Next Up: Pakistan

Ominous signs of a major new war

I see someone besides myself has noticed all the “leaking” going on in the upper echelons of Washington over our rocky relationship with Pakistan. Suddenly Islamabad is on the verge of being classified as part of the Axis of Evil, with the head of the joint chiefs, Admiral Mullen, openly accusing the Pakistanis of “sanctioning” the killing of a journalist, and allying with a faction of the Taliban. Since when does a military man – the titular uniformed head of the US armed force, no less – speak out on such sensitive political matters? Why, when he has the full backing of the White House – which obviously has plans for the Pakistanis.

The new accusations add fuel to the fire started by the discovery of Osama bin Laden’sAbbottabad lair, where he had been hiding for years. The Pakistan-haters in the administration – of which there seem to be plenty – were quick to draw the conclusion that he’d been hiding with the knowledge and cooperation of the Pakistani military – because of the hideout’s proximity to an elite military academy. Which is odd, since it is well known that al-Qaeda operatives were living in the US for years,undetected, as they planned the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Heck, FBI agents in the field warned Washington after one of the terrorists took flight training lessons and was reported for suspicious activities – to no avail. What if someone in Pakistan had reported similarly suspicious activity in Abbottabad to the local authorities, and no action had been taken – in the view of the anti-Pakistan crowd, wouldn’t that constitute prima facie proof of Islamabad’s guilt?

The ultimate prize for US imperialism in the Middle East – the jewel in the crown of the emerging American empire – is Iran, long the chief target of the War Party’s attention. Yet they don’t have either the resources or the political support for such an attack, and so the strategy, for the time being, is encirclement. First, Iraq and Afghanistan, buttressing the substantial US military presence in the Gulf – and now, Pakistan. (Azerbaijan, to the north, has replaced Kyrgyzstan as the main way stationfunneling supplies to American troops in the region.)

Shorn of its obstreperous military leaders, who entertain delusions of autonomy, Pakistan will be fully integrated into the American orbit – and Iran will be surrounded on all sides.

While keeping the heat on for a direct attack on Iran, the powerful pro-Israel lobby – the driving force behind the anti-Iran crowd – is biding its time, confident they’ll win in the end. In the meantime, they are carefully building up momentum for the final push toward war, and a key part of that is agitating for a complete break in US-Pakistan relations.

The Lobby’s fingerprints are all over the latest anti-Pakistani agitprop. It was oneSimon Henderson, described as the resident “expert” on Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), who recently released an alleged letter from a top official of the North Korean regime “proving” Pakistan supplied Pyongyang with nuclear technology. WINEP was founded by Martin Indyk, former research director of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as an “academic” adjunct to AIPAC, the primary conduit of pro-Israel propaganda in the US.

That this letter is a forgery seems almost beyond doubt: after all, why would a North Korean write a letter to a Pakistani in English? And, come to think of it, why would such a letter be written at all, given its highly incriminating content? Yet – as recent history shows – when it comes to disseminating US government propaganda, such outlets as the Washington Post and the New York Times don’t have very high standards. Nobody really cares if any of this is credible, let alone true: the idea is to hurl such a barrage of accusations that a general impression of Pakistan’s perfidy will be created. Where there’s smoke…

Signs of Iran’s warming relations with Pakistan culminated in the agreement to build a gas pipeline that will transport Iranian gas to Pakistani ports, throwing the hard-pressed regime in Tehran an economic lifeline. The pipeline is expected to be operational in six months. This does much to explain the recent flurry of anti-Pakistan rhetoric coming out of Washington.

As I have said repeatedly, US foreign policy is all about domestic politics. AIPAC is one of the strongest and most feared of the Washington lobbies. It exerts a dominant influence on US foreign policy in the “Near East” (one might ask WINEP: “Near to what?”) and has been relentlessly beating the drums for war with Iran. In this election year, President Obama – already beleaguered – can hardly afford to ignoretheir complaints that he isn’t moving decisively on the Iran front.

A war weary public can hardly be expected to begin clamoring for the invasion and occupation of a country several times larger and more populous than Iraq, yet that is hardly enough to deter the Obama administration from laying the groundwork for an attack. That’s what the sudden backstabbing of Pakistan is all about.

From what I can discern, the Obama-ites have continued a program initiated by the Bush regime in Iranian Baluchistan, supporting the Jundallah armed grouping which carries out attacks on Iranian civilians and government officials. Could it be the Pakistanis are finally giving in to Iranian demands and no longer allowing this US-backed terrorist band to operate from bases in their territory? Islamabad has long heldthis prospect over the heads of its erstwhile allies in Washington.

A suitable pretext will have to be established, naturally, before Washington can make any overt moves: perhaps the Pakistani military will be deemed a “threat” to “Pakistani democracy” – such as it is. In any case, the prospect of yet another military coup in Islamabad is hardly shocking – in which case, one scenario might involve the US military coming to the “aid” of President Asif Ali Zardari (popularly known by his nickname of “Mr. Ten Percent”). Another set up for US intervention could conceivably involve an alleged “terrorist threat” to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal: it’s well known the Americans have contingency plans in place already. Or – the easy route – would be to simply declare al-Qaeda had migrated en masse to Pakistan, and increase our military presence gradually but exponentially, which is the course we are presently on.

At this point, war with – or in – Pakistan seems almost inevitable: the question is not if, but when.

*Justin Raimondo  is an American author and the editorial director of the website
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  • Ijaz Khan  On July 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    For NOW it suits US to attack via drones & other pressure tactics they are using-till the next review?

    • S U Turkman  On July 21, 2011 at 4:41 am

      For now it suits Pakistan to keep killing US Soldiers through its Mercenaries, the Pakistanis called Taliban because USA is a stupid giant.

  • Khan Zia  On July 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Re. ‘Next Up — Pakistan’, something is brewing for certain but it is hard to figure out at this stage exactly what is prompting it and what shape it may take. It could be an expression of frustration and chagrin at Pakistan for domestic consumption but then super power policies are not made and implemented for such frivolous reasons.

    The drastic change in mood can’t do much good to the US prospects in Afghanistan that rely so heavily on Pakistan’s goodwill. Could it be that they are pushing so hard in an attempt to provoke retaliation by, for instance, closing down supply routes to Afghanistan? They can then make it an excuse for lack of success and blame it all on Pakistan, even make her the next dragon to slay.

    It does not seem plausible because there is no guarantee that Pakistan will react in this way. Pushing Pakistan so hard at this time is not going to bring forth any further compliance either because her internal situation has become so tenuous and brittle. She is just not in a position to do more for it may well prove to be the last straw on the camel’s back for the government and possibly even the hierarchy in the army.

    The situation vis-a-vis Iran, as argued by the writer, may be a possibility but a distant one for the simple reason that getting on the wrong side of Pakistan could easily push the two together. The resulting outcome would be a nightmare for the US as well as AIPAC. Going to the ‘aid of Zardari’ is a non-starter. The NRO deal that brought him in did not do them much good either.

    Could it be a move by elements within the US to create a situation that makes it difficult for the White House to disengage from the area —- if not Afghanistan then Pakistan? Going out of the way to lose favour with Pakistan only makes sense if you want to make an enemy out of her.

    Pakistan has little choice but to plan for the last option. Both Obama and Biden are in agreement and on the record for wanting to do away with her nuclear capability. For this, military strikes or clandestine operations are not necessarily the only options. There are other perhaps more promising ways, like economic and political stress. One can’t help but look at the tardiness in replacing water storage capacity for agriculture, power shortages, waste of resources on a pointless war that we can’t afford, political and administrative chaos, fifth column activities by sections of the media, etc. in this perspective.

    The recent decision to withhold funds is just another link in this chain. A pretext may soon be found to impose economic sanctions. Who knows where it will end? The sooner we prepare for it the better for the chicken of past blunders and apathy have come home to roost.

    • S U Turkman  On July 21, 2011 at 4:48 am

      What has Pakistan not done to defeat USA in Afghanistan so far? Are NATO Supplies still landing in Karachi? Has not USA switched over to Russia and countries north of Afghanistan? Are not a lot Pakistani Transporters losing a lot of Business because of this? Are not Pakistanis going to lose a lot of jobs? Would not Pakistan be losing millions because of this?
      What is USA pushing Pakistan for?
      Why Pakistan has to be so ‘Nmak Hraam’ to live off US Charity of Aid and Loans for more than half century and keep killing Americans also?
      Why Pakistan has to occupy Afghanistan again?
      Why Afghans should not have a right to live free?

  • Inam Khan  On July 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    In World War I,Germany was not defeated militarily but by Allied Forces Propaganda Machine.They are trying the same trick with us.Reason of latest attack by US Government on Pakistan is for more than one reason.One we are not taking on Haqqani Group in North Waziristan for obvious reason that Pakistan cannot afford to open another large front,second Pakistan is going ahead with Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline which is of paramount interest to us,third,most importantly, our co-operation with China,which is very essential for our existence.All these make a good reason for us as not to toe American Line………………………….Inam Khan

  • Nasim Hassan  On July 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Justin is partly right when he says war with Pakistan. The counter point is that even the republicans are turning against overseas wars. Public opinion is certainly against any overseas entanglement.

    The Neocon would not find another GW for a long time.

  • Minhaj  On July 11, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Inam, whatever we do will not satisfy their appetite
    Interests of Pakistan were pseudo alligned by the grand master Ayub Khan and since then we have been paying a heavy price as a nation

  • Amir Rana  On July 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I would again say, it was very……. well written on the wall. The problem with our rational and pragmatic thinkers is however very obvious one. They search the whole vehicle in detail to search the firearms but can/t see a canon sitting on top of it. This is mainly because of some serious biases towards certain schools of thought. A major illusion is caused by the ill-used concept of “liberalism”. The world uses this concept in a very different perspective but for our think-tanks to be liberal is mainly to be anti-religion or to have a fig leaf in hand even at times when the robbers have broken into, are looting and are moving towards raping away the honor and self-respect.

  • Brig Larif  On July 11, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Hair raising………………..and very plausible !

  • Masud  On July 11, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Americans seldom go wrong in the short term. Pakistan should better put the safety belt on, if there is one available.


  • ID  On July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    we should be prepared for any eventuality and the nation must be openly advised of any designs….There will be no greater uniting factor for IranPak than open American hostility and it will be a fire from Pacific to Atlantic. Mistake not. Those who live in a fools’ paradise may harbour such designs but those cannot come to fruition even if their force is multiplied many times.

  • Admiral Sirohey  On July 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Unify and be prepared for the worst. Cleans the country from the aliens expeditiously.


  • Zubair  On July 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I wonder for how long our Govt will keep on humiliating Pakistan and those in power, incluyding the armed forces, keep on being silent spectators. One male Bhutto broke the country and the second swannabe Bhutto is taking it to destruction. At least the real Bhutto did what he did for power, the second will loot what is left of the country and fly off to his real country or countries where he hoards his loot.


  • Mohammad Chaudhry  On July 17, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I think that Justin’s jumpy inferences,are based on more of his ill-cooked facts and simplistic inferences,catering to his paranoia of war.Obama administration has shown a lot of restraint in going for an emotional move,driven by Manichean mind-set,as noticed in case of post Irani election social strife,Korean skirmishes and Hamas war in Lebnon,despite internal pressure by the rightest elements,unlike the conduct of Bush.Despite mutiple tomfooleries of Pakistani rulers,Obama is not likely to open a direct front against/in Pakistan,a country of 180 million people with nuclear weapons and well-structured large force of over half a million well trained security forces and go against the will of majority of American public as per PEW pools.

  • Inam Khan  On July 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    This time around war like Iraq or Afghanistan War will not be undertaken by USA.Attack on Iranian nuclear installations will be either carried out by Israeli Air Force or jointly by USA and Israel but no ground attack,which is very feasible………….Inam Khan

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