Pakistan After Reagan

by Ahmed Rashid
published in MER155

Before they died in a suspicious plane crash on August 16, President/General Zia ul-Haq and his officer cohorts were looking with dismay at the prospect of a new administration in Washington. Pakistan forged the closest ties ever with the United States during the eight years of Ronald Reagan’s administration. The Soviet military presence in Afghanistan virtually guaranteed Reagan’s blind eye to Islamabad’s nuclear program. Increased military aid and closer intelligence ties boosted the Pakistani military’s dominant political role in the country.


published in MER161

Intifada Chic We’re not really sure what this tells us about the present state of the Israeli Jewish psyche, almost two years into the intifada, but here are some of the designer T-shirts being sold these days in Jerusalem:

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Plain Old Murder

by Chris Toensing | published July 30, 2012

Drones are President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice in the war on terror.

Since taking office, he has ordered over 280 drone strikes in Pakistan alone. That’s more than eight times as many as George W. Bush authorized and doesn’t even count the scores of other unmanned attacks in Somalia and Yemen. When the mainstream media reports these operations, it claims that almost all the people killed are “militants” -- members of al-Qaeda or affiliated radical groups.


Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

America's Pakistan

by Zia Mian , Sharon K. Weiner | published March 2012

American policymakers and their advisers are struggling with the question of Pakistan. The last ten years have produced a host of policy reviews, study group reports, congressional hearings and a few academic and more popular books, with more expected as the 2014 deadline for the end of US major combat operations in Afghanistan nears. Much of this literature sees Pakistan as a policy problem and seeks to inform Washington’s debate on how to get Pakistan to do what the United States wants it to do. The literature also reveals the limits of American knowledge and power when it comes to Pakistan.

The Fall of BCCI

by Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER173

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Pakistan, the Army and the Conflict Within

by Pervez Hoodbhoy , Zia Mian | published July 12, 2011

Pakistan’s generals are besieged on all sides. Like never before, they are at odds with their own rank and file. According to the New York Times, the discontent with the top brass is so great as to evoke concerns of a colonels’ coup. The army also is losing support from its domestic political allies and subject to the increasing hostility of the Pakistani public. The generals are even at risk of being dumped by their oldest and most generous supporter, the United States.

The Taliban, the Shari'a and the Pipeline

Rivalries and Power Plays in Afghanistan

by Olivier Roy
published in MER202

Underlying the appearance of the Taliban movement, first of all, are factors internal to Afghan society, in particular the discrediting of the government and the “commandos” born out of the resistance to Soviet intervention. The rapid expansion of the militia, culminating with the conquest of Kabul on September 26, 1996, cannot be understood without considering the direct support of Pakistan, abetted by the US and Saudi Arabia, as part of a larger project to export fossil fuels from Central Asia to Western markets via Afghanistan and Pakistan, bypassing Iran and Russia.

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American "Blood Money" and a Question of Reparations

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER259

In the city of Lahore, Pakistan on January 27, 2011, a 36-year old American CIA contractor named Raymond Davis was charged with double murder in the deaths of two Pakistani men, Faizan Haider and Fahim Shamshad. Newspaper accounts describe Davis firing his gun at two men on motorcycles whom he believed were armed and attempting to rob him as he stopped his vehicle at a traffic signal. At the same time, reports place another US employee driving a truck nearby; in his rush to rescue Davis, this American hit and killed a third passing motorcyclist. The driver of the truck somehow managed to leave the country but Davis was unable to disappear from what escalated into a tense international and legal incident between Pakistan and the United States.

Washington Still Refuses to Learn an Obvious Lesson

by Chris Toensing | published June 6, 2011

Back in 2004, three years into the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 Commission report made its debut to the gushing admiration of the Washington press corps. The report was everything that the mainstream media adores: bipartisan, devoid of divisive finger-pointing, full of conventional wisdom.

Take this pearl: “One of the lessons of the Cold War was that short-term gains in cooperating with the most brutal and repressive governments were often outweighed by long-term setbacks for America’s stature and interests.”

Is the US Ready for Democracy in the Mideast?

by Ian Urbina | published November 10, 2002

Those in favor of an Iraq invasion argue that a regime change will be the first step in bringing democracy to the Middle East. But unnoticed in all the recent national focus on Iraq, recent elections in Morocco, Bahrain, Turkey and Pakistan indicate that democracy, albeit in small increments, has already begun arriving in that region and parts of Islamic South Asia.

The question is whether we are prepared for what those elections may bring. In many cases, these elections were precedent-setting. Morocco held its first transparent vote last month, and set aside 30 seats in the lower house expressly for women. Bahrain, with its first democratic elections in 30 years, included eight female candidates in the final round for parliament.