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India’s Great Power game by AMB. MUNIR AKRAM

 Editors Note: We apologize for the poor formatting of this article.

India’s Great Power game

The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.
The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

THE election of Narendra Modi as prime minister and geopolitical developments — particularly the US pivot to Asia and the Russia’s new Cold War with the West — have revived India’s prospects of achieving Great Power status. In quick succession, Modi has visited Japan’s ‘nationalistic’ prime minister; hosted China’s president; and will be received this week by the US president in Washington.

The US obviously wishes to embrace India as a partner in containing a rising China, responding to a resurgent Russia and fighting ‘Islamic terrorism’.

It is prepared to bend over backwards to secure India’s partnership. During his Washington visit, Modi is likely to be offered the most advanced American defence equipment; military training and intelligence cooperation; endorsement of India’s position on ‘terrorism’; investment, including in India’s defence industries; nuclear reactor sales; support for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and a prominent role in Afghanistan after US-Nato withdrawal. There will be no mention of the Kashmir dispute, nor of past or current human rights violations in India.

The reticence, if any, in this love fest is likely to emanate from India rather than the US. While seeking all the advantages of a strategic partnership with the US, India is unwilling to relinquish the benefits of its relationships with Russia, China, Iran and other power players.

India’s evolving relationship with China is complex. Both Asian giants see the benefits of trade and investment cooperation and want to ‘democratise’ the post-Second World War economic order dominated by America. During President Xi Jinping’s recent visit China offered to invest $20 billion in industrial parks including in Modi’s home state of Gujarat and to support India’s infrastructure development.


The most proximate impediment to India’s quest for Great Power status remains Pakistan.


Yet, there are obvious limitations in the Sino-Indian relationship. Memories of its defeat in the 1962 border war with China still rankle in India. The border dispute has been managed but not resolved. There is an expectation of future strategic rivalry, felt more strongly in India than China. New Delhi wishes to become China’s military and economic equal in Asia and the world. In particular, India desires an end to China’s strategic relationship with and support to Pakistan — a price Beijing is unwilling to pay.

Without compromising its strategic options, China is prepared to adopt a benign posture towards India, in part to prevent its incorporation in the US-led Asian alliances around China’s periphery. As some Chinese officials put it: “When you have the wolf [US] at the front door, you do not worry about the fox [India] at the back door.” If India does eventually emerge as a US strategic partner, Beijing will exercise its options to neutralize it including through greater support to Pakistan. For the present, China’s advice to Pakistan is to avoid a confrontation with India.

The complexity of the Sino-Indian relationship was on display during President Xi’s visit when news surfaced of a face-off between Chinese and Indian troops on China’s border with India-held Kashmir. It is unlikely that the Chinese would have instigated the incident while their president was in India. According to Indian sources, the “robust” Indian troop deployment to confront Chinese border forces could only have been authorized by the Indian prime minister. Was this then a demonstration of Modi’s muscular credentials meant for his hardline domestic constituency or perhaps a message of common cause to the US on the eve of Modi’s Washington visit?

The new Russia-West Cold War over Ukraine will enhance the ability of India (and other non-aligned countries) to play the two sides against each other. But it will also lower the tolerance of both protagonists for third-party positions that are seen as inimical to their vital interests.

So far, the Russians have been quite accommodative of India’s developing relationship with the US and the growing diversification of India’s huge arms purchases away from Russia.

Until now, Moscow has maintained its undeclared embargo on defense supplies to Pakistan in deference to its long-standing relationship with India. However, given India’s closer relationship with the US, Russia’s reinforced strategic cooperation with China, and the slow divorce between Pakistan and the US, the Russian reticence towards Pakistan, and its emotional bond with India, are receding. Moscow is now more likely to adopt a more ‘balanced’ posture towards India and Pakistan on defense and other issues, including Afghanistan.

The most proximate impediment to India’s quest for Great Power status remains Pakistan. So long as Pakistan does not accept India’s regional pre-eminence, other South Asian states will also resist Indian diktat. India cannot feel free to play a great global power role so long as it is strategically tied down in South Asia by Pakistan.

India under Modi has maintained the multifaceted Indian strategy to break down Pakistan’s will and capacity to resist Indian domination.

This strategy includes: building overwhelming military superiority, conventional and nuclear, against Pakistan; isolating Pakistan by portraying it as the ‘epicentre’ of terrorism; encouraging

Baloch separatism and TTP terrorism (through Afghanistan) to destabilize Pakistan; convincing Pakistan’s elite of the economic and cultural benefits of ‘cooperation’ on India’s terms.

In this endeavor, India is being actively assisted by certain quarters in the West.

Insufficient thought has been given in New Delhi and Western capitals to the unintended consequences of this strategy. It has strengthened the political position of the nationalists and the Islamic extremists in Pakistan. Islamabad’s vacillation in confronting the TTP was evidence of this. Further, the growing asymmetry in India-Pakistan conventional defense capabilities has obliged Pakistan to rely increasingly on the nuclear option to maintain credible deterrence.

The combination of unresolved disputes,especially Kashmir, the likelihood of terrorist incidents and a nuclear hair-trigger military environment, has made the India-Pakistan impasse the single greatest threat to international peace and security.

New Delhi’s bid for Great Power status could be quickly compromised if another war broke out, by design or accident, with Pakistan.

The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2014

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Pak-India Water Dispute Accelerates By Sajjad Shaukat

Pak-India Water Dispute Accelerates

Sajjad Shaukat

 

Pakistan is a grave victim of water scarcity, because of being on lower riparian in relation to the rivers emanating from the Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK). India has never missed an opportunity to harm Pakistan since its inception; it is creating deliberate water shortages for Pakistan with the aim to impair Pakistan agriculturally. Historically, India has been trying to establish her hegemony in the region by controlling water sources and damaging agricultural economies of her neighbouring states. India has water disputes with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Indian extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has given the concerned departments to continue construction of dams has ordered diverting water of Chenab River to Beas, which is a serious violation of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960. Therefore Pak-India water dispute has accelerated.

 

 

 

 

 

In this regard, an article By: Zofeen T. Ebrahim, Joydeep Gupta (Co-Authors) under the caption, “India resists World Bank move to resolve Indus Water Treaty dispute”, published in The Third Pole and reproduced-updated by a Pakistan’s renowned daily on January 6, 2017 is notable.

 

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta wrote, “India has asked the World Bank not to rush in to resolve a dispute with Pakistan over the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects. Indian officials told a World Bank representative in New Delhi on January 5 that any differences over the projects can be resolved bilaterally or through a neutral expert. Pakistan has objected to the projects–being built by India in Jammu and Kashmir–on the grounds that they violate the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) between the two countries. After India rejected the charge, Pakistan has gone to the World Bank–the designated IWT mediator.”

 

 

1 The Indus Waters Treaty was signed on September 19, 1960 by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan.

 

They indicated, “Islamabad has also asked the United States (US) government to intervene, and has added the component of water security to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement. Of the rivers in the Indus basin, the Indus and the Sutlej start in China and flow through India before reaching Pakistan. The other four rivers–Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Beas – start in India and flow to Pakistan”.

 

The writers pointed out, “The Kishanganga project is on a tributary of the Jhelum, while the Ratle project is on the Chenab. The State Department in Washington has already said it wants India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues bilaterally, a route favoured by India.”

 

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta elaborated, “As the dispute flared up, the World Bank had recently suspended all proceedings–the setting up of a court of arbitration or the appointment of a neutral expert. On January 5, World Bank representative Ian H Solomon met officials of India’s External Affairs and Water Resources ministries in New Delhi in an effort to break the deadlock.The Indian delegation, led by Gopal Baglay, Joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, made a detailed a presentation on the two projects to support their argument that neither project violated the IWT. After the meeting, a government official told journalists that the Indian side had described the objections raised by Pakistan as “technical”, and therefore they would be best resolved by a neutral expert.”

 

They wrote, “Pakistan has dismissed this suggestion earlier, and is seeking a full court of arbitration. The World Bank had agreed to a court of arbitration and then to the appointment of a neutral expert, leading to objections by both countries. That was when both processes were suspended. Explore: World Bank pauses dam arbitration to ‘protect Indus Waters Treaty.’ At the January 5 meeting, Solomon did not raise any question on the designs of the two projects, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Instead, he explored ways to resolve the dispute. With nothing decided, the World Bank official is going from New Delhi to Islamabad to continue this effort. The official added that India is fully conscious of its international obligations and is ready to engage in further consultations to resolve the differences regarding the two projects. Under the IWT, India is allowed only non-consumptive use of water from the three western rivers in the Indus basin–Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.”

 

The co-authors mentioned, “The Kishanganga and Ratle projects are on the western rivers. They are run-of-the-river hydropower projects that do not hold back any water, though Pakistan’s objection is about the height of the gates in the dams from which water is allowed to flow downstream. The three eastern rivers–Ravi, Beas and Sutlej–are reserved for the use of India. Meanwhile, in Pakistan. The Pakistani government approached the World Bank last September, saying the design of the Kishanganga project was not in line with the criteria laid down under IWT, and sought the appointment of a court of arbitration. Since the Kishanganga project has been going on for years, the “inordinate” delay by Islamabad to approach the World Bank would give India more time to complete its projects, Jamait Ali Shah, former Indus Water Commissioner on behalf of the Pakistani government, told thethirdpole.net”.

 

Their article pointed out, “However, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar wrote to the World Bank on December 23, stressing that it was not withdrawing its request to set up a court of arbitration. This was followed by a call from the outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry to Dar, saying that the US would like to see an amicable solution to the transboundary water row. Karachi-based newspaper…quoted diplomatic observers in Washington to say, “seriousness of this dispute, particularly the fear that it may harm the treaty, forced Mr. Kerry to make this call.”

 

The writers explained, “For a while now Pakistan has also wanted to bring China into the picture. At the sixth meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the CPEC which was held in Beijing on December 29, a special group on water storage was formed to pre-empt any “severe water crisis” impacting economic and food security of Pakistan, an official statement said. After a Chinese delegation visits Pakistan later this month, the JCC – the highest policy-making forum of the CPEC – may consider including the Diamer-Bhasha dam into the CPEC agreement. Planned at an estimated cost of around USD 15 billion, if Pakistan succeeds in getting the dam financed under CPEC, planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal would consider it a “landmark achievement”. Both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have refused to lend money to Pakistan for this hydropower project. Pakistani experts react leading lawyer and former federal law minister, Ahmer Bilal Soofi termed the inclusion of water security into CPEC essentially a |political choice for Pakistan and China” though the issue does not “squarely fall within the otherwise commercial mandate of CPEC”.

 

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta wrote, “Speaking to thethirdpole.net, Soofi said Pakistan and China need to exchange notes on a “contradicting state practice of India as an upper riparian to Pakistan and a lower riparian to China, that will help both the states to confront India.” He further added that Pakistan should raise its voice at an international level that “India’s building of reservoir and fully utilising the water storage capacity under the treaty poses a serious threat to Pakistan in particular backdrop of India’s present posturing as it improves India’s capability to manipulate water flows into Pakistan.” This was echoed by former commissioner Shah who said the international community should be duly briefed about the “dilution of the violation of the provisions of the treaty” by India. At the same time, he said both countries should continue to work closely and quietly to resolve the grievances and find a middle ground”.

 

They added, “The recent stance by India where it “lobbied aggressively and influenced” the World Bank, he feared, had further undermined the already “fragile” treaty. “The WB needs to take the right action–which is to act as arbitrator in this matter, as it has done before,” pointed out water expert Simi Kamal.The reason why the IWT, 74 pages long with 12 articles and 8 annexures and has no expiry date, has worked so far, she said was partly because the Bank acted as a third party. “The Bank needs to maintain this role and not back off now, when its arbitration role is most required in the face of a belligerent Indian government.”

 

According to the writers, “Kamal further said the solution lay not in the pause by the Bank “or for hawks to call for dismantling the treaty”, but for both governments to act responsibly and for the Bank to play its role in “containing adventurism by either government–in this matter the Indian government”. Shah also felt when Pakistan plans to proceed with such cases, it never does its homework thoroughly and therefore always appears the weaker party. The same was endorsed by noted economist Kaiser Bengali when he told thethirdpole.net that he found “the intellectually deficient and politically inane manner in which Pakistan has been pursuing the matter”, criminal. Bengali had little confidence in the Pakistan IWT team. He said, “It has no strategy on dealing with water issues with India. Pakistan’s chief negotiator for more than a decade and a half had limited intellectual capacity to lead on such a strategically life and death issue,” he said”.

 

They indicated, “He said Pakistan keeps harping on the “spirit” of the agreement. “Four decades after a treaty is signed, what matters is the letter of the print, not the spirit of the time when the document was signed.” Bengali believed India was not violating the letter of the agreement. “India has been building power plants on western rivers, but not diverting any water”. Nor, he said, were Pakistan’s contentions on the design “substantive enough to warrant a full scale confrontation”. He also observed, like Shah, that differences can and should be resolved in a more “low key” manner. He feared that since India was not violating the treaty per se, if Pakistan does take the latter to court, it will meet the same fate as the Baglihar Dam case of 2007”.

 

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta maintained, “While Indian officials maintain that they are sticking to the IWT, the government has hardened its stand in recent months after attacks on Indian Army camps in Kashmir by suspected militants. (Read: South Kashmir’s role in anti-India struggle) New Delhi had earlier said it was setting up a task force to examine what projects it could undertake in the three western rivers of the Indus basin under the ambit of the IWT. In the last week of 2016, the government announced that the task force would be headed by Nripendra Mishra, principal secretary to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

 

Nevertheless in light of the above article, it is mentionable that since the 9/11 tragedy, international community has been taking war against terrorism seriously, while there are also other forms of bloodless wars, being waged in the world and the same are like terrorism. Political experts opine that modern terrorism has many meanings like violent acts, economic terrorism etc., but its main aim is to achieve political, economic and social ends. Judging in these terms, Pak-India water dispute which has become serious needs special attention of the US and other major powers, as India remains stern on her illegitimate stand in this respect.

 

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China, Pakistan conduct joint border patrol Editor: Li Ruojun China Military Online

China, Pakistan conduct joint border patrol

 

Editor: Li Ruojun

Source: China Military Online

2016-08-22 15:33

Chinese and Pakistan frontier defense forces provide security during a joint patrol at a mountainous region in Khunjerab of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on August 19, 2016. The joint patrol is conducted by a PLA frontier defense company in Khunjerab and the border policemen of the Pakistani Khunjerab Security Force (KSF), aiming to offer security guarantee to the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the One Belt and One Road (the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road)Initiatives. (81.cn/Wang Ning)

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Pakistan and Syria:Centers of the Great Game

                                       Pakistan and Syria: Centers of the Great Game

                                                         By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Hans J. Morgenthau opines, “The true nature of the policy is concealed by ideological justifications and rationalization. Therefore, the ideology provides a mask behind which the ulterior motives are concealed…there is a close relationship between interest and ideology…the annexation of the backward states by Great Britain and France as their colonies was described as educating, civilizing and humanitarian mission, a sort of white man’s burden, while the real objective was economic exploitation of the former. Annexation was an act of imperialism. But to disguise it humanitarian ideology was advanced…one of the significant aspects of ideology is that it can be described as a cloak for real foreign policy objective.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palmer and Perkins write, “Just as power became the instrument of ambitious nationalism and state’s leaders, it has now become the tool of ideologies…ideologies, in fact, are futile source of international conflict…they can be used to obscure the real facts of a situation or the real motives of ambitious leaders.”

 

Karl Mannheim also uses ideology in this sense by saying, “In this form the ideas are more or less conscious disguise of the real nature of a situation.”

 

Hitler and the Nazi Party had come to power with the avowed purpose of conquering colonies and foreign lands for the Germans. They must have a “living space”-‘Lebensraum’ as the Nazis called it for the “living surplus German population and find raw materials and markets for German industrial goods”.

 

Religious fervour inspired by ‘Hitlerite’ Germany, which was supported by the country’s industrial and financial magnates, wanted to establish its domination first over Europe and then over the entire world.

 

Similarly, after the 9/11 tragedy, by using the ideologies of colonialism and neo-imperialism (Indirect control), the US-led Western allies attacked and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, while compelling other Muslim countries and Pakistan to join Bush’s phony war on terror. Under the cover of freedom and democracy, the aim of democratizing Afghanistan and the Middle East was propagated by the United States. But, the real motive behind was to get control over the gas and oil of Central Asia, the Caspian Basin, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East. The pretexts of Osama Bin Laden and Weapons of Mass Destruction were also used in case of Afghanistan and Iraq respectively with a view to rationalizing the objective. While Bin Laden had denied his involvement in the 9/11 catastrophe and no WMDs were found in Iraq.

 

Influenced by the Zionist planners, Bush’s family, some neoconservatives and the Jews who are well connected to oil and energy companies wanted to enhance their business interests in the pretext of rooting out Islamic militants or terrorism. Under the mask of the so-called war on terror, they also planned to destabilize the Muslim countries to obtain the sinister designs of Israel.

 

When during the regime of the President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in Balochistan province in March 2002 with Chinese assistance, sirens went off in the capitals of some European countries, especially the US, India and Israel which took it as a threat to their global and regional plans.

 

Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, Balochistan’s Gwadar seaport is close to the Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its ideal location among South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia has further increased its strategic significance. Besides, Balochistan’s abundant mineral resources irritate the eyes of the US, India and Israel which intend to destabilize Pakistan for their collective aims, as the latter is also the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. However, development in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan has shifted the gravity of the Great Game of Central Asia to Pakistan.

 

In fact, Pakistan considers that peace in Afghanistan is a guarantee of peace in Pakistan, therefore, has been striving for the same in utter sincerity. Enemies of Afghanistan and Pakistan—India and the US do not intend to see the peace and prosperity in the region. Sadly, Islamabad’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has been sabotaged by the ill-wishers. Killing of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur by the CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan has badly derailed Afghan dialogue process and violence is likely to surge in Afghanistan. It seems that a dual game is on to pressurize Pakistan to bring Afghan Taliban either for the dialogue or to take action against them. US, India and Israel have built a hostile nexus for the Great Game and are pressurizing Pakistan by limiting its choices.

 

In this regard, trust deficit has deepened between Pakistan and the America. Therefore, on June 10, this year, a high-level delegation of the US visited Islamabad and met Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif and Adviser to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Adviser separately.

 

During the meeting, expressing his serious concern on the US drone strike in Balochistan as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, Gen. Raheel Sharif highlighted as to how it had impacted the mutual trust and was counterproductive in consolidating the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists. He elaborated, “All stakeholders need to understand Pakistan’s challenges-inter-tribal linkages and decades-old presence of over three million refugees—blaming Pakistan for instability in Afghanistan is unfortunate—target TTP [Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan] and its chief Mullah Fazlullah in their bases in Afghanistan— Indian RAW and NDS [Afghan National Directorate of Security] are fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.”

 

Meanwhile, on June 12, 2016, Afghan security forces started unprovoked firing at Torkham border crossing as part of the double game of the anti-Pakistan entities.

 

However, RAW-Mossad-CIA backed, the Afghan NDS is inflicting harm to Pakistan. With latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS assisted terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani Intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These foreign agencies are also assistine the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly Mullah Fazlullah led TTP is being prepared to carry out a fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter is center of the Great Game.

 

Particularly, CIA, Mossad and RAW which are well-penetrated in the ISIS and TTP are using their terrorists to destabilize Tibetan regions of China, Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities. In this connection, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is their special target.

 

The long and porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is frequently used by the CIA-Mossad backed drug traffickers, criminals and terrorists to cause havoc inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

It is notable that in response to the $46-billion Pak-China project of CPEC, Washington broadly supported New Delhi and Kabul, signing a deal with Iran for a transport corridor, opening up a new route to Afghanistan via the Iranian port of Chabahar. In this context, during his visit to Tehran, on May 23, 2016, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a deal to develop Iran’s Chabahar port. India will spend $500 million on the project. Chabahar—located about 1,800 kilometres south of Tehran—is more than just a port with an adjoining free trade zone. But, CPEC is much bigger and viable project then Chahbahar.

 

Notably, on June 13, 2016, a Chinese newspaper, Global Times has blamed India for damaging the prospects of Gwadar by investing in Chahbahar to isolate Pakistan; however, it will not succeed in its designs. The paper elaborated, “Pakistan’s Sindh Province saw a bomb attack against Chinese engineers and small-scale protests against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) recently. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government claimed that anti-CPEC activities by foreign forces have been busted in Baluch Province. At the Beijing Forum held in Islamabad in late May, countries including the US and Japan have shown concerns over CPEC construction and even bluntly criticized the China-Pakistan friendship. CPEC is a significant part of the Belt and Road initiative, which is not only a domestic strategy of China to open up its central and western regions, but also Pakistan’s domestic development plan as well as regional integration.”

 

Nevertheless, the establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans, giving China’s short and easy access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

 

The recent India-Iran-Afghanistan agreement to develop a trade route from Chabahar to Central Asia has been portrayed by Indian commentators as having changed the historical Great Game for control of the connection between South and Central Asia through Afghanistan. But, the project will remain a dream, as with the collapse of the inter-Afghan negotiations, Afghanistan is likely to witness a further escalation of conflict and chaos. It is also due to unrest in Afghanistan that the US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline did not start.

 

In 2009, Pakistan and Tehran had signed the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project without New Delhi, as the latter was reluctant in this context owing to its pro-US tilt. Since then, it has been named as the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project. The US had previously threatened Pakistan with sanctions, if it went ahead with the project.

 

America and Israel are seeing the Chabahar project with suspicion. To bolster its strategic contest with China and Russia, the US is moving towards a military alliance with India. America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms and aircraft. During President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the US and India announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. During Indian Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to America, President Obama strongly assured him to favour India’s membership in the coming meeting of the Nuclear Supplier Group. Earlier, Washington also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific safeguards with India. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on larger scale.

 

But, the US-Iran ties could again become hostile, if new sanctions are imposed by the US Congress or differences arise over Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah or Israel. Although Iran’s nuclear issue has been settled, yet Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called it American historical blunder, and is still acting upon a war-like diplomacy against Tehran. If the pro-Israeli Donald Trump becomes American president, he would thwart the US-Iran relationship to secure Israeli dominate in the Middle East.

 

Now, Islamabad which has ignored the duress of Washington is convincing Tehran to start the implementation of the IPI project. In the recent past, high officials of Iran and Pakistan have met in this respect.

 

Taking note of US anti-Pakistan schemes, besides China, Pakistan has also cultivated its relationship with the Russian Federation. In 2010, Russian President Putin publicly endorsed Pakistan’s bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which includes Russia, China and four Central Asian Republics as permanent members. Putin remarked that Pakistan was very important partner for Moscow in South Asia and the Muslim world. In various summits, the SCO leaders displayed strength against the US rising dominance in the region and military presence of NATO in Afghanistan, near Central Asia, and are moving towards security cooperation.  After participating in the Summit of the SCO in 2015, Pakistan and Iran got permanent membership of the SCO which is seen as anti-American club.

 

Nonetheless, due to Balochistan, Pakistan has become center of the Great Game. Therefore, CIA, RAW and Mossad have planned to accelerate acts of terrorism in the country.

As regards Syria, the country is another centre of the Great Game. In case, we see the resources of natural gas reserves in the whole Persian Gulf region, the motives of the CIA-led Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar in financing with billions of dollars to the opposition rebel groups, the Islamic State group (ISIS or ISIL) in Syria are to occupy the natural gas and oil of the Middle East.

 

Many analysts say that Russia supplies Europe with a quarter of the gas. America and its European allies which are now involved in the Syrian war want to end European dependence on Russia. American President Barack Obama has openly said to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.

 

According to Charis Chang, “Before the Syrian civil war, two competing pipelines put forward by Qatar and Iran aimed to transport gas to Europe through Syria…Qatar’s plans were first put forward in 2009 and involved building a pipeline from the Persian Gulf via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. It was hoped the pipeline would provide cheaper access to Europe, but Syrian President Bashar al Assad refused to give permission for the pipeline to go through his territory…failed pipeline bidder Qatar and Saudi Arabia funded anti-Assad rebel groups between 2011 and 2013.”

 

Turkey which is another NATO member and is also involved in Syrian civil war still supports the plan of the US-led Europe regarding the gas pipeline from the Middle East—Syria to Europe.

 

  1. William Engdahl writes, “In July 2011, Syria, Iran and Iraq signed a gas pipeline energy agreement…take three years to complete in the midst of the NATO-Saudi-Qatari war to remove Assad. The pipeline would run from the Iranian Port Assalouyeh in the Persian Gulf, to Damascus in Syria via Iraq territory…Lebanon’s Mediterranean port where it would be delivered to the huge EU market…the agreement would make Syria the center of assembly and production in conjunction with the reserves of Lebanon…the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline agreement ignited the full-scale Saudi and Qatari assault on Assad’s power, financing al Qaeda terrorists, recruits of Jihadist fanatics willing to kill Alawite and Shi’ite “infidels” for $100 a month and a Kalishnikov. The Washington neo-conservative war-hawks in and around the Obama White House, along with their allies in the right-wing Netanyahu government, were cheering from the bleachers as Syria went up in flames after spring 2011.”

 

Engdahl further writes, “Today the US-backed wars in Ukraine and in Syria are but two fronts in the same strategic war to cripple Russia and China and to rupture any Eurasian counter-pole to a US-controlled New World Order. In each, control of energy pipelines, this time primarily of natural gas pipelines—from Russia to the EU via Ukraine and from Iran and Syria to the EU via Syria—is the strategic goal. The true aim of the US and Israel backed ISIS is to give the pretext for bombing Assad’s vital grain silos and oil refineries to cripple the economy in preparation for a “Ghaddafi-”style elimination of Russia and China and Iran-ally Bashar al-Assad. In a narrow sense, as Washington neo-conservatives see it, who controls Syria could control the Middle East. And from Syria, gateway to Asia, he will hold the key to Russia House, as well as that of China via the Silk Road. Religious wars have historically been the most savage of all wars and this one is no exception, especially when trillions of dollars in oil and gas revenues are at stake. Why is the secret Kerry-Abdullah deal on Syria reached on September 11 stupid? Because the brilliant tacticians in Washington and Riyadh and Doha and to an extent in Ankara are unable to look at the interconnectedness of all the dis-order and destruction they foment, to look beyond their visions of control of the oil and gas flows as the basis of their illegitimate power. They are planting the seeds of their own destruction in the end.”

 

It is of particular attention that according to the retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years, starting with Iraq and moving on to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. In an interview, Clark said that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

 

However, Russian-supported coalition and Assad’s forces have retaken several territories from the control of the rebels and the ISIS terrorists who are on flee. Recently, Russian-backed Iraqi forces have recaptured the city of Fallujah. It is due to skillful diplomacy of the President Putin that very soon, Syria will be liberated from the hold of the Israeli-led Western powers, including some Arab countries. 

 

On the other side, Pakistan’s Army and primary intelligence agency ISI are very strong, as they have almost eliminated the CIA-RAW supported TTP and ISIS terrorists in Balolchistan and other areas of the countries. They will castigate the conspiracy against Pakistan, China and Russia.

 

Although Pakistan and Syria will remain the centers of the Great Game, yet owing to a prolonged war in Afghanistan, proxy wars in Syria and other vulnerable countries like Libya, Yemen and Somalia in wake of the mounting threat of terrorism and rapid increase in the cost of these conflicts which are bringing about multiple internal problems, America and its allies will lose the Great Game.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

Courtesy Veterans Today

 

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Bi-polarity to gasping uni-polarity by By Brig Asif H. Raja

PAKISTAN PAYS HIGH COSTS:

For US 12 Yr War on Terror:

Close to 50,000 Deaths,

over $100 Billion in losses,

Citizens Insecure

 

 

 

 

 

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Bi-polarity to gasping uni-polarity

By 

Brig Asif H. Raja 

December 31, 2015

 

[ Editor’s Note: Although this is a scholarly read, which is always dense material, I suggest you read this and save it to a file. Raja is known as one of the top strategic writers in Pakistan, where intellectual competition is fierce. There is no flair and flash here, but information.

Some of it you will be familiar with, but the value of a piece like this is having so much of it in one article, and new material that you did not know. Another bonus is the additional context that can help you get a better handle on connecting the dots and seeing through the disinformation smokescreens that are continually blown in our faces.

Don’t be embarrassed by having to read it twice… or more. I always have to, as there is so much information in here you just can’t absorb it all in one pass unless you are Mr. photographic memory, like Gordon.

 

This building up of our general background database brain power gives us “defense in depth”, which helps us pick up on all the ring around the rosy games being played on us now, even in Alt media, which has been heavily infiltrated because it was necessary and inexpensive to do, where people can be bought for pennies on the dollar vs. the think tank and corporate media route, which takes tons of cash.

Raja is the real deal and has always been our “go to” guy for his expertise areas. People like this are what has make VT what it is today — the long term relationships, our staying power and track record of not getting sucked into being a pipeline for bogus stories, which is an industrial-scale business today Jim W. Dean ]

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End of Bi-Polar World.

Our crazy world can be a mind bender at times

During the Cold War, proxy wars were common because the two superpowers didn’t dare to fight each other directly due to nuclear deterrence. The US-led West demonized the USSR and scared the world to keep away from the monster of communism.

The US projected itself as the champion of democracy and human rights and guardian of the free world. The CIA was used covertly, and NATO overtly, to spread the US’ area of influence. The KGB, assisted by the Warsaw Pact military alliance of seven Eastern European States, did the same.

The arms race between the two superpowers impacted the economy of USSR. Its economy was further battered in the Afghan war.

With its military and nuclear power intact, the huge Soviet Empire fragmented from within on December 15, 1991, and broke into 15 smaller States, and the USSR shrank to the Russian Federation. The US emerged as the sole superpower, putting an end to a bi-polar world and giving way to a uni-polar world.

Islam Projected as Chief Threat

The Neocons in the US and the American Jewish lobby mulled over how to make the 21st century the ‘American Century’ and to rule the world for the next hundred years. For the achievement of this goal, a convincing motive had to be manufactured. The New World Order (NWO), conceived by George W. Bush senior in 1989, was modified and the Red Army threat was replaced with a green flag threat. Islam was hyped and projected as the chief threat to US-dominated capitalism and international order.

Within the Muslim world, radical States such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, Somalia and Iran were marked as ‘dangerous’. This was confirmed by Patrick Buchman in 2003. Samuel Huntington gave credence to this theme in 1990s by writing in his book ‘Clash of Civilizations’ that, in the future, wars would no longer take place between countries but between cultures, and that the best candidate for the upcoming divide would be between Islam and the West.

Brzezinski’s Concept of Eurasia

One of the major reasons of projecting Islam as the major threat to US hegemony was the concept of US uni-polarism propounded by Brzezinski in 1970s. For the achievement of this ambitious objective, he like the earlier strategists held Eurasia as the key region, the capture of which would ensure control over Africa and facilitate world domination.

Eurasia is the largest continent where lay treasures of the world. For effective control of Eurasia, he had recommended establishment of western front in Europe and southern front in Asia complementing each other. He was categorical in his assessment that whosoever controlled Eurasia dominated the world.

NATO made Relevant

NATO had lost its relevance to exist after the end of Cold War and dismantlement of Warsaw Pact for which it had been created. Some way had to be found to keep it operational. NATO was tasked to expand eastward and integrate as many East European, Baltic and Caucasus States. It got heavily involved in Balkans.

Once its membership jumped from 16 to 28 States, it was made into a global task force. The western front was thus maintained and not dissolved. Paradoxically, the western front was reinforced after dismantling the southern front in Afghanistan in 1989.

Establishment of Two Fronts

Having consolidated and expanded NATO in the 1990s, the US hawks then waited for an opportunity or an excuse to establish southern front in Asia for which Afghanistan and Iraq had been earmarked as target countries in the modified draft of NWO in 1997. 9/11, whether real or engineered, provided the excuse the US was eagerly looking for to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq.

Demolition of Afghanistan in November 2001 and Iraq in 2003 undertaken by George W Bush junior led neo-cons (Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz) were aimed at establishing a secure southern front to complement the western front that was established by merging Eastern Europe into European Union in early 1990s. The underlying idea behind the establishment of two fronts was to disrupt and occupy Central Asia, capture all its energy resources and thus gain control over whole of Eurasian continent as propounded by Brzezinski.

Russia under Boris Yeltsin

Russia under drunkard Boris Yeltsin remained economically dependent upon USA and Western Europe to survive. Yeltsin’s lackadaisical approach allowed NATO and CIA to extend their outreach into Eastern Europe and re-integrate it into Western Europe.

CIA was actively involved in fomenting color revolutions in Eastern Europe, Baltic, Caucasus and Central Asia. Biggest breakthroughs were fall of Berlin wall and reunification of Germany, breakup of Yugoslavia into six independent States and disintegration of Czechoslovakia.

NATO’s eastward drive towards the heartland of Russia and the US insistence to deploy Missile Defense Shield were hostile steps and in violation of the US-Russia treaty signed in 1990 that the US will not threaten Russia’s security interests.

Russia under Vladimir Putin

In the new millennium, the situation began to change when Russia came under Putin in 1999. Since then, he has remained in power at a stretch and held both the appointments of President and PM. He resolved to rebuild weakened Russia and regain part if not all the glory of demolished Soviet Empire.

He started to reassert Russia’s authority in global politics as well as over its breakaway Republics by making good use of its oil and gas resources. EU became dependent upon Gazprom for gas. Six Central Asian Republics are the soft belly of Russia, on which the US has its eyes since long and which Russia can ill-afford to lose. Both Russia and China are keeping this vital region in their loop with the help of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

In order to keep resurgent Russia under control, Bush administration embarked upon a highly expensive and controversial Missile Defence Shield (MDS) program under the plea of safeguarding USA from rogue States like North Korea and Iran. Poland and Czech Republic were persuaded to deploy components of the MDS. Putin expressed his concerns asserting that the MDS was Russia focused and threatened to counter the threat. It strained US-Russia relations.            

Russo-US Encounters

After the CIA inspired rose revolution in Georgia which brought down President Eduard Shevardnadze and brought in pro-western President Mikhail Saakashvilli to power in 2004, the first serious Russian encounter with the US took place in Georgia in August 2008 when Russian troops invaded Georgia on August 8, 2008 and by 10th occupied several Georgian cities and bulk of breakaway South Ossetia as well as Abkhazia. Since then, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are firmly in control of Moscow.

The next standoff between the two took place in Ukraine. When the government of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, he fled to Russia. Putin reacted by sending Russian troops and seizing Crimea in early March and amassing 40,000 troops along eastern border of Ukraine.

Sevastopol seaport in Crimea is an important Russian naval base which it cannot afford to lose. In a popular referendum held on March 16, Crimeans voted to join Russia. After ratification by the two houses of Russian Parliament, annexation of Crimea was formalized on March 21.

Ten cities of Eastern Ukraine are heavily populated by Russian speaking and pro-Russia people. Unrest is going on in several cities and militants urged Moscow to send in Russian troops. Although NATO showed restraint by desisting from moving towards Ukraine’s western border, situation is still tense.

While Putin is using gas as a weapon to tighten up Ukraine, EU which is itself heavily dependent upon Russian oil and gas, at the behest of USA has imposed sanctions and threatened to apply further sanctions to force Russia to lay its hands off Ukraine. The US accused Russia for attacking Ukraine on trumped-up pretext and has hurled a warning, giving rise to fears that another Cold War is in the offing.

Turbulent Middle East

The US controlled strategically important Middle East by propping up authoritarian regimes and establishing GCC comprising six Gulf States and making Iran under Reza Shah Pahlavi as the policeman of the Persian Gulf. In addition, Israel was created in 1948 at the cost of Palestinians. It was economically and militarily bolstered to bully the Arab States.

While the US succeeded in neutralizing Egypt through Camp David Accord in 1979, it lost Iran in March 1979 after Imam Khomeini took over power. Another emerging power Iraq, seen as an obstacle in the way of Israel to become unchallenged power of the region was weakened through 8-year war with Iran, First Gulf War in 1991 and imposition of harsh sanctions.

Invasion of Iraq

When these incapacitating acts failed to bring down Saddam, the US under George W Bush led neo-cons and Jews chalked out a grand plan to change the boundaries of the Middle East, replace radical rulers with compliant and secular rulers, harness oil resources and make Israel the super power of Middle East.

The plan envisaged piecemeal annexation of Arab States. The first axe fell upon Iraq in March 2003 after pasting trumped up charges. Although occupation forces left Iraq in 2011, they have left behind embers of sectarianism. Hardly a day passes without suicide attack/bomb blast.

Regime Change in Libya

Taking advantage of the Arab Spring, insurgency was fomented by CIA in Libya in 2011 to bring down Qaddafi regime. Handfuls of Libyan rebels mostly living in exile were instigated by CIA to start an armed rebellion.

UK and France led the assault and within months Libya was destroyed, the regime toppled and Qaddafi brutally murdered. Chaos in Libya was premeditated because Libya was a stable African society in North Africa and Qaddafi had made it into a real welfare State.

He wanted to use the water, oil and financial resources of Libya and the intelligence of the Libyan people for the reconstruction of Africa. In order to solidify African Union, Qaddafi wanted to build an African Monetary Fund, an African Central Bank, and an African common currency.

Moreover, Qaddafi had moved to take over the Arab banking corporation in Bahrain, and the Libyan leadership had over $200 billion in foreign reserves. Common currency for Africa would have been a threat to Western Europe and North America and a real danger to Euro as well as to the US dollar.

Besides, Chinese had become the dominant force in infrastructure development within Libya. There were over 36,000 Chinese involved in railway, road, water, agriculture, and other forms. Libyan-Pakistan defence ties had grown manifold and Libya had placed a big order for purchasing defence equipment from Pakistan.

While Libya was playing ball with Russia and China, it was also very friendly with the west and cooperating with them since 2004 but still was viewed as unpredictable by western oil and defence tycoons.

To save euro/dollar and to capture Libyan oil, Qaddafi had to be removed. Although Libyan oil is now being controlled by the US/western companies, political and security situation is highly unstable.

Syrian Crisis

Syrian crisis from March 2011 onwards saw Russia, Iran and Hezbollah standing behind Bashar al Assad and the US, EU, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Gulf States supporting Syrian Sunni rebels wanting to bring down Assad’s Alawite regime. When government forces gained an edge over the rebels in mid-2013, a chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town north of Damascus was engineered and drummed up.

Making it an excuse, the US ordered NATO to strike Syrian defence infrastructure with cruise missiles. However, at the 11th hour, Obama took a u turn in the wake of Putin’s mediation, offering to dismantle Syrian chemical stockpiles. The US backtracking tensed US-Saudi relations. While the western threat receded, Syria got engulfed in a new crisis in which the Islamic militias are fighting among each other as well as Assad forces, much to the delight of Israel.

Islamic State of Iraq & Levant (ISIL)

The ISIL initially linked with al-Qaeda is pitched against Free Syrian Army (Sunni Syrian rebels), Syrian Revolutionary Front, Army of Mujahideen, Islamic Front (supported by Saudi Arabia) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front). Ghuraba al-Shams group is in clash with Nusra Front.

Jundul Aqsa and Jaish al Muhajireen are independent. ISIL has emerged as the strongest group and is in control of almost half of Syrian territory in northeast and one third of northwestern Iraqi territory and has formed a caliphate. While the US-NATO air power jumped into the fray of Iraq and Syria in August 2014 to defeat ISIL, Russian air force joined the war in Syria to prop up Assad regime from 30 September 2015 onwards and has enabled the Syrian Army to recover some ground in southwest.

The important city of Deraa has been taken over. After downing of Russian jet by Turkey, relations between the two countries have strained. However, more and more countries are getting aligned to defeat ISIL, known as Daesh, which is termed as a global threat.

Iran’s Defiance

Iran under Khomeini completed full cycle of Islamic revolution and became militarily stronger and a staunch opponent of US and Israel. Iran added to its military muscle by embarking upon nuclear program in 2002, which it maintained was meant for peaceful purposes.

Both Israel and the US backed by the EU alleged that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon and exerted extreme diplomatic pressure together with four rounds of sanctions and military threats to force Tehran to abandon its program. Covert war was initiated by CIA to affect a regime change.

Replacement of outspoken anti-US/Israel Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with moderate pro-western Hassan Rouhani belonging to Reformist Party in June 2013 brought a change in US stance and it chose to befriend Iran after the latter signed interim nuclear deal in November 2013 pledging that it would roll back its nuclear program in return for easing of economic sanctions.

Thaw in Iran-US relations further strained Saudi-US relations since Riyadh has considered Iran as a threat to Sunni Arab regimes. Rift between Riyadh and Doha over latter’s refusal to refrain from supporting Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere was another cause of concern for Saudi Kingdom.

Fears of Gulf States

Gulf Arab States want an interim government in Damascus and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. Gulf kingdoms also have serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its dangerous designs in the Middle East.

The Shia crescent formed by Syria, Hezbollah dominated Lebanon, Bahrain, eastern Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq is seen as a big threat to Sunni kingdoms in Middle East. Suspecting that Shia uprising in Bahrain in 2011 was Iran inspired, Saudi led Gulf Force was dashed to quash it.

They fear Iran’s potential nuclear weapons capability and deeply distrust the Americans for their overtures to Tehran and civilian nuclear deal which is likely to strengthen Iran. Saudi Arabia is also wary of Iran’s meddlesome role in Yemen where it is supporting Yemeni Houthi rebels and impelled Riyadh to form a joint Arab force of ten countries and launch air war against Houthis in March this year which is still continuing.

Saudi Arabia is also fearful of ISIS, which has threatened to capture Mecca and Medina, and has recently announced formation of 34-member alliance of Muslim countries, which excludes Shia ruled Muslim countries.

Turkey’s Phenomenal Economic Growth

Despite being the leader of seculars within the Muslim world since Kamal Ataturk days and member of NATO, Turkey has not been given membership of EU. In the 1990s, Turkey economy had become sick and it came under heavy debt of IMF. Its economy however began to progress dramatically when AKP led by Tayyip Erdogon took over in 2002 and made the country Islamic Republic.

While Turkish constitution is secular, in practice it is Islamist. Within less than a decade it solved political, judicial, financial and economic problems. By 2005 all loans of IMF were cleared and in 2007 Turkey was in a position to extend loan to IMF and EU countries.

Today it is 16th largest economy in the world and is in a position to lead the Muslim world. Its output has reached $820 billion and has $400 billion worth trade. It has 27 trade partners all over the world and in a decade it attracted $120 billion FSD. Stunning economic progress made by the incumbent government coupled with Erdogon’s tough stand taken against Israel after the incident of peace flotilla in the high seas in 2009 has become a cause of worry for the US led west.

It is suspected that a willful vicious propaganda has been launched by the US based cleric Gullen and his supporters in Turkey, secular and liberal forces and western media to undermine and bring down the government. However, Erdogon has reasserted his authority as a result of last elections. Because of his tiff with Russia, he is mending fences with Israel to meet country’s gas needs.

Pakistan

Pakistan has emerged as the sole Muslim country with nuclear capability backed by robust armed forces with reasonably strong defence industrial and technical base and plenty of skilled labor force. Pakistan’s nuclear capability is an eyesore for the US, India and Israel. India is more vexed since nuclear parity has blunted its blackmailing tactics and imperialist designs.

The US is concerned about Sino-Pakistan conviviality since the future role assigned to India cannot be accomplished without breaking up Pakistan or making it a compliant State of India. It is vying to wean away Central Asian Republics (CARs) brimming with natural resources from Sino-Russo influence and for piping out oil and gas for western markets through Port Gawadar.

Indo-US-Israeli nexus has been striving hard since 1980s to denuclearize Pakistan and make it a Satellite State of India. Their efforts were stepped up after 2001 and they nearly succeeded in declaring Pakistan a failing and ungovernable State when the PPP regime was in power. Besides several articles written by Americans including Lt Col Ralph Peters article “Blood Borders” indicating balkanized Pakistan, revelation made by Carlotta Gall that Pakistan and not Afghanistan was the real target lent strength to the assertions that the US cannot be relied upon.

Consequent to change of government in Pakistan in May 2013 and changing alignments in Middle East, Riyadh, Bahrain and other Gulf States have begun to lean more heavily upon Pakistan. Pak-Turk cooperation also keyed up. South Korea offered to make investments in Pakistan.

While Russia has come closer, China has invested $46 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a game changer for Pakistan. Iran has agreed to resume stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project has been approved.

Notwithstanding positive developments, what is worrying for Pakistan is not so friendly behavior of Afghanistan and Iran and growing strategic partnership of Iran and Afghanistan with India. Development of North-South Corridor connecting Mumbai with Bandar Abbas Port in Iran, fast track development of Chahbahar Port in Iran by India and linking it with Afghanistan and Central Asia through road-rail network are aimed at undermining Gawadar Port, encircling Pakistan and gaining access to CARs markets.

India under extremist Narendra Modi, known for his anti-Muslim/Pakistan stance and not so friendly Afghanistan under Ashraf Ghani and pro-India Dr. Abdullah does not auger well for Pakistan. Although of late Modi is giving friendly signals, his change of heart is certainly not out of sincerity of purpose but owing to changed geopolitical environment. Sooner than later he is likely to revert to his belligerent policy.

The US has helped in easing tensions between India and Pakistan as well as between Afghanistan and Pakistan. India agreed to abandon its belligerent policy because of fast improving internal socio-politico-economic-security conditions of Pakistan and its success in combating terrorism.

Kabul has softened its stance owing to resurgence of Taliban and having realised that only Pakistan can help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. All have agreed to resume dialogue and cooperate with each other in fighting terrorism and in solving Afghan tangle through negotiations and in improving socio-economic conditions of South Asia.

Russo-China-US Altering Relationship

During the Cold War, USSR and China, the two largest Communist States fell apart in 1960 owing to political, cultural and ideological differences. Sino-US détente in 1972 further distanced USSR from China. Gorbachev mended fences with China in 1989 and today the two neighbors have become close allies. China has emerged as the chief rival of USA with all the trappings of future super power.

The US leans upon India to help it in encircling and containing phenomenal rise of China. The US in league with India is trying hard to win over as many littoral States around the Indian Ocean to check China’s ingress into the Indian Ocean laced with critical choke points and Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOC).

It is building coalitions with regional allies like Australia, Japan and the Philippines, and partners like Vietnam and India to bring Indian Ocean under full control to ensure uninterrupted flow of oil. Washington is currently promoting an ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept, which connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans as part of its approach towards Indian Ocean.

Haunted by the threat to its corporate capitalism because of China’s economic model which has lifted 300 million Chinese out of poverty; American writers are accusing China of endangering global stability.

Although China’s strategic focus continues to be on the Pacific, China’s priority will always be on protecting its energy security interests by way of securing the SLOC, spreading from the Gulf to the South China Sea. China is hectically building artificial islands in South China Sea to militarily check its backyard while the US is keen to increase its influence over SLOC in this Sea.

Both are resorting to shadow boxing. China is keen to develop Gawadar seaport so that its navy could checkmate Indo-US dominance of Indian Ocean and protect the SLOC, vital for the country’s energy imports. China has made deep inroads in the Middle East and Africa which include many Littoral States.

Ongoing construction of old Silk Route through CPEC from Kashgar to Gawadar and Karachi since March 2015 has the potential to make the region prosperous and self-reliant. It will however upset Indo-US game-plan of developing an alternative Silk Route in which the duo would be major beneficiaries.

Uni-polar World Gasping for Life

In 1992, the US emerged as the unchallenged sole superpower. In 2001 when George W. Bush triggered the Global War on Terror and the whole world fell in line, the US was economically, politically, diplomatically and militarily the strongest nation in the world. It was the largest aid-giver and leader of the First world.

It had a $15-trillion economy, and was looked at with awe and envy for being the “sole superpower.” In little over two decades, uni-polarism has begun to totter and it is speculated that the all-powerful US is fast running out of steam, and sooner than later uni-polarity will be replaced by multi-polarity.

Many say that the era of the US global hegemony is over. While Putin is looked at with respect for his deft handling of critical situations, American elite judge Obama as a weak president responsible for the loss of global clout which the US enjoyed.

Today the US is burdened with a national debt of $ 16.3 trillion and a total debt close to $ 59 trillion with very little chance of recovery in the foreseeable future despite the discovery of Shale gas. Apart from the debt which it has accumulated because of its craze for foreign adventures, the US leadership has also amassed tons of hate against America around the world, raging particularly in the Muslim world.

This is in spite of the US doling out aid/grants to the needy countries generously and making substantive contributions in terms of science and technology. Still, the US is presently one of the most hated nations on earth.

The US track record during and after the Cold War is that it has always attacked economically and militarily poor countries. Excepting Israel and India, the aid it lends to its allies is always attached with tough conditions and for self-serving purposes. Besides bloody wars, destabilization of elected governments or regime change through gruesome covert operations is another favorite hobby of American leaders. Pakistan has suffered the most at the hands of US and its ally India.

Among the major reasons of USA’s decline are its dual standards and discriminatory policy with regard to Palestinian and Kashmir issues and its subservience to Israel, aggressive policies of pre-emption and unilateralism, anti-Islam/Muslim policy, its grandiose plans to redraw the boundaries of the Middle East and to take control of oil resources, lust for untapped mineral resources of Central Asia, over indulgence in highly expensive war on terror and in covert wars to neo-colonize the Muslim world.

All its high-flying objectives have gone for a six after it got stuck in the quagmire of Afghanistan. Last but not least, the 2008 global recession has badly impacted the US and European economies. Rag-tag Afghan Mujahideen having humbled the Soviet Empire have now rolled the honor and prestige of the sole super/hyper power in dust.

The US sudden and rapid decline has made its self-created financial institutions like IMF and World Bank weary and defiant. They are not favoring the US suggestion to create alternative financial institutions to counter BRICS. While majority of Latin American States have moved out of the influence of North America, even Europe led by Germany and France is showing signs of non-cooperation.

Putin is cleverly playing upon the sensitivities of European countries to draw a wedge between Europe and USA. China has reduced American influence in Africa to insignificance and is raring to become an economic superpower by 2025. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States crave for US friendship no more.

New power centres have emerged and new alignments are shaping up. The invincible NATO is breaking up after its humiliation in Iraq and particularly in Afghanistan. Despite using excessive force, Islam couldn’t be undermined. Rather, it has gained ground and biggest conversion rate to Islam is in USA. Growing isolation of the US in the world has blurred ‘American Century’ dream.

The US can recover ground if the leadership changes its posture from arrogance to affability, restrain Pentagon from adventurism, CIA from covert operations and media from propaganda war, gets rid of perverse influence of Israel, India and UK, decentralize power concentrated in the hands of 1% American elites, formulate even-handed global policies to make the world peaceful and last but not least, mend fences with the Muslim world.      

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The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books; member Executive Council Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society; Director Measac Research Centre and Director Board of Governors Pakistan Thinkers Forum; who takes part in TV talk shows. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

Brig.Raja is a Defence Analyst on International Defence Related Issues and Distinguished Member of Pakistan Think Tank.

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