February 13, 2004

Levy Focuses on Pakistan

In two separate articles in the New Perspectives Quarterly, French writer-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy emphasizes that it is Pakistan and not Palestine that is the main objective of Al Qaeda. He is critical of the Bush administration for getting too cozy with Musharraf. Here's a sample from the more recent of the two pieces:

"...if you look at a map of the world from the point of view of Al Qaeda, the focal point is not Palestine. It is Kashmir. That is closer to the center of the Muslim world, which after all is mostly Asian, than Palestine. For Osama bin Laden and other jihadists, Kashmir is much more important. Kashmir is their name for Palestine...

...the United States is naive about President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. I am not against an alliance with him in the "war on terrorism," but the aid given to Pakistan through Musharraf should be much more tied to democratic reforms and to such actions as closing down the "madrasas" that teach hatred and sometimes how to act on that hatred.

The unconditional embrace of Musharraf during his visits to the US and Europe was a slap in the face of the democrats in Pakistan, for example, those journalists who want a free press, or those women seeking an end to honor killings. More than an insult, it was taken as a sign they were abandoned in favor of the military regime. It breeds despair among the best people in the society.

And in his article on Anti-Americanism in the Spring 2003 issue of NPQ, he is even more direct with his criticism and his warning:

....when the US consolidates its alliance with a state like Pakistan in order to pursue its agenda with Iraq, it is completely misguided.

Today, the real terrorist state is Pakistan. If terrorists obtain mass destruction weapons, it will be in Pakistan, not Iraq. This is because of the links—strengthened after the war in Afghanistan—between the Pakistani secret services, or ISI, and Al Qaeda. Yesterday Al Qaeda was in Afghanistan. Today they are in Pakistan. Karachi is the base of Al Qaeda today. Inside the secret service are those who may not wear the beards of the Islamists, but whose minds are bearded, so to speak. They even share the culture of suicide with them.

UPDATE 2/17: Levy has an op-ed piece at today's WSJ opinionjournal.com site.

Posted by dan at February 13, 2004 9:23 PM