Perhaps it's the translation, but the jihadis at the Red Mosque -- still engaged in a bloody standoff with Pakistani security forces -- are doing a good job of making themselves appear infantile. The radical mosque's new self-appointed leader, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, agreed on Thursday to surrender, only to reverse himself after the government -- so unreasonable! -- insisted that Ghazi release the mosque's women and children. Now Ghazi and his confederates seek "martyrdom," but the damage has been done to their reputations in the eyes of their peers. Ghazi's predecessor at the Red Mosque, Abdul Aziz, was captured trying to escape the seige in a burqa, and subsequently urged his students to surrender in a televised interview. "There is no concept of surrender in jihad. Aziz has embarrassed all jihadis," AFP quotes an unaffiliated jihadist as saying. Kind of like how there's no crying in baseball.
Both AFP and the BBC report that this latest flareup at the Red Mosque is finally helping Musharraf bolster his flagging political support. Both his civilian and military critics wanted the mosque shuttered for good after its students kidnapped four Islamabad policemen in May. But the last remaining jihadis in the mosque appear bent on denying Musharraf his victory, and there's fear that they'll use the compound's women as human shields in the event of a raid. With their backs up against the wall, particularly after their frequent humiliations over the last three days, they may prove more dangerous than a typical bunch of miscreants.