‘Operation Enduring Disaster’

‘Operation Enduring Disaster’ by Tariq Ali for TomDispatch, November 16, 2008

Afghanistan has been almost continuously at war for 30 years, longer than both World Wars and the American war in Vietnam combined. Each occupation of the country has mimicked its predecessor. A tiny interval between wars saw the imposition of a malignant social order, the Taliban, with the help of the Pakistani military and the late Benazir Bhutto, the prime minister who approved the Taliban takeover in Kabul.

Over the last two years, the U.S./NATO occupation of that country has run into serious military problems. Given a severe global economic crisis and the election of a new American president—a man separated in style, intellect, and temperament from his predecessor–the possibility of a serious discussion about an exit strategy from the Afghan disaster hovers on the horizon. The  …

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‘The American War Moves to Pakistan’

‘The American War Move to Pakistan’ by Tariq Ali for TomDispatch, September 16, 2008

The decision to make public a presidential order of last July authorizing American strikes inside Pakistan without seeking the approval of the Pakistani government ends a long debate within, and on the periphery of, the Bush administration. Senator Barack Obama, aware of this ongoing debate during his own long battle with Hillary Clinton, tried to outflank her by supporting a policy of U.S. strikes into Pakistan. Senator John McCain and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin have now echoed this view and so it has become, by consensus, official U.S. policy.

Its effects on Pakistan could be catastrophic, creating a severe crisis within the army and in the country at large. The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are opposed to the U.S. presence in the region,  …

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From the archive

  • Tariq Ali talks to Russia Today about a prospective Saudi Arabian-Bahrain union

    May 24, 2012

    Following speculation in the Middle-East concerning discussions of a potential political union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Tariq Ali spoke to Russia Today about the proposals, suggesting that Iranian concerns were not unfounded.

    “What Iranians say is not paranoid or far-fetched at all. Bahrain itself is a US naval base. They could easily, if they so desired, have a democratic regime there. But the problem with allowing democracy is that a democratic government could then tell the US to get out. So it suits the United States to have this tiny little despotism and a larger despotism in Saudi Arabia.”

    Visit Russia Today to read the article in full.

  • ‘The Assault on Mumbai’

    November 3, 2008

    ‘The Assault on Mumbai’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, November 27, 2008

    The terrorist assault on Mumbai’s five-star hotels was well planned, but did not require a great deal of logistic intelligence: all the targets were soft. The aim was to create mayhem by shining the spotlight on India and its problems and in that the terrorists were successful. The identity of the black-hooded group remains a mystery.

    The Deccan Mujahedeen, which claimed the outrage in an e-mail press release, is certainly a new name probably chosen for this single act. But speculation is rife. A senior Indian naval officer has claimed that the attackers (who arrived in a ship, the M V Alpha) were linked to Somali pirates, implying that this was a revenge attack for the Indian Navy’s successful if bloody action against pirates in the  …

  • On honour killings in Pakistan

    December 18, 2008

    Tariq Ali on honor killings in Pakistan for The London Review of Books (Diary), December 18, 2008

    If cheating in bed was always settled by the bullet, many of us would be dead. Gerald Martin’s new biography of Gabriel García Márquez reveals that Chronicle of a Death Foretold was based on the murder of the novelist’s friend Cayetano Gentile in Sucre in 1951. He had seduced, deflowered and abandoned Margarita Chica Salas. On her wedding day Margarita’s husband was told that she was no longer a virgin. The bride was sent back to her family home. Her brothers then found Gentile and chopped his body into pieces. Márquez blamed the socio-moral dictatorship of the Catholic Church.

    But of course it is usually women who are killed for breaking codes of sexual conduct. There have been several recent cases  …