Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Posts Tagged India

Progress achieved by Pakistan in counter-terrorism Brig.Gen(R) Asif Haroon

Cold Start AF-Pak Fifth Generation War Doctrine Pakistan Facing Simultaneously

Progress achieved by Pakistan in counter-terrorism       

Brig.Gen(R) Asif Haroon

 

 

In the wake of the US war on terror initiated by the USA in end 2001, Pakistan which was made a US ally and a frontline state to combat terrorism have borne the brunt of terrorist attacks that have killed more than 70,000 people including women and children. Not only has Pakistan suffered in terms of losing precious lives, it has also sustained economic losses in its fight against terrorism that has risen to $126 billion in 2017-18, which is more than what the country has suffered in its wars with India. No other country, not even the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, can claim to have suffered such tremendous loss, both in terms of lives and money.

When Fazlullah made Swat-Malakand region into a state within a state in 2008/09, it led to Operation Rah-e- Rast on April 2009. A terrorist attack on GHQ on October 10 that year led to Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan. 17 out of 18 administrative units in the control of TTP were retaken after launching series of operations in six tribal agencies. A terrorist attack on Jinnah terminal at Karachi on June 9, 2014, led to the launching of Operation Zarb on June 15 in North Waziristan which had become the safe haven and strongest base of operation of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) affiliated with 66 proscribed militant groups.  Following the vicious terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) on December 16, 2014, which resulted in the death of 149 people including 132 school children, Pakistan clamped down hard on the terrorist networks in the country through sustained counterterrorism operations, as part of the National Action Plan (NAP).

These military operations have substantially improved the overall security situation in the country. All bases of operations and safe havens of militant organizations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) called PATA (provincially administered) have been dismantled and flushed out. The handlers, facilitators, financiers of terrorists spread in all parts of Pakistan are being systematically dealt with by the military through countrywide intelligence based Operation Raddul Fasad. Likewise sleeping cells are being eliminated. Another tangible step that has been initiated is the fencing of the western border to prevent cross-border infiltration. Border management is also being improved.  

Continuous intelligence-based operations and the stringent measures introduced under NAP including the re-institution of the death penalty, new cybercrime laws, the renewal of the Afghan Refugee Registration, the revival of the Pakistan Automated Fingerprint Identification System (PAFIS), and the establishment of the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) to check cross-border infiltration of terrorists have today significantly eradicated terrorists, their networks and safe havens in the country.

To fix loopholes and strengthen the judicial system, a holistic approach was taken towards legislation for strengthening Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts.  Special military courts were established through the 21st amendment in the constitution of Pakistan for the purpose of speedy trials and to protect the judges who prosecute the terrorists. Eleven military courts were established and 388 cases have been transferred to these courts and their decisions have been forwarded to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for his approval of the award of the death sentence.[1] Military courts in Pakistan have sentenced 186 terrorists to death and issued verdicts for more than 300 terrorism-related cases.[2]

Another milestone achieved by NAP was strengthening of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) – an anti-terrorism institution established by the parliament in 2013 with the sole mandate of countering extremism and terrorism in the country. Regrettably, it remained un-effective until it was made part of the NAP. Following the zero-tolerance policy after the APS attack, NACTA pursued its mandate and jurisdiction with unparalleled vigour and etched the policies addressing the state’s goals in countering terrorism. A special budget of Rs. 1545.5 million was allocated in 2016-17, and in 2017-2018 Rs. 1643.019 million was demanded, however only Rs. 530.839 have been released. A Joint Intelligence Directorate has also been staffed in NACTA for the purpose of enhancing coordination and intelligence sharing mechanism among the provinces.[3]

The NAP which has a 20-point agenda has also taken a rigorous stance in dealing with the matter of sectarian violence, religious intolerance and extremism. As a result, 1373 cases were registered after 2014 regarding hate speech and publication of literature inciting religious sentiments. Around 2,566 persons were arrested against 1373 cases and 70 shops were sealed. Moreover, 19,895 cases have been registered pertaining to misuse of loudspeakers, 20,679 persons were arrested and 8,759 pieces of equipment have been confiscated.[4] Sectarian violence surged in the country in the last two decade, sacrilegious and hate speech were the main causes of creating sectarian violence. NAP ensured the misuse of loudspeaker would not be tolerated and fiery speeches were banned. It is the fruit of NAP that in 2012, 185 sectarian attacks were recorded while in 2018 only two attacks were witnessed on the mainstream.[5]

Steps have also been taken to check terror financing. Before the inception of the NAP, there was no robust mechanism available to monitor terrorist funding activities. The terrorists could freely manipulate huge funds received by their sympathizers and stakeholders. They could receive huge sums of money through charities, NGOs, and international fund transfers, narcotics trade, and extortion. In an effort to overcome this drawback, NACTA took an initiative to choke the funding activities of terrorists and established a Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in every province and it became an integral part of investigations. Furthermore, HUNDI/HUWALA transactions were also monitored and 919 cases were registered, 1209 persons were arrested and Rs. 1489.918 million was recovered. Another 426 cases were registered and 574 were arrested under money laundering charges.[6]

NAP took effective measures to counter the re-emergence of proscribed organizations. Until now, 66 organizations have been declared as illegal and 4 are under observation, while 7,966 individuals have been placed under section IV of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The government has so far frozen 4,962 accounts with over Rs. 93,980 million. Over 2,052 persons are also facing travel restrictions.[7]

NAP provided a strong mechanism to establish skilled anti-terrorist force in all provinces with an aim to reduce the burden from the police and to combat terrorists. Presently, out of 7200 sanctioned force, 6,038 security personnel are working all around Pakistan in different provinces.[8]

Effective steps have also been taken to promote pluralism and diversity. The federal government has directed all the provincial governments to protect the lives and honour of all non-Muslims minorities. Their shops and places of worship are now secured by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA’s), and all discrimination and biases have been expunged from the curricula.

Approximately 32,272 religious seminaries were functional all around the country. To address the issue of illegal seminaries, NACTA in collaboration with Ittihad-e-Tanzim-e-Madaris Pakistan has streamlined the Madrassas. The registration and data forms have been generated to keep a record of Madrassas. Islamabad Punjab and Sindh have already carried out 100% geo-mapping (Special software technology that records data with visuals) on agreed parameters, while Baluchistan (80%), FATA (90%), and KPK (95%). Geo-mapping of all places of worships has also been undertaken. [9]

FATA became a stronghold of the militant organizations like TTP. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched to eliminate terrorism and bring reforms in the region. Army played a key role in managing internally displaced persons lodged in makeshift camps and in the resettlement of over 15 lacs displaced people and in the reconstruction of destroyed houses and property. The recent merger of FATA with KPK and abolishment of Frontier Crimes Regulations is a milestone achieved by all the major political parties of the country as well as the Army. Only Fazlur Rahman led Jamiatul Islam and Achakzai led PkMAP to have reservations about the merger.

Cellular technology was also exploited by the criminals, terrorists and affiliated organizations. There was no restriction on a person from having a number of Sim cards and the registration process was inadequate to meet the standards. NAP’s point 13 deals with dismantling communication network of terrorists. A colossal exercise was conducted and 98.3 million unregistered and illegal Sim cards were blocked.[10] A new system was introduced by the authorities to streamline the Sim card registration process by working closely with NADRA and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. NACTA has also been granted special permission to block mobile services on special occasions.

NAP has also successfully addressed the growing issues of social media and electronic crime. In order to filter the social media and enable a strong vigilance, a special act of ‘Prevention of Electronic Crime’ was passed in 2016. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NACTA are now working closely to monitor the internet traffic, monitoring electronic crimes, and trace and shut down the sites that advocate extremism. Till March 2018, approximately 1447 websites have been blocked which exhibits extremism and hate.[11]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Punjab witnessed a lot of bloodshed and sectarian violence because of fallout effects of 10-year Afghan war followed by civil war in Afghanistan. The growing Punjabi militias also had deep connections with Al-Qaeda and TTP. It was an alarming situation and required a special attention to protect the citizenry of Punjab and other provinces. NAP has shown zero tolerance to these groups in Punjab, and according to the Punjab Home Department Reports, a total of 91,666 combing operations were conducted between 2014-March 2018 all across Punjab, 400 terrorists were hanged under Pakistan Penal Code, 275 terrorists were killed in encounters with Police/CTD/LEAs, 897 were arrested by Police/Counter-Terrorism Departments and 68,957 terrorists were entered in Digital Databank of Police/CTDs.[12]

Metropolis like Karachi was also bleeding at the hands of terrorists and criminals, thanks to MQM-PPP unholy collaboration and involvement of RAW. Sindh Rangers backed by Army and intelligence agencies and NAP have worked hard to bring the Karachi operation to its logical conclusion. The post 2013 era in Karachi witnessed growing peace and stability. In three years only, target killings  decreased by 97%, murder rate decreased by 87%, robberies were decreased by 52%, terrorist activities were decreased by 98%, and the bank robberies  decreased by 72%, overall robberies decreased by 52%.[13]  

Baluchistan also witnessed a policy shift by Islamabad towards it, since the province was lagging behind in literacy, health and other basic facilities. Terrorists, extremists, separatists and other militants filled this developmental vacuum and started exploiting Baluchistan and curbing the state’s writ. In 2009, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Baluchistan package was launched by the government to ensure Baluchistan’s representation in public institutions and fulfil its demands. For this purpose, scholarships have been allocated to the Baluch students, 13,200 Baluch youth have been inducted in the army and many others were inducted in FIA, Utility Store Corporations, Civil Defence Department, Planning and Development Department, Anti-Narcotics Force and Ministry of Defense. A special quota has also been reserved for the Baluch in all employment. Baluchistan Frontier Corps assisted by Army, other paramilitary forces and police played a commendable role in smothering the dangerous agenda of separatism backed by foreign powers.

In November 2017, a ‘Khushal Baluchistan’ initiative was launched to improve socio-economic as well as security conditions in the province. The government of Baluchistan has also initiated a dialogue with the exiled Baloch separatist leaders. A large number of separatists have given up their weapons, while their reconciliation and rehabilitation is still in process.

Repatriation of Afghan refugees was also a major challenge for the NAP to address. The last federal government approved the Repatriation and Management Policy in February 2017 and NADRA was assigned to identify the illegal Afghan refugees and register an accurate number of refugees present in the country. A tripartite agreement for voluntary repatriation program (the largest program ever recorded by the UNHCR) was also initiated.  Till March 2018, 176,000 cases of illegal immigrants were identified and 1.38 million Afghan refugees were recorded and under Tripartite Agreement around 4.3 million have returned to their homes since 2002.[14]

NAP is being implemented with full commitment and vigour in coordination with all provinces, security agencies and other stakeholders. The effective implementation of NAP has registered significant improvements in overall law and order and internal security situation in the country, including a nose dive decline in terrorist incidents from a high of 2060 terrorist attacks in 2010 to around 370 attacks in 2017. A lot of sweat and blood has gone into this herculean effort. Ordinary Pakistani citizens have also stood behind their police, military and their intelligence agencies, never faltering in their resolve to defeat terrorists and their twisted ideas. While terrorists have been pushed back and areas reclaimed, efforts to defeat militant mindset have already begun as per the vision of the National Action Plan.

While Pakistan Army and ISI fought the war on terror singlehanded under extremely adverse conditions and achieved laudable results in spite of extensive foreign interference, tense civil-military relations, political instability, weak economy, ethnicity, religious divide, lack of rule of law, defects in criminal justice system and sold out media, the US led ISAF in Afghanistan that had military contingents from 48 countries of the world including 28 countries of NATO and had resources in abundance, failed to deliver. Pakistan military helped the ISAF in incapacitating Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan by handing over more than 600 leaders and operatives to the USA.

The US strategic partners India, Afghanistan and Israel have a big role in pushing the US military to the precipice of defeat in Afghanistan and in making the USA the most hated country in the world responsible for making the world a dangerous place to live. Whatever semblance of prestige that was left has been soiled by Donald Trump. He is not only a security risk to the USA but also to the world at large.    

Today, the US and its puppet regime in Kabul are in dire strait and unable to confront the onslaught of spring offensive launched by the Afghan Taliban. Their policy of achieving objectives through the use of excessive force has boomeranged. To cover up their embarrassment and hide their ineptness, fiascos and botches, Pakistan has been made into a convenient scapegoat and is held responsible for all their failures. Continued instability in Afghanistan is attributed to so-called safe havens of Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. So far not a single hideout has been pointed out since there is none. To maximize pressure, India has kept the Line of Control in Kashmir hot, is breaking all records of human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and has resorted to water terrorism. Kabul has been poised aggressively toward Pakistan.

‘Do more” mantra was sung by the USA for years and Pakistani leaders did its bidding obediently, naively thinking that by doing so it will make Pakistan safe. Gen Bajwa put an end to it by refusing to play their dirty game aimed at bleeding Pakistan and making it a failed state. He said that Pakistan has done enough and will not do any more and its now the turn of others to do more. His defiance is being described as ‘Bajwa doctrine’.

Finding themselves in a big dilemma, Pakistan was constantly threatened by Indo-US-Afghan nexus of dire consequences if it didn’t change its defiant stance. India and USA have been making efforts to place Pakistan on blacklist by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this month so that the US and UN could impose sanctions.   And when Pakistan didn’t budge, the belligerent regimes in Washington and Kabul descended from their high horses and entreated Pakistan to help in achieving temporary peace in Afghanistan.

Monstrous Fazlullah who was enjoying the hospitality and patronage of CIA, NDS and RAW since July 2009 was droned on June 14 in his safe haven of Kunar so as to earn the goodwill of Pakistan. His death will make little difference since another monster Mufti Noor Wali Mahsud has replaced him and safe havens at Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar are still intact, while Khalid Khurasani heading Jamaatul Ahrar, Faqir Muhammad heading TTP Bajaur chapter and Mangal Bagh heading Lashkar-e-Islam are under their good care.

Besides the fractured TTP, the US has brought in Daesh (ISIS) to reinvigorate war on terror in Pakistan. Fencing of the border is being objected to and fence erectors often fired upon. Pakistan is also subjected to 5th generation war to create divisions in society, inject political instability, chaos and anarchy and foment civil war.  The focus of enemies of Pakistan is on Pak Army and ISI, the two institutions that could not be penetrated.

The sole aim of sponsored Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) led by Pashteen Mehsud is to undermine the achievements and sacrifices of the Army and to discredit it in the eyes of the Pashtuns in particular. PTM is being backed by India, Afghanistan, USA, West and Israel as well as by Asfand Wali led ANP, PkMAP, NGOs and liberals in Pakistan.

The effects of the 5th generation silent war are being felt by the people of Pakistan that have largely been mind-cloned through media war. Intolerance levels have peaked, while polarization among the mainstream parties has climaxed. Despite the sustained bashing of PML-N and the dice is heavily loaded in favour of PTI, the former bereft of its leader is still intact and ready to contest the elections.  For the first time, there is infighting among all the major political parties over the distribution of tickets for general elections due on July 25. With the political temperature touching boiling point, it is feared that there might be bloody clashes during the election campaign and on polling day or after the announcement of results. Analysts are not ruling out the possibility of occurrence of a political logjam due to a hung parliament, or the losers refusing to accept poll results and opting for strikes and arson.

What makes things ominous for Pakistan is the dangerous agenda of enemies of Pakistan which under no circumstances would allow nuclear Muslim Pakistan knotted with China due to CPEC and other mutually beneficial geo-strategic interests and inclined to get aligned with Russia to become militarily strong and to achieve political stability and economic prosperity. The CPEC is isolating USA, India and Afghanistan and is paving the way for the emergence of China-Russia-Pakistan-Iran-Central Asia economic bloc. Under the circumstances, it is vital for the interim government under Nasirul Mulk to hold timely, transparent, fair and free elections and for the Army to ensure law and order and smooth political transition.

References    

[1]       The sun has set on Pakistan’s military courts — here’s why it should never rise again, https://www.dawn.com/news/1306792, Mar 06, 2017.

[2]       More than 180 convicts sentenced to death by military tribunals in Pakistan since 2015, March 18, 2018

        https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/03/18/more-than-180-convicts-sentenced-to-death-by-military-tribunals-in-pakistan-since-2015/

[3]       Directorate Office of NACTA.

[4]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018.

[5]       Ibid.

[6]       426 cases of money laundering registered: NACTA,https://timesofislamabad.com/03-Feb-2018/426-cases-of-money-laundering-registered-nacta, 03 Feb 2018

[7]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[8]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[9]       Rukhshan Mir, 100 % Geo-mapping Of Religious Seminaries In ICT, Punjab, Sindh Completed, , https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/100-geo-mapping-of-religious-seminaries-in-257202.html08th February 2018.

[10]     Saad Ahmed Dogar, What has NAP achieved so far?

        https://tribune.com.pk/story/1307640/nap-achieved-far/January 30, 2017

[11]     Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[12]     Directorate office of Punjab Home Department

[13]     Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[14]     Ibid.

 

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defence analyst, columnist and author of five books. He is Vice Chairman Pakistan Thinkers Forum, Director Measac Research Centre and member of Executive Committee Tehrik Jawanan Pakistan. Email: asifharoonraja@gmail.com

, , ,

No Comments

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

, , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

India’s Toilet Troubles The Wall Street Journal

How Trump’s America Really Perceives India.

Despite Narendra Modi’s Un-Solicited Hugs of Rudeness

 

Hundreds of millions of Indians are not in the habit of using toilets, partly due to a lack of latrines.

This shortfall in basic infrastructure means that people use the great outdoors to relieve themselves. That leads to child deaths, stunting and various diseases which is why Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it one of his many missions to make more of India what New Delhi is calling ODF—short for open defecation free.

A story in The Wall Street JournalFriday outlined how something as simple as building toilets has become surprisingly political and challenging in some villages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some numbers to help explain India’s toilet troubles.

  • 33.5 MILLION

    The number of toilets built under Mr. Modi’s program since 2014, according to a government website that posts a running tally.

  • 110 MILLION

    The number of toilets India aims to build by 2019.

  • 60%

    The proportion of Indian households with access to toilets, according to the Indian government.

  • 157 MILLION

    The number of Indians who live in cities without improved sanitation, according to Water Aid.

  • 158,296

  • The number of Indian villages that have declared themselves open-defecation free. India has a total of 640,000 villages.

, , , ,

No Comments

India most ignorant country in world: survey UK The Independent

Multiple questions were posed before participants during the survey.

(Web Desk) – India has topped the list of most ignorant countries in a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI, which includes information from 27,250 interviews of people aged 16 to 64 carried out between September and November, the Independent reported on Saturday.

Ipsos MORI surveyed people from 40 countries, with between 500 and 1,000 people surveyed in each.



Multiple questions were posed before participants; including their country population, healthcare spending, and home ownership. The findings were then collated to create the index.

Wealth seemed to have less bearing on outcomes than one might expect. The USA, one of the richest has been ranked one of the most ignorant below many developed countries.

Here is the list of top 10 ignorant countries in the world:

India

China

Taiwan

South Africa

USA

Brazil

Thailand

Singapore

Turkey

Indonesia

 

, ,

No Comments

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

 

, , , , ,

No Comments


Skip to toolbar