What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why do I bother to educate myself on education?

So important news are abound, and yet these days I'm posting here about fried celery and madaras. Is that weird? But of course it's not really my motivation to cover everything.
What follows here are first some brief references, digest-style, to some of what I haven't covered, but then I'll get back to legitimising my not writing about them necessarily.
- The Brits sent in James Bond(s) to divide and rule in Musa Qala, back in December. The result, friction with AFG gov and the expulsion of EU and UNAMA officials. Karzai critical of British military efforts to save his country. And now Paddy Ashdown steps back from becoming the "global governor" of Afghanistan. In the name of global governance: this raises questions if that's why the AFG gov was so eagerly pouncing on the friction originally? Karzai and Ashdown met in Kuwait last year, but Karzai may not have wanted Ashdown and might have needed some casus belli for an escalating diplomatic quarrel to start with. In the case of MQ, were they so upset really by a deal of everyday rationality there? The peeling off of local satellites, in this case former Uruzgan governor (under Talib times) Abdul Salaam's Pirzai clan off the Taliban? And was the resistance against Ashdown all because of Zalmay Khalilzad whispering selfish advice into Karzai's ear? Or was it about Kabul looking for some more sovereignty in the straitjacket of international community oversight? Wouldn't it be great to listen in on all the gossiping in Kabul nowadays?
- Syed Saleem Shahzad in the Asia Times Online is suggesting friction in the ranks of the Taliban. Mullah Omar and Beitullah Mehsud going different ways? That would of course be more significant than Karzai and the Brits going separate ways. But then I'll be curious to see if this is indeed true. Pakistan may be the softer target for the "Islamic Emirate" or its Pakistani branch, but I'd be cautious to draw such conclusions in the winter period, with Afghanistan buried under the snow right now. And draw them or their opposite after the snow melts, rather. But it does show more pressure in the direction of Islamabad nowadays that insurgents do seem eager to divert resources away from the fight against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, by pushing harder around Peshawar for some relief for the TTP in South Waziristan. In vain so far, or so it seems. (A little bizarre how they call insurgents miscreants in that report I linked to.)
- As part of this recap I'll refer to January's major terrorist attack in Kabul, the attack on the Serena hotel. Bombing and assault combined. See reflections here and here, and read an eyewitness account, if you haven't yet come across that. My reflection: Kabul itself is an important target, but this is the second time I see insurgents going for really strategically well-elected targets in a short while. And the one before wasn't in Kabul, it was the November 6 bombing attack on the New Baghlan sugar factory, a bloody attack that yielded insurgents friction in Kabul plus also served as a deterrent against investors coming to the relatively stable areas of the north, by attacking the perception of relative stability itself. I'm connecting those two attacks on the basis of their effects-based nature. Who's so adept at planning those operations, and especially at calculating the damage so well? And what else can we expect in 2008?
So meanwhile, instead of looking at all those questions, I was writing of madaras. Well, here's a photo to justify that, and a graph (photo's source; graph's source).
As you see, more than half of Pakistan's population is made up of children/youth under 19. So those education matters would still always be important. The mysteries of today are important, but there's a youth bulge that is no mystery and is surely coming.

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