May 04, 2010

Pakistan's Jihadis 2.0

Just as we (by this I mean myself mainly) were wondering why the hell Pakistani militants had killed Khalid Khawaja, a man with serious militant sympathies and connections of his own, Nicholas Schmidle steps in to explain in the New Republic.

"Despite his technological and media savvy, Khawaja was nonetheless old school when it came to the generational divides among militants. The old guard feels as if it's at least partly acting on behalf of the state, while the new guard seeks to overthrow the state. Whoever steps in the way of that mission is considered an enemy-and, by extension, an American stooge. Did Khawaja see himself as a bridge between the two groups? Perhaps. But he clearly didn't make a good enough impression on the new guard."

"One of the characteristics distinguishing the new generation of militants  from the old has been their deep mistrust of traditional authorities, such as the intelligence agencies, the tribal structures, and the mainstream Islamist parties....Some Western audiences might applaud the fracturing and dividing (of militant groups), assuming that smaller outfits are easier to isolate. But each new group is more violent and reckless than the next—and also more removed from the original puppet-masters in ISI headquarters. Negotiations, bribes, and settlements hold no appeal for this generation of militants."

Read the whole article here. And if you have no idea what this post is about, read the report on Khawaja's death here.