Archive | South Asia

Yes, It’s Time to Come Home—Now

Actually ending the war in Afghanistan.

by: Andrew Bacevich

As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. (Photo: Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly / United States Marine Corps)

As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. (Photo: Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly / United States Marine Corps)

Let’s open up and sing, and ring the bells out
Ding-dong! the merry-oh sing it high, sing it low
Let them know the wicked witch is dead!

Within establishment circles, Donald Trump’s failure to win re-election has prompted merry singing and bell-ringing galore. If you read the New York Times or watch MSNBC, the song featured in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz nicely captures the mood of the moment.

As a consequence, expectations for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to put America back on the path to the Emerald City after a dispiriting four-year detour are sky-high. The new administration will defeat Covid-19, restore prosperity, vanquish racism, reform education, expand healthcare coverage, tackle climate change, and provide an effective and humane solution to the problem of undocumented migrants. Oh, and Biden will also return the United States to its accustomed position of global leadership. And save America’s soul to boot.

So we are told.

That these expectations are deemed even faintly credible qualifies as passing strange. After all, the outcome of the 2020 presidential election turned less on competing approaches to governance than on the character of the incumbent. It wasn’t Joe Biden as principled standard-bearer of enlightened twenty-first-century liberalism who prevailed. It was Joe Biden, a retread centrist pol who emerged as the last line of defense shielding America and the world from four more years of Donald Trump.

So the balloting definitively resolved only a single question: by 80 million to 74 million votes, a margin of six million, Americans signaled their desire to terminate Trump’s lease on the White House. Yet even if repudiating the president, voters hardly repudiated Trumpism. Republicans actually gained seats in the House of Representatives and appear likely to retain control of the Senate.

On November 3rd, a twofold transfer of power commenced. A rapt public has fixed its attention on the first of those transfers: Biden’s succession to the presidency (and Trump’s desperate resistance to the inevitable outcome). But a second, hardly less important transfer of power is also occurring. Once it became clear that Trump was not going to win a second term, control of the Republican Party began reverting from the president to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The implications of that shift are immense, as Biden, himself a longtime member of the Senate, no doubt appreciates.

Consider this telling anecdote from former President Barack Obama’s just-published memoir. Obama had tasked then-Vice President Biden with cajoling McConnell into supporting a piece of legislation favored by the administration. After Biden made his pitch, the hyper-partisan McConnell dourly replied, “You must be under the mistaken impression that I care.” End of negotiation.

Perhaps the Democrats will miraculously win both Senate seats in Georgia’s January runoff elections and so consign McConnell to the status of minority leader. If they don’t, let us not labor under the mistaken impression that he’ll support Biden’s efforts to defeat Covid-19, restore prosperity, vanquish racism, reform education, expand healthcare coverage, tackle climate change, or provide an effective and humane solution to the problem of undocumented migrants.

It’s a given that McConnell isn’t any more interested in saving souls than he is in passing legislation favored by Democrats. That leaves restoring American global leadership as the sole remaining arena where President Biden might elicit from a McConnell-controlled GOP something other than unremitting obstructionism.

And that, in turn, brings us face to face with the issue Democrats and Republicans alike would prefer to ignore: the U.S. penchant for war. Since the end of the Cold War and especially since the terror attacks of 9/11, successive administrations have relied on armed force to assert, affirm, or at least shore up America’s claim to global leadership. The results have not been pretty. A series of needless and badly mismanaged wars have contributed appreciably—more even than Donald Trump’s zany ineptitude—to the growing perception that the United States is now a declining power. That perception is not without validity. Over the past two decades, wars have depleted America’s strength and undermined its global influence.

So, as the U.S. embarks on the post-Trump era, what are the prospects that a deeply divided government presiding over a deeply divided polity will come to a more reasoned and prudent attitude toward war? A lot hinges on whether Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell can agree on an answer to that question.

An Unexpected Gift for “Sleepy Joe”

As his inevitable exit from the White House approaches, President Trump himself may be forcing the issue.

One of the distinctive attributes of our 45th president is that he never seemed terribly interested in actually tending to the duties of his office. He does not, in fact, possess a work ethic in any traditional sense. He prefers to swagger and strut rather than deliberate and decide. Once it became clear that he wasn’t going to win a second term, he visibly gave up even the pretense of governing. Today, he golfs, tweets, and rails. According to news reports, he no longer even bothers to set aside time for the daily presidential intelligence briefing.

As the clock runs out, however, certain Trumpian impulses remain in play. The war in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year, offers a notable example. In 2001, President George W. Bush ordered U.S. forces to invade the country, but prematurely turned his attention to a bigger and more disastrous misadventure in Iraq. Barack Obama inherited the Afghanistan War, promised to win it, and ordered a large-scale surge in the U.S. troop presence there. Yet the conflict stubbornly dragged on through his two terms. As for candidate Trump, during campaign 2016, he vowed to end it once and for all. In office, however, he never managed to pull the plug—until now, that is.

Soon after losing the election, the president ousted several senior Pentagon civilians, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and replaced them (for a couple of months anyway) with loyalists sharing his oft-stated commitment to “ending endless wars.” Within days of taking office, new Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller issued a letter to the troops, signaling his own commitment to that task.

“We are not a people of perpetual war,” he wrote, describing endless war as “the antithesis of everything for which we stand and for which our ancestors fought.” The time for accepting the inevitable had now arrived. “All wars must end,” he continued, adding that trying harder was not going to produce a better outcome. “We gave it our all,” he concluded. “Now, it’s time to come home.”

Miller avoided using terms like victory or defeat, success or failure, and did not specify an actual timetable for a full-scale withdrawal. Yet Trump had already made his intentions clear: he wanted all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year and preferably by Christmas. Having forgotten or punted on innumerable other promises, Trump appeared determined to make good on this one. It’s likely, in fact, that Miller’s primary—perhaps only—charge during his abbreviated tour of duty as Pentagon chief is to enable Trump to claim success in terminating at least one war.

So during this peculiar betwixt-and-between moment of ours, with one administration packing its bags and the next one trying to get its bearings, a question of immense significance to the future course of American statecraft presents itself: Will the United States at long last ring down the curtain on the most endless of its endless wars? Or, under the guise of seeking a “responsible end,” will it pursue the irresponsible course of prolonging a demonstrably futile enterprise through another presidency?

As Miller will soon discover, if he hasn’t already, his generals don’t concur with the commander-in-chief’s determination to “come home.” Whether in Afghanistan or Somalia, Iraq, Syria, or Europe, they have demonstrated great skill in foiling his occasional gestures aimed at reducing the U.S. military’s overseas profile.

The available evidence suggests that Joe Biden’s views align with those of the generals. True, the conduct and legacy of recent wars played next to no role in deciding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election (suggesting that many Americans have made their peace with endless war). Still, given expectations that anyone aspiring to high office these days must stake out a position on every conceivable issue and promise something for everyone, candidate Biden spelled out his intentions regarding Afghanistan.

Basically, he wants to have it both ways. So he is on record insisting that “these ‘forever wars’ have to end,” while simultaneously proposing to maintain a contingent of American troops in Afghanistan to “take out terrorist groups who are going to continue to emerge.” In other words, Biden proposes to declare that the longest war in U.S. history has ended, while simultaneously underwriting its perpetuation.

Such a prospect will find favor with the generals, members of the foreign policy establishment, and media hawks. Yet hanging on in Afghanistan (or other active theaters of war) will contribute nothing to Biden’s larger promise to “build back better.” Indeed, the staggering expenses that accompany protracted wars will undermine his prospects of making good on his domestic reform agenda. It’s the dilemma that Lyndon Johnson faced in the mid-1960s: You can have your Great Society, Mr. President, or you can have your war in Vietnam, but you can’t have both.

Biden will face an analogous problem. Put simply, his stated position on Afghanistan is at odds with the larger aspirations of his presidency.

At Long Last an Exit Strategy?

As a practical matter, the odds of Trump actually ending the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan between now and his departure from office are nil. The logistical challenges are daunting, especially given that the pick-up team now running the Pentagon is made up of something other than all-stars. And the generals will surely drag their feet, while mobilizing allies not just in the punditocracy but in the Republican Party itself.

As a practical matter, Acting Secretary Miller has already bowed to reality. The definition of success now is, it seems, to cut the force there roughly in half, from 4,500 to 2,500, by Inauguration Day, with the remainder of U.S. troops supposedly coming out of Afghanistan by May 2021 (months after both Trump and Miller will be out of a job).

So call it Operation Half a Loaf. But half is better than none. Even if Trump won’t succeed in reducing U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan to zero, I’m rooting for him anyway. As, indeed, Joe Biden should be—because if Trump makes headway in shutting down America’s war there, Biden will be among the principal beneficiaries.

Whatever his actual motives, Trump has cracked open a previously shut door to an exit strategy. Through that door lies the opportunity of turning the page on a disastrous era of American statecraft dominated by a misplaced obsession with events in the Greater Middle East.

Twin convictions shaped basic U.S. policy during this period: the first was that the United States has vital interests at stake in this region, even in utterly remote parts of it like Afghanistan; the second, that the United States can best advance those interests by amassing and employing military power. The first of those convictions turned out to be wildly misplaced, the second tragically wrong-headed. Yet pursuant to those very mistaken beliefs, successive administrations have flung away lives, treasure, and influence with complete abandon. The American people have gained less than nothing in return. In fact, in terms of where taxpayer dollars were invested, they’ve lost their shirts.

Acting Secretary Miller’s charge to the troops plainly acknowledges a bitter truth to which too few members of the Washington establishment have been willing to admit: the time to move on from this misguided project is now. To the extent that Donald Trump’s lame-duck administration begins the process of extricating the United States from Afghanistan, he will demonstrate the feasibility of doing so elsewhere as well. Tired arguments for staying the course could then lose their persuasive power.

Doubtless, after all these disastrous years, there will be negative consequences to leaving Afghanistan. Ill-considered and mismanaged wars inevitably yield poisonous fruit. There will be further bills to pay. Still, ending the U.S. war there will establish a precedent for ending our military involvement in Iraq, Syria, and Somalia as well. Terminating direct U.S. military involvement across the Greater Middle East and much of Africa will create an opportunity to reconfigure U.S. policy in a world that has changed dramatically since the United States recklessly embarked upon its crusade to transform great swathes of the Islamic world.

Biden himself should welcome such an opportunity. Admittedly, Mitch McConnell, no longer fully subservient to President Trump, predicts that withdrawing from Afghanistan will produce an outcome “reminiscent of the humiliating American departure from Saigon in 1975.” In reality, of course, failure in Vietnam stemmed not from the decision to leave, but from an erroneous conviction that it was incumbent upon Americans to decide the destiny of the Vietnamese people. The big mistake occurred not in 1975 when American troops finally departed, but a decade earlier when President Johnson decided that it was incumbent upon the United States to Americanize the war.

As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trump’s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.

And then, of course, they can bicker about the shortest path to the Emerald City.

Posted in USA, Afghanistan0 Comments

NATO chief rules out rushed, early exit from Afghanistan

By Jim W. Dean,

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: It comes as no surprise that NATO does not want to get out of Afghanistan any time soon. The reasons are the usual ones. First, any deployment closer to Russia is always a good thing, and any possible excuse to maintain it is sufficient.

Peacetime armies are always wanting to keep some troops trained to a war fighting capability. That includes the limited fighting we see NATO engaged in from their operational capacity inside their bases. Along with the US, NATO acts as a palace guard for the current Kabul regime, which has always needed foreign protection.

The other main reason, more important, is to keep intelligence gathering skills tuned up, especially with electronic gathering. Language skills need to be maintained, and the myth of defending Europe from attack from Eurasia has to be maintained to justify NATO’s existence at the level it is at.

Keep in mind my report last year how Germany said it could take five more years before its infantry soldiers all had two pairs of boots. That really shocked me.

And last, there is defending one’s cut of the drug trafficking business, which involves the use of military aircraft as the preferred method of transportation, typically flying into Camp Bondsteel in Romania as a first stop. The cash is divided and used in a number of ways, including flowing into political campaigns and the usual luxury items.

Rural Afghanistan people bear the brunt of fighting the Taliban, which is much more motivated, and the US justifies its existence by providing Kabul troops air cover when it can. Westerners still cannot get their heads wrapped around the salt of the earth attitude Afghanis have toward what they view as foreign invaders.

Sure they love the dollar, and there are many of them to get, but other than that, they have no use for outsiders, as you could say they are caught in a time warp, partly due to their own making.

If left on their own, they will continue killing each other over who is going to be the boss and get the bigger cut of the graft pie. They think, correctly, that if they don’t steal it, then the guy coming behind them will, which is absolutely a sure thing.

It will just be a smaller pie if the US and NATO left. The Russians sure as hell would not be going back. China might want to step in, but they would probably live to regret it Jim W. Dean ]

First aired on PressTV before being blocked

The Press TV Brussels correspondent used up most of the segment time, which started late, 10 minutes, which is usually do to more news clip coverage, so hence my longer intro than usual above. JD

Note: The video link to this interview has been broken…Jim

The NATO chief has ruled out an early exit of the western military alliance from Afghanistan, as violence continues to flare in the war-torn country.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military alliance will stay in Afghanistan until security conditions allow it to leave. The remarks came less than a week after the US said it will cut the number of its troops in Afghanistan to 25-hundred, early next year.

The comment also comes at a time when the rising violence threatens to thwart ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group. US-led NATO forces have maintained their presence in Afghanistan since 2003. The alliance currently has around 12000 forces there, more than half of them from the U.S.

Posted in Afghanistan, NATOComments Off on NATO chief rules out rushed, early exit from Afghanistan

Interrelationship of Afghan and Pakistan Stability

The Taliban have welcomed Donald Trump’s Peace Tweet as a positive step towards the implementation of the US-Taliban peace deal

By Sajjad Shaukat Pak VT

In a tweet, the US President Donald Trump surprisingly announced on October 7, this year that all US troops in Afghanistan could be home by Christmas, putting an end to America’s longest war.

According to the US former officials, “Less than a month before the presidential election, President Trump’s abrupt vow to bring home troops from Afghanistan by year-end is a sign of how he may feel increasingly unchained to push through a foreign policy wish list he hopes could appeal to voters”.

US analysts warned that President Trump’s plan would weaken Kabul’s position in the intra-Afghan talks and would further strengthen the Taliban, who already have an upper hand on the ground.

Notably, a landmark agreement between the US and the Taliban was signed on February 29, 2020 in Doha-the capital of Qatar for bringing peace to Afghanistan.

In the agreement, it is committed that within the first 135 days, the US will reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 from the current 13,000, working with its other NATO allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forces over that period, while America would withdraw all forces from Afghanistan in 14 months. While the Taliban committed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

In this regard, Laurel Miller, who served as acting US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said: “Trump appears to have put his re-election bid above US national security concerns and relations with allies, who serve alongside American troops in Afghanistan.”

Reacting to President Trump’s sudden decision, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on October 9, this year that its members “would consult and decide together on when to leave Afghanistan…NATO will end its mission in Afghanistan only when conditions on the ground permit”.

On the other side, Taliban welcomed American President Donald Trump’s announcement and called it a “very positive step” towards the implementation of the US-Taliban peace deal.

It is mentionable that Afghanistan’s former Chief Executive and Chairperson of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah visited Pakistan on September 28, 2020 for a three-day trip, during which he met Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In the joint conference, with Foreign Minister Qureshi, Abdullah Abdullah said that,

Afghanistan will never “allow its soil to be used by extremist forces, posing a threat to any other nation…the start of intra-Afghan talks between Kabul and the Taliban was an important opportunity, as it offered the best hope to the war behind us…Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing several shared serious threats and challenges, including terrorism, extremism…COVID-19…There is great scope for cooperation.”

Foreign Minister Qureshi assured Afghanistan that Pakistan completely supported its peace initiative, adding that Islamabad wanted to be “friends not masters with the neighboring nation…the new realization and recognition if we have to coexist in peace and build a common future…our security and stability is interlinked…a political settlement is the only solution to the Afghan conflict”.

However, these statements were part of optimism regarding the peace process in Afghanistan and Afghan ruler Abdullah’s double game.

For example, ignoring the fact that New Delhi is destabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan, during his trip to India, in an interview with ThePrint, Afghan leader Abdullah Abdullah said on October 10, this year that in the meeting with PM Modi, he discussed Kabul’s talks with Taliban and empahsised India’s role in the process—India has been supporting Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller called on Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, on October 8, this year.

According to ISPR, “matters related to mutual interest, peace and stability in the region; Pak-Afghan border management; and current developments in the Afghan peace process were discussed during the meeting. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq was also present…The visiting dignitaries appreciated Pakistan’s positive role in furthering the Afghan peace process”.

Negotiations between Afghan government and the Taliban were finally held in Doha on September 12, 2020, but produced no results.

Concerning the negotiations, Zalmay Khalilzad predicted on September 25, 2020 that the Taliban would not accept a permanent truce until a political deal is reached with the Afghan government. He added that, in the Doha talks, the two sides have spent more than a week deciding agendas and the manner in which the two sides will be conducting the negotiations.

In this respect, at a hearing in the US House of Representatives, Zalmay Khalilzad warned on September 22, 2020 that violence in Afghanistan remains unacceptably high, and Washington expects more setbacks in ongoing peace talks between Taliban militants and the Afghan government to end two decades of war.

Mr. Khalilzad stated that the decision regarding Afghan peace talks in Doha will be made after the US elections in November.

Earlier, Afghan President Ghani has used various pretexts and delaying tactics in completion of the US-Taliban agreement, including release of the Taliban prisoners. Sometimes, he availed the opportunity of coronavirus pandemic, and sometimes he refused to set free those Taliban, allegedly saying that they had been involved in human crimes.

It is regrettable that on the direction of India, in the recent past, Afghan President Ghani accused Pakistan for terror attacks in Afghanistan.

In fact, New Delhi and Kabul, which are creating obstacles against a reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government, are also exploiting America’s dual policy in Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.

Regarding Indian activities in Afghanistan, the then NATO commander General McChrystal had pointed out, “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan…[and] is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”

Besides, a US-Taliban peace deal would likely render Indian proxy support against Pakistan ineffective. It suits Indian designs for Afghanistan to keep simmering, without moving towards peace.

In this context, reliable sources as mentioned in Pakistan’s media on August 18, 2020 disclosed that Afghanistan-based the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has merged with its splinter groups Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) and Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA) in Afghanistan. Their sole objective is to restart terrorist activity in Pakistan, while simultaneously sabotaging efforts to restore peace and stability in its war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Indian RAW played a key role in their reunification. The agreement, reportedly, designated Mufti Noor Wali as the amir (Chief) of TTP, making him responsible for all planned terrorist activities inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Islamabad has long accused Kabul of turning a blind eye toward TTP and other terrorists who fled to Afghanistan to escape counter-terrorist operations in Pakistan.

According to the UN report of July 26, 2020, “The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and its splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) continue to target Pakistan from their bases in Afghanistan…the significant presence of ISIL-K (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Khorasan) in Afghanistan”, which the UN warns “now pursues a global agenda”.

The UN report warns of “a strong presence of ISIL-India in Kerala and Karnataka. ISIL-K considers Afghan territory a base for spreading terrorist influence across the wider region…The investigators found links between Indian nationals and terrorist attacks in Sri-Lank”.

Taking cognizance of the present drastic situation, in his article published in The Washington Post on September 26, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned against “hasty withdrawal of foreign powers from Afghanistan” and also cautioned that “regional spoilers could use instability in the worn-torn country for their own vested interests…no people have paid a higher price for the conflict in Afghanistan than the people of Pakistan…peace and political stability in Afghanistan could not be imposed from the outside…Only an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process, which recognises Afghanistan’s political realities and diversity, could produce a lasting peace…Pakistan continued to be the target of attacks launched by externally enabled terrorist groups based in Afghanistan…these terrorist groups pose a clear and present danger to global peace”.

It is worth-mentioning that Foreign Minister Qureshi met Zalmay Khalilzad at Islamabad on July 1, 2020. After the meeting, Qureshi stated that “Pakistan is ready to cooperate with regional and international stakeholders for enduring and peaceful political solution to the Afghan issue…the development of whole region depends on establishment of peace in Afghanistan…India has been continuously trying to destabilize Pakistan to divert attention from its internal chaos…India is interfering in Balochistan province of Pakistan at the same time it is also adversely affecting peace efforts in Afghanistan.”

Zalmay Khalilzad who, repeatedly, visited Pakistan and met country’s civil and military leadership admired Pakistan’s role in the US-Taliban peace dialogue. It was due to Pakistan’s key role in Doha that on February 29, this year, the US and the Taliban signed the historical agreement.

Afghan people have suffered from the War on Terror, security issues and political economic instability since the US invasion in 2001. In order to check Indian influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan played proactive role in development of damaged infrastructure as well despite monetary constraints.

Pakistan funded 400-bed Jinnah Hospital in Kabul, Nishtar Kidney Centre in Jalalabad, 200 beds Naeb Aminullah Khan Hospital in Logar, besides giving 45 ambulances to Afghan government—funded educational institutions in Afghanistan including Allama Iqbal Faculty of Arts in Kabul University, Sir Syed Post Graduate Faculty of Sciences in Nangarhar University, Liaquat Ali Khan Engineering University in Bulkh, Rehan Baba School and Rehman baba hostel in Kabul.

About 500,000 refugees-students are enrolled in various schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan—having been offered 3000 fully-funded scholarship for higher education for Afghan students. And around 35,000 Afghans have completed their graduation and Masters from Pakistan in last three decades.

Moreover, Islamabad built 75km Torkham–Jalalabad Road, additional carriage way on Torkham–Jalalabad Road, three internal roads in Jalalabad and digital radio link between Kabul and Peshawar—100 public transport buses and 7200 trucks given to Afghan government by Pakistan—held a week long free eye camp in Jalalabad and treated 4818 patients performed 357 eye surgeries, while distributed 4126 eye glasses. Pakistan has generously hosted nearly 3-5 million Afghan refugees for more than 3 decades.

Afghans are treated with respect in Pakistan. Islamabad’s investment in Afghan infrastructure development is praised by Afghans as well.

Therefore, Pakistan cannot afford instability in Afghanistan, as there is interrelationship of Pak-Afghan stability. India knows that peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan. So, RAW will ensure that Afghanistan should never become a peaceful country.

Posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Interrelationship of Afghan and Pakistan Stability

Has the US – Taliban Peace Agreement Died?

By VT Editors 

         By Sajjad Shaukat Pak VT

Afghanistan’s former Chief Executive and Chairperson of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah Abdullah arrived in Pakistan on September 28, this year for a three-day visit during which he met Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In the joint conference, with Foreign Minister Qureshi, Abdullah Abdullah said that Afghanistan will never allow its soil to be used by extremist forces, posing a threat to any other nation—the start of intra-Afghan talks between Kabul and the Taliban was an important opportunity, as it offered the “best hope “to the war behind us…Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing several shared serious threats and challenges, including terrorism, extremism…COVID-19…There is great scope for cooperation.”

Foreign Minister Quereshi assured Afghanistan that Pakistan completely supported its peace initiative, adding that Islamabad wanted to be “friends not masters with the neighboring nation…the new realization and recognition if we have to coexist in peace and build a common future…our security and stability is interlinked…a political settlement is the only solution to the Afghan conflict”.

However, these statements were part of optimism regarding the peace process in Afghanistan and Afghan ruler Abdullah’s double game.

In this connection, the Afghan government and the Taliban finally held in Doha-the capital of Qatar on September 12, this year—Among others, the key speakers at the event included Abdullah Abdullah, Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while the Foreign Minister Quereshi addressed the event through video link to bring the NATO’s prolonged war in Afghanistan to an end. But, it produced no results. So, some new developments has raised the question, has the US-Taliban Peace Agreement Dead?

In this regard, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy for Afghanistan, has predicted on September 25, 2020 that the Taliban will not accept a permanent truce until a political deal is reached with the Afghan government.

In the negotiations in Doha, the two sides have so far have spent more than a week deciding agendas and the manner in which the two sides will be conducting the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Taliban allegedly said that Afghan government have killed 65 Taliban militants during a battle in the nation’s eastern provinces as fighting continued to rage between the two sides, while they were holding peace talks.

While, Afghan government claimed that the latest battle took place on September 23, this year after the Taliban fighters stormed a military headquarters building in the Wazi Khwa district of Paktika Province.

In the recent past, Abdullah Abdullah allegedly stated that a number of Taliban prisoners who were released by the Afghan government as a condition for peace talks have returned to the battlefield.  He also said that negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar have been positive. However, it shows contradictory approach of the Afghan ruler.

In this respect, at a hearing in the US House of Representatives, Zalmay Khalilzad warned on September 22, 2020 that violence in Afghanistan remains unacceptably high and Washington expects more setbacks in ongoing peace talks between Taliban militants and the Afghan government to end two decades of war.

He added, “We are under no illusions about the challenges ahead…We expect that there will be obstacles…Since the talks opened in Qatar on September 12, the two sides reportedly remain far from agreement on virtually every issue.

Notably, Mr. Khalilzad stated that the decision on Afghan peace talks in Doha will be made after the US elections in November, explaining:  “I’m hoping that the negotiations will make some progress, but a decision will have to be made after elections as to what happens”.

The talks followed the US and the Taliban agreement, signed on February 29, 2020 for bringing peace to Afghanistan. Through the agreement the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months, while the Taliban committed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control. US also agreed to reduce its troops in the country from about 12,000 to 8,600.

The deal also called for the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners ahead of direct talks. But, Afghan rulers were using delaying tactics in this respect. So, the full withdrawal of American/NATO troops was a central Taliban purpose.

But, less than 24 hours after the US-Taliban agreement, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had rejected prisoner swap with Taliban and refused to release the Taliban prisoners.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed stated that the Taliban group was living up to its side of the agreement, and that it was willing to negotiate a countrywide cease-fire, including intra-Afghan talks, which had to begin within 10 days of the February 29 deal, but were still on hold because of the political bickering in Kabul.

Nevertheless, due to American pressure, Ghani had started releasing Taliban detainees. The Taliban had also freed many prisoners.

And in response to the air attacks by the Afghan government and the US, the Taliban have carried out almost 2,808 terror assaults. However, Taliban have not attacked the US or NATO troops, as they already stated. But, main purpose the attacks of the US-led Afghan regime were to create an obstacle in implementation of the US-Taliban deal.

Afghan President Ghani has used various pretexts and delaying tactics in completion of the US-Taliban agreement, including release of the Taliban prisoners. Sometimes, he availed the opportunity of coronavirus pandemic and sometimes, he refused to set free those Taliban, allegedly saying that they had been involved in human crimes.

It is regrettable that on the direction of India, in the recent past, Afghan President Ghani accused Pakistan for terror attacks in Afghanistan.

Showing dual policy, recently, Abdullah Abdullah called on America to ask Pakistan, which allegedly maintains ties to the militants, to pressure Taliban to agree to a cease-fire.

In fact, New Delhi and Kabul which want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are manipulating the dual policy of America against Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.

Afghan rulers think that in case, the US-led NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan, their regime will fall like a house of cards owing to the attacks of the Taliban. Even, India would not be in a position to maintain its billions of dollars investments and secret network in wake of the successful guerrilla warfare of the Taliban. So, both the countries want NATO’s permanent entanglement in the Afghan conflict.

Regarding Indian activities in Afghanistan the then NATO commander, Gen. McChrystal had pointed out: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”

Besides, the US-Taliban peace deal is likely to render Indian proxy support against Pakistan ineffective. It will suit Indian designs, if Afghanistan does not move towards peace and, instead, keeps simmering.

In this context, reliable sources as mentioned in Pakistan’s media on August 18, 2020 disclosed that the Afghanistan based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has merged with its splinter groups Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) and Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA) in Afghanistan. Their sole objective is to restart terrorist activity in Pakistan, while simultaneously sabotaging efforts to restore peace and stability in its war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Indian RAW played a key role in their reunification. The agreement, reportedly, designated Mufti Noor Wali as the amir (Chief) of TTP, making him responsible for all planned terrorist activities inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Islamabad has long accused Kabul of turning a blind eye toward TTP and other terrorists who fled to Afghanistan to escape counter-terrorist operations in Pakistan.

According to the UN report of July 26, 2020, “The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and its splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) continue to target Pakistan from their bases in Afghanistan…the significant presence of ISIL-K (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Khorasan) in Afghanistan”, which the UN warns “now pursues a global agenda”.

The UN report warns of “a strong presence of ISIL-India in Kerala and Karnataka. ISIL-K considers Afghan territory a base for spreading terrorist influence across the wider region…The investigators found links between Indian nationals and terrorist attacks in Sri-Lank”.

Taking cognizance of the present drastic situation, in his article published in The Washington Post September 26, 2020,

Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned against “hasty withdrawal of foreign powers from Afghanistan” and also cautioned that “regional spoilers could use instability in the worn-torn country for their own vested interests…no people have paid a higher price for the conflict in Afghanistan than the people of Pakistan…peace and political stability in Afghanistan could not be imposed from the outside…Only an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process, which recognises Afghanistan’s political realities and diversity, could produce a lasting peace…Pakistan continued to be the target of attacks launched by externally enabled terrorist groups based in Afghanistan…these terrorist groups pose a clear and present danger to global peace”.

Foreign Minister Qureshi met Zalmay Khalilzad at Islamabad on July 1, 2020. After the meeting, Qureshi stated that,

“Pakistan is ready to cooperate with regional and international stakeholders for enduring and peaceful political solution to the Afghan issue…the development of whole region depends on establishment of peace in Afghanistan…India has been continuously trying to destabilize Pakistan to divert attention from its internal chaos…India is interfering in Balochistan province of Pakistan at the same time it is also adversely affecting peace efforts in Afghanistan.”

Zalmay Khalilzad who, repeatedly, visited Pakistan and met country’s civil and military leadership admired Pakistan’s role in the US-Taliban peace dialogue. It was due to Pakistan’s key role in Doha that on February 29, this year, the US and the Taliban signed the historical agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan.

Now, coronavirus pandemic which has affected almost every country has also enveloped Afghanistan.  The US has almost 7,406, 146 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with the death toll of more than 210,750 people.

Moreover, America is not taking much interest in implementation of the US-Taliban agreement, due to the election-campaign and in wake of the unending violent protests across the country after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died on May 25, 2020 in police custody in Minneapolis. During clashes, the police killed several black people.

By availing this golden opportunity, Afghan rulers may create complications which could castigate the US-Taliban deal. In these terms, question arises, has the US-Taliban Peace Agreement dead?

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India Implodes Its Own New Silk Road

PEPE ESCOBAR 

An Indian Train Ride. Credit: Asia Times/Facebook.

There was a time when New Delhi was proudly selling the notion of establishing its own New Silk Road – from the Gulf of Oman to the intersection of Central and South Asia – to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Now it looks like the Indians have stabbed themselves in the back.

In 2016, Tehran and New Delhi signed a deal to build a 628-km rail line from strategic Chabahar port to Zahedan, very close to the Afghan border, with a crucial extension to Zaranj, in Afghanistan, and beyond.

The negotiations involved Iranian Railways and Indian Railway Constructions Ltd. But in the end nothing happened – because of Indian foot-dragging. So Tehran has decided to build the railway anyway, with its own funds – $400 million – and completion scheduled for March 2022.

The railway was supposed to be the key transportation corridor linked to substantial Indian investments in Chabahar, its port of entry from the Gulf of Oman for an alternative New Silk Road to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Upgrading rail/road infrastructure from Afghanistan to its neighbors Tajikistan and Uzbekistan would be the next step. The whole operation was inscribed in a trilateral India-Iran-Afghanistan deal – signed in 2016 in Tehran by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The unofficial New Delhi excuse revolves around fears that the project would be slammed with US sanctions. New Delhi actually did get a Trump administration sanctions waiver for Chabahar and the rail line to Zahedan. The problem was to convince an array of investment partners, all of them terrified of being sanctioned.

In fact, the whole saga has more to do with Modi’s wishful thinking of expecting to get preferential treatment under the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which relies on a de facto Quad (US, India, Australia, Japan) containment of China. That was the rationale behind New Delhi deciding to cut off all its oil imports from Iran.

So far all practical purposes, India threw Iran under the bus. No wonder Tehran decided to move on its own, especially now with the $400 billion, 25-year “Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China”, a deal that seals a strategic partnership between China and Iran.

In this case, China may end up exercising control over two strategic “pearls” in the Arabian Sea/Gulf of Oman only 80 km away from each other: Gwadar, in Pakistan, a key node of the $61 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Chabahar.

Tehran, so far, has denied that Chabahar port will be offered on a lease to Beijing. But what is a real possibility, apart from Chinese investments in an oil refinery near Chabahar, and even, in the long run, in the port itself, is an operational link between Gwadar and Chabahar. That will be complemented by the Chinese operating the port of Bandar-e-Jask in the Gulf of Oman, 350 km to the west of Chabahar and very close to the hyper-strategic Strait of Hormuz.

How corridors attract

Not even a Hindu deity on hangover could possibly imagine a more counter-productive “strategy” for Indian interests in case New Delhi backs off from its cooperation with Tehran.

Let’s look at the essentials. What Tehran and Beijing will be working on is a de facto massive expansion of CPEC, with Gwadar linked to Chabahar and further onwards to Central Asia and the Caspian via Iranian railways, as well as connected to Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean (via Iraq and Syria), all the way to the EU.

This game-changing progress will be at the heart of the whole Eurasian integration process – uniting China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and of course Russia, which is linked to Iran via the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

For the moment, for all its hefty reverberations in multiple areas – upgrade of energy infrastructure, refurbishing of ports and refineries, construction of a connectivity corridor, investments in manufacturing, and a steady supply of Iranian oil and gas, a matter of national security for China – there’s no question that the Iran-China deal is being effectively downplayed by both sides.

The reasons are self-evident: not to raise the Trump administration’s ire to even more incandescent levels, considering both actors are considered “existential threats”. Still, Mahmoud Vezi, chief of staff for President Rouhani, guarantees the final Iran-China deal with be signed by March 2021.

CPEC, meanwhile, is on a roll. What Chabahar was supposed to do for India is already in effect at Gwadar – as transit trade to Afghanistan started only a few days ago, with bulk cargo arriving from the UAE. Gwadar is already establishing itself as a key transit hub to Afghanistan – way ahead of Chabahar.

For Kabul, the strategic factor is essential. Afghanistan essentially depends on overland routes from Pakistan – some can be extremely unreliable – as well as Karachi and Port Qasim. Especially for southern Afghanistan, the overland link from Gwadar, through Balochistan, is much shorter and safer.

For Beijing, the strategic factor is even more essential. For China, Chabahar would not be a priority, because access to Afghanistan is easier, for instance, via Tajikistan.

But Gwadar is a completely different story. It’s being configured, slowly but surely, as the key Maritime Silk Road hub connecting China with the Arabian Sea, the Middle East and Africa, with Islamabad collecting hefty transit funds. Win-win in a nutshell – but always taking into consideration that protests and challenges from Balochistan simply won’t disappear, and require very careful management by Beijing-Islamabad.

Chabahar-Zahedan was not the only recent setback for India. India’s External Affairs Ministry has recently admitted that Iran will develop the massive Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf “on its own” and India might join “appropriately at a later stage”. The same “at a later stage” spin was applied by New Delhi for Chabahar-Zahedan.

The exploration and production rights for Farzad B were already granted years ago for India’s state company ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL). But then, again, nothing happened – due to the proverbial specter of sanctions.

Sanctions, by the way, had been in effect already under Obama. Yet at the time, India and Iran at least traded goods for oil. Farzad B was scheduled to be back on track after the signing of the JCPOA in 2015. But then Trump’s sanctions iced it again.

It doesn’t take a PhD in political science to ascertain who may eventually take over Farzad B: China, especially after the signing of the 25-year partnership next year.

India, against its own energy and geostrategic interests, has in fact been reduced to the status of hostage of the Trump administration. The real target of applying Divide and Rule to India-Iran is to prevent them from trading in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar, especially when it comes to energy.

The Big Picture though is always about New Silk Road progress across Eurasia. With increasing evidence of closer and closer integration between China, Iran and Pakistan, what’s clear is that India remains integrated only with its own inconsistencies.

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India should beware as ‘the Quad’ evolves toward an informal military alliance in Asia

by: Sarang Shidore

The escalating U.S.-China conflict over trade and technology is garnering international headlines. But the emergence of a U.S.-led embryonic military alliance, also involving Japan, Australia, and India, ought to be equally worrying to those opposed to a new global cold war. Known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialog, or “Quad,” the grouping may hold its first-ever joint military exercise next month. India, which faces an assertive China on its borders, may have the most to lose in this evolution. But India is also best positioned to limit the Quad’s trajectory and should do so before it is too late.

The Quad was first proposed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who resigned this week due to health issues — in 2007 but the idea went dormant thereafter. The United States and Japan revived the grouping in 2017, arguing that China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative needed to be countered by a rival infrastructural push. Meanwhile, the traditional term “Asia-Pacific” in U.S. security discourse was replaced by a newly constructed geography — the “Indo-Pacific” — combining the Indian and Pacific Oceans and their littorals, and the U.S. Pacific Command renamed the Indo-Pacific Command.

In time though, the Quad has shown itself to be less interested in building highways and power plants and much more in joint patrols and military exercises, coupled with diplomatic rhetoric of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and a stress on common democratic values. India’s already-close defense relationship with Washington has effectively become trilateral, with Japan being included on a permanent basis in the annual Malabar military exercise. If Australia is included in this year’s exercise as anticipated, it would effectively mark the Quad’s coming-out party as a military alliance.

The Quad’s member states have denied that it is an alliance, or anti-Chinese. That is misleading. For one, Australia and Japan are already part of the formal, decades-old hub-and-spoke system of U.S. alliances in Asia. This does leave India as the odd one out. However, we no longer live in a world of new, formal military alliances. Most states prefer to keep their security partnerships flexible. Yet this does not eliminate the evolution of coherent security structures and informal commitments.

The Quad is an example of the form alliances of the future may take — with no formal mutual-assistance treaty, secretariat, or even a website. But a clear identification of the common adversary, deep inter-operability, regular adversary-specific exercises, and cooperative ventures to build up each other’s capacity can make informal alliances sufficiently potent. The gap presented by India’s formal ally status in Washington is being rapidly made up through deep Indian involvement in the U.S. defense architecture, undergirded by arms sales and pacts facilitating logistics and communications inter-operability between the militaries, further supplanted by an agreement with Australia.

In fact, Washington embraced the new geography of the “Indo-Pacific” precisely to bring India into the fold of the U.S.-led security architecture in Asia. It was a way to expand the hub-and-spoke alliance system in Asia. India presented a challenge for Washington — it was not only not a formal U.S. ally, but it also possessed a stubborn tradition of strategic autonomy from the days of its founding as an anti-colonial republic in 1947. India also has a major capabilities gap with China, which made it sensitive to rushing into an overtly anti-Beijing alliance. This included staying well clear of disputes to which it was not a claimant state, such as the South China Sea. There were many cooperative aspects to the India-China relationship on multilateral trade, climate change, and global norms.

Three factors have darkened this competitive-cooperative dynamic. The first is the rise of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in New Delhi in 2014. A hard nationalist, Modi early on placed his bets on Washington by recklessly wading into the South China Sea dispute. He also struck a deep rapport with fellow Asian nationalist Abe — and took an overt position critical of China in his first visit to Tokyo as prime minister. Continuing localized Chinese incursions culminated in a serious military stand-off high in the Doklam plateau adjacent to Bhutan in 2017, in which China largely prevailed. After a brief thaw in ties, India resumed its military forays into the South China Sea, even as Chinese incursions stepped up on the border. India also strongly opposed the BRI.

The second factor is Washington’s increased determination to counter the rise of China. Its roots are in the Obama era with Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea as a key tool. President Trump’s anti-globalism has opened a new front on trade, but the simultaneous revival and gelling of the Quad indicates that the military dimension is no less prominent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vast concentration of powers and his embrace of an assertive domestic and foreign policy is the third driver. Beijing and Islamabad inked the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a part of the BRI, annoying New Delhi. But Chinese incursions into buffer zones on the India border and the subsequent clash leading to the death of 20 Indian troops in June 2020 was a key setback. These were the first fatalities on the disputed India-China border since 1975. More than two months later, China continues to hold its newly acquired territory.

Thus, developments in Washington, Beijing, and Delhi have together accelerated the drift toward a new cold war in Asia. The greatest proximate danger is the formation of defined, adversarial military blocs, which would harden rivalries and enhance chances of violent incidents. Should Asia be dominated by contending military blocs, weaker and frontline states will face the greatest dangers. India fits this description well.

But India’s idiosyncratic status in the Quad also gives it unique leverage for limiting the grouping’s evolution. India could do this by vetoing further militarization of the Quad. Most immediately, this would mean the non-inclusion of Australia in the upcoming Malabar exercise, and maintaining the current approach of not issuing joint statements at Quad summits. More proactively, India could push the Quad toward its original political-economic understanding. New Delhi  could also strengthen ties with its non-Quad partners with strategic ties to China. As I have written elsewhere, Russia and Iran are key here. Russia, in particular, has deep interdependencies with India. Persuading Russia to join the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific strategy is however unlikely to work.

A policy of restraint in New Delhi does not equate to naivete. The role of ASEAN — and Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia in particular — should be made central to a policy of resolved restraint. These countries (as also U.S. ally South Korea), hardly China’s clients, have wisely stayed away from the Quad for a reason. India has spoken of the centrality of ASEAN to Asian security, but has failed to translate this into a meaningful strategy.

If China is indeed inherently and immutably aggressive, a new cold war in Asia may be unavoidable. But very rarely is the world divisible into a neat contest between good and evil. Democracies can be offensive power-maximizers and autocracies defensive security-seekers, and vice versa. Moreover, adversarial relationships can be constructed and deconstructed. India’s choices could help nudge Washington toward a grand strategy of restraint in Asia — critical to prevent vigorous economic competition turning into open conflict and warfare.

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Pakistan: Defense Day reminds ‘Moral Force’ of the Armed Forces

By Sajjad Shaukat

The 6th of September is celebrated every year as the Defense Day by every Pakistani, as on this very day, Pakistan’s courageous Armed Forces and the entire nation stood united in 1965 for the defense of the homeland against India’s nefarious designs which had threatened the territorial integrity of the country through an all-out war.

This time, this very day has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature externally and internally.

Since August 5, 2019 when Indian government revoked articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution, which gave a special status to the disputed territory of the Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK), Indian fanatic government of the ruling party BJP led by the extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued lockdown there, as New Delhi unilaterally annexed the region with the Indian Federation to turn Muslim majority into minority. Implementing the ideology of Hindutva ((Hindu Nationalism), Indian rulers also issued domicile certificates to more than 400000 non-Kashmiris and also martyred many people by accelerated firing at the stones-pelting Kashmiris who have been protesting against Indian illegitimate actions.

Besides, Pakistan’s Armed Forces, especially, Pak Army and Rangers have been boldly responding to India’s unprovoked shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir.

Tension escalated rapidly between the two countries on February 27, 2019 in the aftermath of the false flag terror attack of Pulwama, when in response to the Indian pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot-Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets and launched aerial strikes at six targets in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Pak Army also captured an Indian pilot.

The truth about India’s surgical strikes exposed, when Indian top civil and military leaders failed in providing any evidence. The then Indian India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also demitted that no Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the air strike in Balakot.

Military thinkers agree that although the physical force will determine the type and scale of war, yet it is the ‘will to fight’ or ‘moral force’ which determines the outcome of war. Clausewitz puts it this way, “One might say that the physical force seems little more than the wooden hilt, while moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon.”

In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of ‘moral force’, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die”. The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization. ‘Moral force’, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent.

During the 1965 war such elements like will to fight and ‘moral force’ have been more found in the personnel of Pakistan’s Armed Forces then those of India.
When, on September 6, 1965, India started the war and its forces crossed the international border in Lahore, Pakistan’s Armed Forces quickly responded. Indian Regiment had also crossed the BRB canal and captured the town of Batapore (Jallo Mur). The same day, a counter offensive by Pakistani soldiers forced the Indian 15th Division to withdraw to its starting point. In this context, the huge credit goes to the all men of Pak Army. Without bothering for their lives, they fought bravely. Among them, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti played a key role in the outcome of the Lahore battles and was martyred.

In case of Sialkot, several soldiers of the Pak Army sacrificed their lives to stop advancement of Indian tanks. The 1965 war witnessed some of the largest tank battles since World War II, and was fought at Chawinda in Sialkot sector—The Battle resulted into victory of Pakistan whose armoured forces destroyed 120 Indian tanks.

Regarding aerial warfare between PAF and IAF, the latter emerged as victorious in the I965 war because, at the cost of their personal safety, the personnel of PAF defeated India. PAF had destroyed 100 Indian aircraft on ground and in the air, while damaged more than 10. In this respect, Squadron Leader M. M. Alam set new records in history of air warfare on September 7 and shot down five Indian aircraft in less than sixty seconds at Sargodha.

Let us take the example of Flight Lieutenant Yunus Hussain who fought in air battles fearlessly. During one such engagement, he fought singly against 6 enemy aircraft and shot down 2 Hunters. On September 6, while attacking Halwara airfield, his small formation was intercepted by a large number of enemy. Although his aircraft was hit, but, he refused to break off the engagement by disregarding his personal safety and was martyred.

The role of Pakistan Navy in the Indo-Pak war of 1965 is also appreciable. Securing Pakistan’s coasts, it played a vital role in defeating India. The Operation Dawarka marked was launched by Pakistan on September 7. The Operation was successful—Indian warships harboured in Bombay, making the Indian Navy unable to sortie. In this regard, Ghazi, the only submarine successfully attacked heavy ships of the Indian Navy.

However, there were many other national heroes like Brigadier Ahsan Rashid, SQN LDR Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui etc. who fought boldly with the Indian forces.

As regards internal challenges, by imbibing the same spirit of the 1965 war, Pakistan’s Armed Forces, during the successful military operations, Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad and Operation Khyber 4 have killed many terrorists through ground offensive. During street to street fighting, without bothering for their lives and by air-dropping commandos at the risky places, our forces made a great headway in disrupting the militant’s supply routes and links.

And country’s primarily intelligence agency ISI also recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the possession of the terrorists. Thus, security agencies have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists. Peace has been restored in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Karachi, including other regions.

Nonetheless, it was due to the ‘moral force’ that despite Indian surprise invasion in 1965 and the qualitative and numerical superiority over Pakistan, by sacrificing their lives, Pakistan’s Armed Forces not only recaptured the Indian territories, but also took Khem Karan from Indian forces, including various regions of Rajastan, Sindh, and Chumb in Kashmir. Indian defeat was owing to its soldiers’ demoralization.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Osama bin Laden

Author’s note

The following article was first published 14 years ago on the 9th of September 2006, in the context of the 2006 commemoration of the tragic event of September 2001.  

***

“Going after bin Laden” has served  to sustain the legend of the “world’s most wanted terrorist”, who  “haunts Americans and millions of others around the world.”

Donald Rumsfeld has repeatedly claimed that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden remain unknown:  “It is like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

In November 2001, US B-52 bombers carpet bombed a network of caves in the Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden and his followers were allegedly hiding. These caves were described as “Osama’s last stronghold”.

CIA “intelligence analysts” subsequently concluded that Osama had escaped from his Tora Bora cave in the first week of December 2001. And in January 2002, the Pentagon launched a Worldwide search for Osama and his top lieutenants, beyond the borders of Afghanistan. This operation, referred to by Secretary of State Colin Powell as a “hot pursuit”, was carried out with the support of the “international community” and America’s European allies. US intelligence authorities confirmed, in this regard, that

“while al Qaeda has been significantly shattered, … the most wanted man – bin Laden himself remains one step ahead of the United States, with the core of his worldwide terror network still in place. (Global News Wire – Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, InfoProd, January 20, 2002)

For the last five years, the US military and intelligence apparatus (at considerable expense to US taxpayers) has been “searching for Osama”.

A CIA unit with a multimillion dollar budget was set up, with a mandate to find Osama. This unit was apparently disbanded in 2005. “Intelligence experts agree”, he is hiding in a remote area of Pakistan, but “we cannot find him”:

“Most intelligence analysts are convinced that Osama bin Laden is somewhere on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Lately, it has been said that he’s probably in the vicinity of the a 7700m Hindu Kush peak Tirich Mir in the tribal Chitral area of northwest Pakistan.” Hobart Mercury (Australia), September  9, 2006)

President Bush has repeatedly promised to “smoke him out” of his cave, capture him dead or alive, if necessary through ground assaults or missile strikes. According to a recent statement by president Bush, Osama is hiding in a remote area of Pakistan which “is extremely mountainous and very inaccessible, … with high mountains between 9,000 to 15,000 feet high….”. We cannot get him, because, according to the president, there is no communications infrastructure, which would enable us to effectively go after him. (quoted in Balochistan Times, 23 April 2006)

The pursuit of Osama has become a highly ritualized process which feeds the news chain on a daily basis. It is not only part of the media disinformation campaign, it also provides a justification for the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of numerous “suspects”, “enemy combatants” and “accomplices”, who allegedly might be aware of Osama’s whereabouts. And that information is of course vital to “the security of Americans”.

The search for Osama serves both military and political objectives. The Democrats and Republicans compete in their resolve to weed out “islamic terrorism”.

The Path to 9/11, a five-hour ABC series on “the search for Osama” –which makes its debut on the 10th and 11th of September to marks the fifth anniversary of the attacks– casually accuses Bill Clinton of having been  “too busy with the Monica Lewinsky scandal to fight terrorism.” The message of the movie is that the Democrats neglected the “war on terrorism”.

The fact of the matter is that every single administration, since Jimmy Carter have supported and financed the “Islamic terror” network, created during the Carter administration at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war. (See Michel Chossudovsky, Who is Osama bin Laden, 12 September 2001). al Qaeda is a instrument of US intelligence: a US sponsored intelligence asset.

Where was Osama on Septembers 11? 

There is evidence that the whereabouts of Osama are known to the Bush Administration.

On September 10. 2001, “Enemy Number One” was in a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan, as confirmed by a report of Dan Rather, CBS News. (See our October 2003 article on this issue)

He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as George W’s speeches in the course of the last five years.

According to Dan Rather, CBS, Bin Laden was hospitalized in Rawalpindi. one day before the 9/11 attacks, on September 10, 2001.

“Pakistan. Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI) told CBS that bin Laden had received dialysis treatment in Rawalpindi, at Pak Army’s headquarters.

DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.

“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.

(…)

PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.

(voice-over): But it was Pakistan’s President Musharraf who said in public what many suspected, that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death. His evidence, watching this most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don`t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden`s health, I just am — don`t have any knowledge.

PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.

Barry Petersen, CBS News, Islamabad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) END

(CBS News,  28 January 2002 emphasis added, the complete transcript of CBS report sis contained in annex to this article)

It should be noted, that the hospital is directly under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. U.S. military advisers based in Rawalpindi. work closely with the Pakistani Armed Forces. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive, but then maybe bin Laden was serving another “better purpose”. Rumsfeld claimed at the time that he had no knowledge regarding Osama’s health. (CBS News, 28 January 2002)

The CBS report is a crucial piece of information in our understanding of 9/11.

It refutes the administration’s claim that the whereabouts of bin Laden are unknown. It points to a Pakistan connection, it suggests a cover-up at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

Dan Rather and Barry Petersen fail to draw the implications of their January 2002 report.  They suggest that the US had been deliberately misled by Pakistani intelligence officials. They fail to ask the question:

Why does the US administration state that they cannot find Osama?

If they are to stand by their report, the conclusion is obvious. The administration is lying. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known.

If the CBS report is accurate and Osama had indeed been admitted to the Pakistani military hospital on September 10, courtesy of America’s ally, he was either still in hospital in Rawalpindi on the 11th of September, when the attacks occurred or had been released from the hospital within the last hours before the attacks.

In other words, Osama’s whereabouts were known to US officials on the morning of September 12, when Secretary of State Colin Powell initiated negotiations with Pakistan, with a view to arresting and extraditing bin Laden. These negotiations, led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, head of Pakistan’s military intelligence, on behalf of the government of President Pervez Musharraf,  took place on the 12th and 13th  of September in Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage’s office.

He could have been arrested at short notice on September 10th, 2001. But then we would not have been privileged to five years of Osama related media stories. The Bush administration desperately needs the fiction of an “outside enemy of America”.

Known and documented Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda is a construct of the US intelligence apparatus. His essential function is to give a face to the “war on terrorism”. The image must be vivid.

According to the White house, “The greatest threat to us is this ideology of violent extremism, and its greatest public proponent is Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden remains the number one target, in terms of our efforts, but he’s not the only target.” Recent Statement of White House Assistant for Homeland Security Frances Townsend, 5 September 2006).

The national security doctrine rests on the fiction of Islamic terrorists, led by Osama who are portrayed as a “threat to the civilized World”. In the words of President Bush, “Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say? We are on the offensive. We will not rest. We will not retreat. And we will not withdraw from the fight until this threat to civilization has been removed.” (quoted by CNN, September 5, 2006)

The “hot pursuit” of Osama in the rugged mountainous areas of Pakistan must continue, because without Osama, referred to ad nauseam in news reports and official statements, the fragile legitimacy of the Bush administration collapses like a deck of cards.

Moreover, the search for Osama protects the real architects of the 911 attacks. While there is no evidence that Al Qaeda was behind the 911 attacks, as revealed by nuerous studies and documents, there is mounting evidence of complicity and coverup at the highest levels of the State, Military and intelligence apparatus.

The continued arrest of alleged 911 accomplices and suspects has nothing to do with “national security”. It creates the illusion that Arabs and Muslims are behind the terror plots, while shunting the conduct of a real criminal investigation into the 911 attacks. And what were dealing with is the criminalization of the upper echelons of State.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best America’s “War on Terrorism”  Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization. 

To order Chossudovsky’s book  America’s “War on Terrorism”, click here

Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article with a view to spreading the word and warning people of the dangers of a broader Middle East war. Please indicate the source and copyright note.

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CBS Evening News with Dan Rather;

Author: Dan Rather, Barry Petersen

CBS, 28 January 2002

DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.

“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.

AHMED RASHID, TALIBAN EXPERT: There were reports that Pakistani intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines. And the rumor was that these were wanted for Osama bin Laden.

PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.

(voice-over): But it was Pakistan`s President Musharraf who said in public what many suspected, that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death. His evidence, watching this most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don`t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden`s health, I just am — don`t have any knowledge.

PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.

Barry Petersen, CBS News, Islamabad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) END

Copyright CBS News 2002

Hospital Worker: I Saw Osama

Jan. 28, 2002

Quote

“They military had him surrounded. I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden.” Hospital employee

(CBS) Everyone remembers what happened on Sept. 11 and, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen, here’s the story of what may have happened the night before.

In a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS Evening News has been told that the night before the Sept. 11 terrorists attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into a military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment.

“On that night,” said a medical worker who wanted her identity protected, “they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them.” She said it was treatment for a very special person and “the special team was obviously up to no good.”

“They military had him surrounded,” said a hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he said, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.”

Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments — back and stomach problems.

Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, said the military was often there to help before Sept. 11.

“There were reports that Pakistan intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines and the rumor was that these were for wanted for Osama bin Laden,” said Rashid.

Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they declined our request to see any records. Government officials reached Monday night denied that bin Laden received any medical treatment that night.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday the United States has seen nothing to substantiate the report.

It was Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf who said in public what many suspected: that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death.

His evidence — watching the most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don’t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.

“With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden’s health, I just am…don’t have any knowledge,” said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The U.S. has no way of knowing who in Pakistan’s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Lade, maybe up to the night before Sept. 11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the U.S. may not know if those same people might help him again — perhaps to freedom.


America Attacks the World, The World Levitates Towards Russia, China

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Twin Kabul Bombings: A Dark and Saddening Day in the History of Journalism

Afghanistan: Kabul Deadly Terrorist Attacks. US Embassy Had Foreknowledge

America’s War for Global Domination

American Terrorism

Posted in Middle East, USA, Afghanistan, C.I.AComments Off on Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

Is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) (US, Australia, India, Japan)

Intent on Provoking Proxy War with China in the Solomon Islands?

By Andrew Korybko

The leader of the Solomon Islands province of Malaita announced earlier this week that his region will seek independence from the central government due to its disagreement with the capital over the latter’s recognition of Beijing last year as the legitimate government of China, which could dangerously plunge this underdeveloped nation back into a state of civil conflict that could then be exploited by the Quad as a proxy war for “containing” Chinese influence in the South Pacific through “Balkanization”.

From The Global Periphery To The Center Of Attention

The South Pacific, long regarded as a far-flung region that’s largely irrelevant to all major countries apart from nearby Australia, has increasingly figured more prominent in global media reports over the past few years as the West has sought to portray this part of the world as the latest theater in the West’s New Cold War with China. The narrative goes that China’s recent inroads through its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and some regional states’ decisions to recognize Beijing as the legitimate government of China has given the People’s Republic the opportunity to expand its influence there, which is being portrayed in a zero-sum manner as supposedly being a threat to Western interests. Political tensions have been building over the past year as more pressure was put upon these countries by their traditional Western partners to either reverse their relations with Beijing or at the very least “balance” them out by re-engaging with the Australia and/or the US, two of the four countries that comprise the so-called “Quad” alongside India and Japan which are collectively accused of seeking to “contain” China. Although concerning, this tense state of affairs had yet to destabilize the region, but that might soon change after the latest news coming from the Solomon Islands.

On The Precipice Of Civil War

The leader of the Malaita Province — the most populous one in the country that’s home to approximately a quarter of the Solomon Islands’ less than 700,000 people — announced earlier this week that his region will seek independence from the central government due to its disagreement with the capital over the latter’s recognition of Beijing last year. This is especially troublesome because the Solomon Islands’ de-facto state of civil war that lasted between 1999-2003 and prompted a nearly 15-year-long Australian-led peacekeeping intervention directly concerned an ethno-regional dispute between Malaita and the neighboring island of Guadalcanal which hosts the country’s capital. The Capital Territory and Guadalcanal Province collectively have more people than Malaita does, which means that any possible exacerbation of their former conflict with one another over the China-Taiwan issue could immediately plunge approximately half of the Solomon Islands back into civil conflict. That, however, might be exactly what the Quad is hoping for since it could then easily exploit this unrest as a proxy war for “containing” Chinese influence in the South Pacific through “Balkanization”.

Hybrid War On The Solomon Islands?

What’s important to point out is that the China-Taiwan issue is simply a trigger for thawing this unresolved conflict between the two islands and their people, one which predates the Quad’s formation by over a decade but could potentially be encouraged by them for the aforementioned reason. It’s extremely unlikely that the leader of Malaita Province would make such a dramatic announcement had he not already secured support from this bloc’s American and Australian members, both of whom have an interest in pushing back against what they’ve portrayed as the “aggressive” expansion of Chinese influence in the region that they’ve historically regarded as falling within their joint “sphere of influence”. The external exacerbation of preexisting identity conflicts for geostrategic reasons — especially those related to disrupting, controlling, or influencing transnational connective infrastructure projects such as BRI — fits the author’s definition of Hybrid War. That means that this scheme can rightly be described as the Quad’s Hybrid War on the Solomon Islands, which could become the catalyst of geostrategic change all across the New Cold War’s South Pacific theater if the “Balkanization” process that’s being unleashed in that country uncontrollably spreads throughout the region.

Is The Quad Plotting To Provoke A Proxy War With China In The Solomon Islands?

Source: OneWorld

Formalizing The “Asian NATO”

Any resumption of civil war-like unrest in the Solomon Islands as a result of Malaita’s attempted secession will almost certainly prompt another international peacekeeping mission there, one which might be led not just by Australia like last time, but jointly by it and its other three Quad partners. After all, US Deputy Secretary of State Biegun declared his country’s intention earlier this week to create a NATO-like military bloc in the so-called “Indo-Pacific” in order to “push back against China in virtually every domain” there. He strongly hinted that the Quad could play such a role, and another conflict in the Solomon Islands might be just what’s needed in order to provide the impetus for formalizing this structure to that point. The previous Australian-led peacekeeping mission wasn’t all that difficult compared to others across the world so a forthcoming one possibly led by the Quad’s four members could serve as the perfect opportunity for strengthening their military interoperability with one another in a real-world mission instead of just another exercise. It wouldn’t entail as much of a cost as doing so elsewhere in this transoceanic region should another Hybrid War be manufactured for that purpose, and the benefits to their bloc could be tremendous in terms of their grand strategic impact.

“Perception Management”

Special attention should be paid to how this scenario is already being sold to the public. Reutersquoted Malaita’s leader as evoking the UN principle of self-determination, which in this context could easily be spun in a way to sympathetically present him and his people as “freedom-loving democrats” opposed to the “Chinese-controlled tyrannical central government”. Considering how preconditioned many people across the world are to suspect China of ulterior motives through BRI, it wouldn’t be surprising if they fall for this emerging narrative. To make it more believable, unverified claims could be made about alleged human rights abuses carried out by the central government with Chinese support. Reports could also be spread fearmongering about the environmental consequences of any potential BRI projects on the island. Since the nearby Papua New Guinean Autonomous Region of Bougainville just held a non-binding UN-recognized independence referendum that overwhelmingly passed last year, the legal precedent has been established for arguing that Malaita deserves the same opportunity to choose its own destiny as the only lasting solution to the Solomon Islands’ similar ethno-regional conflict.

Proxy War Scenarios

It’s impossible to predict in detail exactly how a Quad-China proxy war in the Solomon Islands could play out, but the initial conditions are such that one can nonetheless identify the broad contours of this conflict. Violence would probably be concentrated mostly in Malaita and among migrant communities on Guadalcanal, which would thus make them the two most likely places for a Quad-led peacekeeping force to deploy. If the central government successfully secures the capital region and its surroundings, then the peacekeeping mission might only concern Malaita and thus set it along the trajectory of seemingly inevitable independence pending a UN-recognized referendum there overseen by the Quad. If the authorities lose control of parts of Guadalcanal, however, then a regime change is certainly possible with or without a Quad-led military intervention there, one which could still result in Malaita’s eventual independence but also the reversal of the country’s recognition of Beijing back to Taipei. In the course of events, China might be compelled to evacuate some of its citizens if they’re targeted by the separatists, who might also attack them systematically in order to prompt China into deepening its political, financial, and perhaps even military support of the authorities through “mission creep”.

Concluding Thoughts

The news that the leader of a South Pacific island nation’s province announced his separatist intentions might have seemed so irrelevant to the rest of the world at first glance as to not warrant any serious attention, but the fact of the matter is that this event is actually extremely important because it’s poised to turn the South Pacific into the latest hot spot of the New Cold War. The author predicted three years ago in September 2017 that “it’s impossible to speculate on exactly what could set off a renewed round of violence in the [Solomon Islands], but the most probable scenarios have to do with a continuation conflict between the people of Guadalcanal island and neighboring Malaita, which was at the core of the ‘The Tensions’ in the first place.” That’s exactly what seems slated to happen after the leader of Malaita used the central government’s recognition of Beijing as the pretext for thawing this unresolved conflict, all with the very likely support of the Quad for the purpose of “containing” China in the region through “Balkanization”, which in turn could serve as the regional security impetus for formalizing the bloc into an “Asian NATO”. The calm waters of the South Pacific might therefore soon give way to a tempest of Hybrid War trouble with global strategic implications.

Posted in USA, China, India, JapanComments Off on Is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) (US, Australia, India, Japan)

Pakistan cautiously reacts to UAE -Zionist deal

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses people during opening ceremony of U21 Games 2020 at Qayyum Sports Complex, in Peshawar, Pakistan on March 9, 2020. [Hussain Ali - Anadolu Agency]

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses people during opening ceremony of U21 Games 2020 at Qayyum Sports Complex, in Peshawar, Pakistan on March 9, 2020. [Hussain Ali – Anadolu Agency]August 14, 2020

Pakistan on Friday cautiously reacted to the controversial deal between the UAE and the Nazi regime to normalize ties, declaring the development with “far-reaching implications.”

“We have noted the Joint Statement announcing agreement of UAE and Israel to have full normalization of relations. This is a development with far-reaching implications, ” said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

Islamabad said its approach would be guided by “our evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, security and stability are preserved.”

“Pakistan has an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. Peace and stability in the Middle East region is also Pakistan’s key priority,” it went on to say.

For a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, it added, Pakistan has consistently supported a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant UN and OIC resolutions as well as international law.

The Nazi regime and the UAE Zionist puppet regime have agreed to normalize relations, US President Donald Trump said Thursday, in a move forestalling ‘Israel’s’ controversial plans to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank.

The development marks only the third time an Arab nation has opened full diplomatic ties with the Nazi regime, and the Emirates is now the first Gulf Arab state to do so. Other Arab nations with diplomatic ties with ‘Israel’ are Zionist puppets in Egypt and Jordan.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, C.I.A, Pakistan & Kashmir, UAEComments Off on Pakistan cautiously reacts to UAE -Zionist deal

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