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The Scorpion's Tail: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan-And How It Threatens America Hardcover – November 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (November 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439120250
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439120255
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,671,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pakistani journalist Hussain (Frontline Pakistan) accurately describes the U.S.-led military action in central Asia not as a war in Afghanistan but "largely a Pushtun war" happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These distinctions provide the underpinning for a remarkably comprehensive and well-researched effort. He draws a line from Indian independence, when Islamists resisted the idea of a separate Muslim state in their desire to exert power within India, giving rise to a brutal trail of extremism within Pakistan that has fully flowered in the current conflict. Hussain argues that U.S. drone attacks have provided the Pakistani Taliban with a fresh crop of recruits--many of them middle-class and well-educated, as all the while the Pakistani army continues its "creeping coup," and al-Qaeda grows increasingly organized. He knows his subject matter and gives an unflinching and objective assessment of a problem that seems to grow larger and well beyond the scope of mere military action. (Nov.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Zahid Hussain is an award-winning journalist and writer, a senior editor with Newsline and a correspondent for The Times of London, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. He has also covered Pakistan and Afghanistan for several other international publications, including the Associated Press (AP) and The Economist. His book Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle With Militant Islam has won widespread acclaim as a seminal text on the subject. He lives in Pakistan.

More About the Author

Zahid Hussain was born in Hyderabad in Pakistan's Sindh province in 1949. His parents migrated from India in 1948. He did his BSC (Hons) in Chemistry from University of Karachi and joined Herald magazine as senior reporter in 1983. He is now a senior editor with Newsline, and a correspondent for The Times of London, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. He has also covered Pakistan and Afghanistan for several other international publications, including the Associated Press and The Economist. He has won several national and international award for his reporting

Zahid Hussain has authored two books- Frontline Pakistan: "The struggle with militant Islam"(I. B Tauris, London and Columbia University, New York. 2007) and " The scorpion's tail: the relentless rise of Islamic militants in Pakistan".(Simon& Schuster, New York. 2010). The books have won widespread acclaim as seminal texts on the subject. He has also contributed a chapter " Deliberate nuclea ambiguity" in the book Pakistan and the Bomb_ published by Notr Dam University press( 1999). He lives in Islamabad Pakistan.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. R. Santhanakrishnan on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Zahid Hussain, senior editor at Newsline in Pakistan, has the credentials and compassion to cover issues relating to Pakistan and the prose to keep your attention riveted with brevity and analysis.

It is a waste of time to keep identifying individual leaders of terrorism and eliminate them, claims Zahid. You can cut the scorpion's tail; it would develop a new one.

Your perspective gets challenged and widened when you read Zahid Hussain.

The war in Afghanistan is a war between a state and a nation; not a state and a state. The US is at war with Pashtuns. A third of the Pashtuns are in Afghanistan (comprising 42% of the Afghan state). Two thirds of the Pashtuns are in Pakistan (comprising 15% of the Pakistan State). The Talibans are substantially Pashtuns.

Pashtuns do not care about the political boundaries between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They move freely from one to another. Pashtuns are governed more by the tribal leader at village level than by the shura council at the national level. This makes it easy for a tribal leader to hold complete sway over his terrain (and use the village for opium cultivation). This makes it quite difficult to set in place a national government that can he held accountable to good principles of governance.

The Pashtun theology is a combination of the two most radical schools of Islam: the Deobandis from India and the Wahabis from Saudi Arabia. This theology acquired political power because of two reasons: US (to settle score with Russians) and Saudi Arabia (to get the extremists in the Kingdom out of the Kingdom and be busy with something else) used theology to rally radicals to wage a proxy war. Unfair exploitation by tribal leaders and war lords seeded the need for an uprising.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By CH Cumming-Bruce on December 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you want to understand Pakistan, this is clearest account yet of what makes the situation there so dangerous. What comes through is that this is being told by someone who has been reporting the story for years - he knows the players and he's covered so many of the tragedies himself - he's really got the T-shirt. What's depressing is that it's clear that the attempt to weaken the Taliban using assassination by drones is having the opposite effect - even when they get the right people, instead of women and children, the dead leaders are just replaced, new recruits join, and even the anti Taliban public turn against the US - that's the scorpion's tail.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Media Man VINE VOICE on February 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up on a whim in an effort to better educate myself on the ongoing turmoil of the Middle East and the involvement of the U.S. government. It only took me a few pages to realize that like many other Americans, I knew very little about what's happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan on practically every level. Our country gets involved in so many conflicts around the world and I always find myself struggling to keep up. Sad but true. Despite the grim situation the country is in and has been for decades I found myself overwhelmed with a wealth of information. Everything from the infiltration of militants of nearly every echelon of the Pakistani government, the growing levels corruption, the repeated U.S. aid and drone strikes just to name a few. The author, Zahid Hussain, is a native of Pakistan currently living in Islamabad where he sees the internal conflict daily. As a correspondent and journalist he has interviewed top militant leaders and witnessed Pakistan's ongoing struggle first hand. Here are my thoughts on this highly thought provoking and informative book;

Pros

+ Presents pure fact and offers little to no bias or personal opinion regarding government policies and actions.

+ Details just how intricately interwoven both Afghanistan and Pakistan are with militant insurgents on nearly every level.

+ Provides numerous pros and cons for U.S. intervention in helping Pakistan fight the insurgency.

+ Explains how U.S. Drone strikes are beneficial as well as detrimental to fighting the ever-growing insurgency.

+ Book contained a map of both countries detailing the key areas discussed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Magee on January 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is what Paul Harvey said "the rest of the story". This story explains the story behind events we see in Pakistan. I think any thinking person who will read this book then find sleeping a little difficult. You will see a nuclear armed Pakistan that does match the image we want.

The book covers both the history of Pakistan plus recent events over the past few years. I think everyone will have seen these events on the news as the last story before the broadcast runs the daily feel good story of the day. However this book will give you the rest of the story. The book starts out with a good history of the nation. You will see then how the history of the nation really shapes events today. It covers the story of the Swat valley invasion, the terrorist attacks, the assassinations and more. You will see how the western press has minimized these events in the interest of time. An how these events were much more serious and extensive than the news said. Normally that would be just another day in the third world. However this third world nation has nuclear arms. That is what will keep you up.

A great book for any serious student on world affairs.
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