With Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Mark Davidson in Washington, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and Rupa Kival in New Delhi
1 May 2010 (nCa) — The components of the ‘Final Solution’ for Pakistan are known, and almost ready. The exact shape those components will take when put together is not so clear. The expected outcome is recognizable; the degree to which the actual outcome would resemble the expectations is still in the dark.
This report is based on our legwork in the field and the expert opinion of our consultants in Moscow, Washington and New Delhi. There is unanimity in the field findings and the expert opinion that the United States could be on the verge of doing something drastic and desperate in the region.
The main frustration for the American policymakers is that when they move with their own plans, everything else also moves, not necessarily in the same direction. The inability to anticipate the complex dynamics has rendered many of their moves not only ineffective but counterproductive.
One of the important new developments is that India, till now an enthusiastic partner of Gates-Vickers duo in destabilizing Pakistan, is fast losing appetite for such adventures.
There are three main pillars of the ‘Final Solution’: 1. Cut the western half of Balochistan from the rest of Pakistan and declare it ‘international strategic corridor’; 2. Topple the sitting government in Iran; and 3. Create an Ismaili state, joining the Gorno-Badakhshan oblast of Tajikistan, Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan.
The benefits that the Americans expect to derive from this triple-decker ambition would be discussed in one of the later reports.
In the present report we shall deal with the components of the ‘Final Solution’ as they relate to Pakistan.
The mock operations in Helmand and Kandahar
The DoD-CIA and their embedded journalists painstakingly spun a tale that Helmand was a stronghold of Taliban. That was their justification for Operation Moshtarak.
In fact, half of Helmand was already in the hands of the US forces. The other half, sparingly populated, was not important for the ongoing operations in Afghanistan.
As the operation Moshtarak unfolded, we were in touch with our sources in Helmand. We know from first-hand accounts that:
- The operation was conducted mainly by the US forces although the reporting gave the impression that the NATO was equally in the forefront.
- One of the main reasons given for the operation was that Taliban were benefiting from poppy crops and they must be denied this source of income. We know for sure that not a single poppy bulb was destroyed during the operation.
- The village elders that were shown meeting the US force commanders were the middlemen for poppy, and the Americans fully knew it.
- We are still in touch with our Helmand sources and we know that the Americans don’t dare go far beyond their camps.
- Roughly five percent of the US forces were busy in keeping an eye on the newly trained Afghan police because the policemen had the tendency to desert and join the enemy whenever they found a chance.
After the mock operation in Helmand, the US forces are now planning a bigger offensive in Kandahar, an area that is billed ad nauseam as the spiritual capital of the Taliban.
Based solely on the media hype and DoD-CIA statements, one gets the impression that not even a mosquito can fly in Kandahar without the consent of Taliban.
The actual fact is that the Kandahar airport is the busiest single-runway airport in the world. More than 700 American and NATO flights land or take off every day at Kandahar airfield. Had Taliban been in control of the whole of Kandahar, it would not have been possible for so many American and NATO warplanes to land and take off in that province. Also, there are two American bases in Kandahar.
Therefore, the impression that Helmand and Kandahar were, or are, out of bounds for Americans and NATO is based on manufactured ‘truth.’
In search of an explanation for the American fascination with Helmand and Kandahar and the operations that are not what they are said to be, we consulted some experts in Moscow and Washington.
Oleg in Moscow and Simon in Washington (not their real names) are military strategists with access to information not available to the media or public.
Oleg said, “One way to understand the operations in Helmand and Kandahar is to see where the operation begins and where it ends. At the end of the operation, do you find more American forces near the border with Pakistan?”
Simon in Washington agreed. “Yes, the objective is apparently to put large number of troops along the border with Pakistan,” he said.
When asked for the reasons for this move, Simon said, “The bipartisan thinking here is that Pakistan is the problem. —– If you find a boulder in your path, either you remove it or you try to go around it. The inclination here is to go around this boulder.”
This cryptic remark of Simon reminded us of a Russian expert we sometimes consult for our investigative reports. The keywords in his remark were ‘boulder’ and ‘go around.’
In what way is Pakistan a boulder and how would one ‘go around’ it, we asked.
Simon said, “Everyone in Washington considers China the main threat. If unchecked for another decade or so, China would be a superpower, probably replacing the USA as the only superpower of any consequence. It is not possible to contain China without cutting a free path across Pakistan and Afghanistan, right up to the borders of China.”
“Cutting a path through Pakistan? Are you talking of Greater Balochistan?” we asked.
“Yes,” Simon said, “But now it is not Greater Balochistan, at least for now. The gossip here is that the hawks in the establishment would now be content with half of the Pakistani Balochistan. They call it international strategic corridor.”
We returned to Oleg in Moscow to ask whether the American forces that would end up near the borders of Pakistan on completion of Kandahar operation would be enough to sever half of Balochistan from the rest of Pakistan.
“First, you have to see what is happening in Helmand where the operation Moshtarak has been completed already. Whatever they do in Helmand would be repeated on larger scale in Kandahar,” said Oleg.
We already had this information. Soon after the completion of operation Moshtarak, the American forces started building forward bases and depots at four points in Helmand, the first of them at Gereshk and the last at a location southward of Malik Rokand, practically at the border with Pakistan.
We told this to Oleg. He said, “You see, this is systematic deployment of forces at the Pakistan border, with a semi-permanent logistics support system for prolonged presence.”
Some new questions arose: Would the American forces, at some convenient time, try to rush into Pakistan in order to create the ‘international strategic corridor’ they want? What will be the size and geographical scope of such a corridor? What would be the likely strength of US troops at the border of Pakistan at the end of the planned operation in Kandahar? Would the US troops at Pakistan border be enough for cutting off half of Balochistan considering that Pakistan is likely to offer some tough resistance?
The other jaw of pincer
“The pincer must have two jaws,” said Simon.
He explained, “The US Navy would be in a position after July 2010 to station some landing ships, probably four, near the territorial waters of Pakistan. They would be able to land and support more than 30000 troops, complete with transport units and fighting gear, anywhere at the Pakistan coastline between Pasni and Gawadar. There would be aircraft carriers with more than enough warplanes to overwhelm the Pakistan Airforce. This is the other jaw of the pincer.”
The picture thus emerging was that after July 2010, the US would have substantial number of troops at the border of Pakistan with Afghanistan. This is the area where the Chagai district of Pakistani Balochistan meets the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The total number of these troops, Oleg in Moscow estimated, would be more than 35000.
Simultaneously, as Simon told us, there would be some 30000 soldiers and marines waiting to land at the beaches of Balochistan. This makes military sense, especially in the face of the fact that the part of Balochistan that lies between these two pressure points does not have any significant presence or support system of Pakistan army.
International strategic corridor
The international strategic corridor, the clipped version of the former plan to create Greater Balochistan, was of great interest from the point of view of our report.
To get a clutch-hold on this question we consulted Oleg. We asked him that as a military strategist how he would draw such a corridor on the map.
“First, you need to define your military goals and then you look at the terrain. Match the two in the most efficient manner,” said Oleg.
He said that Chagai district of Pakistan Balochistan runs for about 500 km along the border with Afghanistan. This, he said, represents nearly 30% of the total Pak-Afghan border and the easiest terrain from the military point of view.
“If I were to draw such a border, I would take Nushki as the starting point and draw a north-south line, connecting it with Ras Malan. All the area west of the line up to Iranian border would be the strategic corridor,” said Oleg.
We took this hypothetical corridor to Simon and asked for his comments.
Simon said, “Yes, this is about the size of the thing. DoD-CIA brains are also thinking along the same lines.”
Theoretically it looks neat and orderly to draw a corridor on the map and cut it off from a sovereign country on the military strength alone. However, in real life one needs some excuse, even the size of a fig leaf, to undertake such an enterprise.
We asked Oleg and Simon as to what could be the trigger point for the American forces to justify such an audacious undertaking.
Oleg said, “The excuses are not hard to fine. There can be the civil war in Pakistan, which they are trying hard to start. There can also be a political assassination in Pakistan to start unrest at such a scale that the USA would be able to convince the international community that ‘humanitarian’ intervention had become necessary.”
Simon in Washington added, “An international incident can easily be linked to Pakistan and that would be a good enough reason for invasion. It can be as big as assassination of Obama and as small as bombing of a refinery in the UK. In fact, the latest amendment to the NATO charter seems designed to add this kind of hair trigger in the NATO mechanism. Justification, in any case, is no big deal when you don’t really need to justify it to anyone.”
Simon said that the recent history was full of false flag operations. He cited the 1954 firebomb and unrest in Alexandria (Egypt) by Israel, to make Egypt look unstable and delay the withdrawal of British troops from Suez Canal, the CIA murder of Mehdi Ben Barka of Morocco to foil communists from coming to power, the murder of Patrice Lumumba by CIA in 1965, the JFK plan to shoot down American civilian plane and blame it on Cuba as some of the examples.
Self financed war and civilian surge
A chance remark by Oleg opened a new path for investigation.
He said, “Goals are layered in the military strategy. If you go for a single goal and you fail in that, you are a skunk. However, if you go out there with seven goals and achieve just two, there are ways to make you look good despite overall failure.”
We started thinking of what other goals could be found in the US intention of cutting off half of Balochistan from the rest of Pakistan in addition to the obvious advantage of getting a direct supply route to Afghanistan, easy access to Central Asia, and curtailment of China.
Although these are three major goals, each one of them enough to justify an ambitious expedition, and all of them would be achieved if the US manages to create its international strategic corridor, could there be something else that we had missed?
While we were pondering this question, our sources in Helmand told that the Americans were planning a major ‘civilian surge.’ The sources told us that thousands of civilian professionals were being trained in the US in conditions resembling the terrain, town and country life, and unrest in Afghanistan.
We asked Oleg if the civilian surge in Afghanistan could have any connections with the international strategic corridor the American might try to create before the end of this year.
“Look at the corridor area and see if there is anything of economic or strategic importance,” he said.
Sure enough, as if our eyes had opened for the first time, we saw on the map Saindak and Reko Dig mines, rich in gold, silver and other precious metals and minerals. There is also a mountain in the area that is of interest to Americans because they believe it houses some of the atomic facilities of Pakistan.
We took this hunch to Simon. He took a few days to get back.
In our next session Simon told that about 38 mining engineers and nine nuclear scientists were among the professionals who were being trained under the civilian surge programme and they would be ready to arrive in Afghanistan near the end of July 2010.
Simon conjectured that the mining engineers could be used to assess the potential of Saindak and Reko Dig mines. The general estimates are that these mines hold more than US $ 200 billion worth of wealth. If the civilian surge engineers can confirm these estimates, it would be all the more reason to create the international strategic corridor and get hold of these assets. After all, it could be the ticket to make this war pay its own expenses, and give some profit at the side.
Simon also said that a certain mountain in the general area of the anticipated corridor was of great interest to Washington bigwigs. It is a mountain where some in Washington believe that Pakistan maintains some of its nuclear facilities.
“If this mountain falls in our hands, it would be a definite way to not only to be sure of the exact nuclear capability and expertise of Pakistan, but also to cut it back to an acceptable level,” said Simon.
“It would be a big bonus for Americans,” said Oleg.
Gawadar and Pasni Ports
Both Simon and Oleg pointed out that one must not underestimate the importance of Gawadar and Pasni ports, both of them in the expected area of the international strategic corridor. The ports, and the infrastructure, transportation and communication network connected to them, could of immense value to the USA.
Role of India
The creation of an international strategic corridor – a euphemism for the downsized independent Balochistan – is a big American enterprise and there are several sidekicks on the show, most notably India.
India, till now, was an enthusiastic player, in the hope that it would get to police Afghanistan after the Americans leave. However, it appears that the Indian appetite for meddling in Pakistan and Afghanistan has dampened of late. We are not sure whether it is a simulated effect or the real thing.
Because of the recent reshuffling in the Indian power agencies, our ability to understand the Indian plans and mindset has been reduced to a third hand access, that too not very reliable.
What we have been able to gather is that the Indian intelligence community is split between hawks and realists – doves are not employable in this profession. Hawks want to keep pushing on the current plans and realists are advocating a wait and see policy.
Nonetheless, we found that India has increased its support for the movement to create an independent Ismaili state in the northern areas, now re-designated Gilgit-Baltistan province. The supposed leadership of the movement is sitting in India. We also learned that the takeover of the Swat valley by the so-called Pakistani Taliban was a dry run to cut off Pakistan from northern areas when a real attempt is made to create the Ismaili state.
Our sources in Afghanistan also told that India recently staged fights in some provinces of Afghanistan not far from the Central Asian states to convince them of the usefulness of allowing Indian military bases on their soil. Their main aim was to intimidate Tajikistan where India has vacated a base it once had. The recent skirmishes in Badghis and Fariab provinces were in this category.
We also found that the Indian embassy in Kabul has thwarted negotiations between Brahmdagh Bugti, the grandson of late Akbar Bugti, and the Pakistan authorities. A Baloch, who is a lawyer by profession, was acting as middleman in these talks.
One sidekick is India, the other is the Pakistani electronic media, especially the 150 or so TV hosts who prefer to call themselves ‘anchors.’
We talked to an American diplomat whose job requires frequent interaction with the Pakistani media. This report will not assign a pseudonym, or declare the gender of the American diplomat because that was the condition of cooperation. We will not tell whether the diplomat is still in Pakistan or has moved out.
“Pakistani TV journalists are some of the easiest to buy or manipulate,” said the American diplomat.
“Their price is ridiculously small. A drink, a lunch with a second or first secretary in a place where they can be seen by their admirers, invitations to official receptions, or at most, a trip to the states, is all you need to buy their loyalty,” said the diplomat.
“My dog is usually fussier,” the diplomat added in disgust.
“There was a drive,” the diplomat explained, “very obvious and crude, in some selected countries, to make the educated people feel ashamed of being Muslims.”
“The Pakistani TV journalists swallowed it hook, line and sinker,” said the diplomat.
“Except for an incorruptible handful, they are a sorry lot,” the American diplomat said with an undisguised revulsion.
The next report in this series will deal with the ‘Final Solution’ for Iran. We hope to release it within the next ten days or so.
To be continued . . .
[The last part of this report, dealing with Iran, was not published for certain reasons.
[This report is our Archive Material, first published in March/April 2010]
This is a cross post from News Central Asia Blog & Part IV of the series of Article).