Aurangzebawan's Weblog

September 27, 2008

Imposing a War on Pakistan

Filed under: Politics — aurangzebawan @ 3:11 am

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.

 

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: – 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.

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1 Comment »

  1. great side story to the debates, not sure I agree with it all, but nonetheless, it is great you are here to talk about it.

    Comment by pacer521 — September 27, 2008 @ 3:40 am | Reply


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