Thursday, August 9, 2007

Strategic objective of revolutionary terrorism and response against it

“A … strategic objective of revolutionary terrorism is to provoke ruling elites into disastrous overreaction, thereby creating widespread resentment against them.” Carlos Marighella, a Brazillian guerrilla leaders whose writings influenced many political terrorists…explains its rationale as follows: ‘It is necessary to turn political crisis into armed conflict by performing violent actions that will force those in power to transform the political situation of the country into a military situation. That will alienate the masses, who, from then on, will revolt against the army and the police and blame them for this state of things.’…The Israeli-Palestinian struggle during the so-called Second Intefada of 2001 and 2001 illustrates this goal: terrorist attacks elicited powerful and disproportionate Israeli military reactions that led to an escalating cycle of more attacks and more retaliation, completely militarizing relations between the two groups.” This is an extract from Chalmers Johnson’s book “Blowback”.

The Pakistani government may well have played into the hands of the political terrorists by overreacting in its reaction to the recent wave of terrorism especially under escalating foreign pressure to act militarily. The Musharraf regime was right to follow political process to induce peace in our tribal area. This was not acceptable to the terrorists who intensified their campaign of terror to sabotage the process and thereby induce the government into military action. This will increase the resentment against the government in the innocent and neutral segment of the society and the blame for the hardship will be on the government, thus leading to more potential recruits for terrorists. The government must understand this and trust its rationality and also convince the USA and other interested entities of the need for a just and proportionate response to terrorism.

Those who are pressuring us “to do more” should either disapprove the above theory or show some restraint in putting pressure on Pakistan. Pakistan’s policy of political engagement is not as foolhardy as it is being made out on the Western Media. It is based on proper theory and proven practice. So let us heed reason and not emotional overreaction.

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