Some Hard Questions/Decisions
Authenticity of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.
It has so far not been established whether 9/11 episode was real or engineered and whether Osama bin Laden (OBL) was behind it.
Why Terrorism Confined to Muslims Only?
George W. Bush led neo-cons most immoral act after 9/11 was to attribute terrorism to Muslims only. Global war on terrorism was hence confined to Muslim world only while the non-Muslim world was given a clean chit. Even the freedom movements legitimized by the UN were dubbed as terrorism. Above all, biased laws on terrorism were framed but terrorism was not defined.
Why Afghanistan was Chosen as the Target?
Afghanistan, an impoverished State devoid of armed forces, technology, intelligence, resources and having gone through a decade long horrendous war with the Soviet forces followed by four years of internecine war (1992-1996) was chosen as the initial target by USA because of its geo-strategic importance and its hidden mineral wealth. It shares border with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and China in the north and Pakistan and Iran in the south. Under the garb of Operation Freedom, Washington’s hidden objectives were to convert Afghanistan into a strong military base, wherefrom it could launch covert war against all the target countries around it to not only maintain its world hegemony but to also harness the resources of Central Asia.
Demolition of Afghanistan in November 2001 and Iraq in 2003 undertaken by George W Bush junior led neo-cons were aimed at establishing a secure southern front to complement the western front that was established by merging Eastern Europe into EU in early 1990s. The underlying idea behind the establishment of two fronts was to dominate Eurasia as propounded by Brzezinski in 1970s. Brzezinski had prophesized that whosoever controls Eurasia controls the world.
Pakistan was Peaceful in 2001
When the US led forces occupied Afghanistan in November 2001 on unconvincing grounds, Pakistan was a peaceful country and enjoyed brotherly relations with Afghanistan. Indian influence in Afghanistan had waned for the first time and Pakistan’s western border had become safe. Conditions in FATA and Balochistan were peaceful and there were no Taliban or suicide bombers in Pakistan except for the sympathizers of Afghan Taliban and OBL because of their heroics in the war against the Soviets and the US spiteful role after achieving its objectives.
Why Pakistan was deceptively befriended?
After 9/11, although the US chose Pakistan to fight the war as a Frontline State, however, Pakistan’s nuclear program was an eyesore for India, Israel and USA. The planners had made up their minds to intentionally create anarchic conditions in Pakistan so that its nukes could be whisked away under the plea that it was unstable and ungovernable.
Ruling out India’s suggestion to destroy both Afghanistan and Pakistan in one go, Washington decided to befriend Pakistan and capture Afghanistan with its assistance and after weakening it from within through sustained covert war, axe it. The reasons behind this piecemeal approach were that it was not possible to occupy Afghanistan without full cooperation of Pakistan, and secondly, Pakistan was a nuclear power.
What were Pakistan Specific Hidden Objectives?
Although Pakistan was made an ally, in reality it was a deception to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and secularize Pakistan and make it subservient to India. Later events and tens of articles published by the US media/think tanks have proved this contention to be correct. Doomsayers had predicted breakup of Pakistan by 2015.
What was the Action Plan against Pakistan?
The two extreme flanks of Pakistan resting on FATA in the northwest and Balochistan in the southwest were selected as preliminary targets for subversion. In order to channelize terrorism from Afghanistan into Pakistan, bulk of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders and their fighters were purposely allowed to escape to FATA from Tora Bora caves in December 2001. Thereafter, Pakistan was forced to induct regular troops into South Waziristan (SW) to flush them out; thus creating a small rivulet of terrorism to seep into FATA. The flow was regulated by RAW and NDS and backed by CIA. MI-6, Mosad and BND assisted the covert war.
CIA and FBI established their outposts in all the seven tribal agencies under the garb of netting al-Qaeda operatives. The two outfits established a clandestine outfit called Spider Web in which retired Pak Army commandoes, locals and Afghan soldiers from Special Forces were enrolled.
About 600 pro-Pakistan Maliks, elders and clerics were killed by the members of Spider Web thereby creating space for the anti-State militants to establish their authority. The chosen actors were bought over by providing sacks full of dollars, arms, equipment, vehicles and Thoraya communication sets. Abdullah Mehsud, cousin of Baitullah Mehsud, released from Guantanamo Bay after brainwashing him and providing an artificial leg was among them. The rivulet was thus turned into a river.
Likewise, another rivulet was created in Balochistan with the help of Sardars of Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes. Concerted and sustained efforts were made to destabilize FATA, Balochistan and later on Karachi to gradually sink Pakistan in sea of terrorism. Six intelligence agencies based in Kabul kept sprinkling tons of fuel on embers of religious extremism, sectarianism, ethnicity and Jihadism. Drones were introduced to further fuel terrorism.
What was the Purpose of Destabilization of Pakistan?
Purpose behind destabilization and defamation of Pakistan through terrorism and propaganda war was to pitch Pak Army against the most fearless fighters in FATA and in Balochistan in an endless war; force Pakistan to soften eastern border and fortify western border thereby making it easy for India to operationalize its Cold Start doctrine with ease; defame armed forces, nuclear program and State institutions; enfeeble economy, dry up investment; make Pakistan lawless; create fear, insecurity and uncertainty among the people; project Pakistan as a failed State and ultimately create conditions for snatching the much sought nukes peacefully or forcibly.
Once terrorism seeped into urban centres and in response major cities were barricaded with road blocks/ police piquets, terrorists still managed to carryout acts of terror against most protected installations because of satellite guidance and presence of Blackwater elements and CIA network with their safe havens in US, British, German, Indian and Afghan Embassies in Islamabad and Consulates in other cities.
Battle between Security Forces and Militants
The militants in FATA are Islamists waging an ideological war to establish Islamic Caliphate. They neither believe in Pakistan’s constitution nor in democracy saying these are of western model and anti-Islamic. For the achievement of their goal of making Pakistan an Islamic Emirate, they have been resorting to extreme brutalities like assassinations, terror attacks on military and civilian targets, worship places, shrines, funerals and markets. Schools in Swat, FATA and settled areas of KP including Peshawar have been destroyed in large numbers. Kidnapping for ransom, forced recruitment and marriages, beheading of captives and brainwashing teenagers as suicide bombers are their methods to strike terror. They want to make the Muslims better Muslims and want to impose their brand of extremist Shariah in the country through armed struggle.
Despite best efforts by our security forces and rendering huge sacrifices, TTP network aligned with several local Jihadist groups as well as al-Qaeda and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and East Turkestan Islamic Movement could not be tamed. They have been striking soft and hard targets at will and the military equipped with heavy guns, tanks, gunship helicopters and jets doesn’t overawe them. Their suicides bombing producing nurseries are functional and they are never short of new recruits.
While the Afghan Taliban under Mullah Omar are waging a Jihad against occupation forces to free their country and recapture power, Pakistani Taliban claim to be fighting a Jihad against Pak security forces by terming Pak Army as a mercenary army of the US. IEDs, explosive laden vehicles and suicide bombing are their preferred weapons of destruction. Worst is that unlike in the past when they were supported by Pakistan to wage Jihad in Afghanistan, now they are aided by non-Muslim powers and Karzai led regime in Kabul to wage war against own people. All these acts are against the principles of Islam.
Unlike the US military which is supported by Army contingents of 48 countries in Afghanistan, Pak security forces are fighting the war against militants backed by foreign powers at their own with meager resources and their performance has been much better than ISAF.
While the Army and civil government are on one page, there are sharp divisions within the TTP leadership. Most are in favor of talks while a small minority opposes peace talks. Ulema and Mashaikhs declaration that suicide attacks and all forms of violence are against the principles of Islam has put the hawks within TTP on the back foot. More so, Mullah Omar’s directive to the TTP Shura to mend fences with Pak government is another setback for those in TTP preferring armed struggle.
Extension of ceasefire by TTP up to April 10 and release of 19 non-combatant Taliban belonging to Mehsud tribe in SW by the government and willingness to continue talking indicate that both sides want the war to end. TTP is demanding release of 800 prisoners, stoppage of operations in cities and declaring SW as peace zone for their free movement. The government is highly optimistic that ongoing dialogue will lead to permanent peace but anti-peace talks think otherwise. The latter should be marginalized.
Gen Musharraf’s Trial
The two opposing lobbies are these days more glued towards Gen Musharraf’s trial. Detractors are leaving no stone unturned to provoke the Army leadership and spoil civil-military relations. Musharraf’s legal team and his fans, his supporters within the Army and among retired Army officers are trying hard to create misunderstanding with a view to drag the Army into the treason case. Although I have no love lost for Musharraf because of his blunders he made during his rule, but unlike PPP regime, he did lot of good for the country. He was certainly not a corrupt man. Since his arrival back in March 2013, he has been subjected to trial and tribulation and bad press and in a way given a taste of his own medicine.
There will be repercussions if he is convicted and punished, or he is let off without trial. Government is in a no-win situation particularly after the trial court has pushed the ball in government’s court. Skies will not fall if he is allowed to go abroad to meet his ailing mother and he chooses not to return. If treasonous Hussain Haqqani could go, he too can go. Will it not be good riddance? Likewise, Pakistan will not become an Asian tiger if he is sentenced to death. Saner elements suggest Nawaz Sharif showing his usual large-heartedness by allowing Musharraf to go on humanitarian grounds rather than aping his mentor Gen Ziaul Haq. Peaceful option will be better than gruesome option.
The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist and author of several books. firstname.lastname@example.org