The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The rise of the "Awakenings" model

Is this really a good idea:

Pakistan plans to arm tens of thousands of anti-Taliban tribal fighters in its western border region in hopes -- shared by the U.S. military -- that the nascent militias can replicate the tribal "Awakening" movement that proved decisive in the battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The militias, called lashkars, will receive Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms, a purchase arranged during a visit to Beijing this month by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani officials said.

Do you really want to pump in tons of small arms into an area of great lawlessness and tribal rivalry?