The US veiled designs againstPakistan no more secret
Asif Haroon Raja
Obama worries about Pakistan’s disintegration and safety ofits nuclear warheads. In reality he and his team are least concerned aboutPakistan’s fragmentation since this has been among the many goals Washingtonhad perceived at the time of invading Afghanistan. Real concern is the nukesand not the fate of Pakistan. The US has already started seeing Pakistan as afailing state at the brink of collapse. It’s think tanks and media have beenprojecting different scenarios of a balkanized Pakistan since
2004/05. The sixstrategic partners grouped together in Kabul had chalked out a comprehensivecovert plan in late 2001 how to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize andbalkanize Pakistan. The agencies with the support of ISAF, Karzai regime and expertsof India proficient in Chankyan tactics have been working zealously since 2002 to achieve theirsinister objective of weakening Pakistan from within under the garb offriendship and then extracting the nuclear teeth when it becomes numb and powerless.The US military-NATO-Indianarmed forces-ANA have been impatiently waiting for the opportune moment tostrike Pakistan once it is denuclearized, or the US Special Forces forciblytaking control over nuclear arsenal under the pretext that it had becomeunsafe. These designs are no more veiled or based on hearsay and assumptionsbut corroborated by several US and western analysts including book writers BobWoodward and David Sanger.
With continuously falling economic indicators, worseningsocio-politico-economic instability, executive-judicial clash and highlydisturbed internal security situation, the vultures are gurgling with delightto see their prey bleeding and offering it-self to be devoured withoutresistance. For over a decade, Pakistan has been pushed from one crisis toanother by the foreign actors duly abetted by their puppets holding highestappointments in Pakistan. This unholy alliance has brought nuclear Pakistan tothe edge of a precipice, now requiring a slight nudge to get broken into pieceswithout putting up a fight with its real enemies. The schemers and intriguerspull their hair in utter frustration and wail aloud when each of theirconspiracy somehow f
ails to badger hemorrhaged Pakistan into completesubmission. Each chaotic situation gets averted because of the assertivejudiciary and ever vigilant and devoted armed forces, nationalistic members ofcivil society and patriotic religious forces. They create a wall and fail thedeadly plots of adversaries of Pakistan aided by handful of shamelessPakistanis sitting smugly in corridors of power.
When Barack Hussein Obama took over from vile George W Bushin January 2009, there was jubilation among the deprived classes in USA and inthe Muslim world. Both had suffered a great deal at the hands of Bush ledneo-cons. Obama had promised to bring a change and to address the grievances ofthe Muslims. He however proved to be more hideous than his predecessor. Nosooner he was anointed as president; he started snarling at Afghan Taliban,Pakistan, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria. After issuing controversial Af-Pakpolicy, he virtually started treating Pakistan as a foe. He threatened tocarryout unilateral military action in FATA whenever any actionableintelligence was available and repeatedly asked Pakistan to do more against militants.He neither gave any relief to the poor in USA, nor to the Muslims. Rather, hebolstered vendetta against Muslim world by approving drone as a choice weaponof war against Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia and cyber warfare againstIran. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, he also fell in love withIsrael and India, the two leading terrorist countries.
He showed the hard pressed US military in Afghanistan a wayout of its dilemma how to tackle the threat posed by the faceless enemy thathad wrested initiative and had dimmed all chances of victory. He firstreinforced ISAF through two troop surges to enable it to regain upper edge overthe Taliban and al-Qaeda combine and authorized night raids, but when he foundthat the US-NATO was not in a position to turn the tide through use of bruteforce he launched a diplomatic-political pincer to supplement the militarypincer under the revised strategy of fight and talk. He offered talks to the loathedTaliban to arrive at a political settlement. However, the veiled objective wasnot to gain peace through reconciliation, but to break Taliban-Qaeda allianceand also to divide and weaken resistance movement of Taliban by categorizingthem as good and bad Taliban. Regional countries were incorporated to make thedeceptive policy of re-integration of reconcilable Taliban and isolation ofirreconcilable a success. In order to avoid battle casualties, he decided tomake maximum use of drones and also to step up secret wars against targetedcountries.
The objective of seizing and disabling Pakistan’s nuclearweapons had been conceived by Bush Administration. Several contingency planswere made and rehearsed by the US Special Forces under battle-simulatedconditions. Heavy pressure was mounted on Musharraf to let the US SpecialForces to guard the nuclear sites jointly with Pak troops because of professedvulnerability. Although the ill-motivated pressure was withstood, no amount ofassurances would satisfy Washington. Seizure plans were rehashed andrefurbished when Obama took over. Creating hysteria about the nukes falling inwrong hands was part of the strategy to scare the world and to underminePakistan’s security and safety arrangements.
False alert was created about dirty bombs manufactured byBaitullah’s men. Alarm bells were sounded by the US-western media and officialsthat Islamabad and nuclear sites were on the verge of being overrun bymilitants when Fazlullah’s men took over Buner in April 2009. This psywar ofnukes falling in wrong hands misfired as a consequent to three highlysuccessful military operations launched between end April and October 2009.
To give credence to its cooked up story, CIA went to theextent of training a special team of TTP to launch a token attack on one of thenuclear sites so as to give an excuse to propagate that nuclear material formaking dirty bombs had been carried away by the attackers. ISI learnt about thenefarious plan and exposed it in time. It was then propagated that officials withreligiously conservative bent of mind working inside nuclear facilities werelinked with Taliban who could hand over nuclear material to them. Pressure wasbuilt to purge Taliban sympathizers. Purpose behind this move was to forcePakistan to carryout purging, induce resentment among the employees and thusmaking it easier for CIA to cultivate few from among the sacked employees tobecome their informers.
Efforts to seize or disable nukes were accelerated from mid2010 onward with the help of CIA network that had been gradually extendingitself from FATA and Balochistan to other major cities of Pakistan. America’sagents holding key appointments in Musharraf government and in Zardari-Gilanirule had been surreptitiously helping foreign agencies and Blackwater toconsolidate their positions. Arrest of Raymond Davis slowed down the ‘Get Nukes’program, otherwise 2011 had been marked as the action year. Stealth raid by USSEALs on OBL hideout in Abbottabad was a testing round fired to test thecapability of Pakistan’s early warning system and response action of securityapparatus as well as reaction of the public before going in for the mainventure. Surveillance drone RQ-170 Sentinel and stealth Black Hawk helicopterswere used to stealthily reach the abode of OBL.
The misadventure however proved counterproductive for the USsince the unilateral act set the alarm bells ringing all over the country andanti-Americanism peaked. The military and ISI went about plugging the securityholes to prevent such an occurrence. In the process, the CIA network that wasoperating unchecked came under close scrutiny of ISI and MI. Its covertactivities got severely restricted. Sacking of Hussein Haqqani on account ofhis proven involvement in memo scandal was a big loss for his patrons in USA.He was instrumental in letting CIA agents in thousands to enter Pakistanwithout security clearance from 2010 onward. Departure of dual nationalityholder Farah Naz was another loss. Zardari-Gilani-Rahman Malik trio also becamehelpless in the face of assertive judiciary and military establishment togetherwith constantly rising ire of the public against corrupt and ineptgovernment.
After failing to make Swat and SW as graveyards for Pakforces, the US applied all sorts of tricks to lure Pak security forces into thekilling field of NW and get it bogged down for good. Such a scenario would havemade an ideal story to paint Pak forces as weak, incompetent and incapable ofdefeating the terrorists and safeguarding the nukes. It would have thus becomeeasier for the US military to justify its intervention in Pakistan and takingcontrol over the nuclear arsenal before it fell in the wrong hands. WhenPakistan military refused to get deceived or bullied or lured by Kerry Lugar Bill(KLB), and also succeeded in keeping foreign trained and equipped terrorists onthe run, and gave no excuse to the US spin doctors to drum up the vulnerabilityof nukes, in sheer exasperation the US launched an unprovoked attack on Salala.This attack was another attempt to discredit and dishearten the military.
But this misadventure also proved very costly for the US. Itgot deprived of Shamsi airbase from where CIA operated drones, and also of freesupply routes, and above all intelligence and military cooperation of Pakistanmilitary. Its effort to find a negotiated solution to Afghan issue throughregional consensus also received a setback while secret parleys with Talibanfizzled out. All these negative developments took place at a time when the USand NATO had started withdrawing from Afghanistan in accordance with decisionstaken at Lisbon Summit in November 2010. Finding itself in a lurch but captiveto its egoism and arrogance, the US opted to use Northern Network to transportperishable items for ISAF which was time consuming and very expensive butrefused to apologize for its aggression in Salala, or to reconsider its dronepolicy. It kept up with its high handed tactics to browbeat Pakistan and forceit to reopen supply lines without conditions.
The US was sure to win because of pathetic economic state ofPakistan and slavish civilian leadership. The battle of nerves continued forover seven months and in this time the US lost hundred million dollars a monthusing northern route. Each time the shaky government standing on slipperyground wavered and seemed ready to throw in the towel in the face of US economicand diplomatic pressures, the military put steel in its spine and the tug ofwar continued. Difah-Pakistan-Council (DPC) and media also played their role inkeeping the government reined. The ice melted when Gen Allen on the quiet apologizedto Gen Kayani and Hilary Clinton to Hina Rabbani. The US also agreed to pay $1.2billion CSF due to military as well as the KLB installment.
Opening of NATO supply lines have been received with mixedfeelings. DPC, Tehrik-e-Insaf (TI) and PML-N are in the forefront condemningthe government. The DPC started a protest long march from Lahore to Islamabadon 8 July making things difficult for newly elected PM who is already underjudicial pressure and public ire. Those against the resumption of supplies sayit is another sellout since the facility has been extended in violation toParliament’s decisions and aspirations of the people. They say it will be utterfoolishness if we keep getting bitten from the same hole particularly when theveiled designs have got unmasked.
In case PML-N and TI join up with religious parties, it willhasten the collapse of Raja Ashraf’s cabinet and may force Zardari to holdelections by October this year. Election or no election, what is more criticalfor Pakistan at the moment is how to keep Pakistan intact and how to safeguardPakistan’s strategic assets till the ouster of current lot of depraved leaders?Opening of supply lines and restoration of so-called US aid has made Pakistanmore vulnerable to foreign interventionism. We have thrown away a goldenopportunity of getting out of the stranglehold of deceitful USA. While ourleaders are celebrating that they have scored a huge diplomatic triumph, andare pleased that they will be able to complete their five year tenure and also savetheir ill-gotten wealth, the people are distressed. The people are fearfulabout the fate of the country in the soiled hands of gang of immoral leadersleast concerned about looming threats. They strongly feel that the ship shouldbe saved before it sinks and not after it has sunk. Saner elements arecautioning that Woodward and Sanger’s disclosures must not be taken lightly.
The writer is a retired Brig and a freelance columnist and adefence analyst. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org