Motivated origination of war on terror
Drama of 9/11 provided a readymade excuse to George W. Bush and his team of Neocons to wage wars against targeted Muslim countries, accomplish their geo-strategic and geo-economic ambitions in Eurasia as envisaged in New World Order and to rule the world for next 100 years. Bush initiated the war on terror on October 7, 2001 to rid the world from terrorism and make it secure and peaceful. He decided to crush terrorism through use of brute force. 48 countries of the world including 28 countries of NATO and Pakistan joined the war.
The first target of USA in this regard was Afghanistan which was occupied in November 2001 and converted into permanent military base. Iraq was occupied in May 2003 to capture oil, change the boundaries of the Middle East and pave way for creation of Greater Israel. Obama changed the regime in Libya in 2011 and harnessed its oil resources. With the help of Arab Spring in 2011, chaos was fomented to change regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Sudan was bisected into two. He also destroyed Syria, Yemen and Somalia and sowed the seeds of discord and sectarianism in the entire Middle East.
16 years have passed, but terrorism instead of getting controlled has increased manifold and has spread far and wide. Middle East is in the vortex of chaos. Flames of terrorism have entered Europe and USA. Hundreds of militant groups have mushroomed and most are used as proxies by big powers to serve their mercantile interests. Afghanistan ruled by Northern Alliance is a divided country since 50% of territory is in control of Taliban. Iraq has virtually been divided into three states on sectarian lines; Kurds in north, Shias in south and Sunnis in west, which till recent was in control of ISIS. South Sudan is an independent state but rived in a civil war. Syria is a divided country where too many foreign powers are meddling. ISIS had gained control over most of eastern Syria. Greater part of Yemen is in control of Iran backed Houthis. Libya has two parallel governments engulfed in civil war. Somalia has turned into a failed state owing to militancy of Shabab militant group and constant interference of foreign powers since early 1990s. The war has bled Pakistan profusely. An attempt for a regime in Turkey was made in 2016, but it failed. Iran-US honeymoon is almost over, while Iran-Saudi Arabia ideological rivalry is still on. 70 years old Palestinian and Kashmir disputes remain unresolved.
Lose-lose situation for USA
The US has failed to achieve any of its declared and concealed objectives and has lost the war but is not admitting it since it wants a face saving formula before it exits. Despite pumping in $1.3 trillion in Afghanistan, the US has neither achieved military victory over the Taliban, nor improved the social conditions of Afghans, or trained and motivated the ANSF to deal with Taliban. It has lost its prestige and élan, has no road map for the future and finds itself in a blind alley. It is caught between the devil and deep sea; it cannot win the war nor can it afford to call it a day because of selfish interests of corporates, military, drug barons, Israel and India and puppet Afghan regime. All are minting money out of this war. It cannot recover the 50% space in Afghanistan occupied by Taliban. It’s oft repeated excuse of blaming Pakistan for its failures is hard to sell in the face of outstanding achievements of Pakistan military duly acknowledged by the world. Above all, Trump has become unpopular and all his moves are backfiring. China, Russia, North Korea, Ukraine and Syrian crises are disconcerting USA.
India’s role in war on terror
War on terror came as a blessing in disguise for India. After cutting Pakistan to size in 1971 through covert and overt means, its future plans to further splinter Pakistan were forestalled when Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998. Option of open war became an impossibility. RAW was no match to ISI in covert operations and more so, it had much more exploitable vulnerabilities than Pakistan. Kashmir had become a bleeding wound for India where it has deployed 750,000 security forces to quash the freedom movement. Over 800,000 security forces are battling 17 major insurgencies in various parts of India and so far none of the insurgency has been quelled. Rise of Hindutva is further alienating the minorities. Under the depressed environment, war on terror initiated by USA provided a way forward to destabilize, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan using covert means.
India is a gainer
India is in a win-win situation in the 16-year war on terror. Without committing a single soldier in the war, it has succeeded in inflicting many times more casualties upon its archrival Pakistan that it caused in all the Indo-Pak wars and conflicts. It has also succeeded in destroying/damaging high-tech military equipment like SAAB and PC-3 Orion and causing immense wear and tear to soldiers and defence equipment and social trauma to people of Pakistan.
In order to organize and execute covert war from Afghan soil against Pakistan at a massive scale, India has been receiving goodies from USA, Europe and Israel in heaps. Dozens of economic and defence deals worth billions of dollars were inked by Bush and Obama. Indo-US civil nuclear deal signed in 2008 and access to nuclear suppliers group enabled India to upgrade its nuclear and missile capabilities. Logistics, strategic communications and maritime security in Indo-Pacific oceans agreements signed in 2016 amplified intimacy of India-US militaries. India has been provided latest state-of-art technology and weapon systems by US, Israel, and European countries which include the anti-missile systems to modernize its armed forces and be able to militarily compete with China. Russia has also been regularly supplying defence items to India.
India has cleverly kept the war on terror confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the 16-year war, not a single suicide attack or explosive laden attack has taken place in India. No foreign proxy is involved in terrorism in India. Few terrorist attacks that took place in India were either stage-managed or executed by home-based Hindu extremist groups to blame Pakistan’s ISI, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Kashmiri groups and Indian Muslims. By keeping the flames of terrorism outside India, the country has ensured political stability and economic growth.
Being a lucrative economic market for the developed world, its political, economic and military strengths has further improved its diplomatic clout. As a result, the world powers including the UN turn a blind eye to its massive human rights violations and perpetration of state terrorism against Kashmiris and minorities in India. No eyebrow has been raised on Indian military’s constant firing across the LoC in Kashmir.
India is a shareholder in the lucrative drug business in war-torn Afghanistan, which after the downfall of Taliban regime in 2001, has become the biggest narcotic state. 90% of world opium is produced in Afghanistan. War lords and Taliban have a share in this business. Profits earned from drug trade are utilized by CIA, RAW and NDS to run the covert war. Drug money is also used by US-NATO to meet part of expenses of the war and to pay $ 8.1 billion to Kabul regime annually.
India’s cultural invasion
After initiating covert war from the western front in FATA and Baluchistan in 2003, India launched cultural invasion from the eastern front in 2004 under the garb of confidence building and people to people contact. Mass contacts promoted by both neighbors helped India in infiltrating agents, positioning them as informers, handlers, facilitators and financiers. CIA and FBI assisted them in establishing network of RAW.
Free interaction of film and TV artists, singers, musicians, painters and liberals helped India in promoting Indian culture in Pakistan. Fortified Pakistani media, bloggers and shady organizations like Aman ki Asha and SAFMA funded by CIA, RAW and Mossad supplemented Indian efforts to stimulate liberalism and secularism, and demean Islamic culture in Pakistan. Obscenity and vulgarity under the veil of modernism were glamorized by electronic and print media.
To multiply pressure, India resorted to water terrorism by building over 60 dams on the three Pakistan specific rivers in order to dry up agricultural lands and make Pakistan a water scarce country.
Pakistan a loser
Losses suffered. Pakistan which was made the frontline state and had to bear the major brunt of the US imposed war has been a loser on all counts. It has been inflicted tens of thousands of cuts by its so-called friends. In the last 14 years, it has suffered 70,000 human fatalities; 6500 security forces have lost their lives; well over 150,000 were injured. Apart from extensive destruction of property, financial loss is to the tune of $123 billion.
Wear and tear.
Continuous use of weapons by security forces against the foreign paid proxies have reduced the shelf life and battle worthiness of weapons including artillery guns, tanks, helicopters, transport and jet aircraft. This is besides the wear and tear of the troops operating in combat zones where death stares at them every minute. Units have been recycled over three times and pearls have been lost in fighting the faceless enemy.
Secular-Islamic divide duly sharpened by media heightened religious extremism, intolerance and hatred. Political polarization of the 1990s between PPP and PML-N has been swapped by PTI-PML-N polarization. Intensified political rivalry has led to clash between state institutions and rise in civil-military tension. Human values, ethics, good discipline, deference, self-restraint have been replaced by rumor mongering, accusations, character assassination, and use of abusive language, disrespect, greed and nepotism. All these vices have become a norm.
Role of media.
Electronic and social media have given fillip to these negative trends which have polluted the atmosphere and contaminated the society. Media controlled from elsewhere has managed to control the minds of civil society and educated urban class to an extent that they blindly believe in the perceptions built by conspirators and floated through media. Perceptions are based on falsehood and half-truths. The indoctrinated lot believe in cooked up stories and gossips as gospel truth. Its war of perceptions.
Middle and lower classes that are most affected by the pervading insecurity and multiplying social problems are more susceptible to indoctrination. They hold the elites responsible for their miseries and derive sadistic pleasure whenever an affluent person is netted. It becomes an amusement for the deprived class to see a rich person humiliated and targeted. Likewise, the frustrated lot draw sense of satisfaction to see their political foe in dire straits. The 15-month blazing trial of Nawaz Sharif (NS) and his family by the apex court is one such example. The entire lot of NS haters clapped and cheered the judiciary and their joys knew no bounds when NS was disqualified for life.
Pakistan suffers from political instability, rising debt trap, hard-pressed economy; its people are undergoing social insecurity owing to uncertain conditions. Pakistan has undergone all this because of its fatal decision to join the US war on terror and then kept doing more to please double-dealing USA.
Pakistan’s accomplishments discounted.
Pakistan’s sacrifices and accomplishments have been ignored and is wholly blamed for the instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s bare minimum defence needs to meet the Indian challenge both in terms of conventional and unconventional threats have been denied/curtailed by USA. Procurement of certain defence items from China by Pakistan are censured and its nuclear program demeaned. Pakistan which has sacrificed the most and achieved best results in the war on terror is reproached by USA.
Narrative against Pakistan. Pakistan is projected as the abettor of terrorism and villain of peace while India, Afghanistan and USA are portrayed as victims of terrorism. This narrative was built over a period of time by the trio to hide their crimes against humanity. Trump has repeated the charges of his predecessors against Pakistan while announcing his Afghanistan policy.
A comprehensive plan chalked out by enemies of Pakistan in 2001 to balkanize Pakistan or make it a compliant state remains unchanged. While the nation remained glued to Panama case for 15 months, the enemies derived satisfaction over achieving considerable success in weakening Pakistan from within through covert operations and in reaching the final stages of strategically encircling and diplomatically isolating Pakistan. They were pleased that another conspiracy to oust Pakistan’s popular leader had succeeded and felt that their goal of humbling Pakistan was within their grasping reach. Fragmentation of PML-N and early elections leading to hung parliament, political logjam and punctured economy would make it easier for them to humble Pakistan or to deliver the military hammer on nuclear Pakistan. India is itching to put its Cold Start doctrine into use since 2009.
Changed Pakistan’s political and regional scenario, and Pakistan’s defiance has poured cold water on imperialist designs of enemies of Pakistan. Domineering Trump regime has been impelled to have a second look at its aggressive policy of out rightly discarding Pakistan. This change took place when PML-N didn’t fragment as was envisaged, NS re-elected as his party’s president, effective exterior manoeuvre launched by the government under Khaqan Abbasi rejecting discriminatory policy of Trump, dispelling misperceptions and making it clear that Pakistan is not isolated, it has other options to exercise, should not be taken for granted and can respond to surgical strikes and drone attacks with impunity.
The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence and security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum, Director Measac Research Centre. [email protected]