Previewing the New Year in Pakistan

For the Diplomat, I take a look at five major potential developments to watch in Pakistan in 2012. Read the article here.

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With NATO Strike Crisis, U.S. Should Act Now in Pakistan

At the Daily Beast, I share my recommendations for what steps the U.S. should take after the deadly NATO raid on a Pakistani border post near Afghanistan. Read it here.

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Pakistan’s Political Battles Heat Up

My latest article for The Diplomat discusses what looks like the start of campaign season in Pakistan. Read it here.

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Zardari in the Crosshairs

My latest external publication is an article on ForeignPolicy.com that discusses the plight of President Asif Ali Zardari. An excerpt is at the end of this post.

I have been blogging less frequently in the past two months, but you can catch me regularly on the John Batchelor Show, Saturdays at 9:30PM EST (770AM-NY, WABCradio.com, and XM , XM Radio Channel 158).

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Here’s an excerpt of my FP article:

“Afghanistan’s election crisis has temporarily abated, but Pakistan could soon face a volatile political transition of its own. President Asif Ali Zardari is under ever-increasing pressure to resign. His influence and power are dwindling and will likely continue to diminish in the coming months. By this spring, the Zardari presidency could meet its end….”

Click here to read more

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A Muslim Solution for Afghanistan

My latest publication, an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor is available here.  An excerpt is below:

“After eight years of US involvement in Afghanistan, a strategic crossroads within Asia, the country remains a deadly conflict zone. In fact, this weekend insurgents attacked two US military bases along the Pakistani border. Helping Afghanistan stand on its own – an imperative for both regional and Western states – is a task that will take decades. But it is increasingly clear that it is not one that the West can perform….

However, a precipitous Western withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a major void in the state….

Afghanistan is factionalized, pockmarked by ethnic and tribal divisions. Its government’s sole success is an election rigged in its own favor. Warlords run much of the country. The national Army and police are years away from being able to secure the country on their own. Other state institutions lack the minimal human and financial resources to function without external crutches. US and Western troops should leave. But because Afghanistan will remain dependent on international aid for development and security, troops cannot leave without something to fill the vacancy.

The solution? Muslim and regional states must fill the void….”

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Pakistan’s Army Heads into the Belly of the Beast

Here’s a link to my latest blog post at ForeignPolicy.com’s Af-Pak Channel. It’s on the Pakistan Army’s upcoming ground operations in South Waziristan.

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Radio Appearance: John Batchelor Show


On Saturday night, I appeared on the John Batchelor Show (WABC Radio, New York, 770AM) to discuss the status of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan following the killing of Baitullah Mehsud.

Audio of the interview is available below:


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Weekend at Baitullah’s

Check out my blog at ForeignPolicy.com’s Af-Pak Channel on the ‘selection’ of Hakimullah Mehsud as Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan chief and the organization’s internal divisions.

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Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery, Plagiarism is —–?

Sometimes when I read the writing of others, I feel as if the voice is my own.

This morning, when I read Amir Mir’s report in The News, I realized some of the words were my own.

Wednesday morning (Pakistan time), I wrote these words in my post, eighteen hours before Amir Mir’s report in the Thursday edition of The News became available online and in print:

“…the attack was a hybrid operation consisting of an armed attack by four gunmen and a subsequent detonation of a car bomb…”

And Amir Mir in Thursday’s The News wrote:

Those investigating the assault say the attack was a hybrid operation, consisting of an armed attack by four gunmen and subsequent detonation of a car bomb…”

The difference?  A mere comma.  Mir prefaced his plagiarism with: “Those investigating the assault…”

I am not among those investigating the assault.

I thought Amir Mir was a more respectable journalist than his brother, Hamid Mir.  Unfortunately, I was wrong; he doesn’t possess basic journalistic ethics.

Buddy, you can quote me next time you copy and paste stuff from my blog.  It’s not the end of the world, but plagiarism is a major sin in the journalism community.

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Travelin’ Man

Readers might be intrigued why my blogging has become so infrequent in a time so critical for Pakistan.  There are two reasons.

One, my primary work (consulting) expressly deals with Pakistan nowadays.  The more serious the situation, the greater demand there is for my work.  Paid clients get priority over friends who view my writing for free.

Two, I am traveling. I hope to share some insights from on the ground in Pakistan with you soon.

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Arif Rafiq, a Washington, DC-based consultant on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. [About]

For Media and Consulting Inquiries:
E-mail // Tel: +1(202) 713-5897

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On the Radio:
Arif Rafiq regularly appears on the John Batchelor Show Friday nights from 09:30-10:00pm Eastern Time. Tune your dial to 770AM in New York or 630AM in DC. The show appears on affiliates in other cities. Listen live online at WABCRadio.com.
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