January 09, 2012

Insh'allah: China vs. Pakistan? (bumped)

We hear of the strategic alliance between Pakistan and China from time to time. Most recently, rumors of this alliance surfaced with reports that remains of the helicopter that crashed during the bin Laden raid had been turned over to the Chinese.

What we don't hear much of, though, is how Pakistan's reluctance to confront it's own Islamist militants threatens China. China faces it's own Islamist insurgency in several regions where the Han (ethnically Chinese) are the minority among a see of Muslims. Some of these groups have terrorist training camps in Pakistan, the most notably of which is the Turkestani Islamic Party.

So, there may be some merit to speculations that China is thinking of intervening:

China allegedly demanded to set up military bases in FATA or in the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) that borders Xinjiang province (Asia Times, October 26, August 10, 2011). After the bombing, the Chinese government reportedly deployed at least 200,000 security personnel to pursue Uyghur terrorists in the region, more than the 140,000 coalition troops currently in Afghanistan (Asia Times, August 31, 2011). China also is revising its anti-terror law to possibly allow military intervention abroad (Xinhua, October 27, October 24, 2011). One official commentary warned that “If the violent forces in Xinjiang gain ground, China may be forced to directly intervene militarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but this is clearly not the situation China would like to see” (Xinhua, September 27, 2011; “China and Pakistan: Evolving Focus on Stability within Continuity,” China Brief, November 30, 2011). While these reports may be speculative, taken together, they suggest Beijing’s concerns—especially with a less active U.S. presence in Pakistan—may be rethinking fundamental tenets of its security policy.
As reluctant as I would be to see Chinese troops anywhere abroad, I'd rather see the Chinese fighting -- and dying in the process -- Islamist terrorist than Americans.

H/T: John Xenakis

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:32 AM | Comments |