The Duel

The Duel : Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power

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Pakistan stands on the front line of the war against terror. Yet this long-time ally of the West, whose links with the US have caused enormous friction within the country, is in deepening crisis. As President Pervez Musharraf struggles to cling to power through states of emergency, press curbs and imprisonment of his opponents, a range of forces threaten to destroy him and tip the country into a full-blown civil war. Drawing on extensive first-hand research and personal knowledge, Tariq Ali investigates both the causes and the consequences of Pakistan's rapid spiral into political chaos. Shedding new light on controversial questions (did the US greenlight the execution of President Zufikar Ali Bhutto in 1979? Is NATO negotiating to grant the Taliban a role in Afghanistan? Are those now jockeying for power any less corrupt than Musharraf's current cronies?) he examines the various disparate elements and each of the key individuals whose conflicts are tearing Pakistan more

Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 24mm | 222.26g
  • Simon & Schuster Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 map
  • 1847393748
  • 9781847393746
  • 358,875

About Tariq Ali

Writer, journalist and film-maker Tariq Ali was born in Lahore and was educated at Oxford University.Today he writes regularly for a range of publications including The Guardian and The London Review of Books. He has written more than a dozen books including non-fiction as well as scripts for both stage and screen. He lives in more

Review Text

Harshly critical of the American-backed Pakistani military and deeply concerned with the plight of his native country's people, London-based filmmaker and novelist Ali (Dictatorship of Capital: Politics and Culture in the 21st Century, 2008, etc.) warns of an imminent "conflagration of despair."His narrative moves gradually through the sad morass of Pakistan's history: its bloody, ethnic-driven birth in 1947, repeated dictatorships, entrenched corruption and incipient Islamic radicalization. The fight against terrorism has renewed America's interest in the country, he notes; since 9/11 the United States has pressured President Musharraf to the tune of $10 billion to cease harboring tribal insurgents from neighboring Afghanistan. America's fear that Pakistan is flirting with the jihadists may precipitate more unwanted U.S. intervention, he warns. Ali carefully examines Pakistan's long, troubled relationship with America since U.S. support of the first military dictatorship by General Ayub Khan in 1958. Patrician political leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir, took power during the turbulent period that led to the violent creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan in 1972; his five-year leadership saw the birth of Pakistan as a nuclear state in defiance of the United States. Bhutto's "removal," according to Ali, was deemed necessary, and his chief of staff Zia-ul-Haq became president. Because it was instrumental in routing the Soviets after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the author comments bitterly, "General Zia's dictatorship thus became the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the region." Ali considers the tenures of Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf, denouncing both for "clientilism, patronage and corruption on a gigantic scale." The American-engineered political marriage of convenience between the two ended in disaster, and Musharraf's military dictatorship is compounding the country's misery rather than delivering stability. Sage and watchful, Ali considers how the "organic evolution of politics in Pakistan," wrecked by American intervention, might be salvaged.Intense, closely observed commentary on perilous developments in an unstable nation. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

498 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 27% (132)
4 40% (200)
3 24% (121)
2 5% (26)
1 4% (19)
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