…by Brig. General Samson Sharif for Veterans Today
Pakistan is in search of stability on the Afghan front for over seven decades. It created many opportunities only to be stalled by its allies. Seeing the futility, the international coalition has since washed its hands.
The combine failure of ISAF, NATO and US Military juggernaut are now being blamed on Pakistan. Afghan propaganda is not likely to sell. Pakistan is not Vietnam, Iraq, Libya or Syria.
EU leaders do not take President Trump seriously. His aggression to Iran has opened. Qatar diplomacy and shifting of embassy to Jerusalem has widened them. The dynamics of his alliance with Israel-Saudi Arabia and Arab Kingdoms are yet to unfold. Syria is a human tragedy. Qatar is rolling. Brexit may not completely alienate Britain from Europe. UK has yet to explain the fiction of Anglo-American Absolutism indicated in Nation: Chilcot: The Tip of Absolutism 9 July 2016 (https://nation.com.pk/09-Jul-2016/chilcol-the-tip-of-absolutism).
Against a nuclear armed Pakistan with yet undetermined potential of National Power, Trump’s options to cajole an emerging self-reliant country in accepting guilt of fiction is foolhardy. Backdoors to military diplomacy are closed. The entire country despite its internal crises is united on questions of a proud nationhood. Pakistan cannot commit sacrilege on the blood of its 70,000 martyrs and millions affected.
How USA will act is a puzzling question that needs dissection. The indicators can be found in the past.
Over a period of time, Strategy of Fiction has become central to US war strategies of deterrence, compellence, alliances, and conflict resolution. In rationalist models of conflict avoidance (Deterrence) and war fighting, sending direct, indirect, overt or covert signals with credibility form the template on how these communications are perceived and responded. Built on the punitive factor of fear, these are expected to resolve the conflict on the rational of cost-benefits or punishment.
But there is an audience of neutral global public. Effective propaganda and lies can give a perception of truth luring international audience and public to believe the contrary. While USA will do this, it is up to Pakistan and its friends to expose it.
To understand how it works, an evaluation of the most recent black swans and false flags would be in order.
The Cold War
US President Truman faced a difficult choice on Kennan Telegram from Moscow. The desire on part of Truman to win election and appear a strongman against Stalin was tempting. Berlin Airlift and Cold War was hastened by the exaggerated reports of Reinhard Gehlen a Nazi Intelligence head re-employed by USA to spy on USSR through his network in West Germany called ORG.
This narrative was soon followed by Bomber Gap (to bolster US Armed forces), Missile Gap (to bolster the missile & space programme) the nuclear arms race (to control Europe) and Vietnam.
Gulf of Tonkin
This incident on August 4, 1964 was created to pressurize President Johnson to authorize broad military action in Vietnam (New York Times, July 15, 2010) after resistance by President John F Kennedy. His assassination remains a mystery. It is now proven that the Tonkin incident was a fiction sexed up by CIA and Pentagon.
The war ultimately consumed many countries. Once the dossiers were declassified, remarks of Senator Albert Gore Sr. Member Foreign Relations committee on March 1968 are worth a quote: –
“If this country has been misled, if this committee, this Congress, has been misled by pretext into a war in which thousands of young men have died, and many more thousands have been crippled for life, and out of which their country has lost prestige, moral position in the world, the consequences are very great,”
Invasion of Iraq
Very recently, the Invasion of Iraq was based on deliberately falsified information on the WMD. This fiction was jointly created by USA and UK. Robin Cook unconvinced of the faulty evidence resigned from the cabinet with the following words: –
“It is 20 years ago that I first joined Labour’s shadow cabinet. It is with regret I have today resigned from its cabinet. I can’t accept collective responsibility for the decision to commit Britain now to military action in Iraq without international agreement or domestic support.”
13 years later Robin Cook was vindicated by the Chilcot Report. For a democratically conscience UK, Iraq reflected how public mandates could be misused.
Lockerbie Trial of two Libyans served ends of this policy. Events leading to landing of British Airways flight 149 to Kuwait, when Iraq had already attacked Kuwait on 2 August 1990, and US winking to Saddam Hussain are also suspect. What now exists is a Middle East shaped for US interests.
The question why USA chose to attack Iraq first and postpone a conflict in Afghanistan has been raised by me repeatedly. It is very important to understand that USA rejected many opportunities and why. Finding answers to these questions will help forecast predictions for future.
Getting to Iraq first, dismantling its armed forces was crucial to completely dominating the Southern Front before moving into AFPAK. Civil War in Syria, destruction of Libya, removal of President Morsi from Egypt, the Shia-Sunni conflict and the recent US-Israeli-Saudi coalition are all strands of the same policy. Pakistan is next.
The Afghan question could have been settled in 1973 when President Daud had agreed. What followed was a military coup against Bhutto in 1977.
In 1996, Benazir Bhutto had persuaded Mullah Omar, Ahmad Shah Masood and Gulbadin Hikmatyar to sign a permanent federation agreement and settlement of all issues with Pakistan. Benazir was removed by President Laghari on edging by USA.
Benazir’s initiative of handing over OBL by Mullah Omar to Turkey in 2002 was rejected by USA.
Contrary to what is believed, it was not Mullah Omar but President Rabbani who invited OBL to Jalalabad. USA shied from arresting OBL in Sudan and allowed KSA to shift him in C-130s flown by Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan.
Abundant intelligence chatter indicated frequent contacts of the principal actors of 9/11 like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Omar Saeed and the hijackers themselves with US-UK and safe houses world over. Ramzi Yusaf was both a suspected US and UK asset.
When Pakistan agreed to join the US led coalition in 2001-2 why was Pakistan not coopted as a base of operations? Why did USA take a detour to the North to push the entire debris of terrorism into Pakistan? Why was Pakistan destabilised?
Why did US surges under President Obama melt away?
Why was OBL’s body never shown?
The answer to all these questions can be found in the term AFPAK. Herein lie US objectives to keep the region unstable. Central Asia, Russia and China must be stopped from a westward swing. India is to be coopted as leverage against Pakistan.
The plan for the future fiction against Pakistan is clear. With Middle East in some control, environments must be shaped to tackle a nuclear Pakistan.
Demonstrate to the world an intrinsic link between Pakistan and terrorism. A drama comprising US forces, Intelligence, contractors, pro US elements in Pakistan and assistance from India cannot be ruled out.
Suddenly some elements in US custody start singing against Pakistan supported by a media blitz. India follows in tandem.
Specific individuals from Pakistan including military and intelligence personal could be put on a watch list.
A stage managed black swan in India, Afghanistan or elsewhere proving Pakistan’s complicity.
Civil unrest brews in Pakistan.
However intricate and imaginative, this may not work in USA’s favour.
Pakistan’s war against terrorism has been bloody and definitive. Pakistan at institutional levels is not supporting any banned group against USA and Afghanistan.
The intrinsic link between the people and armed forces of Pakistan preempts any probability of a civil war. Sub nationalist have been won or insignificant.
There is a departure from previous military diplomacy. The young officer cadre that saw repeated actions being part of the US Coalition now commands the armed forces of Pakistan. Rather than reading thesis, they have firsthand experience of how USA operates.
The priorities in Pakistan are fast shifting from being an underling to USA, to getting rid of the corrupt political order.
The awareness is growing that Pakistan has outlived sanctions in the past and will do so in future. Pakistan’s potential economic indices far outweigh the effect of US sanctions. Most see it as redemption from yoke.
The last but not least, the balance of power seen on the template of colonialism and Cold War is now shifting. Geo-Strategy is losing ground to Globalisation. Networks of new lines of communications and ports will alter the paradigm forever.
The writer is a political economist and a television anchor person