In the Arena

Meanwhile in Pakistan…

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Underneath the catastrophic news, of a near-Biblical level, from Japan, and the continuing civil war in Libya, developments in the rest of the world aren’t too terrific, either. This from Pakistan, by the excellent Mark Mazzetti, is very much worth a read. The notion that the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group that made the Mumbai terrorist attack, is now focusing on attacks against Americans, in Afghanistan and perhaps here at home, is a very dangerous omen. L-e-T has operated as a tacit arm of the Pakistani military, especially the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. The gunplay in Lahore, featuring the U.S. CIA officer, may have been part of an ongoing, low-grade battle between us and them. One can only hope that the battle doesn’t grow more heated.

Again, the stakes: Pakistan has upwards of 100 nukes. It has a very shaky civilian government. Its current military leadership is pro-American, but there are significant forces within the military that may be sympathetic to the Pakistani Taliban, Al Qaeda and other jihadis (a movement that is spreading throughout the Pakistani heartland in Punjab); as a result, the Pakistani intelligence services play both sides, dangerously. This is the scariest, most volatile problem we’re facing in the world–and, as Libya and Japan burn, it seems to be getting worse.