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A War Imposed On Pakistan

Discussion in 'Pakistan's Internal Security' started by Neo, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Neo

    Neo RETIRED

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    Friday, 19 September 2008

    Apologists for the U.S. position on Pakistani spy agencies need to understand that Pakistan has a legitimate right to protect it interests in the region. Everyone does. The problem is not our intelligence agencies. It is how Washington deliberately trampled on the legitimate interests of its ally in favor of strengthening the position of our competitors inside Afghanistan. Maybe if the Americans have been as considerate to us as we have been to them, our spies wouldn’t have needed to re-establish contacts with the militants. If we are doing this, it is protect our interest.


    When a founder of one of Pakistan’s largest leftist parties has an opinion on Pakistani military, skeptics need to listen.

    “Allow me to state what I believe to be the core strategic objective of the U.S.,” says Dr. Mubashir Hasan, the ideologue-founder of PPP, the ruling party in Pakistan today, in a recent email exchange with me. “It is to establish its control over the Pakistan Army, to weaken it when it is strong and strengthen it when it is weak but maintain total control over it.”

    The solution? Says Dr. Hasan, “The only long term potent weapon with the Pakistan Army is to have the support of the people of Pakistan behind it. The support General Kayani received from the people on the few words he said about not allowing foreigners to violate the territory of Pakistan is extremely significant.”

    Dr. Hasan is no longer an influential figure in the party he helped create. In Pakistani political parties, there is no place for ideologues and visionaries and intelligent people. Thanks to a blind implementation of British democracy, our parties are bastions of feudalism and landed elite.

    The army chief has suddenly become the most popular person in Pakistan after taking a stand U.S. attacks inside Pakistan. This is where the defeatist stance of Pakistan’s elected government on U.S. belligerence becomes inexplicable. Gen. Kayani does not need votes. Those who do need them are wasting a perfect opportunity to earn more of them.

    That is why Prime Minister Gilani’s statement saying ‘Pakistan can’t wage war with U.S.’ comes as a shock. Even if true, why would the Prime Minister deprive Pakistan of the strategic psychological impact that the army chief’s warning is supposed to create?

    Pakistani military’s warning was not a knee-jerk reaction. There is a bigger problem here. Pakistani policy analysts are convinced that United States has been a duplicitous ally during the past seven years, using the sincere Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan to gradually turn that country into a military base to launch a sophisticated psychological, intelligence and military campaign to destabilize Pakistan itself.

    In one sign of the grand double game, despite the poor relations with Iran, Washington has encouraged Karzai and the Indians to complete the construction of a road that links Afghanistan to an Indian-built Iranian seaport. The purpose is to end the dependence of both U.S. army and Karzai regime on Pakistan. U.S. military officials have also been seeking permission to use Russian air space for military cargo to replace Pakistani facilities. These actions show long term planning on the part of U.S. The recent demonization of Pakistani intelligence agencies is a pretext.

    Apologists for the U.S. position on Pakistani spy agencies need to understand that Pakistan has a legitimate right to protect it interests in the region. Everyone does. The problem is not our intelligence agencies. It is how Washington deliberately trampled on the legitimate interests of its ally in favor of strengthening the position of our competitors inside Afghanistan. Maybe if the Americans have been as considerate to us as we have been to them, our spies wouldn’t have needed to re-establish contacts with the militants. If we are doing this, it is protect our interest.

    Pessimists fear that if our military tries to block U.S. border violations, there is a possibility of armed conflict. Also, in case of conflict, Washington is expected to signal to India to open a front in the east to divert Pakistani military resources.

    But Pakistan is not without options. In fact, the Pakistani position is stronger than what it appears to be. Islamabad can activate old contacts with a resurgent and rising Afghan Taliban inside Afghanistan. The entire Pakistani tribal belt will seize this opportunity to fight the Americans. The attempts to divide Pakistanis along sectarian lines have failed and the Americans cannot expect to repeat what they did in Iraq in 2003. There is a possibility that Pakistani tribesmen could cross the border in large numbers using secret routes to dodge aerial bombardment and join the Afghan Taliban and find their way to Kabul. The misguided and suspicious ‘Pakistani Taliban’ – whom the NWFP governor has described on Sept. 12 as an extension of U.S. military in Afghanistan – will also come under pressure of the tribesmen and will be forced to target the occupation forces instead of fighting the Pakistani government and people.

    But the situation between Islamabad and Washington does not have to come to this. Islamabad can help tip the scales in Washington against the hawks who want a war with Pakistan. Not all parts of the U.S. government accept this idea and this must be exploited. Pakistan must make it clear that it will retaliate. Statements like that of Prime Minister Gilani must be stopped because it is demoralizing for a nation that faces the threat of an imposed war.

    U.S. military posturing aside, Washington has recently seen a string of diplomatic defeats. Russia has cut American meddling in Georgia to size. In Iraq, a coalition of Shiite parties is forcing the Americans to set a timetable for departure. And both Bolivia and Venezuela have expelled U.S. ambassadors, and, in Bolivia’s case, the world has suddenly become alert to Washington’s intrusive meddling in that country’s domestic politics and the role of the U.S. ambassador in fueling separatism. This is not very different from the U.S. role inside Pakistan, where U.S. diplomats have caused political chaos by directly engaging the politicians.

    The only way to entrap Pakistan now is to either orchestrate a spectacular terrorist attack in mainland U.S. and blame it on Pakistan, or to assassinate a high profile personality inside Pakistan and generate enough domestic strife to scuttle military resistance to U.S. attacks. It’s called realpolitik. You don’t have to be a sleuth to understand how this works. Ahmed Quraishi
     
  2. Neo

    Neo RETIRED

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    Friday, 19 September 2008

    Pakistanis are opposed to the U.S. presence in the region, viewing it as the most serious threat to peace.​


    Bush's war widens dangerously​


    The decision to make public a presidential order of last July authorizing American strikes inside Pakistan without seeking the approval of the Pakistani government ends a long debate within, and on the periphery of, the Bush administration.

    Senator Barack Obama, aware of this ongoing debate during his own long battle with Hillary Clinton, tried to outflank her by supporting a policy of U.S. strikes into Pakistan. Senator John McCain and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin have now echoed this view and so it has become, by consensus, official U.S. policy.

    Its effects on Pakistan could be catastrophic, creating a severe crisis within the army and in the country at large. The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are opposed to the U.S. presence in the region, viewing it as the most serious threat to peace.

    Why, then, has the U.S. decided to destabilize a crucial ally? Within Pakistan, some analysts argue that this is a carefully coordinated move to weaken the Pakistani state yet further by creating a crisis that extends way beyond the badlands on the frontier with Afghanistan. Its ultimate aim, they claim, would be the extraction of the Pakistani military's nuclear fangs.

    If this were the case, it would imply that Washington was indeed determined to break up the Pakistani state, since the country would very simply not survive a disaster on that scale.

    In my view, however, the expansion of the war relates far more to the Bush administration's disastrous occupation in Afghanistan. It is hardly a secret that the regime of President Hamid Karzai is becoming more isolated with each passing day, as Taliban guerrillas move ever closer to Kabul.

    When in doubt, escalate the war is an old imperial motto. The strikes against Pakistan represent -- like the decisions of President Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger to bomb and then invade Cambodia (acts that, in the end, empowered Pol Pot and his monsters) -- a desperate bid to salvage a war that was never good, but has now gone badly wrong.

    It is true that those resisting the NATO occupation cross the Pakistan-Afghan border with ease. However, the U.S. has often engaged in quiet negotiations with them. Several feelers have been put out to the Taliban in Pakistan, while U.S. intelligence experts regularly check into the Serena Hotel in Swat to discuss possibilities with Mullah Fazlullah, a local pro-Taliban leader. The same is true inside Afghanistan.

    After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, a whole layer of the Taliban's middle-level leadership crossed the border into Pakistan to regroup and plan for what lay ahead. By 2003, their guerrilla factions were starting to harass the occupying forces in Afghanistan and, during 2004, they began to be joined by a new generation of local recruits, by no means all jihadists, who were being radicalized by the occupation itself.

    Though, in the world of the Western media, the Taliban has been entirely conflated with al-Qaeda, most of their supporters are, in fact, driven by quite local concerns. If NATO and the U.S. were to leave Afghanistan, their political evolution would most likely parallel that of Pakistan's domesticated Islamists.

    The neo-Taliban now control at least twenty Afghan districts in Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan provinces. It is hardly a secret that many officials in these zones are closet supporters of the guerrilla fighters. Though often characterized as a rural jacquerie they have won significant support in southern towns and they even led a Tet-style offensive in Kandahar in 2006.

    Elsewhere, mullahs who had initially supported President Karzai's allies are now railing against the foreigners and the government in Kabul.

    The neo-Taliban have said that they will not join any government until "the foreigners" have left their country, which raises the question of the strategic aims of the United States.

    Is it the case, as NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer suggested to an audience at the Brookings Institution earlier this year, that the war in Afghanistan has little to do with spreading good governance in Afghanistan or even destroying the remnants of al-Qaeda? Is it part of a master plan, as outlined by a strategist in NATO Review in the Winter of 2005, to expand the focus of NATO from the Euro-Atlantic zone, because "in the 21st century NATO must become an alliance… designed to project systemic stability beyond its borders"?

    As that strategist went on to write:

    "The centre of gravity of power on this planet is moving inexorably eastward. As it does, the nature of power itself is changing. The Asia-Pacific region brings much that is dynamic and positive to this world, but as yet the rapid change therein is neither stable nor embedded in stable institutions. Until this is achieved, it is the strategic responsibility of Europeans and North Americans, and the institutions they have built, to lead the way… ecurity effectiveness in such a world is impossible without both legitimacy and capability."

    Such a strategy implies a permanent military presence on the borders of both China and Iran. Given that this is unacceptable to most Pakistanis and Afghans, it will only create a state of permanent mayhem in the region, resulting in ever more violence and terror.

    Globalizers often speak as though U.S. hegemony and the spread of capitalism were the same thing. This was certainly the case during the Cold War, but the twin aims of yesteryear now stand in something closer to an inverse relationship. For, in certain ways, it is the very spread of capitalism that is gradually eroding U.S. hegemony in the world. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's triumph in Georgia was a dramatic signal of this fact.

    The American push into the Greater Middle East in recent years, designed to demonstrate Washington's primacy over the Eurasian powers, has descended into remarkable chaos, necessitating support from the very powers it was meant to put on notice.

    Pakistan's new, indirectly elected President, Asif Zardari, the husband of the assassinated Benazir Bhutto and a Pakistani "godfather" of the first order, indicated his support for U.S. strategy by inviting Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai to attend his inauguration, the only foreign leader to do so. Twinning himself with a discredited satrap in Kabul may have impressed some in Washington, but it only further decreased support for the widower Bhutto in his own country.

    The key in Pakistan, as always, is the army. If the already heightened U.S. raids inside the country continue to escalate, the much-vaunted unity of the military High Command might come under real strain. At a meeting of corps commanders in Rawalpindi on September 12th, Pakistani Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani received unanimous support for his relatively mild public denunciation of the recent U.S. strikes inside Pakistan in which he said the country's borders and sovereignty would be defended "at all cost."

    Saying, however, that the Army will safeguard the country's sovereignty is different from doing so in practice. This is the heart of the contradiction. Perhaps the attacks will cease on November 4th. Perhaps pigs (with or without lipstick) will fly. What is really required in the region is an American/NATO exit strategy from Afghanistan, which should entail a regional solution involving Pakistan, Iran, India, and Russia. These four states could guarantee a national government and massive social reconstruction in that country. No matter what, NATO and the Americans have failed abysmally.
     
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  3. muse

    muse ELITE MEMBER

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    I don't care much for Tariq Ali's politics, having gotten that out of the way, must admit that I find myself more persuaded than not on some key points:



    Institutions? A NATO for Asia?
    Legitimacy? Do US and NATO have any?

    In hindsight, it was a giant mistake to not have recognized this strategic objective of the US and NATO, the mistake was not only of Pakistan, but of China and Russia as well.

    “



    If we accept the proposition that the primary objective of US and NATO is an armed presence on the border of China and Iran and central to the diffusion of dissonance of the Pakistani is the weakening of and control over the Pakistani armed forces - then the policy of psyops against the Pakistani armed forces we are witnessing, can be understood in it's context.

    And if we accept that the best route to the end of this effort by the US and NATO is to have them see sense and evacuating Afghanistan, how might this objective be accomplished? It is unfortunate that in US and NATO, nothing short of military defeat will ensure it's exit from Afghanistan. However; Nato member countries, especially France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, Norway and Sweden, have citizens who do not to see their sons die in places like Afghanistan, for objectives they do not comprehend clearly - other NATO members, the most recent members have bought their membership with the understanding that the dues will be paid in blood, and so it is that core west European group that may be dealt with the "persuasive" effort to ensure their safe return home. As for the US, the present policy of not allowing media coverage for it's war dead may change after the Bush administration.

    More importantly, questions with regard to the expenditure to support it's efforts in Afghanistan, may begin the process of discussing the future of the US enterprise in Afghanistan and the safe return of it's armed forces, at least to my thinking.
     
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