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EDITORIAL: Welcoming the Predator

fatman17

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EDITORIAL: Welcoming the Predator

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We have heard a lot over the past few years about the Pakistani public being outraged by America's use of Predators and other pilotless aircraft to strike al Qaeda terrorists inside Pakistan. Pundits have cited rising public resentment that threatens our relationship with Pakistan, where more al Qaeda operatives have been killed or captured than any other nation on earth. So the wisdom in Washington is that we should tread carefully.

Now a new poll conducted in the tribal lands of Western Pakistan reveals that the Predator strikes are popular.

The new opinion survey was conducted by the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy and not funded by the U.S. government. A survey of 550 people in Predator-targeted areas of the North West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas found that 58 percent of respondents said that the drone attacks have not increased anti-American feelings. Fifty-five percent said they did not "create fear and terror in the common people," 60 percent said the strikes were effective in damaging terror organizations, and 70 percent would like to see the Pakistan army make its own strikes on the militants.

Aryana Institute member Farhat Taj has a personal interest in the survey. Ms. Taj, who is currently pursuing higher education in Scandinavia, is a native of the area and visits her family and friends there frequently. In an interview with the editorial page of The Washington Times, she said she was "so, so fed up with 'experts' both in Pakistan and the West. They constantly distort the realities of our people and area. Most of them do not even bother to come and see what is happening."

The people in the frontier areas did not welcome the militants in their midst, consider them to be dangerous foreigners, and want them to leave. But they are powerless. They are being held captive by them, she said. More than two-thirds of the people surveyed "viewed al Qaeda and the Taliban as enemy number one."

The foreign fighters are particularly reviled, seen as invaders seeking to change the local way of life. "The militants want to replace the Pashtun culture with Wahabbi culture," Ms. Taj told us. She said people did not want to give up their traditional way of life for an "alien" culture.

Most of the foreign fighters - Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens, and others from many countries around the world, including the United States - came to that part of Pakistan in 2001 after being run out of Afghanistan. They soon availed themselves of the Pashtun code of ethics known as Pashtunwali. In particular they sought to invoke melmastia (hospitality) and nanwati (sanctuary). The Pashtuns accepted them under these principles. But they have definitely worn out their welcome.

"The [local] people feel they are hostage," Ms. Taj told us. "They are overpowered by the armed militants." Almost daily people bury friends and relatives tortured and beheaded by the militants. Some have tried to resist. "In several places people took up arms against al Qaeda and the Taliban," she told us. "Pakistan's army did not help and the leaders of the local people's armies were killed, one by one or in bulk through suicide bombing." Some are still resisting at the village level, but "the militants have much better weapons and tools of communication than the local people."

Al Qaeda is a remote threat to Americans, but an everyday reality to people on Pakistan's frontier. So their approval of Predator strikes makes sense to us. We hope that this fascinating survey finally ends that dreary anti-war talking point that America's counterterrorism efforts are unwelcome to the Muslims living on the front lines.

The Washington Times, LLC
 

S-2

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Dec 25, 2007
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Rabzon had posted the original release of this. I've done so elsewhere. While there's interest and the Aryana Institute For Regional Research and Advocacy seems earnest, there was a concern about method and scope with this study.

Particularly scope. The view was that these folks used professional peers in FATAville to draw their conclusions and that perspectives may not be uniformly shared across all income and education levels.

I don't know but nonetheless find it immensely valuable as an INITIAL survey of feelings in this area and absent any others. Certainly, it can be refined but who wishes to lose their head to do so?

You don't go door-to-door with these survey questions in FATA. Literacy rates preclude anything, then, short of telephone-conducted surveys.

I'm still really intrigued by their findings. Clearly, it fits my preferred narrative and that's personal cause for celebration but perceptive Pakistanis such as yourself have clearly taken note of these findings.

That's most encouraging.:)
 

roadrunner

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The new opinion survey was conducted by the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy and not funded by the U.S. government.



"not funded by the US government" lends that more credibility, I suppose?

Aryana Indtitute (sic) for Regional Research and Advocacy :

"As there are diverse issues and diverse perspectives of friends (and of people around the globe) on the issues related to the people of Pashtunkhwa (sic), we would like to go with the multiplicity of theoretical frameworks which means that no single theory, ideology or dogma will be owned by the thin-tank."
(sic)

Who funded the survey? India, Afghanistan?

All I can say is that if you believe that survey, I have a bridge to sell you.
 

S-2

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Dec 25, 2007
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roadrunner, have you been to their website? What do you know of Ms. Taj? Do you know where in Scandinavia she studies? Is this an ad hominem assault as you clearly can't be certain from your question that this project was funded by either India or Afghanistan?

Have you referenced Rabzon's earlier article?

Naw...of course not. With an opportunity to go "think tank" on some provocative thoughts, you just dismiss it out-of-hand though absent any counter-vailing information from FATA to the contrary.

You continue to dismay and underwhelm me, sir.:)
 

Ratus Ratus

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Dec 24, 2008
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S-2 he did at least go to their web site, because the italic part comes from the About us.

BUT
He forgot to mention where the head office was,
Head Office
House No. 1011, Street No.22, Sector G-11/1, Islamabad, Pakistan.


roadrunner:
As for funding, I doubt it took too much to fund a brief survey like this one, at best about $US 1000. For research that is very small.
 

S-2

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Dec 25, 2007
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R.R.- Thank you for noting my mistake. You are correct, sir.:)

roadrunner,

Please accept my apology. You were indeed to the site. I'm no longer dismayed and deeply regret passing judgment without more careful purview.:agree:

I'm still underwhelmed by your response though. Rich topic-thin thought. Not mining the weath of possibilities at all.

No indeed.
 

ishaq76

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Jan 17, 2009
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this survey is very near to the fact. coz i have lived amongst the people of the effected areas (swat FATA etc) i belong to Dir and these people with special dogmas or belief (which i have never heard from any cleric or have read in any book but may be the Assasins or fidains from Hasan Bin Saba clan are regrouping. They are trained have sophisticated weapons and each of them having a new model set of walkie talkie, local people and police are unable to cope with them and government instead of shelling on their positions often kill the people who are fighting against them. they have killed many people who were capable of organizing the tribes against them. in this situation the drone attacks may be popular; provided they are not against the innocent people. USA has never targeted Baitullah Mehsod who is the enemy of the sovereignty of Pakistan but instead they provide him intel on Pakistani Troops positions and movements. so it is a great game, with many players involved but the victims are the people of Pushtunkhwa. people hate the militants but they are not pleased with the military action either because the civilians are the most vulnerable targets in such actions. let us pray that the first stone role out from nowhere against them the world will see the fate of the enemies of Pushtuns, Islam and Pakistan :sniper: :guns:
 

muse

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this survey is very near to the fact. coz i have lived amongst the people of the effected areas (swat FATA etc) i belong to Dir and these people with special dogmas or belief (which i have never heard from any cleric or have read in any book but may be the Assasins or fidains from Hasan Bin Saba clan are regrouping
Shabash! You are the first one here I have read you seems to realize the connection between the Syrian historian Imam, Hassan e Sabah and the cult of the Hashashyan (English corruption Assasin from the Italain corruption Assasino - coined by marco Polo who, like your brother, visited Hassan e Sabah's Qalah e Alamut in the Alborz. -- those readers interested to know how these Assasins were finally defeated by Gazur Khan -- still a village there by that name -- able and loyal general of Halaku/Halagu Khan)

Perhaps some here will take greater note when it is pointed out them that these are as far removed from mainstream Islam as one can get - in factthey removed from humanity.

Most excellent. Your comment about the view of local peoples is greatly appreciated as it confirms my experience of more than 1000 interviews -- I hope those who as yet do not understand that the issue is now being made a political football will have cause to reconsider their stand.
 

S-2

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Dec 25, 2007
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Muse,

Could you please elaborate your point? I'm, of course, aware vaguely of the hashish assassins of Syria from Marco Polo's travels.

I see the anarchic connection in philosophic terms but not beyond such. I look forward to your thoughts.

Could you expand a bit on your 1,000 interviews. Aryana only managed 600+ themselves. For what purpose, if I may ask?

Thanks.
 

Munir

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Apr 15, 2006
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Statistically 500 people tested to say something valuable with the total number of people there is a laugh. It is like going to the US. Search for 50 people that hate Obama ans say 100% US people hate Obama... There are rules for the population and the number of tests... This is surely a political motivated test to allow foreign aggressor to continue.

btw..., Personally I think all foreign fighters should be eliminated but there is something called propaganda which is as unfair as just pushing away Geneva convention cause it suits you. And then use the name democracy or human rights to hit countries like China...
 

Anwar2

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Sep 2, 2008
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Lets not be too serious, after all Ms Farhat Taj is vying for a scholarship in some cool Scandinavian country.
 

muse

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after all Ms Farhat Taj is vying for a scholarship in some cool Scandinavian country.

That seems to me to be entirely unfair to Ms. Taj. If the criticism is constructive, it can only lead to a better Pakistan and we should be mindful of that not react defensively.

See, there is much wrong in Pakistan, but that is not the full picture, there is also much right - but all that is right and good in Pakistan by defintion does not lend itself to criticism and so we tend to focus on what's wrong - after all, what is life if not problem solving, that begins by articulating problems.
 

Ratus Ratus

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Dec 24, 2008
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Lets not be too serious, after all Ms Farhat Taj is vying for a scholarship in some cool Scandinavian country.
Ms Taj is already there and as at least a post graduate fellow. That means in any university she has a scholarship.

Also if you bother to note, the area she is working in at the university is not academically compatible to the survey report. So it would NOT get her a scholarship.

So if you don’t really understand university operations don’t comment. Your comment says you don't know or understand such opeations.
 

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