Pakistan is afflicted with psychology of dangerous illusions related to fear and image and also of delusion for extraterritorial expansions associated with its strategic depth driven foreign policy. It is responsible for the jihad, the Koranic Concepts of Wars in South Asia, Afghanistan, the US and Europe over past three decades, mostly with aids from the US, Arabs and China.
The ruling BACWAS (bureaucrats, army, clerics, warlords and scholars) establishment works very hard to project an image of national unity. However, to suppress potential image damage to its reputation, the army’s ISI is reportedly responsible for murder of 37 investigative journalists during last decade.
Pakistan has neglected economic development by empowering its nearly 180 million population with educational skills needed to generate wealth. Economically Pakistan rank is 47th in the world and America is in first place. As a military power compared to America it stands 15th in rank in the world.
The blog covers following topics:
- A Dangerous Illusion
- Dilemmas of a Rentier State
- Ideology of Political Islam
- American and Pakistani Agendas for Stabilizing Af-Pak Region
- Afghan forces and Voice
- President Obama on Pakistan
- Impacts on Pakistan Economy
- Impacts of OBL Death
A Dangerous Illusion
Pakistani army generals are committed to jihad, terror and extremism according to a book, “Inside the al Qaeda and Taliban: Beyond 9/11 Osama bin Laden” by journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. Mr. Shahzad, a Pakistani investigative reporter was Bureau Chief for Pakistan of the Asia Times. Just before the release of the book, Mr. Shahzad (3 November 1970 – 31 May 2011) was picked up by the ISI thugs, brutally murdered and his body dumped by the roadside. Pakistan has banned the book.
A NYT report (July 4, 2011) said that Mr. Shahzad was the 37th journalist killed in Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Murder of investigative journalists is not limited to Pakistani citizens. Captured terrorists, held at the American Guantanamo Bay Prison are connected with the event of 9/11 and some of these prisoners have confessed to murdering the WSJ investigative reporter Mr. Daniel Pearl.
Fear and images move people; these are effective instruments for manipulating people. Fearful people are easily stampeded. Manipulative leaders such as fundamentalist clerics co-linked to al Qaeda have created an image of success for jihad in first Afghan War of 1979-89. Many in the ruling BACWAS establishment are adapt at using these methods judging from media manipulation and killing of investigative journalists, who get out of line by exposing the army’s links to terrorists.
Many BACWAS members are frustrated Muslim leaders, who call devotion to faith to sell mass murder to extremists enlisted for terrorist acts. Generals and the army are largely motivated by the ideology of the Koranic concepts of wars or political Islam. They have adopted “a dangerous illusion” in adopting terror as an instrument of its foreign policy.
Major-General S. K. Malik was a general, who promoted “a dangerous illusion.” He observed in 1978 that “terror stuck into the heart of the enemy is not only means; it is an end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. Terror is not a means of imposing a decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose on him. It is a point where the means and end merge.” This is what terrorist of 9/11 World Trade Center, the 26/11 Mumbai massacre and also that of several terror attacks in Europe – London, Madrid and Denmark, etc – sought to impose.
Most Pakistan generals are not very bright. They appeared not to have learned that even after political suppression, mass murders, ethnic cleansing and by terrorizing unarmed civilians, raping women and killing tens of thousands of children they could not avert the 1971 defeat in East Pakistan.
As a consequence of the 9/11 attacks and also that in Europe Pakistan is paying a heavy price in the Af-Pak region. An unanticipated consequence is internal instability by the Taliban guided insurgents in tribal areas and major cities of Pakistan. Pakistan claims to have spent $68 billion over last decade on wars.
Unlike in the US, Europe and India, where terrorist attacked soft targets within Pakistan they have attacked hard targets in Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and tribal KPP (Khyber Pakhtunkwah Province).
Dilemmas of a Rentier State
The history of last three decades (1980 to present) shows that Pakistan is a rentier state. The reality is that Pakistan forces desperately need constant infusions of dollars and advanced weapons from its sponsors to remain at war and help create a rickety Afghanistan which may not be a threat to the world, but may be a threat it always has been as a tribal warlords dominated territory.
America has spent $4 trillion on a decade old wars in 21st century. Twenty billion dollars of the money was paid to Pakistan. More details on relative military and economic strengths of America and Pakistan are available in my blog; ‘Sovereignty and Victimhood’ dated May 27, 2011.
In spite of infusion of billions of dollars from America, Arab lands and overseas residents, Pakistan’s activism as a jihadi state for the last three decades have ruined its economy and all indicators show that economically it is on a downward slop.
Some realizes that it needs dollars but only for development, not for army build up. Army build up makes the Pakistani generals growl with the India centric posturing and trying to keep Afghanistan as a state with no full peace, no strong centre, no permanent stability and with warlords occasionally savaging one another. Afghanistan dominated by the Pakistan co-linked Afghan Taliban will not be a tourist destination.
The BACWAS establishment in 1971 realized that winning a conventional war against India would be extremely difficult. Recently a government official expressed a view that Pakistan can not win a war against India. He compared two army’s war fighting capacity; it is 20-22 days for Pakistan and 40 to 45 days for India. Pakistan has not kept up economic growth for past few decades to generate revenues needed to match the military capacity of India.
Ideology of Political Islam
Following the ideology of political Islam and a mistaken belief or another dangerous illusion that with American and Chinese advanced weapons it can be effective rentier state for the US, Arabs and China.
Pakistan has played a duplicitous game with America since it agreed to be an ally in the War on Terrorism in September 2001, according to the latest (July 3, 2011) NYT investigative report. The following comments by a retired jihadi commander were quoted:
- Militant groups, like Lashkar–e-Taiba (Let), Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen (HUM) and Hizbul Mujahedeen, are run by religious leaders, with the Pakistani military providing training, strategic planning and protection.
- Mullahs and retired generals run these affairs. A number of former military officials involved in the program include former chiefs of the intelligence service and other former generals. The informer said these people play a very big role still.
It is time for the army to bury the ideology of political Islam, dangerous illusions and delusions if it cares to live in peace with today’s global realities.
American and Pakistani Agendas for Stabilizing Af-Pak Region
Three point agendas of Pakistani generals and that of America for peace in Af-Pak region have been reported.
- The American three-step agenda requires the Af-Pak to break from Al Qaeda, abandon violence and
abide by the Afghan constitution.
- Pakistani general’s agenda sets preconditions on America – eliminate drone attacks, take some Taliban off the UN1267 sanctions blacklist, free some Taliban prisoners and allow the Taliban to open a ‘political office’ in a third country.
- Once the preconditions are met, the army believes the Taliban can be drawn into negotiations with the US and the other players in Afghanistan on a future constitution that keeps in mind the ‘history, culture and geography’ of the country.
Pakistan essentially advocates appeasing Taliban before they will agree to dissociate from al Qaeda. When Taliban were in power in Afghanistan (1996-2001) they ignored Pakistan directives. Most likely, once America yields to the preconditions, Taliban will take what they can and ignore both America and Pakistan. This is not a win-win strategy.
A Pakistan reference to the ‘history, culture and geography’ of the country is another way of saying it be allowed to dominate Afghanistan as a state with no full peace, no strong centre, no permanent stability and with warlords occasionally savaging one another. With such preconditions Pakistan is laying ground on pursuing its strategic depth strategy in an unstable Afghanistan.
Afghan forces and Voice
Granted America backed Afghanistan is not a force to recon with in 2011 but by 2014 it will be a force with an estimated up to 300,000 Afghan troops and an agenda of its own, which most likely, will be complimentary to that of America. In same fashion Afghanistan will have a voice different from that of the army generals and it is unlikely to be a strategic depth of the Pakistan.
Unless Pakistan adopts a foreign policy devoid of delusions, the outcome by 2014 is predictable. Pakistani generals’ agenda most likely will fail, if America completes destruction of al Qaeda and co-linked Taliban in safe heavens of the Af-Pak region.
President Obama on Pakistan
President Obama outlined in his speech a plan to starts taking on Pakistan with a counter insurgency strategy from Afghanistan into Pakistan’s Bad Lands against safe heaves protected by the army. He has allowed American and NATO forces until 2014 to accomplish the stated objectives. From the Pakistani perspective there are multiple indicators pointing towards things heating up for Pakistan in the near future.
In addressing terrorist safe haven threat to Pakistan and world President Obama defined American objectives in his June 22, 2011 speech, “No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more
peaceful future for this war torn region. We will work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keep its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am president, the US will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us. They cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.”
Impacts on Pakistan Economy
Once America guided counter insurgency against terrorist safe heavens is launched, Pakistan’s economy may further slide downward. The recently released Economic Survey of Pakistan underscores the seriousness of the country’s predicament. If poor Pakistanis euphemistically already are not eating “grass”, they most likely will be in a few years if economic development is ignored. Sane commentators on the political economy of Pakistan suggests that it is time the generals and corrupt politicians start thinking of the wellbeing of masses by empowering them with knowledge skills to generate wealth.
The recent attacks (May 2 to present) on the hard targets – Karachi navel base and other army installations have exposed weaknesses of Pakistan’s defenses. A few more such attacks on hard targets in Pakistan will show that the army’s abilities to defend Pakistan’s sovereignty are seriously compromised.
Talk is cheap. Money is power that Pakistan lacks. Counting of continued American aid, Pakistan for the last decade of jihad has been trying to box way above its weight. It makes no economic sense to collect about $20 billion over a decade from America and spend $68 billion as an ally on the War on Terrorism.
Impacts of OBL Death
American raid into Pakistan for the death of Osama bin Laden (OBL, May 2, 2011) may have started yielding some politically encouraging results.
- President Obama announced withdrawal of 33,000 American troops from Afghanistan by end of 2012.
- America has reconfigured its mission to include: elimination of al Qaeda through the use of a drone-CIA combine and Training a sizeable Afghan National Army to take over responsibilities from NATO/ISAF by the end of 2014
- The plans for expected comprehensive strategic dialogue in Washington D. C. have been indefinitely postponed.
- Congress has instructed the State Department and Pentagon to postpone reimbursement of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), around $ 2 billion.
- The announced willingness of General Kayani to share $500 million of $2 billion of the army funds from America for developmental programs is in limbo as a result of actions of the US Congress.
- America has implemented for the supply lines to troops in Afghanistan alternate routes other
Given hard choices and dire consequences for Pakistan if it continues supporting and does not take steps to disband Taliban and terrorists infrastructure the generals appear to be choosing the best deal offered and give into American three point agenda. Pakistan is in a process of separating Taliban from al Qaeda operatives imbedded with the Haqqani group. This is consistent with past behaviors of the army generals.
- Anurag Maheshwari noted, “Brigadier S K Malik, an influential figure in Pakistan Army, wrote a tome titled “The Koranic Concept of War,” which was published in 1978. Its foreword was written by none other than Pakistan’s future and perhaps most influential dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq. A keen student of war, Malik argued that in order to keep Pakistan intact and take revenge against India, Pakistan must immerse itself in the philosophy of jihad against infidel Hindus and Jews.” http://tech.mit.edu/V129/N30/indiapakistan.html
- William Garrison Jr, review of book, ‘The Quranic Concept of War,’ by S. K. Malik, Himalayan Books (1986) at http://www.amazon.com/Quranic-Concept-War-S-Malik/dp/8170020204
- Kishan Bhatia, ‘Sovereignty and Victimhood’ at http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2011/05/27/pakistan-sovereignty-victimhood/
- Breaking News – NYT Investigative Report: “Pakistani Military Still Cultivates Militant Groups, a Former Fighter Says,” by Carllota Gala, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/04/world/asia/04pakistan.html?_r=1&hp
- The Pakistani military continues to nurture a broad range of militant groups as part of a three-decade strategy of using proxies against its neighbors and American forces in Afghanistan, but now some of the fighters it trained are questioning that strategy, a prominent former militant commander says.
- The former commander said that he was supported by the Pakistani military for 15 years as a
fighter, leader and trainer of insurgents until he quit a few years ago. Well known in militant circles but accustomed to a covert existence, he gave an interview to The New York Times on the condition that his name, location and other personal details not be revealed.
- Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, “Pakistan’s Spies Tied to Slaying of a Journalist,” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/world/asia/05pakistan.html?_r=1&hp
- President Obama’s Remarks on Afghanistan, June 2011, http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/obamas-remarks-afghanistan-june-2011/p25333
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