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Pakistan

By Scott Stewart

Last week, rumours that Adam Gadahn had been arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, quickly swept through the global media. When the dust settled, it turned out that the rumours were incorrect; the person arrested was not the American-born al Qaeda spokesman. The excitement generated by the rumours overshadowed a message from Gadahn that the al Qaeda media arm as Sahab had released on March 7, the same day as the reported arrest. While many of the messages from al Qaeda figures that as Sahab has released over the past several years have been repetitive and quite unremarkable, after watching Gadahn's March 7 message, we believe that it is a message too interesting to ignore.

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By Bill Roggio

As reports come in that the Pakistan Army has started its long awaited operation against the Pakistan in Waziristan, this analysis published in The Long War Journal on  October 17, 2009 at 1:06 AM is particularly timely.

With the Taliban offensive against military, police, and government installations as well as against soft civilian targets in full swing, the Pakistani government and military have been forced to make a decision on taking the fight to the Taliban.

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By Scott Stewart

Pakistan has been a busy place over the past few weeks. The Pakistani armed forces have been conducting raids and airstrikes against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other foreign Islamist fighters in Bajaur Agency, a district inside Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), while wrapping up their preparations for a major military offensive into South Waziristan. The United States has conducted several successful missile attacks targeting militants hiding in areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border using unmanned aerial vehicles.

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By Scott Stewart

The Islamabad office of the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) was struck by a suicide bomber just after noon local time Oct. 5. The bomber, who wore an improvised explosive device (IED) concealed under his clothing, was wearing the uniform of the Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary force, and reportedly made his way past perimeter security and into the facility under the ruse of asking to use the restroom. Once inside the facility, he detonated his explosive device, killing five WFP employees — one Iraqi national and four locals — and injuring six others.

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By George Friedman

The United States announced Sept. 17 that it would abandon a plan for placing ballistic missile defense (BMD) installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. Instead of the planned system, which was intended to defend primarily against a potential crude intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) threat from Iran against the United States, the administration chose a restructured system that will begin by providing some protection to Europe using U.S. Navy ships based on either the North or Mediterranean seas. The Obama administration has argued that this system will be online sooner than the previously planned system and that follow-on systems will protect the United States. It was also revealed that the latest National Intelligence Estimate finds that Iran is further away from having a true intercontinental missile capability than previously thought, meaning protecting Europe is a more pressing concern than protecting the United States.

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By Kamran Bokhari and Fred Burton

Since the start of the U.S.-jihadist war in late 2001, and particularly since the rise of the Taliban rebellion within its own borders in recent years, Pakistan has been seen as a state embroiled in a jihadist insurgency threatening its very survival. Indeed, until late April, it appeared that Pakistan was buckling under the onslaught of a Taliban rebellion that had consumed large chunks of territory in the northwest and was striking at the country's core. A Shariah-for-peace deal with the Taliban in the Swat region, approved with near unanimity by the parliament, reinforced the view that Pakistan lacked the willingness or capability to fight Islamist non-state actors chipping away at its security and stability.

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By Peter Zeihan

This coming weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Vladimir Putin's assumption of a leadership position at the Kremlin. Much has happened since Putin's appointment as first vice prime minister in August 1999, but Russia's most definitive evolution was from the unstable but semidemocratic days of the 1990s to the statist, authoritarian structure of today.

While it has hardly been clear to STRATFOR that Putin would survive Russia's transition from tentative democracy to near-police state, the transformation of Russia itself has always fit with our predictions. Authoritarian government is a geographically hardwired feature of Russia.

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by Lisa Curtis

Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security

Delivered on July 7, 2009

My name is Lisa Curtis. I am a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation.

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By Kamran Bokhari

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia historically has played a major role in the development of jihadism. Key pillars of the Saudi state - oil, Wahhabism (a conservative form of Sunni Islam) and the strength of tribal norms - were instrumental in facilitating the rise of Islamist extremism and terrorism around the world prior to 9/11. These same pillars allowed Riyadh to contain al Qaeda within Saudi Arabia in the wake of the insurgency that kicked off in the kingdom in 2003-2004. After this success on the home front, Riyadh is still using these pillars to play an international role in counterjihadist efforts - a role welcomed by the United States.

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by Lisa Curtis

Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission May 20, 2009

My name is Lisa Curtis. I am a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation.

Pakistan and China have long-standing strategic ties, dating back five decades. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari wrote in a

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By George Friedman

After U.S. airstrikes killed scores of civilians in western Afghanistan, White House National Security Adviser Gen. James L. Jones said the United States would continue with the airstrikes and would not tie the hands of U.S. generals fighting in Afghanistan. At the same time, U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus has cautioned against using tactics that undermine strategic U.S. goals in Afghanistan - raising the question of what exactly ARE the U.S. strategic goals in Afghanistan. A debate inside the U.S. camp has emerged over this very question, the outcome of which is likely to determine the future of the region.

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By Elayne Jude, Great North News Services

Is Pakistan the Most Dangerous Place on Earth?

Danger, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, says Dr Farzana Shaikh, of Chatham House's Pakistan Study Group.

Inside Pakistan, peril is perceived very differently from the news reports and analyses in Western media.

The sources of danger are seen as external; the notion of threat is, historically and inextricably, linked to India, and its reluctance to accept the Pakistan state. India has simply never come to terms with its existence, and the rejection shows no signs of abating.

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by Lisa Curtis

Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives

Developing and implementing an effective U.S. policy toward Pakistan is one of the most complicated yet important foreign policy challenges the Obama Administration faces. Pakistan is in the midst of societal and political shifts that are challenging its leadership's ability to maintain stability and even raising questions about the potential for an Islamic revolution in the country. Pakistan has long suffered from ethnic and sectarian divisions in different parts of the country. But the more recent

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by Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia - Council on Foreign Relations

Recommendation: Shift from AfPak to PakAf.

The Obama administration should recalibrate its strategy to emphasize the priority of the mission in Pakistan and to prepare domestic and international audiences for expanded, sustained U.S. engagement in South Asia. The present approach—professing narrow counter terror goals while seeking expanded state-building resources in Afghanistan and Pakistan—may be a politically astute means to garner early support, but runs the risk of confusing the American public (as well as U.S. allies and adversaries) down the road about Washington's true intentions. That confusion is likely to make a costly commitment to the region harder to justify and sustain over the long run.

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By Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia - Council on Foreign Relations

Introduction

President Barack Obama publicly unveiled his administration's so-called AfPak (Afghanistan-Pakistan) strategy on March 27, 2009. Over the subsequent weeks, the White House has also briefed relevant congressional leaders and committees, the media, NATO allies, and other regional and international partners. The U.S. House of Representatives has moved ahead with its own legislative debate (the PEACE bill), and the administration recently submitted a 2009 supplemental budget request consistent with its new strategy.

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By Professor Shaun Gregory

We should not fool ourselves that there are any simple levers that can be pulled to make Pakistan play a more constructive role in tackling the Taliban and other militants and terrorists on its side of the border, without which the situation in Afghanistan cannot be stabilised. However there are some clear areas which ought to be the focus of detailed policy attention in co-operation with the United States and - where relevant - our other partners and potential partners in the region:

(1) We must shift the focus of our energies from the military in Pakistan to the civilian leadership and expand our partners in Pakistan to include all those who can take Pakistan forward: business, civil society, political parties, NGOs etc. This must include some Islamist parties who eschew violence;

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by Lisa Curtis

Pakistan is in the midst of rapid political shifts that are challenging the leadership's ability to maintain cohesion within the country and even raising questions about the potential for an Islamic revolution by year's end.

Pakistan has long suffered from ethnic and sectarian divisions in different parts of the country. But the recent threat from a well-armed and well-organized Islamist insurgency pushing for the establishment of strict Islamic law in parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) adds a new and more dangerous dimension to the country's challenges.

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By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

On April 4, eight paramilitary police were killed in a suicide bombing against their camp in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. This attack was the second suicide bombing in Islamabad in less than two weeks, and followed closely on the heels of the March 23 attack on the headquarters of the Police Special Branch in Islamabad. After the April 4 attack, one of Baitullah Mehsud's deputies, Hakimullah Mehsud (who, like Baitullah, is a member of the large Mehsud clan) contacted the press to claim credit for the attack and threatened that the group would carry out

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By Adam Dempsey, Research Associate, UK Defence Forum

As President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan emphasises the destruction of militant safe havens within the tribal border regions of Pakistan, the full cooperation of Islamabad's military and intelligence services is essential. Yet Pakistan's military, and in particular the Inter-Service's Intelligence (ISI), remains implicated with close links to Islamic militants. A recent US Joint Chief's of Staff report indicated that elements of the ISI continue to provide supplies and strategic guidance to militants operating within the tribal belt. Despite vocal opposition from Islamabad's civilian government of the attacks on

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By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

On March 31, Baitullah Mehsud, commander of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), called The Associated Press and Reuters to claim responsibility for the March 29 attack against a Pakistani police academy in Manawan, which is near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore and the Indian border. The attack had been previously claimed by a little-known group, Fedayeen al-Islam (FI), which also took responsibility for the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September 2008.

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