Stabilization is catching on in security and development circles. It is the object of growing attention among military practitioners in particular, and US-led stability operations are currently ongoing in at least 50 fragile settings, especially in the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. Other governments including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are invested in stabilization, albeit adopting different approaches. Although expanding in number and scale, the conceptual and operational parameters of these stabilization interventions are still opaque. Moreover, their actual record of success is still only dimly understood. There is in fact an emerging backlash challenging the underlying theory, assumptions and practices of stabilization.
ISLAMABAD – Since mid-December, Pakistan has experienced political and economic volatility that is extraordinary even by Pakistani standards. The fragile political structure that began to be erected following the resumption of civilian government in 2008 is now shaking.
A key source of this unrest is Tahirul Qadri, a Toronto-based Muslim cleric who arrived in Lahore in early December. Ten days later, he addressed a mammoth public meeting at the city’s Minar-e-Pakistan grounds, where, a year earlier, the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan had launched what he not very appropriately termed a political tsunami.