CIA instigating mutiny in the Pakistani army

CIA instigating mutiny in the Pakistani army

By M K Bhadrakumar

The unthinkable is happening. The United States is confronting the Pakistani military leadership of General Parvez Kayani. An extremely dangerous course to destabilise Pakistan is commencing. Can the outcome be any different than in Iran in 1979? But then, the Americans are like Bourbons; they never learn from their mistakes.

The NYT report today is unprecedented. The report quotes US officials not less than 7 times, which is extraordinary, including “an American military official involved with Pakistan for many years”; “a senior American official”, etc. The dispatch is cleverly drafted to convey the impression that a number of Pakistanis have been spoken to, but reading between the lines, conceivably, these could also probably have been indirect attribution by the American sources. A careful reading, in fact, suggests that the dispatch is almost entirely based on deep briefing by some top US intelligence official with great access to records relating to the most highly sensitive US interactions with the Pak army leadership and who was briefing on the basis of instructions from the highest level of the US intelligence apparatus.

The report no doubt underscores that the US intelligence penetration of the Pak defence forces goes very deep. It is no joke to get a Pakistani officer taking part in an exclusive briefing by Kayani at the National Defence University to share his notes with the US interlocutors – unless he is their “mole”. This is like a morality play for we Indians, too, where the US intelligence penetration is ever broadening and deepening. Quite obviously, the birds are coming to roost. Pakistani military is paying the price for the big access it provided to the US to interact with its officer corps within the framework of their so-called “strategic partnership”. The Americans are now literally holding the Pakistani army by its jugular veins. This should serve as a big warning for all militaries of developing countries like India (which is also developing intensive “mil-to-mil” ties with the US). In our country at least, it is even terribly unfashionable to speak anymore of CIA activities. The NYT story flags in no uncertain terms that although Cold War is over, history has not ended.

What are the objectives behind the NYT story? In sum, any whichever way we look at it, they all are highly diabolic. One, US is rubbishing army chief Parvez Kayani and ISI head Shuja Pasha who at one time were its own blue-eyed boys and whose successful careers and post-retirement extensions in service the Americans carefully choreographed fostered with a pliant civilian leadership in Islamabad, but now when the crunch time comes, the folks are not “delivering”. In American culture, as they say, there is nothing like free lunch. The Americans are livid that their hefty “investment” has turned out to be a waste in every sense. And. it was a very painstakingly arranged investment, too. In short, the Americans finally realise that they might have made a miscalculationabout Kayani when they promoted his career.

Two, US intelligence estimation is that things can only go from bad to worse in US-Pakistan relations from now onward. All that is possible to slavage the relationship has been attempted. John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Mike Mullen – the so-called “friends of Pakistan” in the Barack Obama administration – have all come to Islamabad and turned on the charm offensive. But nothing worked. Then came CIA boss Leon Panetta with a deal that like Marlon Brando said in the movie Godfather, Americans thought the Pakistanis cannot afford to say ‘No’ to, but to their utter dismay, Kayani showed him the door.

The Americans realise that Kayani is fighting for his own survival – and so is Pasha – and that makes him jettison his “pro-American” mindset and harmonise quickly with the overwhelming opinion within the army, which is that the Americans pose a danger to Pakistan’s national security and it is about time that the military leadership draws a red line. Put simply, Pakistan fears that the Americans are out to grab their nuclear stockpile. Pakistani people and the military expect Kayani to disengage from the US-led Afghan war and instead pursue an independent course in terms of the country’s perceived legitimate interests.

Three, there is a US attempt to exploit the growing indiscipline within the Pak army and, if possible, to trigger a mutiny, which will bog down the army leadership in a serious “domestic” crisis that leaves no time for them for the foreseeable future to play any forceful role in Afghanistan. In turn, it leaves the Americans a free hand to pursue their own agenda. Time is of the essence of the matter and the US desperately wants direct access to the Taliban leadership so as to strike a deal with them without the ISI or Hamid Karzai coming in between.

The prime US objective is that Taliban should somehow come to a compromise with them on the single most crucial issue of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan. The negotiations over the strategic partnership agreement with Karzai’s government are at a critical point. The Taliban leadership of Mullah Omar robustly opposes the US proposal to set up American and NATO bases on their country. The Americans are willing to take the Taliban off the UN’s sanctions list and allow them to be part of mainstream Afghan political life, including in the top echelons of leadership, provided Mullah Omar and the Quetta Shura agree to play ball.

The US tried its damnest to get Kayani to bring the Taliban to the reconciliation path. When these attempts failed, they tried to establish direct contact with the Taliban leadership. But ISI has been constantly frustrating the US intelligence activities in this direction and reminding the US to stick to earlier pledges that Pakistan would have a key role in the negotiations with the Taliban. The CIA and Pentagon have concluded that so long as the Pakistani military leadership remains stubborn, they cannot advance their agenda in Afghanistan.

Now, how do you get Kayani and the ISI to back off? The US knows the style of functioning of the Pakistani military. The army chief essentially works within a collegium of the 9 corps commanders. Thus, US has concluded that it also has to tackle the collegium. The only way is to set the army’s house on fire so that the generals get distracted by the fire-dousing and the massive repair work and housecleaning that they will be called upon to undertake as top priority for months if not years to come. To rebuild a national institution like the armed forces takes years and decades.

Four, the US won’t mind if Kayani is forced to step aside from his position and the Pakistani military leadership breaks up in disarray, as it opens up windows of opportunities to have Kayani and Pasha replaced by more “dependable” people – Uncle Sam’s own men. There is every possibility that the US has been grooming its favourites within the Pak army corps for all contingencies. Pakistan is too important as a “key non-NATO ally”. The CIA is greatly experienced in masterminding coup d-etat, including “in-house” coup d’etat. Almost all the best and the brightest Pak army officers have passed through the US military academies at one time or another. Given the sub-continent’s middle class mindset and post-modern cultural ethos, elites in civil or military life take it for granted that US backing is a useful asset for furthering career. The officers easily succumb to US intelligence entrapment. Many such “sleepers” should be existing there within the Pak army officer corps.

The big question remains: has someone in Washington thought through the game plan to tame the Pakistani military? The heart of the matter is that there is virulent “anti-Americanism” within the Pak armed forces. Very often it overlaps with Islamist sympathies. Old-style left wing “anti-Americanism” is almost non-existent in the Pakistani armed forces – as in Ayaz Amir’s time. These tendencies in the military are almost completely in sync with the overwhelming public opinion in the country as well.

Over the past 3 decades at least, Pakistani army officers have come to be recruited almost entirely from the lower middle class – as in our country – and not from the landed aristocracy as in the earlier decades up to the 1970s. These social strata are quintessentially right wing in their ideology, nationalistic, and steeped in religiosity that often becomes indistinguishable from militant religious faith.

Given the overall economic crisis in Pakistan and the utterly discredited Pakistani political class (as a whole) and countless other social inequities and tensions building up in an overall climate of cascading violence and great uncertainties about the future gnawing the mind of the average Pakistani today, a lurch toward extreme right wing Islamist path is quite possible. The ingredients in Pakistan are almost nearing those prevailing in Iran in the Shah’s era.

The major difference so far has been that Pakistan has an armed forces “rooted in the soil” as a national institution, which the public respected to the point of revering it, which on its part, sincerely or not, also claimed to be the Praetorian Guards of the Pakistani state. Now, in life, destroying comes very easy. Unless the Americans have some very bright ideas about how to go about nation-building in Pakistan, going by their track record in neighbouring Afghanistan, their present course to discredit the military and incite its disintegration or weakening at the present crisis point, is fraught with immense dangers.

The instability in the region may suit the US’ geo-strategy for consolidating its (and NATO’s) military presence in the region but it will be a highly self-centred, almost cynical, perspective to take on the problem, which has dangerous, almost explosive, potential for regional security. Also, who it is that is in charge of the Pakistan policy in Washington today, we do not know. To my mind, Obama administration doesn’t have a clue since Richard Holbrooke passed away as to how to handlePakistan. The disturbing news in recent weeks has been that all the old “Pakistan hands” in the USG have left the Obama administration. It seems there has been a steady exodus of officials who knew and understood how Pakistan works, and the depletion is almost one hundred percent. That leaves an open field for the CIA to set the policies.

The CIA boss Leon Panetta (who is tipped as defence secretary) is an experienced and ambitious politico who knows how to pull the wires in the Washington jungle – and, to boot it, he has an Italian name. He is unlikely to forgive and forget the humiliation he suffered in Rawalpindi last Friday. The NYT story suggests that it is not in his blood if he doesn’t settle scores with the Rawalpindi crowd. If Marlon Brando were around, he would agree.

 

 

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One thought on “CIA instigating mutiny in the Pakistani army

  1. Hard Time for PAK-US Establishment

    Pakistan is the World’s Sixth Most-Populous and Second Muslim-Majority Country and also has the Second-Largest Shi’a Population in the World. About 97% of the Pakistanis are Muslim. Pakistan has the Seventh Largest Standing Armed Force and is the only Muslim-Majority Nation to possess Nuclear Weapons. It is designated as a Major Non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China. It is a Founding Member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and a Member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Next Eleven Economies and the G20 Developing Nations.

    However, as a matter of fact, currently the Pakistan is hanging like a Pendulum between U.S.A and China along with many Regional and Supporting Players due to Geo-Political Position in War of Domination, because of, Communication and Energy Corridors, Geographical presence at Door Step of China at North, Central Asian States through Afghanistan at North West, Iran at South West and Arabian Sea at South. Therefore, neither the U.S.A is able to isolate the Pakistan like Iraq and not be able to capture like Afghanistan. As, this type of adventure will provoke the interests of other Players of Game, particularly China and Russia, thus, it may initiate the 3rd World War.

    Due to the Game of Domination between International Players, during this Decade, either the Pakistan will be The Asian Tiger with Strong Institutions and Political Parties or a Failure State with Strong Personalities and War Lords. As, the Russia was already attempting to reach The Warm Water but now China is also willing for it by 2030 and from 2020 China will start the Advancement towards The Arabian Sea, till 2020 China will Work to choose and secure the Corridors. However, owing to Chinese Role in Pakistan since 60’s, People of Pakistan trust the China as a Faithful Friend. Consequently; People of Pakistan are not ready to support any action against Chinese Interest, as they did Against Russia for Decades.

    Pakistan is facing a Hard Time of Life due to Communication and Energy Corridors. Therefore, if China is ready to reach The Arabian Sea in near future then Pakistan will be a Battle Ground instead of Communication and Energy Corridor, primarily the region of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will happen to be the main target. If not then, it is not suitable for U.S.A to break or even reduce the Strategic Relationship with Pakistan. Because without Geographical support of Pakistan, U.S.A will lose the Control over Afghanistan and Russia will again advance towards The Warm Water. Yet any Plan of U.S.A to convert Pakistan into a Battle Ground will Force or Facilitate the Pakistan to change the camp. Otherwise, Pakistan will prefer to maintain the Strategic Relationship with U.S.A.

    Furthermore, People of Pakistan are also fading up by the Arrogant, Autocratic, Dictatorial, Dogmatic and Tyrannical Rulers as well as Crooked, Corrupt, Dishonest, Dummy, Puppet and Pseudo Politicians, along with their Masters, Patrons and Facilitators (Mostly the PAK-US establishment). Therefore, it is a Hard Time for PAK-US Establishment and Pakistani Politicians to revise their Policy, to make it according to the Will and Wish of Pakistani People.

    Although, for Game of Domination between International Players, the suitable option is, the Will and Wish of “People of Pakistan” represented by the National Political Leadership. Furthermore, the Sovereignty, Integrity and National Interests of Pakistan are An Internal Subject, related to the Qualities of Nation and Leadership. But, due to Un-organized and Non-systemized National Political Parties, since from Liaquat Ali Khan era to Present Government, Dictatorial and Puppet Rulers were Sweet Choice for U.S.A, to secure the interests in Pakistan and to keep Russia away from The Warm Water.

    However, now People of Pakistan are fading up. They are furious and frustrated about the Dictatorial Rulers and Puppet Leaders due to negligence of Public Affairs, Interests and Problems. Consequently, in future, Atmosphere and Circumstances will not support the Dictatorial Rulers and Puppet Politicians, absolutely. Because, in future era Game of Domination between U.S.A, Russia and China will Enhance in North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Therefore, Pakistani Politics will start to dominate the National and International Issues at Public ground too. Therefore, due to Geo-Political importance of Pakistan; it will facilitate the “People of Pakistan” and “Major National Political Players” To make Pakistan an Asian Tiger through well-built State Institutions along with Properly Organized and Systemized Political Parties.

    Nevertheless, Non-democratic and Un-constitutional Actions by the Establishment or Non-Political and Un-ethical Activities by the National and Provincial Level Politicians along with Un-organized and Non-systemized Political Parties, will Abrupt the Situation and Lead the Country towards a Failure and Malfunctioning State by way of Strong Personalities and War Lords. Because, in past era due to Social Polarization, Administrative Victimization and Economical Disintegration, Lower and Middle Class Peaceful, Law-abiding and Honest People of Pakistan have suffered a lot. But now they are going to be Immune and Reactive. It is Visible from their Attitude of Ignorance and Not-willingly participating in Political and Governance Activities.

    Whereas, the Dictatorial Rulers, Elite Class Feudal Lords, Opportunist and Hypocrite Politicians along with their companions were the Advantageous Lot by means of Dividing and Disappointing the Nation through Cultivating and Harvesting the Regional, Ethnic, Sectarian and Locality Oriented Emotions and Interests. But now they are going to be Fragile and Filthy. It is Noticeable from their Lack of Attention in Public Politics and Governance Activities, due to Public Embarrassment and Feeling of Ashamed by their Political and Governance Character.

    However, due to Geo-Political importance of Pakistan in War of Regional Domination and Psychosomatic Aptitude of Pakistani People, at any time and every type of Political Proxy Facilitation to counter the attempts of Destabilization and Insurgency in Pakistan, at National and International stage, by the U.S Opposing Players; Especially China or Russia, will burst the Situation. Because, due to Domination and Control of Opportunists, Hypocrites and Power as well as Money Hunger Persons in Governance and Politics, Public is already under threat of Administrative Victimization and Judicial Injustice along with Economical Disaster and Social Polarization.

    Therefore, Institutionally Collapsed and Economically Distorted Pakistan, along with, Socially Polarized, Administratively Victimized and Politically Deprived People of Pakistan due to Terrorism, Fascism and Nepotism, as a result of Inefficiency, Misconduct and Corruptive Practices of Dogmatic and Tyrannical Rulers as well as Puppet and Pseudo Politicians in Conjunction with their Masters, Patrons and Facilitators (Mostly the PAK-US establishment), may Turn Out to be a Major Political and Moral Hazard for U.S.A at National and International Level. Defiantly, it will be Consequential to the War of Regional Domination, along with Control over Afghanistan.

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