The Great Game revisited

The Great Game revisited

Charles Ferndale | Arab News

The Israeli Army — which, despite Israel’s veneer of democracy, actually runs that country — has for some decades now pursued certain policies of direct relevance to Muslim countries in its vicinity. Amongst these countries are Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. First and foremost amongst these Israeli policies is the determination of that army to remain the pre-eminent military power in the region. And in order to retain its military hegemony, the Israeli Army must necessarily prevent any Muslim country in the region from obtaining effective nuclear weapons. And if, like Pakistan, such a country already has nuclear weapons, then the Israelis believe it is essential to disable that country to the point where it ceases to operate as a nation militarily. Once we have understood the centrality of this policy to the Israeli Army, then much of what has happened, and is happening, in the region falls into place.

For example, Iraq was developing a nuclear bomb. Israel destroyed the facility where Iraq’s bomb was reputedly being developed. But Iraq still remained a militarily powerful nation that might be a threat to Israel, and it was too powerful for Israel to defeat alone, so Bush and Cheney obliged the Israelis by invading Iraq on false pretexts. The result was the decimation of the Iraqi Army, the division of the country into three areas so it ceased to operate militarily as a nation, and the control of Iraqi oil by companies amenable to US interests. Job done.

The persistent threats to Iran issuing from the White House under Bush were designed to generate a political climate at home that would allow the US to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, so as to disable its supposed nuclear weapons program. If Iran had a bomb, it would be of little danger to anyone, because, were Iran to use such a bomb against Israel, as Hillary Clinton said, America would “obliterate” Iran. On the other hand, were Iran to use a nuclear weapon defensively against an Israeli attack, then America would have to respond with more care. So the only result of Iran possessing a nuclear weapon would be to curtail Israel’s power to bully countries in the region.

It follows that any American attack on a supposed nuclear weapons program in Iran could only be designed to maintain Israel’s military pre-eminence in the region. An American attack on Iran’s nuclear program could only have been on behalf of Israel. A clear case of Israel controlling US foreign policy on its own behalf. If Iran is building a bomb, the main reason would be to defend itself against Israel. So the best way to put an end to the supposed Iranian nuclear weapons program would be (i) to disarm the nuclear threat from Israel, and (ii) for NATO militarily to guarantee Iran against attack from its neighbors, especially from Israel. Why has the West not pursued this effective policy that would also reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world? If India were disarmed and Pakistan were guaranteed military protection against Indian attack, why would Pakistan need nuclear weapons? When perfectly rational policies are ignored in favor of dangerously ineffective ones, something fishy is usually up. The Kashmir dispute also falls into this category.

Why are NATO forces in Afghanistan killing Afghans? Surely not for the good of the Afghans. As for democracy, the overwhelming wish of the people is for NATO forces to leave immediately. This is the principal reason for the Afghan national revolt that people in the West call Islamic militancy. The NATO forces are there for two reasons: One, for the oil and gas reserves around the Caspian Sea, which, at the very least, the NATO countries would like to deny to Russia and China; and, two, to destabilize and weaken Pakistan on behalf of Israel. That India would also like Pakistan to be weakened is just an added bonus ensuring India’s participation in the skullduggery, partly by means of a close covert alliance with Israel.

In order to maintain its military dominance in the region, Israel has for years set about destabilizing any Muslim country that poses a threat to its dominance. Pakistan is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons and Israel is within range. So Pakistan must be weakened to the point at which it ceases to operate militarily as a nation. Pakistan is supposed to be the West’s foremost ally in the fight against Islamic militancy, so Israel cannot attack Pakistan directly, and, if Israel did, she would certainly be defeated. So what to do? Well, two strategies come to mind: One, use America to attack Pakistan for you; and two, train and send into the border regions of Pakistan gangs of thugs willing to commit atrocities that will then be blamed on “barbaric Muslim militants”, suggesting that Pakistan has lost control of its territory to dangerous extremists and so may lose control of its nuclear weapons. Is there any evidence that these policies are being pursued by Israel in Pakistan? Yes, though regrettably my sources must remain anonymous. Perhaps the best-informed person in Afghanistan has said that he knows for sure that the Israelis are training teams in Badakhshan and are sending them into Pakistan’s border regions to commit atrocities. Two British friends who have covered Afghan wars since 1980, tell me the same thing. Rumors of Israeli-trained provocateurs amongst the tribesmen in the Khyber Agency and in Swat are rife. Then there is, of course, the completely public evidence of the daily US infringements of Pakistani sovereign airspace by drones. These drone attacks always kill many more innocents than so-called insurgents. The traditional authority of the tribal elders is weakened because they cannot protect their people, thus further destabilizing the region and allowing the infiltrators easier access. In addition, they weaken the authority of the Pakistan government and of the army, both of which are made to look as if they condone the attacks, which surely is one of the main purposes of the attacks. Perhaps Asif Ali Zardari’s government and the army do condone the attacks, but if so, they do so against the interests of a group of people — the Pashtuns — who already feel alienated from central government. Thus Pakistani unity is further eroded, much to the satisfaction of the Israelis.

That the destabilization of Pakistan has been on the minds of US officials for some time is suggested quite strongly by an article in the Guardian of Aug. 27, 2008. The article entitled “Take this war into Pakistan” was written by the Afghan ambassador to Norway, Jawed Ludin. I assume that Ludin was speaking as Afghan ambassador to Norway and so had the approval for what he said from his government. I am assuming also that since the Afghan government is simply the instrument of the US, the US authorities knew in advance of the contents of the article. Maybe they were testing the water. In this article Ludin says: “Without having to invade Pakistani territory, (a) coalition (of US, Afghan and Pakistani military forces) should establish a viable presence by opening military bases on Pakistani soil. A supreme commander, with deputies from Afghanistan and Pakistan, should be appointed to devise and implement an effective counterterrorism strategy on both sides of the Durand Line… The coalition should also ensure the security of Pakistan’s dangerous nuclear arsenal.”

Earlier in the article the author says, “the US must recognize the utter futility of working with the Pakistani military” which he suggests is untrustworthy and unfit to protect Pakistan’s interests. This implication is rather odd given that later he says that the “coalition of the willing”, that must set up bases in Pakistan to run an efficient counterterrorism offensive, should include the Pakistan military (I take it in only a junior capacity). So here we have a proposed force led by a “supreme commander” of unnamed nationality that will lead Afghan and Pakistani soldiers (the Pakistani leadership having been sidelined) on Pakistani soil (which somehow they have entered without invasion) to take control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and to beat all the terrorists, by means undescribed.

Frankly, so bizarre a scheme is too stupid even for Indian and American intelligence officials stationed far from the action. But, if not, then its drift is obvious: The Pakistani military command should be fragmented, disabled, sidelined and the country’s nuclear “arsenal” should come under responsible control (like that of the Afghans, I suppose). Pakistan should be deprived of central military national command.

Events in Waziristan, in the Khyber Agency and in Swat Valley all suggest that the central authorities of Pakistan have indeed relinquished control of these border areas. Balochistan is also in a state of turmoil that makes it impossible for the central authority of the Pakistan government and army to govern there. Much of this is the result of 60 years of gross incompetence and nepotism in the central government and in the army, but it has created an environment easily exploited by Pakistan’s enemies. The Baloch tribes on the Iran side of the border are also being financed by outside agencies, so their insurgency will weaken the central control of the Iranian government.

In short, Israel’s foreign policy in the region, has, with the aid of the US, become a very successful one. The only thing I fail to understand is why the people of these countries let it happen. Especially the militants: They are supposed to be true Muslims, yet they really seem to relish doing their enemies’ dirty work. I suppose when you are very poor, money can buy just about anything. And when you are ignorant, you are easily fooled.

— Charles Ferndale has degrees from the Royal College of Art, Oxford University, and the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. He divides his time between the UK and Pakistan. E-mail: charlesferndale@yahoo.co.uk

A sinful pretext

THEIR WAHABBI VERSION OF ISLAM IS NOT THE ISLAM YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR FATHER’S LIPS.

THERE WERE NO SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN EITHER PAKISTAN OR AFGHANISTAN BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE SO-CALLED “PAKISTANI TALIBAN.”

A sinful pretext

What heroic deed is it that Baitullah Mehsud is gloating over it so boastfully? Isn’t killing of the innocent to be ashamed of, not to be proud of? Isn’t it a sin, no virtuous deed to murder a human being for no crime of his or her? And in what scriptures is it written to slaughter women and children in suicide bombings and bomb blasts? Wherein our noble religion, Islam, teaches this? Wherein it preaches killing and maiming of your own faithful? Doesn’t it prohibit harming of even the innocent infidel? And what kind of a creed is Baitullah practising that he is seducing raw youth into becoming human bombs and butchers of innocent humanity? Isn’t a sin, plain and simple? What kind of a jihad indeed is he waging that he is mowing down in droves his own compatriots in thuggish assaults of his hirelings and murderers? If he is outraged at the Americans’ drone attacks, has he to kill our own people to pay the wages for the aliens’ evil deeds? His logic stinks, and unbearably. It is all perfidy, of the evilest kind. It speaks of a putrid soul and a diabolical mind, bereft of all human attributes and all replete with bestiality. But why is the Islamabad hierarchy providing a ready pretext to thuggish characters like him to operate their fanatical factories and run their murder shops? Why is this hierarchy behaving so spinelessly in bringing to an end the Americans’ criminal drone assaults, causing so much of instability in our polity, sparking so much of radicalisation of our moderate citizenry, and spawning new recruits in shoals for Baitullahs to become their suicide bombers and terrorist slaughterers. Haven’t Maulvi Nazir and Maulana Gul Bahadur, once declared pro-government commanders, turned against Islamabad and joined ranks with Baitullah, once their professed bete noire, precisely because of these drone attacks in their regions? So why is this Islamabad establishment so pussyfooted in getting these attacks stopped when this unacceptable criminality of our American “friends” is evidently proving so disastrous and so destructive to us in every manner? When will this chicken-hearted hierarchy pluck up a bit of courage, get out of its meaningless chant of these drone strikes being “counterproductive”, and speak out firmly that it would have none of it any more? After all, what is it that it is behaving so slavishly and so gratefully to the Americans who are loath even to acknowledge even a bit the tremendous sacrifices this country has rendered in fighting a war whose worst victim it has become itself because of their failures? Over the time, some 2,000 of our soldiers have died and many more gored in this fighting. Have the Americans or their NATO allies ever made even a passing mention of this? Never. They always mourn their own dead and injured, making not even a respectable fraction of the casualties our security forces have suffered. Why; is it because their men are a superior race and ours are no human beings, but just robots or worms that better be crushed than stay alive, and that better be forgotten than be remembered? Nor do they ever speak of hundreds of al-Qaeda leaders and fighters our agencies have caught. They only cry that our tribal region has become haven of al-Qaeda activists who had crossed over from Afghanistan. If so, then who is to be in the dock? They themselves; isn’t it? Where were their warriors when al-Qaeda cadres were crossing over? Sleeping, or munching on pistachios, or what? And where were then their “omnipresent” satellites of which they make so much? Resting or what? There indeed is too much of skullduggery to the American’s discourse. And this nation will rue woefully if the Islamabad establishment doesn’t stand up even now and speak up firmly and unreservedly. Their discourse is sinister; their designs are diabolical. This country is in the deep lap of their conspiracy aiming against its very existence. There, evidently, is a complete convergence of their interests with India in the region and a complete unanimity between the two over their goals in Afghanistan. And that equation spells doom for Pakistan in every way. The Islamabad establishment must not let this happen. It must tell the Americans to stop their thuggish drone assaults. If they don’t, it must tell the nation they have not and will now have to be stopped by us. And it will find the people ready for making supreme sacrifices for their national security and integrity.

Baitullah & teachings of Islam

Baitullah & teachings of Islam

Shahzad Salam Kasi shahzadkasi@gmail.com
The cruel act of terrorists from Baitullah Mehsud in Manawan attack has shaken the people of Pakistan, but they can’t take the spirit of being Pakistani from the people of Pakistan. The so-called Ulema of our beloved country have again failed to criticize this Un-Islamic act by Baitullah Mehsud and their so-called Jehadis. Our Islamic scholars always say, “we condemn this act” but only when asked to do so. Can they say openly about these terrorist that; are they Muslims or not? Because these Ulema are excellent on declaring non-Muslims to anyone whom they differ even slightly. So, here is the case of humanity. Can Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, Qazi Hussain Ahmad and other Ulema can openly say that Baitullah Mehsud and all his followers are non-Muslims and Kafir ?

Russia, China cooperate on new currency proposals: Kremlin

Russia, China cooperate on new currency proposals: Kremlin

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) March 30, 2009
Russia and China are coordinating proposals on a new global currency that could replace the US dollar as a reserve currency to prevent a repeat of the global economic crisis, the Kremlin said on Monday.”We have received proposals from our colleagues in China, detailed proposals,” President Dmitry Medvedev’s top economic adviser Arkady Dvorkovich said. “Our positions are very similar.

“We have similar positions on the development of the international financial architecture,” he told reporters.

Ahead of the Group of 20 summit in London later this week, the Kremlin has published a raft of proposals to overhaul the global economic order, including plans for a supra-national currency that could replace the US dollar.

China has come forward with similar ideas.

US President Barack Obama has said he does not see why the dollar should be replaced and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the summit would have more immediate issues to discuss.

“So far, not everybody is ready for that,” acknowledged Dvorkovich. “We will insist on that at all levels.”

Medvedev has said the international community should have a say when the world’s richest countries make decisions with global implications, as in the US financial crisis, sparked by the collapse of the market for subprime or higher risk mortgages.

Moscow also understood however, that many countries were not ready to undertake additional “political obligations,” said Dvorkovich, expressing hope that major economies would at least be open to consultations on the subject.

Dvorkovich said he hoped Russia and other major developing economies would also get an equal say and the attention they deserve during the G20 meeting.

“We are hoping that our voice will be heard but I would like to stress that we do not have a desire to pit our voice against that of our partners,” he said, referring to developing economies Brazil, India and China who join Russia in what is known collectively as ‘BRIC.’

“There will be no separate joint (BRIC) communique, nor should there be,” Dvorkovich said. “This is the summit of the leaders of the G20 countries.”

Critics have suggested China and the United States, whose economies are closely intertwined, would likely steal the show by promoting their own agenda and turning the G20 forum into a ‘G2’ summit.

Dvorkovich said the US and China would have ample time to discuss bilateral issues on the summit’s sidelines

Separately, Dvorkovich said Medvedev would meet Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on April 1, just before the summit. Medvedev was also scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama, China’s Hu Jintao and Britain’s Brown that day.

14 terrorists enter Islamabad, Lahore: intelligence report

14 terrorists enter Islamabad, Lahore: intelligence report

LAHORE/PESHAWAR: Intelligence agencies have warned law-enforcement agencies of the entry of 14 terrorists into Islamabad and Lahore, a private TV channel reported on Wednesday. According to the report, the men are disguising themselves as preachers. It recommends beefing up security at important government and private buildings, hotels, and other public places. Officials in Peshawar told Daily Times security agencies have been warned that seven suicide bombers were planning to carry out a Manawan-style attack on government installations in the NWFP. “We have intelligence that seven suicide bombers have been looking for targets which may be in Peshawar or any other district (of the Frontier province),” senior government officials said. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud had on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the police academy attack in Lahore and threatened of more attacks “in the next few days”. staff report/daily times monitor

Pakistan, Turkey Afghanistan vow to fight terror

Pakistan, Turkey Afghanistan vow to fight terror

Thursday, April 02, 2009
ANKARA: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey on Wednesday vowed to increase coordination among their political, military and intelligence tiers to jointly fight militancy and terrorism and achieve greater economic cooperation to bring peace and stability to the region.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who gathered here in the Turkish capital for a day-long summit, reiterated their resolve to follow up on the decisions taken during the second Istanbul summit.

The three presidents, who were also accompanied by the chiefs of general staff and army staff as well as highest intelligence officials of their countries, focused in their talks on trilateral, regional and international issues of common interest, particularly from a security and stability perspective in the context of the fight against terrorism.

Mindful of the importance of coordination and cooperation in security matters between political, military and intelligence authorities at the regional level, the three countries decided to continue trilateral contacts at different levels.

The three presidents decided to expand and strengthen the trilateral cooperation among Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, and stressed the need for interaction among their relevant political institutions.

Turkey accepted a request of Pakistan and Afghanistan to host a regional summit of neighbouring countries of Afghanistan for a broader initiative to help the country recover from years of strife, war and infighting.

“It is for the first time that the military and intelligence chiefs of Afghanistan and Pakistan attended the trilateral summit, which is a reflection of deeper commitment to work together,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told APP after meeting his Afghan and Turkish counterparts on the sidelines.

The trilateral summit that came only four months after the second summit in Istanbul last year, focused on security and intelligence, with the three heads of states stressing closer cooperation to deal with the extremists more effectively.

Later addressing a press conference with President Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the focus of the summit was peace, security and prosperity in the region.

“Turkish [people] have always sided with their brethren in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They have a special place in our hearts,” he said. Gul said it was due to the same reason Ankara peace process was launched in 2007. He said: “We know problems of our countries in a better manner and any solution from outside would not be as effective as we would propose.”

According to the understanding developed at the third summit, the three countries will continue to pursue a structured and comprehensive dialogue at different levels; including trilateral military cooperation and training; security cooperation in counter terrorism and counter narcotics; energy projects; transport corridors; establishment of organised industrial zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and undertake socio-economic projects on education, health and vocational training.

The day-long summit attained greater significance as it will help Turkey, a key member of the military alliance of the 26 member Nato, convey the perceptions and requirements of Pakistan and Afghanistan at its forthcoming summit in France. Citing the reasons for holding the summit side by side with Nato meeting, the Turkish president said the Untied States was taking keen interest in the region. He said Turkey would play its role in helping the United States understand the situation in the region.

The joint statement issued at the end reiterated the resolve to continue trilateral contacts at all levels. The statement said the three presidents who were also accompanied by their military and intelligence chiefs, covered bilateral, regional and international issues of common interest, especially from a security and stability perspective.

The meeting noted the process initiated at the first summit in Ankara and subsequent meetings of the Joint Working Groups and agreed to continue it forward by including the military and intelligence chiefs of the three countries along with the political leadership in a reflection of complete unanimity at all tiers.

The three countries also agreed that their foreign ministers will meet once a year along with their heads of military and intelligence counterparts to broaden the area cooperation and effectively address the issues confronting the two neighbours.

Turkey is of the view that both Pakistan and Afghanistan need to resolve all their issues, counter extremism, terrorism and militancy and work for the betterment of the people for greater regional peace, stability and solidarity of the two countries.

During the meeting, the leaders reviewed the agreements finalised at the December summit in Istanbul and focussed on ways to seek their early implementation.

Under the decisions taken at Istanbul, Pakistan and Turkey can initiate joint projects on the Pakistan side, besides having similar joint ventures with Afghanistan on the other side of the border.

The trilateral summit is expected to bring Pakistan and Afghanistan closer. Earlier, Turkish President Abdullah Gul hosted a lunch for President Asif Ali Zardari, before the start of trilateral meeting on Afghanistan.

In the morning, the presidents of Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan informally met to discuss greater cooperation on security and intelligence sharing, ahead of the formal trilateral meeting later in the day. President Zardari also had a meeting with President Abdullah Gul, which was followed by his talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.