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad
Last Updated: 12:24pm BST 31/07/2007

Imram Khan: President Musharraf must resign
Khan believes that Gen Pervez Musharraf is ‘sunk in a crisis of his own making’

Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, called on President Pervez Musharraf to resign yesterday.

"It is all over for him. He is sunk," Mr Khan told The Daily Telegraph. "He has lost touch with Pakistan. It is a crisis of his own making and the accumulative effect of his miscalculations."

Years of internal discord over the country's support for the US-led war on terror came to a head earlier this month with a commando assault on Islamabad's radical Red Mosque. Since then a series of suicide bombs by Muslim extremists has claimed the lives of more than 200 people.

Mr Khan said: "The longer Musharraf stays after this, the longer the backlash of extremism will last. The majority of Pakistanis, secular minded or not, view Musharraf as an American puppet." Read the rest.

Oh well, that settles it. "American Puppets must die! First Tony Blair, now Pervez Musharraf. John Howard (Australia) must renounce his ties to Amerika."

I understand that Musharraf is a dictator but it's not as if he's the only one in the Muslim world. Is it coincidental to hear more calls for democratic elections as Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise? I don't think so. We've read that the Muslim Brotherhood has been working on this very strategy for years. We question whether their idea of Democracy is "One man, one vote, one time" and believe that their sudden embrace of democracy is a pretext for the establishment of an Islamic state.

Yes, Pervez Musharraf is a military dictator. But seldom has the world seen one so benevolent. Musharraf has ruled Pakistan with a relatively light hand and all parties, religious and secular have been given a wide degree of latitude under his reign. Imram Kahn says that Musharraf faces a fundamentalist backlash for being an American puppet. We say this is backwards thinking, and the backlash has come against the rising fundamentalism. They say "The fundamentalism is against American policies in the Muslim world." They wish to confuse which came first, the chicken or the egg. If we engage in this game, we can go way back in history. Farther even than the Barbary pirates and the Halls of Tripoli. We can go back to the beginning of the problem when marauding hordes began driving Christians and Jews from the middle east and Turkey. But there's no need to play those games. The fundamentalists really don't give a damn about them but if that's all it takes to convince you, it's in their bag of propaganda ploys.

Imram Kahn like much of the world, seems to dislike George Bush and America. The Bush administration is at an extreme low tide of public opinion. Anti-Americanism is near historic highs and it is very easy to take advantage of the situation. Anyone who is or was a friend or associate of George Bush is an easy target. Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, Blair, Musharraf. Why do you think Gordon Brown comes into office publically putting distance between himself and America?

I remember years back when Pakistan had a worldwide marketing campaign to establish itself as a banking hub of the world. Radio and magazine advertisements declared that Pakistan was a modern country and open to banking and commerce. I think that was in the Benazir Bhutto years or it may have been after she fled the country. It turned out, that this PR campaign was in fact, an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Remember the International Bank of Commerce and Credit?

Pakistan has struggled to modernity (look, they developed the bomb) and like America, is a divided country right now. There are many secular Muslims in Pakistan; modern people who like salacious television and American bluejeans. People who go to the mall. City people, mainly, who "just try to be good" and are frightened of Islamists and suicide bombers. On the other hand, there are many "good upstanding religious people" who send their children to the "religious schools" for a thorough education in the "fundamentals " of the Religion of Peace.

The Muslim world is at the cross roads. It can move ahead in an ugly world made smaller and infinitely more complicated by globalization and secularization or it can recoil into fundamentalism. If Pakistan is not careful, they may long for the good 'ol days of Musharraf and people like Imram Kahn may regret their ill considered words.

Pakistan is one of those bell weather countries from which we may be able to determine how severe this clash of civilizations will be. We will keep a sharp eye on Pakistan, looking for a break in the weather and hoping that it doesn't get worse.


  1. I think that they do not recoil from, but advance in the face of globalization and secularization, whit.
    In France, Bekgium and Holland, to name but a handful of EU stalwarts of globalization and secularization the musselmen are on the advance, not recoiling.

    The Jihadi are not recoiling, they have identified the enemy, in no uncertain terms. That it does not matter, to US, is more about US than them.

  2. I think we are rapidly moving into a world where Venezuela, and Brazil, may have nuclear weapons.

    But then that is probably ok with Ash.

    MS-13 too. Fair is fair.

    Stop with this legal non-sense Ash. Besides, you are wrong on the facts, not to mention the facts of life.

  3. One reason we went into Iraq, is bacause Hillary voted for it.

    Ash's darling.


    Hillary by the way is a pathological liar. She said she was at ground zero two days after it happened. It was two weeks or more, before she made her way to ground zero.

    Think of it this way Ash, maybe this will sober you up, if Hillary gets in, as she is almost certainly to do, unless somebody shoots her, which I am not advocating, my wife is joining you in Canada, and I can tell you, friend, you have no idea what that means.

  4. O Canada, land of all the malcontents in the world, the world of no, I weep for you in anticipation, as the dread days arrive, when--I'm goin' to Canada, I'm not sticking it out here is the de facto motto, and all the geese arrive, my wife too.

  5. Found this while researching Imram Kahn:
    The blogger, apparently a Paki, lives in the San Jose, California.

    The manner of execution or the execution itself?
    Posted by khurramm under Muslim World , Dua , burqa , honor killings , shariah , ideology , violence , human rights , Middle East , Islam
    [4] Comments

    I received several responses to the honor killing video that I had posted a few days ago. Everybody who saw that video was disgusted, enraged, extremely disturbed, that’s of course expected, after all most of us are not talibanistic mullahs.

    I was, however, more interested in what lied beyond the first reaction. That’s where things become interesting and way more controversial. I asked myself, was the act justified, am I merely protesting the manner in which it was performed? Had it been ordained by a Shariah court and performed by a state employed executioner, would it then be justified? After all, Iranian courts have done it and so have Arab ones, Pakistanis came very close to copying their Muslim brethren too. Shia-Sunni bhai bhai.

    Isn’t it a ghuna-i-kabeera (major sin) to have sexual relations outside of wedlock, isn’t it punishable by death and that too death by stoning (it is under the shariah laws, note that Allah himself may forgive the fornicator, his believers won’t)? The faithfuls among us passionately spit and throw stones at the Iblis (satin) during Haj, didn’t Dua through her (alleged) act personify devil? Then why the shocked look, the red face, the teary eyes, the bullshit. There are few among us Muslim expatriates who would give you straight answers to these questions - fear of being stereotyped, labeled jahil (backward, ignorant, illiterate) in one’s own community or being reported to the overeager FBI are just a few factors among a myriad of reasons.

    Why stop at this, let’s go a step further. This is going to offend a lot of people, that’s certainly not my intention but well. Let’s say you are a conservative Muslim (no, not a Mullah, just one among a conservative majority) living in one of the conservative Muslim states (pick your favorite from Middle Eastern states, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan or Pakistan). Let’s say one day you are tired and take off early from work. Your servant had fixed the front door so it doesn’t make the creaking sound when opened. As you open the door and enter you house, you hear a sound coming from inside the servant quarter. You think to yourself, isn’t the bugger off today, I thought I let him go to see his dying mother. Now you are really suspicious, you rush to the servant quarter, stop right outside it and then with one swift kick blow open the door. There on the bed is your daughter with a boy in a compromising position.

    What happens then? Well, it really depends. Depends first on who the boy is. If he belongs to a social class lower than yours, your rage will be uncontrollable, you’ve just been a victim of a double whamy, the bastard is likely to get killed or at least beaten up beyond recognition. If, however, he belongs to the rich and the privileged, it’s not him but you who is in trouble, you better control your rage, show some superficial anger and let the guy run away before you bring some real sense to your daughter. Society wants you to exact a severe revenge but interestingly your anger is expected to be directed more towards your daughter than the guy with her, after all she has to be the pure one, boys will be boys. Isn’t that why we put burqas on our women so that their curves don’t entice us to sin. Isn’t it a woman’s responsibility to protect herself from our prying eyes and overcharged imaginations. We know our lust hath no end but that it’s not our fault, that’s what makes us men (head high with pride) and here is your daughter willingly engaged in a sexual intercourse with a boy.

    What do to? Hide it under the carpet as if it never happened, get the two married, kill your daughter or kill yourself. If you let them go easy, everyone will know about this, you know the boy will talk, you will no longer be known by your name but as that ghashti’s (whore) father, you will be shunned from the society, you will eventually have to move to a place where no one knows your name. For the same reason, you cannot report it to the police. However, if you kill your daughter out of izat (honor) right there on the spot, you will be lauded as the real man, the father among fathers, people will tell stories of your courage for years. You will probably be caught, damn the so-called modern laws. But when in jail, you will get VIP (Very Important Person) treatment, you were a nobody before and now you are an example for a generation of fathers and brothers. Mullahs will probably seize the opportunity and hold massive rallies in your support. Depending on how religious the reigning government is and how much international attention your case gets, you would probably be in jail anywhere from 2-10 years. Most likely, the human rights organizations will lose interest in a year or so, the pesky amnesty guys will probably hang around for a little longer but they too will eventually be pursuaded away by the hot off the press human rights violation (what would these fucking goras know about honor anyway, they sleep with each other’s wives, jahanumee), the once emotional petitioners will graduate from their respective schools and you’ll probably get out unharmed, why would you not, after all you did the honorable thing… Stop thinking now, be a man, just do it!

    So no more shit face please. Go back, play the movie and this time enjoy it, that’s the honorable thing to do.

  6. bobal, I'm not a fan of the concept of an "Armed society is a polite society" or of "Mutually assured destruction". There are too many folks in this world who are not rational actors and both those concepts assume rational actors. There is no easy way forward regarding nukes that I know of. The Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty had some good aspects but its prospects don't seem to good - not only were non-armed states supposed to not arm, armed states were supposed to reduce their nuclear stockpiles. The current administration seems determined to rid US of all treaty constraints.

    I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, quite the opposite. In the last presidential election cycle only Ralph Nadar advocated a reasonable way forward for Iraq. So far, in this cycle, it seems only Ron Paul has offered anything reasonable so far. Obama has a history opposing the war, and that is a good thing, though he really hasn't said much about a way forward that I am aware of.

  7. Whit, I watched a video, of the stoning to death of a middle aged woman, half buried in a pit, with all the young apes dancing around.

    Everyone should watch something like that once, and keep it in mind, for what it says about what we can turn into, and for what they are.

  8. The four commentsthat followed (three from Muslims) were much more reassuring.

  9. Declare a state of emergency. Not in Pakistan, but in the US. Rededicate NASA scientists towards a new mission, that of bringing into fruition the biofuels economic revolution. Legislate a 10% cut year over year in total US oil consumption. In 5 years bring all US aircraft carriers and personnel patrolling the Gulf home.

  10. If the secularists in Pakistan conduct themselves as the secularists in Europe and the US do, then they will be dominated - if not outright subjugated - by the 30% of Pakistan that is Islamist.

    Secularists wield lawsuits, strongly-worded resolutions and statements of "concern".

    Jihadis wield guns, bombs, swords and a righteous belief that they will win.

  11. Bobal:
    I have not watched any such videos. I rather not. I even walked out on Pulp Fiction.

  12. Ash, I feel the nuclear genie is out of the bottle, I'd sure like to push that cork back in, if possible, because I think that is the big issue of the time. Nader and Paul, they are not going to be pushing that cork back in. I think they make almost no sense on the issue at all.

    Nader is a nice fellow though, my dad talked to him once, when one of my aunts died in a car crash, from a stuck carburator, and Nader had written "Unsafe At Any Speed". Nothing came of the lawsuit,it is tough to attack a big car company with the limited resources we had at the time. (and still have, too)

  13. mats, that is one heck of a top down big government driven 'solution' that you are advocating. The Asian times has an interesting article bashing biofuels:

  14. Just learned that later this week the UN is expected to authorize an additional 26,000 man peacekeeping force for deployment in Darfur. The manpower will come from African Union and UN troops. ROE will be limited to monitoring as well as self defense and defense of refugees. No disarmament or offensive actions against Janjaweed militia.

  15. UN Security Council has approved Darfur Peace Force. Will this attract Jihadis?

  16. Elephant Bar Alert--Dixie Fire grows, threatening surrouding homes. Folks, the whole place amounts to about 38 people, full time, and I have been there twice.We are having some serious fires out here, though, this year.

    If you ever want to come to Idaho, don't miss Dixie, or she will miss you.

  17. You can start with 'A' for Alaska, and go from there.

  18. I watch everyone of the sordid horrible videos. I do not want to lose my edge and forget what we are up against. I really hate doing it.

  19. "UN Security Council has approved Darfur Peace Force. Will this attract Jihadis?"

    Sudan is one of 2 or 3 official Islamic governments in the world. I'm sure they'll love it. Welcome to Darfur, new front of Judeo-Western Crusader aggression.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. The other two being Iraq and Afghanistan, cutler?

  22. Murdoch made his offer during an April breakfast meeting with Dow Jones chief executive Richard Zannino. The bid became public on May 1, and Dow Jones stock shot up from the mid-$30s, where it had been trading, to more than $60 per share. On anticipation of the deal closing this morning, Dow Jones stock soared nearly $6 to more than $57 per share.

    As part of News Corp., the Journal will join newspapers, such as the Times of London and the New York Post, as well as Twentieth Century Fox movie studios, Fox News Channel, the Weekly Standard, MySpace, Fox television network and satellite television networks in Europe and China.

    In October, News Corp. plans to launch the Fox Business Network television business channel, a rival to CNBC, and likely will use the Journal's newsroom of 750 top-flight financial journalists to provide content to the channel.

  23. BAGHDAD (Associated Press) -- The leader of Iraq's Kurdish region warned Tuesday of a "real civil war" if the central government does not implement a constitutional clause on the future of Kirkuk, the oil-rich city claimed by the Kurds.

    Control over Kirkuk and the surrounding oil wealth is in dispute among the city's Kurdish, Arab and ethnic Turkish populations. Nationally, the dispute pits the Kurds, who want to annex it to their autonomous region in northern Iraq, against the country's Arab majority and its small minority of Turks, known locally as Turkomen.

    Massoud Barzani, speaking in an interview with U.S.-funded Alhurra television, complained that the Baghdad government was dragging its feet on holding a referendum that could put Kirkuk under control of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

    "There is procrastination (by the government) and if this issue is not resolved, as I said before, all options are open. ... Frankly I am not comfortable with the behavior and the policy of the federal government on Kirkuk and clause 140," he said.

    The constitutional clause calls for a referendum in Kirkuk to decide its future status by the end of the year. Before the vote, the clause says Kurds expelled from the city during Saddam Hussein's rule must be allowed to return. A census would then be held to determine which ethnic group was a majority of the population.

    Tens of thousands of Kurds have returned to the city since Saddam's ouster in 2003, but a census has not been conducted.

    "The Kurds will never relinquish or bargain over Kirkuk, but we accepted to regain Kirkuk through constitutional and legal methods. But if we despair of those constitutional and legal methods, then we will have the right to resort to other means," Barzani warned.

    "If clause 140 is not implemented, then there will be a real civil war," Barzani said, promising to visit Baghdad shortly to discuss the matter with the central government.

    The Kurds threaten Civil War and US Special Forces are working with the Turks, to decapitate the PKK.

    Bye-bye Kurdistan?

  24. Marathon Oil Corp. is poised to break into Canada’s growing oil-sands market, saying yesterday that it has agreed to buy Western Oil Sands Inc. for $5.5 billion in cash and stock.

    Marathon also said that its second-quarter earnings fell 11 percent from a year ago, when it benefited from a one-time gain. Its share price fell.

    Shareholders of Western Oil will get $3.6 billion in cash and $1.9 billion in Marathon stock. Marathon will also assume $650 million in Western Oil debt, valuing the total deal at about $6.2 billion.

    Western Oil Sands Buyout

  25. Sounds like there are some real options 'on the table' in Kirkuk, Rat, whatever may be the case here at the Bar.

  26. Say what you want; AQ is taking a Pretty strong Ass-kicking.

  27. Any day a/Q gets its ass kicked is a good day.