America’s first choice - Iran or Pakistan
Asif Haroon Raja
America and its allies are persecuting and bleeding the Muslims for over a decade. Notwithstanding its imperialistic designs and penchant to harm Muslims interests, the Muslim states themselves are also responsible for the sorry state of affairs within the Muslim world. Notwithstanding all out support of the US and the west to Israel in its creation and build up, Arab states are also responsible for turning tiny sized Israel into most powerful state of the region because of their disunity and submissiveness to USA. Palestinian issue has lingered on for 65 years because of the deplorable state of affairs within the Arab world. Mullah Omar’s regime wouldn’t have crumbled that easily had Pakistan not ditched its neighbor and sided with the invader. The whole world including the Muslim world backed the invasion. Saddam Hussain’s regime was brought down in May 2003 because the Shias and Kurds in Iraq had joined hands with the aggressors and all the Arab neighbors had supported the aggressors while Iran looked the other way.
Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt named as Arab Spring were instigated by CIA-Mosad and executed by Qatar to reshape Middle East and muster wider acceptance for apartheid Israel. It is a different matter that later events spun out of control of the schemers and Islamic parties took over. Few hundred anti-Qaddafi runaway Libyans residing in USA aided by CIA and NATO airpower ousted Qaddafi from power and killed him in 2011. Syria is currently in the firing line and the opponents of President Assad misled by foreign powers are striving hard to bring down his regime. So far 25000 Syrians have died in the infighting but Assad with 12% Alawite minority is defiant and wants to continue ruling 83% Sunni population. But for Russian and Chinese intervention, by now the US would have obtained UNSC sanction to authorize NATO to step in and assist the opposing forces in Syria and then form a government of its choice.
Two other Muslim countries, Iran and Pakistan in the firing line are awaiting their turn. Lot of groundwork has already been done by USA and its allies to soften up the targeted countries from within through covert war. Reformist Party in Iran is sponsored by USA but despite receiving millions of dollars during the last two elections, it couldn’t defeat Ahmadinejad run ruling party which has struck deep roots among the masses because of its anti-US and anti-Israel stance. Although Iran has been sufficiently isolated and put under harsh sanctions and now attempts are being made to block its oil exports so as to force it to abandon its nuclear program perceived to be geared towards making a nuclear bomb, Ahmadinejad is continuing to defy US-EU blackmailing tactics. Oil, geo-strategic location, effective leadership and resilient youth are assets which enable Iran to withstand external pressures. It is in a position to choke Strait of Hormuz through which one-third of oil flows to Europe. It has powerful guided missiles that can hit Israel with ease.
The situation in Pakistan is not so bright. One of the best ways to break a nation is to install a corrupt and incompetent government. The US has successfully achieved this objective in Pakistan. The present government installed by USA in 2008 is at the beck and call of Washington. The sole interest of the NRO cleansed rulers is to prolong their stay in power and to keep filling their coffers with ill-gotten money. For the attainment of these selfish interests they have sold their souls and put national interests at stake. They are fighting the judiciary tooth and nail to preserve their looted wealth. They have damaged and humiliated Pakistan in a way which neither India nor Israel could do militarily. Their massive corruption, nepotism and lavish lifestyle have devastated the economic, ideological, industrial, social and political structure of Pakistan. Above all, there is no dearth of fifth columnists and snakes in the grass.
Regrettably, the US has found out the solution to destroy a Muslim atomic power through corrupt democracy in Pakistan. Within four years we stand nowhere. The US and India under the garb of friendship have been ruthlessly bashing Pakistan on the media plane and through covert and drone wars but our dishonest leaders continue to appease the bashers. After destabilizing FATA and Balochistan and creating lawlessness in Karachi, and after resorting to water terrorism by building series of dams on our rivers to dry up Pakistan, India with the willing connivance of our rulers is now poised to wage an economic war to cripple our economy. It has opened up her border for Pakistani industrialists who are already depressed because of prolonged load shedding and are shifting to Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. India will be most convenient place for them to restart business. One can now see and understand why and how cleverly our energy crisis has been used as a weapon against us. It is essentially because of our morally bankrupt leadership that our nuclear deterrence has almost been compromised.
Although both Iran and Pakistan are ripe for foreign intervention, it cannot be predicted at this stage which country the US will choose to strike first. Apparently Iran seems to be priority target because of certain compelling reasons. Israel is becoming itchy and desperate and is putting massive pressure on USA to strike Iran’s nuclear sites before it acquires weaponized nuclear capability. It knows that Tehran has speeded up its covert program despite string of sanctions and pressures. The US is reluctant since till recent its forces were heavily involved in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is still in a precarious situation owing to Afghanistan which has gone out of its control. Its economy is not getting stabilized and expenditure on war on terror is too weighty.
The Americans would not like opening of another war front. Rather, they want early termination of war on terror and return of soldiers who are getting killed almost daily. NATO countries are also wary of the war and have announced their intentions of pulling out of Afghanistan much before the cutout date of December 2014. Europe itself is going through serious economic crisis. In case Iran decides to close Hormuz, it will have crippling impact on the economy of Europe. Given the oil stakes of Russia and China in Iran, US-Israeli intrusion may trigger world war. Although conflict is in the interest of USA since it helps in running its war industry, however, after its bitter experience in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, the US would refrain from employing its combat troops in any future conflict zone. It would prefer to achieve its objectives by using covert means supplemented by drones, airpower, psychological and cyber warfare.
The fight back by resistance forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has not only drained the economy of USA but also upset its grandiose future plans to harness the resources of the Muslim world and micro-manage global affairs in accordance with its own whims. Afghan resistance has proved too costly since few thousand ill-equipped Taliban have rolled the honor and prestige of the sole super power claiming to be invincible in the dust. It is pulling out without defeating the Taliban and without arriving at a political settlement. Its hopes are pinned on India and ANA that the two would be able to keep the Taliban at bay after the departure of ISAF but judging from the ground realities, the assumption seems farfetched. Even the safe withdrawal of ISAF and its heavy baggage has become a big challenge.
These lurking fears and anxieties of USA are proving to be blessing in disguise for Pakistan and may prove helpful since it is the only country that can help a great deal in surmounting these formidable challenges in 2014. Other reasons why Pakistan may not be preferred over Iran is that it acts as the best bridge for Afghanistan and Central Asia and also provides deepwater seaport facility at Gawadar. Unstable Pakistan will hamper the withdrawal of ISAF as well as future commercial activities through the envisaged energy corridor.
Irrespective of the compulsions of USA, it cannot be denied that Pakistan is a target and not an ally of USA and sooner than later its turn will come. No amount of sacrifices rendered by Pakistan will satisfy USA. Nuclear Pakistan and that too having germs of defiance and brimming with anti-Indo-US-Israel extremist forces is unacceptable to the adversarial trio. Hence the apparent thawing of our relations with the US that had reached a breaking point must not mislead us into believing that the US has genuinely become friendly and cancelled its hidden objective to denuclearize Pakistan. Signing of Indo-Afghanistan and US-Afghanistan strategic partnership accords and recent demand by Afghan Parliament asking the US to attack Pakistan are ominous signs. Our western front will certainly get activated in any future Indo-Pak war. India has enhanced the scope of its Cold Start doctrine from eight to sixteen tactical objectives on our eastern front.
Although Gen Shameem Wynne is very confident that our nuclear arsenal is in safe hands and no harm can come to it, however, I am sure he at the inter service level and Gen Ashfaq Kayani at Army level must have worked out contingencies to deal with dangerous twin threat scenario backed by USA and Israel which is no more an illusion but a reality. I suggest this hypothesis should be played up in ongoing war game Azm-e-Nao IV to assess our response actions.