Quote of the Day: Pakistan Edition

“Pakistan is 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the U.S. Army, and al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn’t control. The Pakistani military and police and intelligence service don’t follow the civilian government; they are essentially a rogue state within a state. We’re now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state, also because of the global financial crisis, which just exacerbates all these problems. . . . The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover — that would dwarf everything we’ve seen in the war on terror today.” – David Kilcullen

Less pithy than our standard QOTD fare but a relatively consise explanation as to why Pakistan is “Hands down,” “No doubt,” “the real central front in the war on terror.”

FILED UNDER: National Security, Terrorism, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    I’m still unclear as to how al Qaeda will manage to rest control of those nuclear weapons from the Pakistani military.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    If the state collapses, who will be paying for the Pakistani military?

  3. Michael says:

    If the state collapses, who will be paying for the Pakistani military?

    The same people who are paying for it now, Pakistani tax payers. It’s not like military rule is untried in Pakistan, they seem to have gotten quite good at it. I certainly see it as a more likely outcome than a Taliban-style regime.

  4. Bithead says:

    If the state collapses, who will be paying for the Pakistani military?

    Iran roars to mind.

  5. Michael says:

    Iran roars to mind.

    Why would Iran want to fund the Pakistani military? Would it even be capable?

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m still unclear as to how al Qaeda will manage to rest control of those nuclear weapons from the Pakistani military.

    Is the concern that the Pakistani military would convey the nuclear weapons to Al Qaeda or that some of them would get into the hands of Al Qaeda in the chaos following the collapse of the Pakistani government?

  7. Alex Knapp says:

    Thank you, James, for making it impossible for me to sleep tonight.

  8. sam says:

    Gives a different, and thoroughly unsettling, meaning to the term “Swat team”.

  9. Michael says:

    Is the concern that the Pakistani military would convey the nuclear weapons to Al Qaeda or that some of them would get into the hands of Al Qaeda in the chaos following the collapse of the Pakistani government?

    Presumably the latter, given al Qaeda’s and the Pakistani security forces mutual animosity.

  10. Bithead says:

    Why would Iran want to fund the Pakistani military? Would it even be capable?

    It may not make a great deal of sense to you and I, but you’re forgetting to add religious zeal to your calculations.

    And anyway, they don’t need to fund all of them, they simply need to influence some of them… and I think that the Paki military is split along religious lines to be fairly well demonstrated. Would it be to Iran’s advanatge to be formenting that split, do you think?

  11. Michael says:

    It may not make a great deal of sense to you and I, but you’re forgetting to add religious zeal to your calculations.

    Given the Pakistani military’s long standing and often demonstrated distaste for religious zeal, I don’t see how that would help the calculation.

    I think that the Paki military is split along religious lines to be fairly well demonstrated.

    Demonstrated when? How? I can see a split between the anti-terror and the anti-India sides of the military, but I don’t think either side would be naturally aligned with Iran, especially not on religious grounds.