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Posts Tagged The Powers of Jews in US to Alienate Muslim World

Systematic Neo-colonization of Muslim World By Brig(R) Asif Haroon Raja


Systematic Neo-colonisation of Muslim World


Brig(R) Asif Haroon Raja


In the 6th century, the entire Arab Peninsula had sunk into the morass of deprivation and delinquency. The two superpowers of the time, Romans (Byzantine Empire) and Persians (Sassanian Empire) were situated in the west and east of Arabian Peninsula respectively and were antagonists. The 28-year war (602-630 A.D.) had drained the two empires and decay had begun to set in. It was in those times that Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), born in Mecca on April 22, 571 A.D., came on the scene and started his holy mission in 610 A.D. assigned to him by Allah. In less than 20 years, he purged the degenerated Arabian society of the multifarious deep-seated evils and transformed the savage Arab tribes into civilized people. Mecca became the cradle of a new civilization and the fountainhead of a new culture. An embodiment of all human values and virtues, and the brightest example in the annals of history, and greatest benefactor of mankind, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) breathed his last on the fateful day of June 8, 632 A.D. He left behind an ideal democracy (Meesakh-e-Madina) based on equality, fraternity, and justice which was meant for the betterment and wellbeing of mankind. It was practiced by the elected Caliphs for next 30 years.


The era of Khulfa-e-Rashida (632 – 661 A.D.) have no parallel in the human history and is acknowledged as the glorious and momentous period in the annals of the Islamic world. Their far-reaching contributions will ever remain the most outstanding achievements recorded in human history. The ill-equipped and unskilled nomadic Arabs destroyed the Persian Empire and humbled the Byzantine Empire. In the space of 100 years, the Arabs conquered an empire extending from the Pamirs in the east to the Atlantic coast of Morocco in the west, and northwards into southern France. In the 7th century, the Arab Muslim armies implanted Muslim faith in all the countries overpowered by them and their victory was total and wholesome. The Muslim Empire was a more civilized society than the Christian Europe. It was more tolerant; even the Christians of Egypt and Syria preferred Arab rule over the Christian Constantinople. Tolerance and justice exhibited by the Muslims toward other religions have been universally acknowledged. Infused by the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Arabs brought about the greatest revolution in the annals of mankind.


With the accession of Hazrat Muawiya as the first Caliph of Umayyads in 661 A.D. with capital at Damascus, the democratic nature of Khilafat was changed and it assumed the trappings of monarchy. The Umayyads (661-750 A.D.), the Abbasids (750-1258 A.D.) and Spanish Moors in Spain (714-1492 A.D.) reached the pinnacle of glory during their respective rules and left behind their marks. Muslim rule in Spain, in particular, was the marvel of the middle ages. When all Europe had plunged in barbaric ignorance and strife, Spain, particularly Cordova alone held the torch of learning and civilization before the western world. Christians and Jews were given total liberty to build churches and synagogues.  However, infighting among Umayyads, Abbasids, and Moors, their intrigues, and digression from the path of Islamic teachings led to their humiliating downfall and large-scale massacre.


In their desperate bid to possess the Holy Land of Jerusalem from the Muslims, the Christian world launched series of ferocious crusades from 1095 to 1798. The first series of crusades undertaken in 10th Century were Jerusalem focused. The crusades in the name of religion wrought havoc but their genocide was confined to Jerusalem and the nearby areas of Palestine only. Rest of the Middle East was not touched since the invaders didn’t have the capacity to do so. More so, their objective was seizure of Jerusalem and not Islam and Muslims. Hence the bloodbath remained confined to a limited area. Jerusalem changed hands but was eventually captured by Salah Uddin Ayubi after decisively defeating the crusaders. The defeat of the crusaders left deep imprints of prejudice and hostility among the Christendom against Islam, the effects of which have persisted till today.


The Ottomans reigned supreme from 1299 to 1566 A.D. During Suleman 1 (The Magnificent) tenure from 1520 till 1566, he made Ottoman Empire the most dominant both on land and sea. Its vast dominions included major parts of southeast Europe, West Asia, and North Africa, stretching from Vienna to the wall of China in the east, and from Ukraine in the north to the source of Nile in the south. In 17th and 18th century, the Turks gradually lost their glory. Europe and North America had become much richer and technologically stronger than rest of the world by the end of 18th century. This was owing to cultural transformation and industrial revolution in Europe. Overseas colonial expansion by European powers recommenced after 1870 under a new title of ‘New Imperialism’. Colonization in Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Pacific Basin rich in resources and raw materials was undertaken on the pretext of Europeanising ‘backward’ regions as part of “white man’s burden”. Among the European rivals, Britain took the lead since it had the strongest navy. Great Britain lorded over the colonized world through its policy of divide and rule.


The notorious Sykes-Picot pact – the basis of modern Middle East’s political map, came into being as a product of an Anglo-French joint conspiracy. Turkey raised no objection to the 1917 Sykes-Picot sinister plan of giving birth to an illegitimate child Israel at the cost of Palestinians and hastened to recognize the illegal state. In drawing a new map of the Arab land, the local Arab Muslims didn’t have an iota of involvement. The Arab Muslims were incited and manipulated by the British, joined the Anglo-French Alliance in 1917 against the Turks to fragment Ottoman Empire and dismantle Khilafat –the citadel of Muslim power.


Under Kemal Ata Turk, Turkey was turned into a model secular state and in the name of modernism, Islamic customs and traditions were replaced with western culture. Likewise, The Arab world was divided into 20 states. The Emirates like new states were created to fit in the new political map. A clan of compliant rulers was installed in these Emirates only to serve the imperialists’ agenda and pursue their own opportunism. The British-French installed puppet regimes disapproved the core Islamic principles like Sharia, Hudud, Khalifa and Jihad and instead promoted secularism and nationalism and remained engulfed in intrigues and perpetual inter-state rivalry. Once the US and former USSR emerged as new superpowers after the 2nd World War, the Middle Eastern countries accepted the lordship of the new masters who preferred authoritarian rulers and kings.


Same happened with other decolonized Muslim countries in Asia and Africa where the British trained secular-minded rulers gained power who adopted Westminster democracy, Anglo-Saxon laws and western police, civil and military management systems. For the general public, decolonization proved worse since independence was in name only. Notwithstanding the massive loot, plunder, rapine, slavery in the colonies of the Western Christian imperialism, which cannot be forgotten and forgiven, the colonization did much good in the name of spreading European civilization and Enlightenment. But Gora (White) Sahibs were replaced by avaricious and haughty Brown Sahibs devoid of moral and human values. They maintained the class system and widened the gulf between the rich and poor.  The US-led west made sure that the decolonized States remained dependent upon them. As a consequence, the Muslim world despite its massive wealth and resources remained far behind the western world.


The period between 1946 and 1991 witnessed the cold war between the two superpowers each vying to expand its power of influence outside the western and eastern hemispheres. Developing and underdeveloped worlds suffered the most at the hands of imperialist powers as well as Israel and India. This period saw the occupation of states by the Red Army, resistance war in Cuba, Vietnam War, Korean War, Indo-Pakistan wars, Arab-Israeli wars, civil war in Lebanon, Iran-Iraq war, Falkland war, Afghan war, First Gulf War, conflicts in Africa and forcible regime changes. After the dismantlement of USSR in 1991, the US has been vying to convert the world into a globalized village run by the neo-cons and corporates. This ambition led to the engineered 9/11. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Muslim world was subjected to the US-led global coalition of the 21st-century crusaders under a set agenda to once again redraw the boundaries of the Middle East, steal their mineral resources and neo-colonize the defiant Muslim States. The brutalization of Muslim Ummah was justified and legalized under the cover of global terrorism. The puppet regimes of the targeted countries or the rebels helped the crusaders in destroying Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria, or in changing defiant regimes.


The global war on terrorism triggered by the sole super power and its western allies has surpassed previous genocidal wars. The sort of destruction and pogrom carried out by the new crusaders have paled the barbarities of the medieval crusaders and even the Mongols under Changez and Halaku – notorious for their genocide, into insignificance. None in the past had razed any Muslim cities to ground as was done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now in Syria. After repeated destruction of Gaza by the Israeli forces and keeping it besieged since 2007, Syrian cities are being devastated in succession. Hama, Homs, Latakia, and now Aleppo are worst affected. In Iraq, after systematically ruining Fallujah, Tikrit, and Ramadi, Mosul is now being destroyed.


Notwithstanding the deprivation of the US-led the western world, which is ravenously plundering the mineral wealth of the Muslim countries, the role of the Muslims is no less deplorable. Their moral scale has touched the lowest ebb. There was a time when the old crusaders would find it near impossible to recruit a collaborator from within the Muslims or to build a military base, or install a Trojan horse to promote their agenda. Unfortunately, there is no dearth of collaborators now who are prepared to sell their souls for money. The earlier crusaders didn’t have any collaborating Muslim partners; but now the Muslim rulers -with few exception, compete for each other to become full collaborators cum coalition partners of the new crusaders. The western forces could not have successfully invaded and occupied Muslim countries without the aid of fifth columnists and the conspiring rulers of Muslim states.


The success of the 21st-century crusaders is huge. The old crusaders couldn’t alter the demography and geography of Palestine. But now they have succeeded in changing the boundaries of Middle East as visualized by Lt Col Ralph Peters in 2006. His map shows Baluchistan an independent state. Earlier on in 1982, Israeli Adid Yenon had given the idea of dividing the Arab states into smaller quasi-states on the ethnic/sectarian basis. Eight member team comprising Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, his wife Meyrav Wurmser, James Colbert, John Bolton, Charles Fairbanks, Jr. Robert Loewenberg and Benjamin Netanyahu were the architects of the gory plan in 1996 to redraw the boundaries of Middle East by stoking chaos, bringing ‘regime change’ to install stable puppets, or else to balkanise. Pentagon’s Memo listing 7 States in the Middle East is well known. The Islamic State (IS), the creation of CIA helped in creating chaos in the Middle East and in changing boundaries of Iraq and Syria.


As a consequence of moral degeneration and leadership crisis within Muslim Ummah, the new crusaders are fighting their battles inside the Muslim lands. Foreign powers are in occupation of Afghanistan since November 2001 and have military bases in Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE and several other Muslim countries. In some of the Muslim countries, USA has converted its Embassies into fortresses and spying dens and Pakistan is one example. These collaborating Muslim countries have provided strategic depth to the western world and have enabled it to keep the whole lot of Muslim countries in their iron grip and to loot their resources and to keep them militarily weak and dependent.


Divide and rule policy has helped the western powers to keep the Muslim States, particularly in the Middle East locked in perpetual rivalry. The Arab Muslims – despite their ethnic, linguistic and geographical oneness, stand divided into more than 20 States. The string-puppet regimes installed by the USA have secularized their respective countries and in order to please their so-called patrons, they disapprove Islamic laws. The core Islamic principles like Sharia, Hudud, Khalifa, Jihad and trans-ethnic global solidarity are censured. Contrary to such Qur’anic ruling, they have raised walls of divisions to protect the pre-Islamic ethnic, linguistic and tribal identity. These divisive walls in the name of race, language or religious sect had been dismantled during the golden period of Muslims.


The Saudi-led Gulf States supported Iraq under Saddam Hussain when Iraqi forces invaded Iran in 1980. After the Iraqi forces captured Kuwait in August 1991, the other Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia allowed the US and NATO to bomb and invade Iraq in November 1991. They provided military bases to the US which are still in its occupation. The entire Muslim world supported the US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. The ground invasion was undertaken by Northern Alliance troops (non-Pashtun Afghans), trained and equipped by India and Iran.  Pakistan provided military bases and intelligence support as well as land supply routes to the invaders. The Taliban ousted from power are in the wilderness but are resisting the occupying forces and the US installed puppet regime in Kabul. There is deep animosity between Pashtun Afghans who are in the heavy majority but out of power and homeless, and the US supported non-Pashtun Afghans, belonging to northern parts of the country, ruling the country since December 2001. The Arab world supported the US-NATO invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 and then of Libya in 2011. Both the countries stand divided and are in turmoil.


The Arab world watched from sidelines the repeated invasion and massacre of people of Gaza by Israeli forces and blockade of Gaza strip since 2007. Only Iran provided some unguided rockets to the Hamas to contest the aggressors. Arab League and OIC have played no role in resolving the chronic Palestinian dispute pending in the tray of the UN since 1948. The world comity has turned a blind eye to Israeli forward settlement policy and Israel’s U-turn on Oslo Accord, after agreeing to the two-state solution in return for peace.


In the Syrian civil war, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States and Iran are fully involved. The Turkish government had allowed the US to use its airbase to bomb the Syrian and the Iraqi cities to flush out ISIS. This base was closed after the recent coup in Turkey in which it was found to be supporting the rebels. Paradoxically, the US Army personnel are fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Kurdish Marxist-Leninist YPG terrorists in northern Syria – though these Kurdish fighters are marked as terrorists even by the American administration. The US soldiers even wore the YPG badge on their military uniform. However, Turkey treats the Kurds as an enemy and is bombarding their positions in Syria and Iraq. Iranian soldiers and militia, as well as Lebanon-based Hezbollah, are taking part in Syrian civil war in support of Assad regime.


Marooned Assad-led Syrian regime has allowed Russia to establish its air base and a naval base in Syria and to help Syrian forces in fighting the US supported the rebellion. The Russian, the US and western forces, as well as Turkish forces, are bombing the Islamists in Syria. The civil war in Syria since March 2011 has resulted in deaths of 350,000 people and displacement of 12 million people.


Saleh regime in Yemen had allowed CIA to use drones against Al-Qaeda from the US base in Djibouti, which later sparked a civil war and Saudi-Houthis war which is still raging. Saudi air force along with Egyptian and Gulf States air power are bombing Yemen since March 2015. Somalia lived in a civil war since the early 1990s has become a failed state own to the US interventionist policy.


Egyptian President General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi dethroned democratically elected Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) regime from power in July 2013 and his act was supported by the Saudi-led Gulf States and the US. The major reason for the coup was that Israel was unhappy over MB’s support to Gazans. Sisi’s ruthless persecution of Islamists is overlooked by the advanced world while Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States dole out reward money to the dictator since their rulers are no lesser autocrats. Resistance forces led by MB are fighting government forces in Sinai.


The two ideological rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia sponsor proxy wars in other countries to promote Shiaism and Wahabism. The Palestinian leadership is divided; one led by Hamas in Gaza and other by Abbas in West Bank. Democratically elected Hamas have been declared terrorists by the US, UN, and Israel.


The ISIS under Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi established its caliphate stretching from Raqqa in Syria to Falluja, Mosul, Dyala in Iraq in mid-2014 and later on spread its tentacles into Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. It was created by CIA in Bucca Camp in Baghdad in 2006 under Zarqawi to fight Al-Qaeda in Fallujah and Ambar. Later it was sent to Syria in 2011 to help Nusra group and other rebel groups to topple Assad regime. The ISIS fighters after capturing the entire northeastern Syria including oil/gas fields in 2013, then captured large parts of northwestern Iraq and established its own caliphate in June 2014. After capturing Mosul, the Islamic State (IS) became the richest militant group in the world. Large numbers of white Jihadis from Europe started joining IS, and its fighters slaughtered Christians and Yazidis in northern Iraq and enslaved their girls for prostitution. These events coupled with the IS threat to capture Karbala, Najaf, Mecca and Medina, alarmed the US, Europe, the Arab world, Turkey, and Iran.


The US-NATO started an air campaign against the IS positions in Iraq and Syria in August 2014 but couldn’t make any dent in the IS power. From 30 September 2015 onward, Russia airpower also joined the fray in Syria to help the beleaguered Assad regime from collapsing. It is helping Assad forces to recover the lost territories as well as in eliminating the IS, which is in control of the one-third northeastern territory of Syria including oil and gas fields. Although the IS positions are being bombed and Iraqi Nationalist Army assisted by Kurds, Turkmen and Shia militias are fast recovering their lost territories and have recovered Fallujah and are now fighting a pitched battle in Mosul, CIA, Mossad and RAW are on the quiet employing IS fighters as proxies in their target countries. In fact, RAW has become the major supplier of arms and explosives to IS in Iraq and Syria. RAW helped the IS in tying the knot with runaway Jamaat e Ahrar, a breakaway faction of Tehrik-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) under Khalid Khurasani based in Nangarhar and with TTP Amir Fazlullah in Kunar, the two provinces of Afghanistan.


Pakistan was forced by the USA to fight the US imposed war on terror on its soil. Although Pakistan was declared a frontline state and a non-NATO ally, in reality, it was a target. Pakistan was pressed to fight the terror groups, but TTP, BLA, BRA, BLF were secretly funded, equipped and trained by RAW and Afghan NDS and tasked to fight Pak security forces in FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Baluchistan. RAW also funded and armed MQM political party in Sindh. All this was supervised by CIA, Mossad and MI-6. Afghanistan has turned into the biggest launching pad for exporting terrorism into Pakistan. Massive covert operations are going on since 2003 as a result of which Pakistan has suffered well over 60,000 human fatalities, and a financial loss of $ 118 billion. Pakistan is also host to 3 million Afghan refugees since 1978. Despite such colossal sacrifices and Pakistan having performed exceptionally well against terrorism, Pakistan is blamed by Kabul, New Delhi, and Washington that it is abetting terrorism in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and India. The trio knitted in strategic partnership has for all practical purposes lost the war in Afghanistan. Rather than admitting their defeat ad accepting the Taliban as the major stakeholder, or correcting their fault lines, they are merely reinforcing failure. In order to hide their failures, they blame Pakistan, naively thinking that blame game and making Pakistan a scapegoat would lessen their pains.


The ideological conversion cum de-Islamisation of the autocratic rulers in the Arab world has been so complete that they face no compunction nor feel any Islamic prohibition to provide bases for these traditional enemies of Muslims and Islam. It is a consequence of their delinquency and moral bankruptcy and their secret alliance with their masters in the western world that none of them has ever raised his voice against such massive destruction of the Muslim cities and massacre of innocents in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Their willing cooperation has encouraged many in the US to suggest nuking holy sites in Saudi Arabia or the belt along the Pak-Afghan border belt. God forbid, if ever such a monstrous thing occurred and millions are killed, who will condemn it? The tongue-tied and captive Muslim rulers will not utter a word of protest.


The US controlled UN may meekly condemn and so will some human rights activists and those in the West like Noam Chomsky, but no resolution will be passed by the UN to punish the perpetrators of this savagery. The US was not punished for dropping hydrogen bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 killing 1, 40,000 people. George W. Bush and his team of neocons have not been held accountable for invading and destroying Afghanistan without proving Osama bin Laden guilty of masterminding attacks in New York and Pentagon; and Bush and Tony Blair for destroying Iraq on fake charges; and for killing over two million innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. War monger Obama who used the drone as a choice weapon and further expanded the war on terror was awarded Nobel Prize.


The global war on terrorism has remained confined to the Muslim world only while others have been given a clean chit. Barring North Korea, all other targeted countries falling in the ‘axis of evil’ are Muslim countries. The Muslims stand destitute hostage to these brutal big powers. The occupation of Muslim lands, bombing the cities and killing millions is labeled as their security need to protect their so-called national interests. Even dropping nuclear bombs in 1945 was considered a rightful act in the same context. And whoever challenges such savage aggression and hegemony is labeled as a terrorist. All freedom movements such as Palestinian and Kashmiri movements have been bracketed with terrorism.


The entire Muslim world is disconnected from the roadmap prescribed in the Quran and has chosen the path suggested by the US-led the western world. This deviation from the righteous path has brought upon them untold miseries. Independence is in name only. There is a complete disconnect between the Muslim rulers and the people, a majority of whom fervently seek Sharia (Islamic laws) since capitalism, Westminster democracy and Anglo-Saxon laws are pro-rich only.


Palestinian issue, Israeli belligerence, Gaza turned into open prison, desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, double standards of the west, involvement of Iran’s increasing involvement in Arab countries, revengeful persecution of Sunnis in Iraq, forcible change of regime in Libya, willful destabilization of Syria, when seen in context with weakened welfare system within Arab world, unemployment, misrule of Arab rulers, hatred against Hamas, their pro-western policies all put together, have bred discontentment among the Arab youth and they are fatally getting attracted towards extremism and organisations like Da’esh.

In Pakistan, people are by and large dissatisfied with the parliamentary form of democracy and the judicial system since these alien systems have utterly failed to transform Pakistan into a welfare state as was envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam. 70 years have passed since independence but the have-nots have remained deprived of basic necessities of life as well as social justice. The cancers of corruption and terrorism are eating into the vitals of the country. The political class seems least interested in badly needed political, electoral, bureaucratic, police, judicial and accountability reforms. The ruling elite is also not prepared to formulate an independent foreign policy that can safeguard Pakistan’s national interests. Until and unless these reforms are implemented in letter and spirit, the scourges of corruption and terrorism will not be eliminated and Pakistan will not become a self-reliant nation. In-house cleanliness, moral reformation, unity, cohesiveness, and patriotism will change the complexion of Pakistan and thwart dangerous Indo-US-Israeli agenda. Only then the CPEC can become a game changer.


The writer is a retired Brig, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, columnist, author of 5 books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, DG Measac Research Centre, Member Executive Council PESS. Takes part in TV talk shows and delivers talks. [email protected]     




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Pakistan enters the New Silk Road by Pepe Escobar




Pakistan enters the New Silk Road

April 24, 2015
By Pepe Escobar

Now how do you top this as a geopolitical entrance? Eight JF-17 Thunder fighter jets escorting Chinese President Xi Jinping on BOARD an Air China Boeing as he enters Pakistani air space. And these JF-17s are built as a China-Pakistan joint project.
Silk Road? Better yet; silk skyway.
Just to drive the point home – and into everyone’s homes – a LITTLE further, Xi penned a column widely distributed to Pakistani media before his first overseas trip in 2015.
He stressed, “We need to form a ‘1+4′ cooperation structure with the Economic Corridor at the CENTER and the Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation being the four key areas to drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people.”
Quick translation: China is bringing Pakistan into the massive New Silk Road(s) project with a bang.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, also on cue, stressed that Pakistan would be in the frontline to benefit from the $40 billion Silk Road Fund, which will help to finance the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road projects; or, in Chinese jargon, “One Belt, One Road”, that maze of roads, high-speed rail, ports, pipelines and fiber optics networks bound to turbo-charge China’s LINKS to Europe through Russia, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean.
The Silk Road Fund will disburse funds in parallel with the new Asian Infrastructure INVESTMENT BANK (AIIB), which has already enticed no less than 57 countries. China’s assistant foreign minister, Liu Jianchao, has not delved into detailed numbers, but he assures China “stands ready to provide financing.”
So no wonder Pakistani media was elated. A consensus is also fast emerging that China is becoming “Pakistan’s most important ally” from either West or East.
Beijing’s CAREFULLY calibrated commercial offensive mixing Chinese leadership concepts such as harmonious society and Chinese dream with a “win-win” neighborhood policy seduces by the numbers alone: $46 billion in investment in Pakistan ($11 billion in infrastructure, $35 billion in energy), compared to a U.S. Congress’s $7.5 billion program that’s been in place since 2008.
The meat of the matter is that Washington’s “help” to Islamabad is enveloped in outdated weapons systems, while Beijing is investing in stuff that actually benefits people in Pakistan; think of $15.5 billion in coal, wind, solar and hydro energy projects bound to come ONLINE by 2017, or a $44 million optical fiber cable linking China and Pakistan.
According to the Center for Global Development, between 2002 and 2009 no less than 70% of U.S. aid was about “security” – related to the never-ending GWOT (global war on terror). As a Pakistani analyst wrote me, “just compare Xi’s vision for his neighbors and the history of AMERICA in Latin America. It is like the difference between heaven and hell.”
That “X” factor
At the heart of the action is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), whose embryo had already been discussed when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Beijing in the summer of 2013. The economic corridor, across 3,000 km, will LINK the port of Gwadar, in the Arabian Sea, not far from the Iranian border, with China’s Xinjiang.
China is already in Gwadar; China Overseas Port Holding Company is operating it for two years now, after helping to build the first phase. Gwadar formally opens before the end of the month, but a first-class highway and railway linking it to the rest of Pakistan still need to be built (mostly by Chinese companies), not to mention an international airport, SCHEDULED to open by 2017.
All this action implies a frenzy of Chinese workers building roads, railways – and power plants. Their security must be assured. And that means solving the “X” factor; “X” as in Xinjiang, China’s vast far west, home to only 22 million people including plenty of disgruntled Uyghurs.
Beijing-based analyst Gabriele Battaglia has detailed how Xinjiang has been addressed according to the new guiding principle of President Xi’s ethnic policy. The key idea, says Battaglia, is to manage the ethnic conflict between Han Chinese and Uyghurs by applying the so-called three “J”: jiaowang, jiaoliu, jiaorong, that is, “inter-ethnic contact”, “exchange” and “mixage”.
Yet what is essentially a push towards assimilation coupled with some economic incentives is far from assured success; after all the bulk of Xinjiang’s day-to-day policy is conducted by unprepared Han cadres who tend to view most Uyghurs as “terrorists”.
Many of these cadres identify any separatist stirring in Xinjiang as CIA-provoked, which is not totally true. There is an extreme Uyghur minority which actually entered Wahhabi-driven jihadism (I met some of them in Masoud’s prisons in the Panjshir valley before 9/11) and has gone to fight everywhere from Chechnya to Syria. But what the overwhelming majority really wants is an economic shot at the Chinese dream.
The Pakistani counterpart to Xinjiang is Balochistan, inhabited by a little over 6 million people. There have been at least three different separatist factions/movements in Balochistan fighting Islamabad and what they call “Punjabis” with a vengeance. Former provincial minister Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, for instance, is already warning there will be a “strong reaction” across Balochistan to changes in the corridor’s routes, which, he says, “are meant to give maximum benefit to Punjab, which is already considered the privileged province.” Islamabad denies any changes.
The corridor is also bound to bypass most of the key, northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Opposition political star Imran Khan – whose party is on top in Khyber – has already condemned it as an injustice.
Beijing, for its part, has been very explicit to Islamabad; the Pakistani Taliban must be defeated, or at least appeased. That explains why since June 2014 the Pakistani army has been involved in a huge aerial bombing campaign – Zarb-e Azb – againt the Haqqani network and other hardcore tribals. The Pakistani army has already set up a special division to take care of the corridor, including nine battalions and the proverbial paramilitary forces. None of this though is a guarantee of success.
Karakoram or bust
It will be absolutely fascinating to watch how China and Pakistan, simultaneously, may be able to keep the peace in both Xinjiang and Balochistan to assure booming trade along the corridor. Geographicaly though, this all makes perfect sense.
Xinjiang is closer to the Arabian Sea than Shanghai. Shanghai is twice more distant from Urumqi than Karachi. So no wonder Beijing thinks of Pakistan as a sort of Hong Kong West, as I examined in some detail here.
This is also a microcosm of East and South Asia integration, and even Greater Asia integration, if we include China, Iran, Afghanistan, and even Myanmar.
The spectacular Karakoram highway, from Kashgar to Islamabad, a feat of engineering completed by the Chinese working alongside the Pakistan Army Corps of engineers, will be upgraded, and extended all the way to Gwadar. A railway will also be built. And in the near future, yet another key Pipelineistan stretch.
Pipelineistan is linked to the corridor also in the form of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, which Beijing will help Islamabad to finish to the tune of $2 billion, after successive U.S. administrations relentlessly tried to derail it. The geopolitical dividends of China blessing a steel umbilical cord between Iran and Pakistan are of course priceless.
The end result is that early in the 2020s China will be connected in multiple ways practically with the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Large swathes of massive China-Europe trade will be able to avoid the Strait of Malacca. China will be turbo-charging trade with the Middle East and Africa. China-bound Middle East oil will be offloaded at Gwadar and transported to Xinjiang via Balochistan – before a pipeline is finished. And Pakistan will profit from more energy, infrastructure and transit trade.
Talk about a “win-win”. And that’s not even accounting for China’s thirst for gold. Balochistan is awash with gold, and there have been new discoveries in Punjab.
New Silk Road action is nothing short than frantic. The Bank of China is already channeling $62 billion of its immense foreign exchange reserves to three policy banks supporting New Silk Road(s) projects; $32 billion to China Development Bank (CDB) and $30 billion to Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM). The Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) will also get its share.
And it’s not only Pakistan; the five Central Asian “stans” – rich in oil, gas, coal, agricultural land, gold, copper, uranium – are also targeted.
There’s a new highway from Kashgar to Osh, in Kyrgyzstan, and a new railway between Urumqi and Almaty, in Kazakhstan. We may be a long way away from the new high-speed Silk Rail, but trade between, for instance, the megacities of Chongqing or Chengdu in Sichuan with Germany now moves in only 20 days; that’s 15 days less than the sea route.
So it’s no wonder a “special leading group” was set up by Beijing to oversee everything going on in the One Road, One Belt galaxy. The crucial action plan is here. Those who’re about to go silk, we salute you.

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