There is a co-relationship of the US-led West’s double standards and double game in relation to human rights, terrorism and so on. But, this dual strategy, particularly regarding India and Pakistan in wake of the unresolved issue of Kashmir, including the Middle East in connection with the unsettled Palestinian-Israeli dispute, especially the Syrian question may culminate into nuclear war. In these terms, Indian-controlled Kashmir and Syria remain nuclear flashpoints.
A wave of jubilation had been noted all over the world on January 20, 2009 when American President Barack Obama took oath. His first address had indicated a positive change in the US foreign policy. In this respect, most of the political experts had hoped that he would rectify the blunders, committed by his predecessor in the name of phony war on terror.
President Obama had stated, “To the Muslim World, we seek a new way forward, based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.” A majority of the Muslims hoped that President Obama would resolve the issues which were affecting all the Islamic World.
In this regard, while accusing President Bush’s policies in South Asia and recognising interrelationship between war on terror in Afghanistan and dispute of Kashmir, Obama had said on September 25, 2008, that if elected, he would encourage India and Pakistan to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and resolve the Kashmir problem to reduce nuclear dangers in South Asia—so that Islamabad could fully concentrate on fighting terrorism.
Quite contrary to his commitments, during his first visit to New Delhi, on November 6, 2010 President Obama announced the measures, America would take regarding removal of Indian space and defence companies from a restricted “entities list”, and supported Indian demand for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council including membership of four key global nuclear nonproliferation regimes. US agreed to sell India the most expensive—the new F-35 fighter jets including other modern aircraft and weapons.
Ignoring the solution of Kashmir dispute which resulted into three wars between India and Pakistan in 1947-1948, 1965 and 1971, America started backing Indian hegemony in Asia to counterbalance China.
During President Obama’s second visit to India, on January 25, 2015, 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 in order to make India a great power of Asia. This duplicity has initiated a dangerous arms race between Pakistan and India, and between China and India.
American is also against China, because in October 4, 2011 and May 22, 2014, Beijing joined Russia in vetoing the US-European-backed UN Security Council resolutions against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
It is mentionable that in its report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) disclosed on February 22, 2015 that India is the world’s largest recipient of arms—“India (14 percent of global arms imports), China (4.7 per cent), Australia (3.6 per cent) and Pakistan (3.3 percent).”
Setting aside the Indian irresponsible record of non-proliferation, and safety of nuclear arms, Washington also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific safeguards with India. It permitted New Delhi a broad atomic cooperation, while superseding the IAEA regarding transfer of nuclear equipments and technologies. These arrangements also entail enrichment and reprocessing items under the so-called cover of IAEA.
America also contacted the Nuclear Suppliers Group to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on larger scale, while the latter had already been getting nuclear material and arms of all kinds from Israel, and other Western countries like UK, Germany and France which also neglected the Kashmir issue and accelerated the supply of atomic weapons to New Delhi.
On the other side, in one way or the other, the high officials of America and Western countries including their media make much hue and cry in relation to the safety of Pakistan’s nukes.
It is notable that in 2009 when the heavily-armed Taliban entered Swat, Dir and Buner, US high officials and their media had exaggerated the ‘Talibinisation’ of the whole Pakistan, while showing concerns about Pakistan’s atomic arms.
In that regard, the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had warned that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. But, when Pakistan’s armed forces ejected the Taliban insurgents out of these areas, she started appreciating the capabilities of Pakistan’s armed forces.
In the recent years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they started accusing Pak Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the Afghan Taliban.
The high officials and media of their countries not only blamed Pakistan for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, but also presumed that a plot to attack the US homeland or Europe would be prepared in Pakistan’s tribal areas where safe-havens of Al-Qaeda exist. India availed the opportunity against Pakistan and spoke in the same tone.
When Pakistan’s Armed Forces broke the backbone of the militants through military operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan Agency and other tribal regions, and ISI and other law-enforcing agencies captured several terrorists in various regions of Pakistan, including suicide-jackets and weapons. The US and its NATO allies began appreciating the capabilities of Pakistan Army and other security agencies. They also agreed that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are well-protected.
Notably, by displaying a sense of great optimism for peace of the region, Pakistan had agreed with Indian old demand to strengthen the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in order to resolve the outstanding issues such as terrorism, including main dispute of Kashmir. During the visit of India’s External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna to Pakistan on September 9, 2012, Islamabad and New Delhi also signed various agreements in this respect. Besides, Pakistan also signed a number of trade agreements which allowed India exports of multiple items across the Wagah border. In the past, Islamabad offered various solutions to settle the Kashmir dispute, but, New Delhi rejected the same, considering Kashmir as integral part of the Indian Union.
Since the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narindra Modi came to power in India, it has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. In this context, BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a staunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) stated on July 12, 2014 that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful solution.”
Since 9/11, by availing that golden opportunity, both India and Israel which had joined Bush’s anti-terrorism bandwagon have perennially been manipulating the double standards of the US-led West regarding world phenomena of terrorism, China etc., while exploiting their anti-Muslim approach to obtain Indo-Israeli secret designs. Both Tel Aviv and New Delhi have been equating the ‘wars of liberation’ in Palestine and Kashmir with terrorism, and under the cover, accelerated state terrorism on these controlled territories. Their main purpose is to divert the attention of the West from their own atrocities, while employing delaying tactics in the solution of these issues.
Particularly, fast growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship with the Third World, and especially Pakistan—after signing of the agreement, ”China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” has irked the eyes of Americans, Indians and some major Western countries.
Besides encouraging Hindu extremist parties to persecute the Muslims, on the instruction of Prime Minister Modi, Indian forces have accelerated violations at the Line of Control (LoC) by shelling inside Pakistan’s territories, and support to cross-border terrorism in Pakistan, while creating war-like situation between Pakistan and India.
And, by availing the phenomenon of lawlessness in Afghanistan, secret agencies like American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW have well-established their covert network in that country, and as part of the double game, they are using the terrorists of the Islamic State group (ISIS) and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for conducting various terror attacks in Pakistan. With the assistance of terrorist outfits, these secret agencies are also making efforts to destabilise Tibetan regions of China, Pakistan’s province of Balochistan and Sistan-Balochistan of Iran by promoting acrimonious sense of dissent and political volatility.
Silence of the US-led West regarding various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, assaults on the Muslims and Christians, including their places of worships and property, creation of war-like situation with Pakistan, Indian non-cooperation with Pakistan’s fact-finding team which recently visited India to probe the Pathonkot terror attacks etc. have encouraged Indian extremist groups such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena to promote religious and ethnic chauvinism in India.
As regards Iraq and the Syrian war, since September 30, 2015, the Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq, the Syrian army-the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Lebanon-based Hezbollah have broken the backbone of the US-CIA-assisted ISIS terrorists, Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and the rebels who have been fighting to oust the Syrian President Assad’s government and against the current Iraqi regime as part of America’s double game. Russian-led combatants have destroyed the strongholds, supply lines and installations of the US-led entities. These demoralized militants have fled most of the areas in Syria and Iraq, which have been recaptured by the NDF and Iraqi military.
In this backdrop, in the beginning of February, this year, in the first Vienna meeting on Syrian crisis, the US Secretary of State John Kerry had agreed to keep the Syrian president in power (Contrary to previous demand of regime change) and for a unified state of Syria. In this connection, the UNO-backed ceasefire agreement about Syrian war, brokered by the major powers including Russia and the US was signed and enforced on February 27, 2016.
On March 14, 2016, Putin’s announcement to withdraw most of the Russian forces from Syria, after strengthening the Assad regime, while emphasizing upon the political solution of the Syrian crisis gave a setback to the US-led Western allies. In the end of March, this year, Syrian fighters with the support of popular volunteer combatants liberated more towns from the militants’ control, especially the ancient city of Palmyra which means Assad’s forces can use Palmyra for offensives against the ISIS-held territory in Syria’s eastern desert where the militants are entrenched in Deir ez-Zor, as well as the self-proclaimed caliphate’s de facto capital in Raqqa.
Defence analysts opine that the Syria’s government forces may retake the Tabqa airbase in Raqqa province, including Aleppo to assert its sovereignty to demonstrate that it is a capable force against extremists.
As part of the US double game, Syrian rebel groups on April 12, 2016 launched a major offensive on positions of the ISIS and were able to recapture key areas in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo. In order to show to the international community and Western public that America is fighting against the ISIS terrorists, US has accelerated air strikes on the ISIS-controlled regions.
As per CIA directions, in Aleppo city, shell and mortar attacks by the Al-Nusra Front and the rebel groups have continued on the Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud. And in Aleppo, ISIS executed 3 Kurdish civilians in the village of Hor-Kilis, claiming that they had “connections with the SDF”, the Syrian Democratic Force, while ISIS is also reported to have continued firing rockets from Aleppo province across the border into the Turkish town of Kilis. In the pretext, the Turkish military is retaliating with shell fire. However, Turkey continued crackdown on Kurds and military interference in Syria in violation of the UN-backed truce agreement.
It shows that the US has created a very complicated situation by making a vicious circle; so that American-Israeli clandestine aims to divide Syria in accordance with the CIA-prepared Plan B could be justified, which could also get the favour of the Western countries which are already biased against Assad’s government.
It is of particular attention that after the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels which were arranged by Mossad, Israel succeeded in obtaining its sinister designs. In the aftermath of these assaults, Europe has been put on high alert and these subversive acts are being taken as attacks on the whole continent. In one way or the other, European politicians, especially right-wing leaders and their media are misguiding the general public against the Muslim World by exaggerating the so-called threat of Islamophobia. Because of their double standards, “Stop Islam” movement in the Western countries, particularly in Europe is attracting their people. Besides, Muslims in the continent are facing severe backlash in form of attacks on them and threats (In some countries).
Under the cover of the migrant-crisis, all laws regarding immigration, personal search, detention and arrest of the suspected persons are being especially applied to the Muslims. Without caring for human rights, several Muslim refugees have been expelled from various European countries.
Regarding the controversial Turkish-EU refugee deal, besides a number of human rights groups, particularly Amnesty International in its press release on April 1, 2016 has warned by pointing out, “Large-scale forced returns of refugees from Turkey to war-ravaged Syria expose the fatal flaws in a refugee deal signed between Turkey and the European Union…all forced returns to Syria are illegal under Turkish, EU and international law.”
In this context, protests and violence have become commonplace at the Greek border, where more than 50,000 refugees have been stranded since Macedonia and other Balkan countries shut their borders in February.
However, if we witness gross violations of human rights in Europe towards refugees (Muslims) and asylum-seekers, we can note that like the fanatic government of India, US-led Europe is also acting upon similar policy. These double standards will result into recruitment of more terrorists by the militant outfits like ISIS on global and regional level.
Meanwhile, with the secret instructions of America, the Syrian opposition delegation of the rebels quitted the new round of Geneva peace talks on April 18, 2016, as their chief negotiator stated that there could be no compromise on Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, and called for renewed attacks on regime forces. In fact, American-led deliberate upsurge in fighting has darkened the already bleak outlook for diplomacy.
While, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 14, 2016, “Peace in Syria will come as a result not of military actions but of peace talks…we hope that reconciliation of armed forces will not lead to appeasement, but political process will. They should reach an agreement, sit down at the negotiations table, adopt a constitution, hold election on the basis of this constitution and thus overcome the crisis.”
Overtly, Kerry who praised Moscow’s peace-efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis has repeatedly stated that America wants a political solution of the Syrian conflict, but, covertly, he is implementing CIA-plan of Syria’s partition so as to fulfill the Zionist-Israeli aims.
It is worth-mentioning that after the World War II, nuclear weapons were never used, and were only employed as a strategic threat. During the heightened days of the Cold War, many crises arose in Suez Canal, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam when the US and the former Soviet Union were willing to use atomic weapons, but they stopped because of the fear of nuclear war which could result into political suicide of both the super powers. Therefore, the two rivals preferred to resolve their differences through diplomacy.
Political strategists agree that principle of deterrence also known as ‘balance of terror’ is a psychological concept which aims to affect an opponent’s perceptions. In nuclear deterrence, weapons are less usable, as their threat is enough in deterring an enemy who intends to use its armed might.
A renowned scholar, Hotzendorf remarks that nuclear force best serves the interests of a state when it deters an attack.
It is also of particular attention that on July 31, 2006, the US declassified documents revealed, “During the past year, the Bush White House was seriously considering a nuclear option against Iranian nuclear sites understandably…these scenarios are not without historical precedent. From time to time during the Cold War and after, American officials tried to find ways of making nuclear weapons usable, not only for deterrence against Soviet attack but as tactical weapons in local conflicts…recently declassified documents reveal that during Richard M. Nixon’s first year as president, advisers on his White House staff were willing to revisit the question of whether to employ nuclear weapons in Vietnam.”
A complete study of the declassified documents show that President Nixon’s national security adviser Henry Kissinger who believes in power or use of force including nuclear threat for bringing the adversary to favourable bargaining, had advised Nixon to use atomic weapons or its threat to compel North Vietnam and its Soviet allies to conclude peace on America’s terms.
In this regard, Huntington’s book, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” which points out “the clash of civilizations” as the “battle lines of the future…the next world war” also points out (In one way or the other) that any fault-line war could involve the major powers.
Nevertheless, the theory of balance of terror cannot be applied to India and Pakistan including Syria in wake of skirmishes.
So, we should conclude that inaction by the US-led Western countries in settling the issues of Kashmir and Syria will embolden the fundamentalist governments of India and Israel which seem determined to sabotage the peaceful solution of these crises including that of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hence, US-led West’s double standards may culminate into nuclear war, enveloping the whole world in wake of mounting menace of terrorism.
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
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