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Trump’s Hydra-headed National Security Strategy   General Mirza Aslam Beg Former COAS Pakistan

Trump’s Hydra-headed National Security Strategy

 

General Mirza Aslam Beg

Former Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan

friendscolumn@hotmail.com

 

 

“Trump’s Security Strategy is a farce because it has no National Security Strategy.  It has outbursts.” – Roger Cohen

 

Trump’s outbursts grow from his notion of America First, where he merges his existence with passion, that defines his National Security Policy:

Protect homeland way of life; promote American prosperity; persevere peace through strength; advance American influence in the world; build India as a counterweight to China.

Trump strategy flows from the above policy. It is a hydra-headed strategy, targeting Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran, China, North Korea and Pakistan in particular

Palestine. Trump celebrates the 100 years of Balfour Declaration of 1917, which is a public statement issued by the British government during World War I, announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. It read:

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

 

              Thus Trump has wrecked the possibility of establishing the states of Palestine and Israel, bringing the whole of Middle East to a state of crisis and catastrophe. This would result in decimation and destruction of more Muslim countries like Crusade one, which began in 2001. This is now Crusade Two, “to advance American influence in the world through strength.” Therefore chances of peace in Palestine now are remote, because the Arab World has its interests diverted towards war in Syria, Iraq and Daēsh and is engaged in managing the ravages of Arab Spring, while America, who could negotiate peace, has taken sides with Israel.

Afghanistan.

America Lost the War in Afghanistan- Egged-On By Trump Business Partners in India -Trump Wants to Make Pakistan the Fall Guy for US Afghanistan Failures

 America lost the war in Afghanistan by the year 2010, when they sent Richard Armitage to me, seeking dialogue with Afghan Taliban, who were not ready to be cheated again, as in 1990 and demanded occupation forces withdrawal as the pre-condition for talks. Despite setbacks and a gradual erosion of authority, Trump continues to reinforce his defeat through various machinations such as indirect support to Daēsh in Afghanistan, thus creating very serious security dilemma to all the neighbouring countries. He is also threatening Pakistan, to contain and curb the rising power of the Afghan resistance, so that he could “build India as the counter-weight to China”, and establish Indian hegemony from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, under the Indo-Pacific Regime. The purpose is “to persevere peace through Strength.”

Iran. Since 1980, Iran has been demonized as a serious threat to the regional countries, yet Iran has emerged resilient and strong despite sanctions, embargoes and trade restrictions, compelling America to find peace with Iran, by signing the Nuclear Deal. Trump now calls this deal “the worst deal ever been negotiated” and is not ready to sign the waivers on Iran sanctions, and threatens that “the best way to lock-in the Iranian hard-liners for the two decades would be to tear up the deal.” Trump may tear-up the deal, yet he cannot shake-off the resolve and self-confidence of the Iranian people, to “struggle to persevere peace through strength.”

Trump Choose India as a Counter-weight to China

China. Trump has called China “the strategic competitor.” Instead of joining hands with China and follow their geo-economic strategy of peace through regional cooperation, he is trying to build-up the Indian counter-weight, against the rising military and economic power of China. The Indian Counter-weight, which could not contain and curb Pakistan from rising, now has been assigned the task to contain China, with “the United States locked and loaded”, in support of India. A withering superpower could do no better than this.

Trump’s Policy Focused on Containment of China

North Korea. With limited nuclear weapon delivery capability, North Korea has been able to deter America, despite possessing a stockpile of nuclear weapons, most efficient delivery system and a state of the art air defence capability. Yet America has failed to develop a strategy that could build up pressure on North Korea and is showing a kind of helplessness, expecting China to bring sanity to the North Korean leader. The state of helplessness in case of North Korea, as well as Afghanistan, exposes the hollowness of super-power America, trying to advance their influence in the world, through farce policy initiatives.

Iran-Afghanistan-China-Pakistan-Russia

Pakistan lies at the centre stage of the regional conflict syndrome. It has to tread carefully protecting its interests, through the support of the people, embodied in the elected parliament, and building blocks of regional support of Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan, under the security partnership of China and Russia. Pakistani nation shares with Iran, the will to resist and reject, pressures and threats and continues to rise with the sublime dignity of the great civilizations with whom it shares common borders.

Pakistan – Heart of Asia

Pakistan is the Heart of Asia, as late Liaquat Ali Khan reminded the nation and we have to prove to be true to this great heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superficial Emergency Session of the OIC

The Emergency Session of the OIC did not show any seriousness amongst the members of the states. Only a few heads of the State attended. There has been an erosion of unity amongst them, and the Arab world, in particular, has been in a state of disarray after the Arab Spring. Taking advantage of the regional anarchy, America and Israel have struck, which seriously “prejudices the civil and religious rights of the Muslims and other communities of Palestine”. The situation poses a big challenge to the entire Muslim World. Except for Turkey and Iran, none seem to be taking the matter seriously. The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted against Trump’s Palestine Policy, and hopefully, it would put a check to Israel’s ambition of expanding at the cost of Arab territories for Greater Israel!

 

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Who is Behind Afghanistan’s Blame Game against Pakistan? by Sajjad Shaukat

Who is Behind Afghanistan’s Blame Game against Pakistan?
By Sajjad Shaukat

 

When any terror attack occurs in Afghanistan, Afghan government revives old blame game
against Pakistan.
On May 31, this year, a massive truck bombing of the Afghan capital’s diplomatic section killed
more than 150 people and injured hundreds of others, including foreigners. It was the deadliest
terror attack in the 16-year- old conflict.
Taliban denied responsibility for the terror attack. But, Afghanistan’s intelligence service
accused the Haqqani network by saying that a Taliban-affiliated group in Pakistan, carried out
the attack. Addressing the conference-the “Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation”,
held in Kabul on June 6, 2017, which was attended by representatives from 26 countries and
international organizations, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani criticized Pakistan for a lack of
cooperation in promoting Afghan peace and alleged that Taliban insurgents are using sanctuaries
on Pakistani soil to wage the insurgency in Afghanistan.
In the same speech, President Ghani offered peace talks to the Afghan Taliban by reiterating his
preconditions such as recognition of the Afghan constitution, continuity of the reforms of
educating and advancing the rights of women, and renunciation of violence and linkages with
terrorist groups.
A Taliban spokesman rejected Ghani’s offer of a peace dialogue by stating that it is another
attempt to endorse and to prolong foreign occupation of Afghanistan.
However, during the same of the conference, a powerful bomb went off at a main mosque in the
western city of Herat, killing at least 10 people. Again, Taliban spokesman denied its
involvement in connection with the explosion.

 

 

On the other side, Pakistan’s special Corps Commander Conference took the stern notice of
Afghanistan’s allegations and threats and vowed to defend the country the with full forces.
According to the press release of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), issued on June 6,
2017, the “Special Corps Commanders Conference presided over by Chief of the Army Staff
General Qamar Javed Bajwa called for Afghanistan to introspect and not allege Pakistan of
sponsoring terrorism…the conference reviewed the security situation…Strongly condemning
the Kabul blast…meeting has expressed complete solidarity with Afghan government…instead
of blaming Pakistan, Afghanistan needs to look forward and identify the real issues…Armed
forces will defend the country from each challenge and will continue work to establish peace in
the region.”
ISPR statement further reported that the meeting reaffirming continued support to regional
peace and stability, the forum reiterated military’s resolve to defend the motherland against all
types of threat.

Nevertheless, we need to know that who is behind Afghanistan’s blame game against Pakistan
and why the same continues unabated in wake of terrorism-related assaults in Pakistan.
It mentionable that the armed forces of Pakistan have successfully broken the backbone of the
foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operations Zarb-e- Azb and Radd-ul- Fasaad
which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan. And
Pakistan’s primarily intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by
capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts.
Besides, since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and
protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many insurgents and their
leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and
peace has been restored in Balochistan.
Peace has also been restored in Karachi and other provinces of Pakistan, including the tribal
areas. But, recent blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country show that the US-led
India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage to destabilize Pakistan and to
damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
In this regard, as part of the latest wave of terrorism, at least 35 people, including nine police
men were killed and several others injured in a suicide blast near Arfa Tower on Ferozpur Road
in Lahore on July 24, 2017.
On the same day, ISPR statement said that Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed
Bajwa raised concerns with the visiting Commander Resolute Support Mission (RSM) and
US Forces in Afghanistan, General John W. Nicholson, over “the blame game perpetrated by
some quarters in Afghanistan and United States to undermine Pakistan’s contribution to the
war on terror.
The army chief elaborated, “This theme is being played at a time when policy review is
being undertaken in USA…despite provocations, Pakistan will continue to act positively as
we consider defeat of terrorism as national interest.”
The ISPR statement further pointed out that Nicholson reiterated his appreciation of
Pakistan Army’s professionalism and admiration for resilience of the people. Both agreed on
need for continuous engagement and coordination for peace and stability in the region.
Notably, a visiting United States (US) Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain
was taken on a tour of South Waziristan by Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on July 3, this year.
During their visit to South Waziristan, the delegation was briefed on recent measures taken for
the improvement of the fencing of the Pak-Afghan border and enhanced surveillance.
Speaking at the event, Senator McCain stressed the importance of continued cooperation
between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Senator Graham expressed his satisfaction with the progress
against the fight against terrorism by stating, “I cannot stress how impressed I am with what’s happened in the last two years. It speaks well of the Pakistani Army and the people in this
region”. Senator Whitehouse also lauded the military’s efforts in curbing terrorism.
As a matter of fact, the US and India do not want to see peace and prosperity in the region.
Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral
Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by killing of the Taliban leader
Mullah Akhtar Mansur in CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan
Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government.
While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad
and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop

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Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges By Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges

Asif Haroon Raja

Overview

Pakistan has, since birth, been faced with one crisis after another. The tense geopolitical environment created by hostile India and unfriendly Afghanistan was the motivating factor which impelled our leaders to accord preference to security over developing institutions and strengthening the economy. Security concerns governed our foreign policy.

Pakistan joined Western pacts mainly to find an umbrella to mitigate its security concerns. But the US never became a trustworthy and sincere ally, as was the case of former the Soviet Union with India. The western pacts proved elusive when Pakistan was truncated in 1971.

India had been working upon East Bengal since 1948 with the aim of subverting the minds of Bengalis and poisoning their minds against people of West Pakistan through an orchestrated subversion plan. It wanted to disprove Two-Nation theory. India in collusion with the former-the Soviet Union and supported by several other countries hatched the gory plan of the dismemberment of Pakistan. After nine months insurgency, Indian military jumped in to cut Pakistan to size and create Bangladesh. Indira Gandhi chortled that Two-Nation theory had been sunk into the Bay of Bengal.

In the aftermath of 9/11, another international conspiracy was hatched to dismember Pakistan. This time the conspiracy was much larger in scope and more dangerous in intent. Pakistan was to be befriended and then cut into four quasi-states. In this, India is being supported by USA, Afghanistan, Britain, Israel and the West in general. The tools in use are TTP, BLA, BRA, BLF, MQM and segment of media bolstered by bloggers, foreign paid NGOs and international media. Daesh is the latest group added to their arsenal.   

The goals are to destabilize, de-Islamise, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan using covert means and psychological operations.

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan was made to fight terrorism on its soil, then accused of harboring terrorists in safe havens in FATA and aiding cross border terrorism in Afghanistan, occupied Kashmir and India, and then constantly pressed to do more. The terrorist groups in FATA, Baluchistan were funded, equipped and trained to fight and exhaust Pak security forces. MQM was funded and its militants trained in India to make Karachi lawless.

India and Afghanistan were projected as victims of terrorism and Pakistan as an incubator of terrorism. The covert war launched from Afghan soil in 2002 has incurred a loss of 60,000 fatalities, injuries to tens of thousands, destruction of property, $ 118 billion financial loss and immense social trauma.

Pakistan has come under a foreign debt of $70 billion.  

The US imposed War on Terror has heightened ethnicity, sectarianism, extremism, provincialism, political instability, economic fragility and moral degeneration of society as a whole.

As a result of these frailties, Pakistan which is a nuclear power with robust armed forces that are second to none has abundant resources and resilient manpower, it has become vulnerable to foreign coercion, manipulation, and aggression.

Of all the crisis faced by Pakistan in its 70 years history, the present one is perhaps the most dangerous, both in terms of its nature and its possible consequences. Without a doubt, Pakistan is in the vortex of grave dangers and the country today stands at the cusp of survival and disaster. The Titans that have marked Pakistan as a target are impatient to fragment it. 

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Having given the background and overall geopolitical environment, I shall now discuss the five stages through which Pakistan’s foreign policy has moved forward to confront multiple challenges.

Quaid-e-Azam MA Jinnah had spelled out Pakistan’s foreign policy soon after the birth of Pakistan in these words:

 “Our objective should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.” 

Our foreign policy is one of the friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair-play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.” 
Pakistan opened diplomatic relations with all the countries of the world except Israel owing to Palestinian dispute.  Successive regimes made concerted efforts to normalize relations with India but failed because of unresolved Kashmir dispute and India not reconciling to the existence of Pakistan. In its desire to become the unchallenged big power of South Asia, India whipped up a frenzy against all its neighbors. It applied multiple pressures on Pakistan and went to war thrice so as to force Pakistan to accept its hegemony and become its vassal state.

Pakistan in search of security and recognition

Pakistan started its journey as a nonaligned nation and remained the member of Non-Aligned Movement from 1947 till 1954. In the first 15 years of Pakistan’s life, the founding leaders remained deeply engrossed in establishing credentials of Pakistan’s statehood in the face of massive propaganda of India that Pakistan was a monstrosity. It was described as a transient phenomenon and Indian economic wizards had given six months life to Pakistan. International recognition was sought and obtained in those agonizing years. 

In its formative years, Pakistan attached importance to relations with Muslim countries and championed Muslim causes. Its efforts to build Muslim unity couldn’t make any headway. It cultivated special ties with Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan joined Western pacts

Aggressive posturing of India, its expansionist designs and intentions to absorb Kashmir, together with Afghanistan’s enmity, former USSR’s heavy tilt towards India, deepening economic crisis in early 1950s, sense of isolation, and the UN and Commonwealth failing to resolve the Kashmir dispute were some of the reasons which impelled Pakistan to join the US created SEATO and Baghdad Pact/CENTO in 1954/55. Thereon, its foreign policy was governed by the US interests.

Pakistan became part of the US defensive arc stretching to Iran and Turkey to contain the spread of communism in South Asia and the Middle East. Pakistan did so despite the fact that it had no direct clash with USSR, and had to pay a heavy price for it. When Pakistan acted as a conduit in 1971 to bring China closer to the USA, it further antagonized Moscow and it decided to teach Pakistan a lesson.

Alignment with the USA however, helped Pakistan in improving its economy and defense capability phenomenally during the 10-year Ayub’s golden era.

Tilt towards China

After the Indo-Sino border clash in 1962, in the wake of Moscow, Washington and the West providing arms to India at the cost of disturbing the regional military balance, Ayub Khan started tilting towards China and Russia. This move was seen as an act of defiance by the USA and it decided to penalize him. The US discriminatory attitude was discernible in the 1965 War with India when it stopped extending economic and military assistance including the supply of spare parts, whereas Russia kept supplying arms to India.

It is believed that both ZA Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib were cultivated to trigger agitations in both the wings to bring down Ayub regime and then pave the way for the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971.

Southwestern Asian Identity and policy of Bilateralism

After the 1971 tragedy, ZA Bhutto scrapped SEATO pact and membership of Commonwealth stating that those had proved worthless. He then tried to carve out Southwest Asian identity so as to draw economic strength and security from oil rich Arab States. This tilt towards the Gulf States brought in financial bonanza and job opportunities for Pakistan in the 1970s and also gave an opportunity to Pak military to make inroads into the GCC States. Saudi Arabia never hesitated to extend financial support to Pakistan in its testing times.

Another change in Pakistan’s foreign policy was affected by the Simla agreement in 1972 which led to the policy of bilateralism and non-alignment. Ceasefire line in Kashmir was renamed as LoC and Kashmir issue put on the back burner. India however, maintained its belligerent policy and carried out the nuclear test at Pokhran in August 1974, which impelled ZA Bhutto to go nuclear.

Afghan war (1980-1989)

Pakistan-US relations nosedived when Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq was put under sanctions in April 1979 by Carter regime on account of suspicion that it was pursuing nuclear program covertly. However, the Afghan war in the 1980s once again made Pakistan a close ally of USA and was bestowed with $3.5 billion assistance and F-16 jets.

Pakistan had to face Russo-Afghan-India nexus and Al-Zulfiqar terrorism (militant wing of PPP). The Afghan war brought Pakistan coolness in Pak-Iran relations but brought Afghanistan under Mujahideen very close to Pakistan. Both talked of providing strategic depth to each other.

Pakistan’s challenges in Post-cold war era

After the breakup of USSR in 1991 and end of Cold War era, Pakistan was faced with multiple foreign policy issues. The US abandoned Pakistan, imposed sanctions on it under Pressler Amendment and befriended India.

Pakistan was up against Indo-US-Israeli nexus geared toward destroying Kahuta plant.

The other issue was the fallout effects of the Afghan war in the form of Kalashnikov and drug cultures, the load of 3.5 million refugees, the radicalization of the society and sectarianism fomented by Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The other was the armed uprising in occupied Kashmir which forced India to pump in 750,000 security forces to quell the insurgency and to propagate that Pakistan was abetting it.

Pakistan had to bear with the domino effect of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).

And lastly, nuclear explosions by the two arch rivals in May 1998. Pakistan’s external climbed up. These challenges made the democratic era weak and uninspiring. Despite being repeatedly betrayed, Pakistan didn’t deem it fit to diversify its foreign policy and kept its hopes alive to get into the good books of USA.

Impact of 9/11

9/11 changed the global politics and Pakistan was once again befriended by the USA and made a coalition partner to fight the global war on terror as a frontline state. Pakistan for a second time shifted all its eggs in the basket of USA.

Between 2004 and 2008, Indo-Pak relations improved as a result of the peace treaty and resumption of dialogue, giving rise to optimism that core disputes will be resolved. Euphoria died down after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 when India blamed Pakistan. Indo-Pak relations have hit rock bottom after Modi led BJP regime espousing Hindutva came to power in June 2014.

Ongoing fast changing global dynamics and ever growing strategic partnership between USA and India has impelled Pakistan policy makers to revisit the foreign policy and suitably modify it to meet the future challenges.

Pakistan’s current challenges

India has not reconciled to the existence of Pakistan and strives to reduce it to the status of a Satellite State.

India is a strategic partner of the US, Israel, Afghanistan and is the darling of the west. The trio is pursuing common objective of destroying Pakistan.

India is making concerted efforts to destabilize Pakistan through covert war, encircle Pakistan by consolidating its presence in Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics (CARs), building North-South Corridor linking Mumbai with Bandar Abbas; and connecting Chabahar with Afghanistan-CARs.

India is working hard to isolate Pakistan by tarnishing its image and spoiling its relations with Afghanistan, Iran, Gulf States and the US.

Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute but India stubbornly maintains that it is its integral part well knowing that the Kashmiris hate Indians and want freedom at all cost.

To keep Pakistan on the defensive and force it to forget Kashmir, India is playing terrorism card, Baluchistan and Sindh cards, and water terrorism to bend Pakistan on its knees.

India’s Cold Start doctrine is aimed at offsetting Pakistan’s strategic nuclear doctrine and executing it at a time when the bulk of Pak forces had got pinned down in designated restive areas.

The upturn of Pakistan’s sunk economy and its image, control over energy crisis and terrorism coupled with development works and fast progressing CPEC have increased the anxieties of India. To give vent to its frustrations, it is carrying out unprovoked firing across the LoC and working boundary in Kashmir relentlessly.

For all practical purposes, Pakistan has fallen from the grace of USA and time is not far when it will be once again be ditched and put under harsh sanctions.

Indo-US-Israel agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program, or as a minimum curtailing its minimum deterrence capability remain unchanged.

Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai remained aligned with India and hostile to Pakistan. Afghan Unity government under Ghani-Abdullah is far worse.

Pak-Iran relations are frosty and practically, Iran is more close to India and Afghanistan.

Net outcome in 2017

Pakistan foreign policy makers are faced with perpetually hostile India, near hostile Afghanistan, and the changed attitude of the US. Washington has callously whipped Pakistan under its ‘do more’ policy and is now hurling warnings. It’s heavy tilt towards India is a matter of anxiety for Pakistan.

Iran nurtures grouses on account of Pakistan’s closeness with Saudi Arabia, and for sending Gen Raheel to Riyadh to head 41-member Sunni Muslim States Alliance.

Warmth in a relationship with the GCC States has diluted because of Pakistan not agreeing to send troops to Saudi Arabia to ward off the threat from Yemen. Saudi-Qatar tiff is another challenge faced by Pakistan since it cannot afford to take sides.

Pakistan has been deliberately kept politically unstable by making it play the game of ladder and snake so that it remains economically dependent. It was pulled down whenever it grew economically strong. That is why it has been lurching from one crisis to another in its 70 years checkered history.

Pakistan can ill-afford political disharmony and disunity at this critical juncture when black clouds are hovering over its horizon.

Geopolitical realities

Pakistan is faced with multiple threats of Indo-US-Afghan covert war, India’s Cold Start Doctrine, the US Af-Pak doctrine, and Hybrid war and all these threats have now become menacing.

The threat to its security has heightened after the signing of three Indo-US defense agreements in 2016 and the US openly expressing its enmity against Pakistan and love for India.

India is getting unnerved on account of high-intensity freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir, which is slipping out of its hands and is endangering the unity of India. India has no other choice except to keep persecuting the Kashmiris ruthlessly, keep the LoC on fire and to diplomatically place Pakistan on the back foot.

Muslim Pakistan, laced with nuclear/missile power and now getting economically strong due to CPEC is unacceptable to USA, India, and Israel. The trio may go to any extent to disrupt CPEC.

Pakistan is faced with the threat of two-front war from east and west, inauspicious southwestern backyard, vulnerable seacoast, not so friendly Gulf States, together with the internal war on terror and internal war on terror

Pakistan’s viable nuclear cum missile capability deters India from waging an open war.

Nuclear factor has compelled India to resort to indirect strategy to weaken Pakistan from within through unrelenting covert war, discredit and isolate it through propaganda and diplomacy, extract its nuclear teeth clandestinely, and then apply the military instrument through Cold Start doctrine.

Having tried out all possible means short of war, the only other option left with enemies of Pakistan is to create political chaos and logjam, paralyze the government machinery and then trigger civil war as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Many are suspecting a game plan behind the current political imbroglio.

The success of $21 trillion One-Road-One-belt projects of China hinges on successful completion of CPEC. In view of China’s ambition to become leading economic power and its heavy economic stakes in CPEC, it is bound to come to the aid of Pakistan whenever its security is threatened.

Pakistan is a target and not an ally of USA. Earlier Pakistan gets out of the enchantment of USA, better it will be.

Inferences

Any expectation of goodwill and empathy from India, Afghanistan under Ghani and USA, which in pursuit of their common objectives have been inflicting tens of thousands of cuts on the body of Pakistan and its people, will be foolhardy.

The newly appointed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in consultation with the new PM Khaqan Abbasi, CJCSC Gen Zubair Hayat, and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa need to revisit the foreign policy at the earliest to make appropriate changes after correctly identifying friends and foes and accordingly diversifying the policy to meet the upcoming challenges.

Foreign policy instead of being defensive, apologetic and reactive, should be infused with dynamism and pro-activeness.

The change in foreign policy should not be abrupt, but gradual and orderly without violent fluctuations. The change should be akin to autumn changing into winter, or winter into spring.

While maintaining a working relationship with the USA, Pakistan should draw closer to China, Russia, Central Asia, SCO, and ASEAN.

Pakistan should work hard to bring Iran in the loop of China-Russia peace-talks initiative, possibly draw in Turkey and conjointly work to restore peace in war torn Afghanistan.

Pakistan must strive to establish a friendly regime in Kabul.

Surging Afghan Taliban and not the corrupt and inept unity government in Kabul toeing Indo-US agenda should be kept in the loop.

Pakistan should continue to play a mediatory role in the Iran-Saudi ideological rivalry and in Saudi-Qatar tiff to narrow down their differences and also allay the misperceptions of Gulf States on account of Yemen crisis. It will be unwise to call back Gen Raheel and detach Pakistan from 41-member Muslim Alliance.

CPEC should be made use of as a strong magnet by our foreign policy makers to attract as many nations from Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe to ward off Indian inspired threat of isolation.

Gwadar-Chahbahar economic rivalry should be converted into an opportunity to complement each other’s strength.

Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Comprehensive and pragmatic Kashmir policy should be devised to keep the cause of Kashmir alive.

Conclusion. While many developing countries have raced ahead, Pakistan is still struggling and has neither become an Asian tiger or a secure country. Political parties are behaving irresponsibly and are advised to shun politics of agitation and division and promote the concept of “Unity in Diversity”. Strong and united home front is the best defense against internal and external challenges.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, columnist, author of five books. He is Director Measac Research Centre, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Editor-in-chief “Better Morrow’ magazine, editor of website group ‘The Patriots’. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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If US Betrays Pakistan’s Trust Again, Redress May Not Be Possible

America is preparing to leave Afghanistan at the mercy of a lame government and an army of questionable loyalty.

The search for “good” Taliban is on in Afghanistan; the U.S. has announced that no action is to be taken against those who are not a threat to the U.S., including Mullah Omar.

The United States has said that after Jan. 2, 2015, the U.S. Army will not take any action against Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders in Afghanistan if they pose no direct threat to the United States. Addressing a press conference in Washington, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that the U.S. will not operate against anyone simply on the basis of their being Taliban members. Nevertheless, he used the occasion to clarify that those who fight will not be spared by any means. Kirby emphasized that any Taliban who operate against the U.S. or against its Afghan partners will automatically fall within the scope of the U.S. military operation.

Addressing the final news conference for the year last Friday, President Barack Obama reassured the American public that he is committed to his promise to end the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Obama said that in less than even two weeks, the U.S. mission that has continued in Afghanistan for more than 13 years will come to an end. However, Obama gave full permission to his troops to combat extremists in the event of their becoming direct threats to the U.S. or to Afghan forces.

After 9/11, America’s enemies in this region were al-Qaida and the Taliban. The U.S. and its allies needed Pakistan’s cooperation in confronting these enemies, cooperation which Pakistan provided. With this cooperation, and with the use of modern arms and trained armies, the U.S. and its allies totally crushed Afghanistan. Ammunition and iron rained down on the land of Afghanistan, and land forces also employed their talents and weaponry to the full extent. Thousands of al-Qaida members and Taliban were killed, and at the same time, hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens were also killed, including children, old people and women. In the words of America, it broke the back of al-Qaida.

The Taliban were removed from power but could not be eliminated. They still exist as a force in Afghanistan and some other countries, and the U.S. has even carried out direct, as well as indirect and secret, negotiations with them at times. Although the U.S. stayed in Afghanistan for 13 years with full pomp and power, it could not realize its desire to completely eliminate the Taliban; nor could it persuade the Taliban to cooperate with the Afghan government. Now that a big part of the U.S. Army will be leaving Afghanistan in about a week and a half, without coffins, the Americans are hoping that the Taliban who continued to confront them for 13 years will start behaving like good children and pledge allegiance to Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. This is not simply an illusion or a misconception on the part of the U.S., but inane thinking. The Taliban maintain a hold in many areas of Afghanistan and influence in several others; they are simply lying in wait for the U.S. and its allies to leave Afghanistan — when they can implement their plan to occupy Kabul.

Despite the presence of tens of thousands of military experts and their operations, the governments of the previous Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and current President Ashraf Ghani have remained weak in most areas other than in cities such as Kabul. At the beginning of the coming year, following evacuation of NATO forces from Afghanistan, the government of Ashraf Ghani will have to face severe problems despite having full or partial authority in different regions. Perhaps the U.S. and the Afghan administrations are relying on the 150,000 members of the [Afghan] National Guard. But these are the very U.S.-trained soldiers who carried out dozens of attacks on their American teachers. It is possible that tomorrow these U.S.-trained soldiers will be seen standing in support of the Taliban in the same way that the army of President Hafizullah Amin joined the Taliban following the Russian evacuation.

The U.S. defeated Russia with help from Pakistan; it then took the route home, leaving Afghanistan in a state of anarchy and leaving Pakistan suffering to this day from the ill effects of its actions. Had the U.S. restored peace in Afghanistan by establishing a strong government there, the hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees would not still be a weight on Pakistan after 35 years. As it did in the past, the U.S. is once again leaving Afghanistan without any planning. Pakistan today is in the grip of terrorism and lawlessness that is stronger than any it experienced in the past. Pakistani Taliban — products of the Afghan[istan] War — have turned the whole country into an ammunition pile.

On Dec. 16 these terrorists, carrying out the worst example of brutality and barbarity in human history, bathed hundreds of children in dust and blood at the Military Public School in Peshawar. According to the brutal terrorists, this was retaliation for operation Zarb-e-Azb, being conducted by the Pakistani army to eliminate the terrorists. Following this incident, the whole country united under the Nawaz Sharif government for the elimination of terrorists. The prime minister lifted restrictions on the death penalty to be effective immediately. So far there have been six executions, while gallows have been constructed in prisons for more.

After the Peshawar incident, the government immediately called a conference of parliamentary parties in an effort to form a working group that would reach a consensus regarding a strategy. Yesterday, this group agreed on eight recommendations including the establishment of military courts and repatriation of Afghan refugees. The prime minister was briefed about these recommendations and, in this context, has called a meeting of parliamentary parties to approve an action plan based on the working group’s recommendations. The meeting will be attended by political leaders, including Imran Khan.

Along with execution of terrorists, the Pakistani army is conducting rapid operations in which 200 terrorists were killed within a week and twice the number arrested. In the most recent action in Karachi, 13 terrorists belonging to al-Qaida and the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban were killed in confrontations; arms and suicide jackets were recovered from them. About 300 suspected terrorists were arrested in operations carried out in Mansehra and Islamabad.

Pakistan helped the U.S. with its heart and soul in the war against terrorism, as a result of which, the flames of warfare that were extinguished in Afghanistan have started flaring up in Pakistan. Until yesterday, the U.S. was placing pressure on Pakistan to take evenhanded action against those who posed a danger to Pakistan as well as those who did not pose a danger to Pakistan, without discrimination. Now the U.S. is in search of “good” Taliban in Afghanistan.

Whether the matter relates to Pakistan or to Afghanistan, “good” Taliban are those who give up arms. Taking the position that we will not confront those who are not confronting us is equivalent to deceiving oneself. This thinking is no different from saying that “you cannot use your weapons; but if your reservations lead you to wield arms, then we will also retaliate.” Prior to the U.S. invasion, the nature of the Taliban position in Afghanistan was no different from this; they had not hurt U.S. interests and even bin Laden had not stood up with his gun in Afghanistan. Still, the U.S. placed a price of $10 million on Mullah Omar’s head. In light of the U.S. statement today, how would the U.S. treat him if he makes an appearance at the beginning of next year, decorate him with garlands?

America is preparing to leave Afghanistan at the mercy of a lame government and an army (the [Afghan] National Guard) of questionable loyalty. Further, the fire of terrorism is blazing in Pakistan. Should the U.S. once again leave Pakistan without its friendship and support — as it has done in the past — then Pakistan will eventually emerge from the morass after it faces difficulty. However, its trust in the U.S. will be finished and it will not wish to cooperate with the U.S. ever again. It is possible that in only a few months following evacuation, the U.S. will be in need of Pakistan’s cooperation in Afghanistan.

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FOOL’S WAR in AFGHANISTAN – by Eric S Margolis

Image result for Afghanistan Swamp

FOOL’S WAR  in AFGHANISTAN 

by 

Eric S Margolis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifteen years ago this week, the US launched the longest war in its history: the invasion and occupation of remote Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan was forced to facilitate the American invasion or ‘be bombed back to the stone age.’

America was furious after the bloody 9/11 attacks. The Bush administration had been caught sleeping on guard duty. Many Americans believed 9/11 was an inside job by pro-war neocons.

Afghanistan was picked as the target of US vengeance even though the 9/11 attacks were hatched (if in fact done from abroad) in Germany and Spain. The suicide attackers made clear their kamikaze mission was to punish the US for ‘occupying’ the holy land of Saudi Arabia, and for Washington’s open-ended support of Israel in its occupation of Palestine.

This rational was quickly obscured by the Bush administration that claimed the 9/11 attackers, most of whom were Saudis, were motivated by hatred of American ‘values’ and ‘freedoms.’ This nonsense planted the seeds of the rising tide of Islamophobia that we see today and the faux ‘war on terror.’

An anti-communist jihadi, Osama bin Laden, was inflated and demonized into America’s Great Satan. The supposed ‘terrorist training camps’ in Afghanistan were, as I saw with my eyes, camps where Pakistani intelligence trained jihadis to fight in India-occupied Kashmir.

Afghanistan, remote, bleak and mountainous, was rightly known as ‘the graveyard of empires.’ These included Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Timur, the Moguls and Sikhs. The British Empire invaded Afghanistan three times in the 19th century. The Soviet Union, world’s greatest land power, invaded in 1979, seeking a corridor to the Arabian Sea and Gulf.

All were defeated by the fierce Pashtun warrior tribes of the Hindu Kush. But the fool George W. Bush rushed in where angels feared to tread, in a futile attempt to conquer an unconquerable people for whom war was their favorite pastime. I was with the Afghan mujahidin when fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980’s, and again the newly-formed Taliban in the early 1990’s. As I wrote in my book on this subject, ‘War at the Top of the World,’ the Pashtun warriors were the bravest men I’d ever seen. They had only ancient weapons but possessed boundless courage.

During the 2001 US invasion, the Americans allied themselves to the heroin and opium-dealing Tajik Northern Alliance, to former Communist allies of the Soviets, and to the northern Uzbeks, blood foes of the Pashtun and former Soviet Communist allies.

Taliban, which had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, had shut down 90% of Afghanistan’s heroin and opium trade. The US-allied Northern Alliance restored it, making Afghanistan again the world’s leading supplier of heroin and opium. US occupation forces, backed by immense tactical airpower, allied themselves with the most criminal elements in Afghanistan and installed a puppet regime of CIA assets. The old Communist secret police, notorious for their record of torture and atrocities, was kept in power by CIA to fight Taliban.

Last week, Washington’s Special Inspector General for Afghan Relief (SIGAR) issued a totally damning report showing how mass corruption, bribery, payoffs and drug money had fatally undermined US efforts to build a viable Afghan society.

What’s more, without 24/7 US air cover, Washington’s yes-men in Kabul would be quickly swept away. The Afghan Army and police have no loyalty to the regime; they fight only for the Yankee dollar. Like Baghdad, Kabul is a US-guarded island in a sea of animosity.

A report by Global Research has estimated the 15-year Afghan War and the Iraq War had cost the US $6 trillion. Small wonder when gasoline trucked up to Afghanistan from Pakistan’s coast it costs the Pentagon $400 per gallon. Some estimates put the war cost at $33,000 per citizen. But Americans do not pay this cost through a special war tax, as it should be. Bush ordered the total costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars be concealed in the national debt.

Officially, 2,216 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan and 20,049 were seriously wounded. Some 1,173 US mercenaries have also been killed. Large numbers of US financed mercenaries still remain in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Noble Peace Prize winner Barack Obama promised to withdraw nearly all US troops from Afghanistan by 2016.  Instead, more US troops are on the way to protect the Kabul puppet regime from its own people. Taliban and its dozen-odd allied resistance movements (‘terrorists’ in Pentagon speak faithfully parroted by the US media) are steadily gaining territory and followers.

Last week, the US dragooned NATO and other satrap states to a ‘voluntary’ donor conference for Afghanistan where they had to cough up another $15.2 billion and likely send some more troops to this hopeless conflict. Washington cannot bear to admit defeat by tiny Afghanistan or see this strategic nation fall into China’s sphere.

Ominously, the US is encouraging India to play a much larger role in Afghanistan, thus planting the seeds of a dangerous Pakistani-Indian-Chinese confrontation there.

There was no mention of the 800-lb gorilla in the conference room: Afghanistan’s role as the world’s, by now, largest heroin/opium/morphine producer – all under the proud auspices of the United States government. The new US president will inherit this embarrassing problem.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2016

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