“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."

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Democracy vs. Dictatorship," Pakistan's Musharraf Arrests Opponent.

Pakistan 'deports' ex-PM Sharif

Nawaz Sharif (centre) was surrounded on his arrival
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been arrested and deported within hours of returning to Pakistan from exile, officials say.
After landing in Islamabad he was charged and put on board a plane, reportedly bound for Saudi Arabia.

The World's scariest Islamic power is Pakistan. Talk of democracy for Pakistan is insanity and a naive delusion. Speculation about an Islamic nuclear armed Iran is an interesting academic discussion, but a nuclear Pakistan is reality. Pakistan under the Islamists would be Hell in waiting. Encouraging democracy for Pakistan is the worst idea since Jimmy Carter persuaded the Iranian military not to take charge in the last days of the Shah. Hopefully Musharraf agrees.

Ex-PM Sharif 'held in Pakistan' BBC

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been taken into custody in Islamabad after returning from exile, officials say.
Mr Sharif, who was ousted by President Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup in 1999, says he wants to challenge the president ahead of elections.

Pakistan's Supreme Court has affirmed Mr Sharif's right to return, but it is not clear what will now happen to him.

There is some speculation that he may face corruption charges or be deported.

On board the plane that carried him home, Mr Sharif told the BBC he was returning to Pakistan to help restore the rule of law.

"It's democracy versus dictatorship," he said.


  1. meanwhile...

    "FRANKFURT, Sept. 9 — The accused conspirators in a bombing plot disrupted last week in Germany were part of what the authorities say is a small, but growing, flow of militants from Germany and other Western countries who are receiving terrorism training at camps in Pakistan.

    Beginning early last year, at least five of the suspects traveled to the tribal regions of Waziristan, where they learned to prepare chemical explosives and military-grade detonators that they intended to use to build three car bombs, according to German officials and a confidential German intelligence document that details the allegations.

    The authorities said the man they had identified as the leader of the plot, Fritz Martin Gelowicz, 28, apparently found his way to the camp in Waziristan through contacts he made at an Islamic center he attended in Neu-Ulm, Germany. Other suspects in the suspected conspiracy then followed Mr. Gelowicz to the camp, where their instructors included militant Islamists from Uzbekistan who are aligned with Al Qaeda, according to the confidential document.

    As further evidence of traffic between Germany and the tribal areas of Pakistan, intelligence officials said six other men from Germany who had received similar training had been detained in Pakistan, and they suspect that numerous other Germans have attended the camps without being identified by the authorities.

    German officials say they are troubled by evidence that Al Qaeda and other groups are training Western-born recruits whose passports allow them easy access to other Western countries.

    “They started to look especially for people from Europe, because they wanted to train them and later to use them here in Germany for operations,” said a high-ranking German intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.

    The accusations in Germany contain similarities to two high-profile cases in Britain.

    The leader of the suicide bombers who killed 52 people in the 2005 London subway and bus attacks trained at a camp in northwestern Pakistan, according to court papers. Four British men convicted in April of planning fertilizer-bomb attacks around London also trained in Pakistan camps, according to court papers in the case, known as Operation Crevice.

    This summer militants released a 46-minute videotape depicting some 250 graduates of a Taliban training camp near the Afghan-Pakistan border, which included speeches in English by recruits who were grouped by the countries they had been trained to attack, including Germany and the United States.

    “We are not only fighting in Afghanistan,” the Taliban leader, Mullah Mansoor, said at the end of the ceremony. “Those American, British, German, French, Canadian and others who have come to finish us, if God wills, we will destroy them with the power of strong faith in God. We will commit suicidal attacks and we will destroy their national assets.”

    German officials said they were relying largely on American and Pakistani intelligence to identify men who traveled to Waziristan, and while they declined to specify the nature of that intelligence, they said it was strong.

    The amount of training under way in the tribal areas of Pakistan is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate, but intelligence officials are concerned about what they see as a trend toward terrorist groups recruiting Westerners.

    In a speech in New York on Friday, the C.I.A. director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, said, “We do see them working to train people whom you and I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow about if they were getting off the plane with us at Kennedy, people whose identity makes it easier — whose persona makes it easier for them to come into America and to blend into American society.”

    The Pakistani government has recently acknowledged that Al Qaeda and other militants are operating in the tribal-controlled areas on its border with Afghanistan. Pakistan had struck an agreement with leaders in the South Waziristan tribal area, giving groups there amnesty as long as they refrained from attacking government installations and vehicles. But it broke down last month when the military began a new operation against the militants, which led to the capture of close to 300 Pakistani troops by the militants.

    Even as Western governments and Pakistan try to crack down on terrorist training, their efforts are clashing with human rights groups in Pakistan that are pressing for the release of terrorism suspects who have been detained without being charged.

    Pakistani courts recently released two Germans, who officials say they believe received explosives training in Waziristan, including a 45-year-old gem dealer who was designated a “potentially dangerous person” by the German police for threatening statements he made three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He is back home in Germany, where officials say he has contacts with violent Islamic cells and has made several trips to the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. NYT

  2. The consensus seems to be building around the idea that we are losing the GWOT. More jihadis go into the mix than we can remove. Michael Scheuer and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross have sounded similar messages lately with Scheuer absolutely depressingly certain that Iraq and Afghanistan are lost causes. Gartenstein-Ross says that the jihadi ranks are swelling and the anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is growing and with it, the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism.

    BTW - What's up with one "Fritz Martin Gelowicz". WTH! A German convert turned Radical Islamist. Gartenstein-Ross was a nice secular Jewish boy from Oregon who turned to Islam and also got radicalised.

    Something is wrong with this world.

  3. BTW Deuce - Scheuer also says that we have to disentangle ourselves from the dictators and autocrats in the Muslim world. As a large part of their recruiting efforts, the fundies point to US support of tyrants.

    Just kill 'em all.

  4. The consensus seems to be building around the idea that we are losing the GWOT. More jihadis go into the mix than we can remove.

    If that's "the consensus" than I disagree with the consensus. Jihadism is generally losing its appeal, with more and more cultural muhmudeans seeing things for what they are. Where there's failure it's mainly concentrated in the British media, whose programing is almost indistinguishable from that produced by the muslim brotherhood.