Happy Independence Day to two of my favorite stans – North Waziristan and South Waziristan, in one of which what’s left of Osama bin Laden was widely rumored to be holed up like an Islamist Pimpernel: they seek him in Waziristan, they seek him in Overtheristan.
Arnaud de Borchgrave’s analysis for UPI says that in Pakistan’s “Federally Administered Tribal Areas”, whose “federal administration” has always had perforce a light touch, General Musharraf has now lost complete control of the Waziri lands. A Taliban honcho called Mullah Nazir is the new leader in South Waziristan and he and his chums in North Waziristan have proclaimed the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan.
Musharraf can hardly be blamed for figuring it’s time to be heading for his retirement villa in Imouttaheristan. My former and extremely hot next-door neighbor, Benazir Bhutto, currently presides over an unusually united Pakistani political class urging the general to step aside. If he did so, it would seem likely that the secession of the tribal areas would accelerate: A mullah who has uncovered women stoned is hardly going to recognize the weak and ineffectual jurisdiction of a westernized female prime minister. The return of a corrupt political class and the increasing Talibanization of FATA and beyond has implications for everything from the Afghan campaign to the Islamist cells in northern England. To paraphrase Laurel and Hardy, this is another fine stan you’ve got me into.