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NATO Expands Afghan War Into Pakistan

September 30, 2010 1 comment

On October 7 the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization military allies will begin the tenth year of their war in Afghanistan, over 3,000 miles from NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

The following month midterm elections will be held in the U.S. and NATO will hold a two-day summit in Portugal. The American administration is eager to achieve, or appear to have achieved, a foreign policy triumph in an effort to retain Democratic Party control of the Congress and NATO something to show for the longest and largest military mission in its 61 years of existence.

President Barack Obama has tripled the amount of American combat troops in Afghanistan to 100,000 and along with forces from other NATO member states and partner nations there are now over 150,000 foreign troops in the nation, the most ever stationed in the war-wracked country. 120,000 of those soldiers are now under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the most ever serving in a North Atlantic Alliance-led military operation. NATO Kosovo Force at its peak had 50,000 troops, but they entered the Serbian province after an almost three-month air war had ended.

The 120,000 NATO forces currently in theater – from 50 nations already with more pegged to provide troops – are at the center of the world’s longest-lasting and increasingly deadly hot war. NATO’s first ground war, its first combat operations in Asia.

Last year was the most lethal for the U.S and NATO in what is now a nine-year conflict and this year has already proven even more costly in terms of combat deaths. And there are three more months to go.

Washington and Brussels could decide to save face and end the fighting through some combination of an internal political settlement and a true international peacekeeping arrangement – rather than the subversion of the International Security Assistance Force that was established by a United Nations mandate in December of 2001 but which is now the Pentagon’s and NATO’s vehicle for waging war in Afghanistan. And in neighboring Pakistan.

But the military metaphysic prevalent in Washington over the past 65 years will allow for nothing other than what is seen as victory, with a “Who lost Afghanistan?” legacy tarnishing the president who fails to secure it and the party to which he belongs being branded half-hearted and defeatist.

As for NATO, the Strategic Concept to be adopted in November is predicated upon the bloc’s expansion into a 21st century global expeditionary force for which Afghanistan is the test case. A NATO that loses Afghanistan, that loses in Afghanistan, will be viewed more critically by the populations of its European member states that have sacrificed their sons and daughters at the altar of NATO’s international ambitions. In the words of then-Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer six years ago: “What is NATO doing in Afghanistan? Defending values at the Hindu Kush in the present day international climate. We have to fight terrorism wherever it emerges. If we don’t do it at the Hindu Kush, it will end up at our doorstep. In other words, this perception gap [of the North Atlantic military alliance operating in South Asia] in the long run must be closed and must be healed – that is, for NATO’s future, of the utmost importance.” [1]

Not satisfied with the Vietnam that Afghanistan has become, NATO has now launched its Cambodian incursion. One with implications several orders of magnitude greater than with the prototype, though, into a nation of almost 170 million people, a nation wielding nuclear weapons. Pakistan.

As the U.S. delivered its 20th deadly drone missile attack of the month inside Pakistan on the 27th, five times the amount launched in August and the most in any month since they were started in 2004, NATO conducted a series of attacks with helicopter gunships in Northwest Pakistan. Claiming the “right of self-defense” and in “hot pursuit” of insurgents that had reportedly attacked a NATO camp, Combat Outpost Narizah, in Afghanistan’s Khost province near the Pakistani border, this past weekend NATO attack helicopters conducted two forays into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where U.S. drone strikes have killed a record number of people this month.

Estimates of those killed, dutifully referred to in the Western press as insurgents, militants or terrorists, were 30, then 50, afterward 60, 70 and later “82 or higher.” [2]

The amount, like the identify, of the dead will never be definitively known.

Press reports stated the targets were members of the Haqqani network, founded by veteran Afghan Mujahedin leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, who when he led attacks from Pakistani soil against Afghan targets slightly over a generation ago was an American hero, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” Two years ago the New York Times wrote: “In the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani was cultivated as a ‘unilateral’ asset of the CIA and received tens of thousands of dollars in cash for his work in fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, according to an account in ‘The Bin Ladens,’ a recent book by Steve Coll. At that time, Haqqani helped and protected Osama bin Laden, who was building his own militia to fight the Soviet forces, Coll wrote.” [3]

As to the regret that the otherwise praiseworthy Haqqani has of late allied himself with the Taliban, one voiced by among other people the late Charlie Wilson who once celebrated Haqqani as “goodness personified,” in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press last year Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told his American audience that the Taliban “was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and the CIA created them together. And I can find you 10 books and 10 philosophers and 10 write-ups on that….” [4]

On September 27 two NATO helicopters attacked the Kurram agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, killing six people and wounding eight. A local Pakistani government official described all the victims as civilians. According to Dawn News, “Nato has also shelled the area before.” [5] Three attacks in three days and as many as 100 deaths.

On the same day a U.S. drone-launched missile strike killed four people in the North Waziristan agency. “The identities of the four people killed in the attack were not known….” [6]

The above events occurred against the backdrop of the revelation in Bob Woodward’s new book Obama’s Wars that “a 3,000-strong secret army of Afghan paramilitary forces run by the Central Intelligence Agency had conducted cross-border raids into Pakistan.” [7]

After mounting in intensity for two years and consisting in part – helicopter gunship attacks and special forces assassination team raids – of covert operations, the U.S. and NATO war in Northwest Pakistan is now fully underway and can no longer be denied.

The Pentagon – the helicopters used in the attacks on September 25 and 26 were American Apaches and Kiowas – defended the strikes over the weekend as falling within its rules of engagement and Defense Department spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the U.S. had adhered to “appropriate protocol” and “Our forces have the right of self-defense.” [8]

A spokesmen for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force initially denied that Alliance forces had launched any attacks inside Pakistani territory, although Afghan police officials had confirmed that they did. On September 27, however, the International Security Assistance Force verified that NATO forces had conducted the deadly strikes. As the third attack by NATO helicopters occurred on the same day, “Coalition officials said the cross-border attacks fell within its rules of engagement because the insurgents had attacked them from across the border.” [9]

A NATO official informed the press that “ISAF forces must and will retain the authority, within their mandate, to defend themselves in carrying out their mission.” [10]

Mehmood Shah, former top security official of the Pakistani government in the region where the helicopter gunship and drone strikes have killed over 200 people so far this month, said of the recent NATO attacks: “This should be considered a watershed event. They [Nato] must be warned: the next time you do this, it can lead to war. Our units should be deployed to fire upon them. This border has sanctity. Nato must realise they have a mandate to operate in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan.” [11]

On September 27 Interior Minister Rehman Malik denounced the NATO raids as a violation of Pakistani territorial integrity and national sovereignty and told the nation’s Senate that the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad would be summoned to explain the attacks. Malik and the Pakistani government as a whole know that the Hamid Karzai administration in Kabul has no control over what the U.S. and NATO do in its own country, much less in Pakistan. The interior minister’s comment were solely for internal consumption, for placating Pakistani popular outrage, but as Pakistan itself has become a NATO partner and U.S. surrogate [12] its officials, like those of Afghanistan, will not be notified of any future attacks.

Nevertheless domestic exigencies compelled Malik to denounce the strikes inside his country and assert “I take the drone attacks in Pakistani territory as an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan.” A senator from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz “asked the government to inform the parliament about any accord it had reached with the US under which drone attacks were being carried out.” [13]

At the same time Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit went further and lodged what was described as a strong protest to NATO Headquarters in Brussels over the weekend’s air strikes, issuing a statement that said in part: “These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates,” as its mandate “terminates/finishes” at the Afghan border.

“There are no agreed ‘hot pursuit’ rules. Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable.” [14]

By the evening of September 27, after the Pakistani complaints were registered, NATO’s ISAF attempted to conduct damage control and reverted to the military bloc’s original position: That it has not launched attacks inside Pakistan at all. On that very day it had dispatched two more helicopter gunships for the third raid in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

NATO will continue to launch lethal attacks inside Pakistan against whichever targets it sees fit and will proffer neither warnings nor apologies. The U.S. will continue to escalate attacks with Hellfire missiles against whomever it chooses, however inaccurate, anecdotal and self-interested the reports upon which they are based prove to be.

The death toll in Pakistan this month is well over 200 and for this year to date over 2,000. The justification for this carnage offered by the U.S. and NATO is that it is intended to extend the policy of Barack Obama to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” insurgent networks in Afghanistan into Pakistan, supposedly the sooner to end the war.

Forty years ago Obama’s predecessor Richard Nixon began his speech announcing the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia with these words: “Good evening, my fellow Americans. Ten days ago, in my report to the nation on Vietnam, I announced the decision to withdraw an additional 150,000 Americans from Vietnam over the next year. I said then that I was making that decision despite our concern over increased enemy activity in Laos, in Cambodia, and in South Vietnam. And at that time I warned that if I concluded that increased enemy activity in any of these areas endangered the lives of Americans remaining in Vietnam, I would not hesitate to take strong and effective measures to deal with that situation.” [15]

He claimed that “enemy sanctuaries” in Cambodia “endanger the lives of Americans who are in Vietnam,” and “if this enemy effort succeeds, Cambodia would become a vast enemy staging area and a springboard for attacks on South Vietnam along 600 miles of frontier: a refuge where enemy troops could return from combat without fear of retaliation.”

The course he ordered was to “go to the heart of the trouble. And that means cleaning out major North Vietnamese and Vietcong occupied territories, these sanctuaries which serve as bases for attacks on both Cambodia and American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.”

The practical application of the policy was that “attacks are being launched this week to clean out major enemy sanctuaries on the Cambodian-Vietnam border.”

In language that has been heard again lately in Washington and Brussels – with nothing but the place names changed – Nixon claimed: “We take this action not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam….”

Washington indeed expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia, with what disastrous effects the world is fully aware, and soon thereafter departed Southeast Asia in defeat, leaving vast stretches of Vietnam and Cambodia in ruins.

Afghanistan and Pakistan will not fare any better.

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Jason Ditz

US Claims Massive ‘Militant’ Deaths and Almost No Civilian Casualties

The CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, something which has become an enormous issue over the past year and a half, have been an enormous source of controversy, both legal and practical.

The US, for its part, maintains that the drone strikes have caused no more than 30 civilian casualties, while killing over 500 militants. The claims seem common among US officials, in keeping with the narrative of precision drone strikes.

But they are tough to swallow for children killed and maimed in the almost constant bombardment. And for villagers the claims that friends and relatives are “suspected militants” are tough to reconcile with reality, as are the claims of US precision.

They also don’t jibe with figures from Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies, which estimate that the US actually killed 700 civilians in 2009 alone, while killing only a handful of confirmed militants. The number of civilians wounded in all these attacks is unknown, but significant.

It is unsurprising, then, that the strikes continue to inflame anti-US sentiment across Pakistan, and US claims that the victims are almost universally “militants” is likely only making matters worse, in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary.

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Travesty Of Justice In Indian Occupied Kashmir

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Travesty Of Justice In Indian Occupied Kashmir

The death sentences given to Kashmiris in the recent Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case verdict is viewed as unfair and oppressive uniformly by the commoners in Kashmir.

Prostest against the verdict has rocked Kashmir. Mother of Mirza Nissar Hussain , who staged a protest dharna in Srinagar says he was only 14 years when he was arrested by Delhi Police. She claims that there is no possibility of his involvement in the bomb blast. The common sentiment in Kashmir is that while Kashmiris caught in mainland India by the “oppressive rulers” are given the maximum punishment, Indians arrested on criminal charges in Kashmir go scotfree. Kashmiris are petrified that in the Shopian double murder and rape case the CBI has approached J &K High Court seeking dismissal of the criminal charges against four policemen arrested for alleged destruction of evidence. These two court cases raises disturbing questions about Kashmiri nationalism, deliverance of justice and engagement of Indian administration and Kashmiri population.

It also reinforces the mutual distrust and hatred that Kashmiri population and Indian administration hold for each other. The survival of this thirty-year-old violent insurgency in Kashmir is fanned by this mutual hatred and distrust. The experiences of Kashmiris in mainland India certainly add to the foreign feelings that the Kashmiris hold. This may be because of the different context from which Indian and Kashmiri nationalism emerged. Kashmiri nationalism, in particular has sustained itself by constructing the hate for India. To be explicitly hating everything Indian is also helpful in constructing their nationalism and identity. William Polk in his book ‘Violent politics’ says, ‘for a sustained insurgency against the foreign rule one doesn’t even need the backup of an ideology; it is just the idea of hate for the “foreign” that would survive it’.

This engagement of the Indian police system and Kashmiri civilians has emerged from this historical backdrop of hate, mistrust and disrespect for each other. It is like the collison of two trains running on the same track. This may be case when cases related Kashmiris come up in court too. Are they treated as humans first without associating this history of hate to their particular case? The mere identity of a Kashmiri can raise the word “Terrorist” in India. Is it fair? Kashmiris fear that Indian courts are not free from these bisases.

The case is quite reverse if it is a Kashmiri court and an Indian convict (for a rape and murder case by the security officials in Shopian). The Hindu reports that “CBI has approached the J&K high court seeking dismissal of the criminal charges against the four policemen arrested for alleged destruction of evidence” (the Hindu, 23/04/2010). Can you complain if Kashmiris loss complete hope and faith in judicial procedures in India after seeing so many go Scot-free after committing heinious crimes like the Shopian rape case or be it the popular kununposhpora mass rape? Let us not forget the popular case of Afzal Guru.

The efforts of Indian administration in managing the Kashmiri lives or the efforts put forth to win Kashmiri support have failed miserably so far. Instead many actions of the Indian administration has led to to further alienatiing Kashmiri populace from India. The prevailing mistrust and hatred will also lead to widening of this divide and worsening the life and the future of so many hopeful youngsters whose life is destroyed by this violent siege that doesn’t seem to end. Travesty Of Justice In Kashmir By Inshah Malik, 26 April, 2010, Countercurrents.org

Inshah Malik is a PhD scholar at Tata institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, India. Inshah.malik@tiss.edu

Afghanistan: Can Obama hammer India to stop interfering in US policy?

Afghanistan: Can Obama hammer India to stop interfering in US policy?

The Obama Administration wants a face saving exit from Kabul. Islamabad holds a key to that face saving exit. Islamabad is asking Washington to use its offices to reduce the border tension between Pakistan and Bharat so that Islamabad can concentrate on the Western Frontier. The Obama Administration, and the Civilian and Military leadership seems to have understood this Pakistani point of view–which they find reasonable.

The Obama Administration must make it very clear to Delhi that it must stop its terror activities in Balochistan and its cross-border terror using the TTP and other terror groups. Enough is enough. Unless the Obama Administration can take that tough stand, it cannot bring peace to the land between the Indus and the Amu Darya and beyond. One major issue that many in the Administration are well aware of is the potential and the reality of the destabilization of Central Asia. If peace does not grow in Afghanistan and does not grow quickly, all of Central Asia will be encompassed in the vortex of war. That is why China and Russia want a quick end to violence on their doorstep.

  • The directive, issued in December, concluded that “India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on US goals in the region,” Hindustan Times
  • http://www.hindustantimes.com/Obama-s-secret-directive-Intensify-efforts-to-ease-Indo-Pak-tensions/H1-Article1-527400.aspx
  • A debate continues within the administration over how hard to push India, which has long resisted outside intervention in the conflict with its neighbor. WSJ
  • To blunt India’s eager courtship of Afghanistan, Pakistan is pouring $300 million of its own money and resources into a nation it also views as key to the stability of volatile South Asia, as well as a potentially lucrative business partner. Emily Wax. Washington Post.
  • Pakistan has hosted 3 million Afghan refugees for 30 years and has already spent $500 million in projects in Pakistan. Millions of Afghans have been born in Pakistan and they speak Urdu and have made Pakistan their home–specially in Quetta.

President Obama wants to change Bharati attitudes. The issue in Washington is how to bell the Delhi cat. Bharat feigns nervousness about any third party “negotiations”–and uses the excuse of bilateralism so that it does not have to budge on any issue. Bilateral talks are the victim of Bharati hubris, arrogance, intransigence and obduracy. They always fail.

  • Indian epiphany: Taliban good again!
  • Rejection of Indian influence by the region

The directive concluded that India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on U.S. goals in the region, according to people familiar with its contents.

The U.S. has invested heavily in its own relations with Pakistan in recent months, agreeing to a $7.5 billion aid package and sending top military and diplomatic officials to Islamabad on repeated visits. The public embrace, which reached a high point last month in high-profile talks in Washington, reflects the Obama administration’s belief that Pakistan must be convinced to change its strategic calculus and take a more assertive stance against militants based in its western tribal regions over the course of the next year in order to turn the tide in Afghanistan.

According to the Boston Globe Senator “Kerry has become a key architect of a policy shift away from strictly short-term, conditional payments to Pakistan’s military and toward long-term pledges of assistance to its citizens”. Wendy Chamberlain is very popular in Pakistan. The Boston Globe quotes her on Senator John Kerry. “John Kerry has played an enormously positive role,’’ said Wendy Chamberlin, a former ambassador to Pakistan who is president of the Middle East Institute…Kerry hopes the aid will bolster what he calls a “sea change’’ in Pakistan.

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  • Afghanistan tests India’s Strategic Innocence

President Barack Obama issued a secret directive in December to intensify American diplomacy aimed at easing tensions between India and Pakistan, asserting that without détente between the two rivals, the administration’s efforts to win Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan would suffer.

Peter Spiegel and Matthew Rosenberg make some blunt observations in The Wall Street Journal and if the reports are to be believed then Delhi is under a lot of pressure to reduce its presence in Afghanistan, and obtund its military presence along the Pakistani border. While Delhi clamors to proffer the anti-thesis that Islamabad’s perceptions about Bharat are incorrect–Washington’s retort on this line is “deal with the perception”, and “resolve the issues”.

  • The Pentagon, in particular, has sought more pressure on New Delhi, according to U.S. and Indian officials. WSJ
  • Current and former U.S. officials said the discussion in Washington over how to approach India has intensified as Pakistan ratchets up requests that the U.S. intercede in a series of continuing disputes.
  • The directive concluded that India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on U.S. goals in the region, according to people familiar with its contents. Times of India
  • Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been among the more vocal advocates of encouraging Delhi to be more “transparent” about its activities along the countries’ shared border and to cooperate more with Pakistan. WSJ

A debate continues within the administration over how hard to push India, which has long resisted outside intervention in the conflict with its neighbor. The Pentagon, in particular, has sought more pressure on New Delhi, according to U.S. and Indian officials. Current and former U.S. officials said the discussion in Washington over how to approach India has intensified as Pakistan ratchets up requests that the U.S. intercede in a series of continuing disputes.

During the Strategic Dialog with Pakistan, the US tacitly, and publicly accepted Pakistan’s Strategic Depth and role in brining peace to Afghanistan. This is anathema to Delhi which wants to pressure Pakistan from both sides.

The Wall Street Journal and major media outlets are portending the thesis that the Obama Administration is asking Delhi to be stop terror activities against Pakistan, listen more carefully to Islamabad’s complaints, and resolve the Kashmir and water disputes with Pakistan. This is not music to the Delhi politicians who usually ignore the Pakistani point of view and take the Kashmir discussion into a cul de sac called bilateral talks. During bilateral talks Delhi then kills all discussion by loudly proclaiming that Kashmir is an integral part of Bharat (aka India) and the topic of boundaries are nut subject to negotiations. Since 1947 dozens of these “talks have been held between Delhi and Pakistan–all ending in abject failure due to obduracy, intransigence and skullduggery of Delhi. Pakistan is not the only country that has faced Bharati tergiversation. Delhi has been unable to resolve its boundary disputes with any of her neighbors, namely Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar, China, Bangladesh.

Pakistan has long regarded Afghanistan as providing “strategic depth”—essentially, a buffer zone—in a potential conflict with India. Some U.S. officials believe Islamabad will remain reluctant to wholeheartedly fight the Islamic militants based on its Afghan border unless the sense of threat from India is reduced.

Pakistan does not see the threat from the same prism that Bharat sees the threat. For Pakistan the threat is Bharat–whether from the Eastern of the Western border. Islamabad feels that it can deal with the Pakhtuns through battles, negotiations, and with projects. Delhi wants to dominate Afghanistan as part of its colonial legacy and its flights of fancy headed towards regional power. For Pakistan it is a struggle for survival. For Bharat is it a point of prestige and stature. The Pakistanis will fight with a lot more determination than the Bharatis can ever hope to.

U.S. and Indian officials say the Obama administration has so far made few concrete demands of New Delhi. According to U.S. officials, the only specific request has been to discourage India from getting more involved in training the Afghan military, to ease Pakistani concerns about getting squeezed by India on two borders.

Can President Obama over rule or convince its Bharati constituencies supported on the Hill by the Bharati lobby and their AIPAC allies? This is the question that vexes the Obama Administration. His second term and his presidency depends on the ability to face the onslaught of the lobbies. If he follows the Bush doctrine and does not stand up to the Bharatis, the Afghan war will go on in perpetuity without any chance of ever achieving peace. The Afghan war is not popular with the American people and the US military. They want a face saving exit. Bharat was given a decade, and it cannot deliver peace in Kabul. The US military and the CIA believe that no peace is possible in the Hindu Kush without Islamabad on board. The only way to get wholehearted Pakistani cooperation is to resolve its disputes with Delhi and to give it a major role in Afghanistan.

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“This is an administration that’s deeply divided about the wisdom of leaning on India to solve U.S. problems with Pakistan,” said Ashley Tellis, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who has discussed the issue with senior officials in the U.S. and India. “There are still important constituencies within the administration that have not given up hope that India represents the answer.”

India has long resisted outside involvement in its differences with Pakistan, particularly over the disputed region of Kashmir. But, according to a U.S. government official, a 56-page dossier presented by the Pakistani government to the Obama administration ahead of high-level talks in Washington last month contained a litany of accusations against the Indian government, and suggestions the U.S. intercede on Pakistan’s behalf.

Pakistan has forcefully and unequivocally informed Washington that Bharati dourness about Pakistan stems from its historic inability to accept the reality of Pakistan which it feels was artificially and temporarily “partitioned” from the mother country. Ms. Hillary Clinton and many in the Democratic Party had been unable to see this Pakistani point of view–initially they brushed it off as Pakistani paranoia. However lately there have been signs that the American tin ear has melted and Pakistani concerns about its sovereignty viz a viz Bharat have found some measure of understanding in Washington.

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  • India cannot match Pakistan in its relations with Afghanistan: FM Qureshi

The official said the document alleges that India has never accepted Pakistan’s sovereignty as an independent state, and accuses India of diverting water from the Indus River and fomenting separatism in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signaled that Washington isn’t interested in mediating on water issues, which are covered by a bilateral treaty.

The Bharati media has been reacting to the sagacious and sane Obama initiative which could and would bring peace to Afghanistan. Obviously the sagacious policy has been met with a wall of traditional Bharati inexorability and stubbornness. The Bharati pundits and media wish Pakistan to go away, so that Bharat can reach out to its lands in Afghanistan and beyond. Realpolitik comes in the way of this Bharati revanchism, kleptomania and irredentism. Unable to hold on to its own fraying Union, Delhi is consumed by its desire to extend its borders–on the Eastern, Northern, and Western fronts. IN the North it faces Chinese might, and on the West it faces Pakistan’s Nuclear Mutually Assured Destruction. therefore it wants to use Afghanistan to pressure Pakistan, to aid separatists, and to form road and rail links to “conquer” Central Asia. This is not the Indian Doctrine–the religion requires them to expand into areas which Alexander and Islam had taken from them.

Subcontinental Drift

The White House declined to comment on Mr. Obama’s directive or on the debate within the administration over India policy. The directive to top foreign-policy and national-security officials was summarized in a memo written by National Security Adviser James Jones at the end of the White House’s three-month review of Afghan war policy in December.

Bharat is now trying to blackmail the US by holding commerce, currency, lobbies and other means to make it change its course–and help Delhi as a counterweight to China. Of course Delhi sees this a temporary alliance–’till it can challenge the US itself.

An Indian government official said the U.S.’s increasing attention to Pakistani concerns hasn’t hurt bilateral relations overall. “Our relationship is mature—of course we have disagreements, but we’re trying not to have knee-jerk reactions,” the Indian official said.

According to U.S. and Indian officials, the Pentagon has emerged in internal Obama administration debates as an active lobbyist for more pressure on India, with some officials already informally pressing Indian officials to take Pakistan’s concerns more seriously. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. government’s prime interlocutor with the powerful head of the Pakistani army, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, has been among the more vocal advocates of a greater Indian role, according to a U.S. military official, encouraging New Delhi to be more “transparent” about its activities along the countries’ shared border and to cooperate more with Pakistan.

Pakistan has made clear to Delhi that it does not just want talks so that Delhi can appease Washington. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister recently told the media that Delhi must initiate a composite results oriented dialog with a schedule. Talks for the sake of talks will not work, and Pakistan is not interested in parleys to show Washington that Delhi is talking.

In interviews, U.S. military officials were circumspect about what specific moves they would like to see from New Delhi. But according to people who have discussed India policy with Pentagon officials, the ideas discussed in internal debates include reducing the number of Indian troops in Kashmir or pulling back forces along the border.

“They say, ‘The Pakistanis have this perception and you have to deal with the perception’,” said one foreign diplomat who has discussed India’s role with Pentagon officials.

An Indian defense ministry spokesman said his country’s army has already moved about 30,000 troops out of Kashmir in recent years.

The State Department has resisted such moves to pressure India, according to current and former U.S. officials, insisting they could backfire. These officials have argued that the most recent promising peace effort—secret reconciliation talks several years ago between Indian Prime Minster Singh and then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf—occurred without U.S. involvement.

“Our principal interest has always been to encourage the talks to resume, but we also understand where the Indians are coming from, which is that there has to be some progress on these bilateral counterterrorism” issues, said the official.

During the Strategic Dialog with the US, Pakistan clearly described the Bharati interference in Pakistan and wanted it stopped as quickly as possible. Why would Bharat need so many Consulates in Afghanistan? The number of consulates exceeds the number of visas issued to Afghanis. Pakistan has repeatedly and forcefully proclaimed that these Consulates are the dens of inequity spreading problems for Pakistan. Those Indian sponsored problems then bring pain not only to Pakistanis, but also are an impediment to US interests in the region. The US has asked Delhi to reduce its presence in Afghanistan, and there are signs that Bharat may be reducing its staff and activities that were aimed against Islamabad.

Separately, Pakistan has been more forcefully raising concerns about Indian activities in Afghanistan with the U.S. Senior Pakistani officials allege India is using its Afghan aid missions as a cover to support separatists in Baluchistan and the Pakistani Taliban, and say they have presented evidence of that to U.S. officials. Indian officials deny the accusations.

A Pakistani security official said his government also has pressed the U.S. about India’s ties to the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Security Directorate, and argued that Indian consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar are outposts for India’s spy agency.

“Something has to be done to stop Afghanistan from being a jumping-off point for Indian intelligence,” said the security official. Washington Post. U.S. Aims to Ease India-Pakistan Tension By PETER SPIEGEL in Washington and MATTHEW ROSENBERG in Kabul

Pakistanis don’t believe ‘Ugly American’ with ‘forked tongue’

There are clear signs that the US has in many ways asked Bharat to reduce the tensions by whatever means necessary. The question is what will Delhi do to circumvents US pressure and bypass Washington’s requirements and then work against President Obama’s plans. How will Delhi resist the US military’s demands?

Pakistan War Games: Thwarting Indian Cold Start Strategy

Pakistan War Games: Thwarting Indian Cold Start Strategy

Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:

  • These exercises will be focused only on conventional war on the eastern border,” Major-General Muzamil Hussain, director-general of army training, told a news briefing.
  • Pakistan’s army will launch its biggest manoeuvres in 20 years next week to deal with the threat of conventional war with old rival India, military officials said on Monday.
  • “These exercises will be focused only on conventional war on the eastern border,” Major-General Muzamil Hussain, director-general of army training, told a news briefing.
  • Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said India had been informed of the exercise.
  • The army conducted its biggest-ever exercises involving 200,000 soldiers in 1989.
  • The wargame, to begin on April 10 and continue till May 13, will be the largest manoeuvres conducted by the army since the Zarb-e-Momin exercise in 1989.
  • The wargame will be conducted in Punjab and Sindh provinces, which border India, officials said.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Pakistan’s military will on Saturday launch war games allowing thousands of troops to road test new tactics near its eastern border with India, a military official said.

“The exercise is aimed at validating and refining newly evolved doctrines,” the head of the army’s military training directorate, Muzammil Hussain, told foreign media in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, neighbouring Islamabad.

The “Azm-e-Nau-3″ or New Resolve exercise will mobilise 20,000 troops in the beginning, rising to 40,000 to 50,000 towards the end, he said.

The exercises will involve all branches of the military, including the air force, and will focus on the possibility of “conventional war on the country’s eastern border,” Hussain said.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been bedevilled by an atmosphere of mistrust and tensions over the unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

  • During the exercises, plans prepared for prevention of terrorist attacks will be implemented and capabilities of Pakistan army in times of peace as well as war will be improved.
  • Furthermore, attention will be given to communication, intelligence information and modern technology.
  • Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:
  • Nuclear deterrence & Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) blunts Bharat’s Cold Start Strategy
  • Why India did not attack Pakistan in 2002 and 2008?
  • The India-Pakistan war
  • Delhi’s Cold Start Strategy Frozen DOA (Dead on Arrival)
  • Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:
  • Pakistani response to “India’s Cold start strategy”: Limited strikes against targets vs Hot War leading to Nuclear Armageddon
  • Indian Airforce crying wolf? or facing shortage of jets?
  • India’s Cold War strategy guarantees hot war—Nuclear annihilation

Last February, the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours held their first official talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks …

Under US pressure, Pakistan has diverted troops … — although the establishment still sees India as the primary threat.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947 — two of them over the fate of the Himalyan territory of Kashmir.

“We cannot remain oblivious to what happens on our eastern borders,” Hussain told reporters.

“Pakistan desires peace and security both within and beyond,” he said, adding that maintaining peace and security is the army’s “key strategic policy”.

  • The six-week field exercise will involve troops from all arms and services and aircraft and equipment of the Pakistan Air Force, he said.
  • “The exercise is the culmination of a long and deliberate process of wargames, discussions and logical evolution of the concept of warfare that is fully responsive to a wide range of emerging threats,” Hussain said.
  • The exercise is also aimed at validating and refining tactics and operations, he said.
  • It will validate concepts formulated during the year of training initiated by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, he added.
  • A special feature of the exercise will be the use of technological achievements and advancement in intelligence-gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication.
  • These measures will reduce the reaction time of troops, Hussain said.
  • The essence of the Cold Start doctrine is reorganising the army’s offensive power that resides in the three strike corps into eight smaller division-sized integrated battle groups (IBGs) consisting of armour and mechanised infantry and artillery, closely supported by helicopter gunships, air force and airborne troops (parachute and heliborne).
  • The IBGs are to be positioned close to the border so that three to five are launched into Pakistan along different axes within 72 to 96 hours from the time mobilisation is ordered.
  • Cold Start thus envisages rapid thrusts even when the defensive corps’ deployment is yet to be completed, and high-speed operations conducted day and night until the designated objectives are achieved
  • The probable objective areas for Cold Start could be (1) Ravi-Chenab corridor from two directions, an IBG along Jammu-Sialkot-Daska axis and another across the Ravi to link up with the first IBG, and (2) in the south against Reti-Rahim Yar Khan-Kashmore complex.
  • To counter Cold Start, the Pakistan Army will have to create more armour-dominated brigade-sized reserves from the existing resources if possible, and a more flexible military system and structure.
  • For Pakistan the dimensions of time and space assume paramount importance as it lacks territorial depth, is opposed by a larger adversary and lacks the resources to fight a protracted war.
  • The strategy of pre-emption is thus imposed on Pakistan in the same way it was imposed on Israel prior to the 1967 war.
  • The fact that the Pakistani Army can occupy their wartime locations earlier than the Indian army confers on it the ability to pre-empt Cold Start;
  • failure to do so could lead to firing of low-yield tactical warheads at IBGs as they cross the start line or even earlier

SAMAA/AGENCIES

Until 2004 the Indian army’s strategic thought envisaged the deployment of seven corps in defensive role and three corps in offensive role each built around an armoured division supported by mechanised infantry and artillery. After the defensive corps had blunted Pakistani attacks, the strike corps would undertake counter-offensive operations aimed at the destruction of the Pakistan Army’s two strategic reserves also built around an armoured division.

After Operation Parakaram the Indian army concluded that this doctrine was inflexible because of the huge size of the strike corps — they have long deployment times, are difficult to manoeuvre, while their concentration in the forward areas gives away the general strategic direction they would adopt. And above all, the doctrine inhibited a quick response to challenges posed by acts like the attack on the Indian parliament (and seven years later in Mumbai).

As a consequence, in 2004 the Indian army announced the development of a new limited war doctrine called Cold Start to respond to what it calls proxy wars by Pakistan. It would seek to inflict significant damage on the Pakistan Army before the international community could intervene on Pakistan’s behalf, while at the same time ensuring that the conflict did not escalate to a level where Pakistan was tempted to use nuclear weapons.

The essence of the Cold Start doctrine is reorganising the army’s offensive power that resides in the three strike corps into eight smaller division-sized integrated battle groups (IBGs) consisting of armour and mechanised infantry and artillery, closely supported by helicopter gunships, air force and airborne troops (parachute and heliborne). The IBGs are to be positioned close to the border so that three to five are launched into Pakistan along different axes within 72 to 96 hours from the time mobilisation is ordered.

Cold Start thus envisages rapid thrusts even when the defensive corps’ deployment is yet to be completed, and high-speed operations conducted day and night until the designated objectives are achieved.

In a war limited by time, mobility is the single-most important factor which if used to its full potential will help attain the political aim in the desired time and space framework. But this requires a perfect matching of the physical means of mobility with the mobility of the mind, as the value of a highly mobile force can be reduced to zero by commanders whose minds are characterised by lack of imagination, initiative and flexibility. “Adherence to dogmas has destroyed more armies and lost more battles and lives than any other cause in war. No man of fixed opinions can make a good general.” (J.F.C. Fuller)

In the 1965 war the Indian 1 Corps, spearheaded by the 1st Armoured Division, had penetrated seven miles only into Pakistani territory in Sialkot sector in 21 days, while in the 1971 war, the same corps having about eight tank units did marginally better by penetrating eight miles in 14 days, that too when opposed by light covering troops. In both wars the Indian army was schematic in its operations. Changes in dispositions such as forming a new defensive line, reassigning of objectives, switching forces not in accordance with their original plan, took time. Above all, their commanders at all levels lacked enterprise, imagination and initiative.

Given this, while Cold Start is a sound concept, though not original, the Indian war directors need to question the ability of their commanders at all levels to execute it efficiently and sustain the advantage gained from striking first. The “law of the initial advantage of the aggressor” assumes critical importance, as it is the aggressor who generally sets the pattern which operations will take. The Germans in the Second World War and the Israelis in the 1956 and 1967 wars had translated the concept of blitzkrieg, characterised by surprise, speed and concentration, with devastating results against numerically superior forces because they had a flair for conducting high-speed operations with flexibility, rapidity and less military routine.

The probable objective areas for Cold Start could be (1) Ravi-Chenab corridor from two directions, an IBG along Jammu-Sialkot-Daska axis and another across the Ravi to link up with the first IBG, and (2) in the south against Reti-Rahim Yar Khan-Kashmore complex. To counter Cold Start, the Pakistan Army will have to create more armour-dominated brigade-sized reserves from the existing resources if possible, and a more flexible military system and structure.

For Pakistan the dimensions of time and space assume paramount importance as it lacks territorial depth, is opposed by a larger adversary and lacks the resources to fight a protracted war. The strategy of pre-emption is thus imposed on Pakistan in the same way it was imposed on Israel prior to the 1967 war. The fact that the Pakistani Army can occupy their wartime locations earlier than the Indian army confers on it the ability to pre-empt Cold Start; failure to do so could lead to firing of low-yield tactical warheads at IBGs as they cross the start line or even earlier.

Cold Start would be a portent of escalation, and inevitably a disaster for both. It is a doctrine that challenges both countries. The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan Army. javedhussainpa@yahoo.com

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Pentagon for pressure on India to ease tension with Pakistan: WSJ

Times Of India

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is actively lobbying for more pressure on New Delhi to ease tensions between India and Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal has reported. It has also revealed that US President Barack Obama had issued a secret directive to intensify diplomacy towards that aim and to win Islamabad’s cooperation in Afghanistan.

Asserting that without détente between the two rivals, US efforts to win Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan would suffer, the directive in December concluded that India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on US goals in the region, the daily said citing “people familiar with its contents”.

A debate continues within the administration over how hard to push India, which has long resisted outside intervention in the conflict with its neighbour. The Pentagon, in particular, has sought more pressure on New Delhi, the influential daily said citing US and Indian officials.

The journal cited current and former US officials as saying the discussion in Washington over how to approach India has intensified as Pakistan ratchets up requests that the US intercede in a series of continuing disputes.

The Obama administration has, so far, made few concrete demands of New Delhi, it said citing US and Indian officials.

According to US officials cited by the Journal, the only specific request has been to discourage India from getting more involved in training the Afghan military, to ease Pakistani concerns about getting squeezed by India on two borders.

The directive to top foreign-policy and national-security officials was summarised in a memo written by National Security Adviser James Jones at the end of the White House’s three-month review of Afghan war policy in December, the daily said.

According to US and Indian officials cited by the Journal, the Pentagon has emerged in internal Obama administration debates as an active lobbyist for more pressure on India, with some officials already informally pressing Indian officials to take Pakistan’s concerns more seriously.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been among the more vocal advocates of a greater Indian role, according to a US military official, encouraging New Delhi to be more “transparent” about its activities along the countries’ shared border and to cooperate more with Pakistan.

US military officials were circumspect about what specific moves they would like to see from New Delhi, the Journal said.

But according to people who have discussed India policy with Pentagon officials, the ideas discussed in internal debates include reducing the number of Indian troops in Kashmir or pulling back forces along the border, it said.

The State Department has resisted such moves to pressure India, according to current and former US officials, insisting they could backfire, the Journal said.

Iran Nabs Top NATO Terrorist With Pakistan Help

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

PakAlertPress

By Webster Tarpley

On Tuesday Feb. 23, Iran announced the capture of Abdulmalek Rigi, the boss of the terror organization Jundullah, which works for NATO. The capture of Rigi represents a serious setback for the US-UK strategy of using false flag state-sponsored terrorism against Iran and Pakistan, and ultimately to sabotage China’s geopolitics of oil. The Iranians claim to have captured Rigi all by themselves, but the Pakistani ambassador to Teheran is quoted in The Dawn as claiming an important role for Pakistan. The Iranians say that Rigi was attempting to fly from Dubai to Kyrgystan, and that his plane was forced to land in Iran by Iranian interceptors. This exploit recalls Oliver North’s 1985 intercept of the accused Achille Lauro perpetrators, including Abu Abbas, forcing their Egyptian plane to land at Sigonella, Sicily. But other and perhaps more realistic versions suggest that Iran was tipped off by the Pakistanis, or even that Rigi was captured by Pakistan and delivered to the Iranians.

Jundullah, otherwise known as the Rigi organization, is a clan-based Mafia organization that has long infested the Iran-Pakistan border. The Rigis are traditionally smugglers and drug pushers of royalist persuasion, and now they have branched out into terrorism. Jundullah is mounting a Sunni rebellion against the Shiite Iranian regime in Iranian Baluchistan. They have blown up a Shiite mosque, killing 25, and managed to kill 50 in a bombing in Pishin last October, where their victims included some top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, against which Mrs. Clinton has now declared war. There is no doubt that Jundullah is on the US payroll. This fact has been confirmed by Brian Ross of ABC News, the London Daily Telegraph , and by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. Hersh noted that Jundullah has received some of the $400 million appropriated by the US Congress in the most recent Bush-era regime change legislation targeting Iran.

Jundullah is a key part of the US-UK strategy of fomenting ethnic and religious civil war in both Iran and Pakistan. Jundullah is a twofer in this context, since it can help destabilize both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border. Baluchistan has special importance because any oil pipeline linking Iran with China must go straight across Baluchistan. Jundullah’s false flag jihad is a means to make sure that strategic pipeline, which would help solve China’s energy problem, is never built.

There is also no doubt that Jundullah functions as an arm of NATO, a kind of irregular warfare asset similar in some ways to the KLA of Kosovo. Rigi is reported by the Iranians to have met with Jop de Hoop Scheffer when he was NATO Secretary General. Rigi has also met with various NATO generals operating in Afghanistan. Who knows — he may have met with McChrystal himself, a covert ops veteran from Iraq.

Operation enduring turmoilClick on map to see larger version

This capture comes at a moment when Baluchistan is the object of intense US-UK exertions. The current US-NATO offensive in southern Afghanistan targets Marjah and the rest of Helmand province, which directly faces Baluchistan. Many observers were puzzled when the US and NATO publicized the Marjah offensive in advance. Militarist talking heads like General Barry McCafferty responded that the main goal of the Marjah offensive was not to destroy the Taliban, but to drive them out of the province. It was thus clear from the beginning that the real goal was to drive the Helmand Taliban fighters into Pakistani Baluchistan. Why?

A statement from the Afghan Taliban covered on the RIA Novosti web site suggests that the real goal of the US-NATO offensive in Marjah-Helmand is to attack Chinese economic interests in Pakistani Baluchistan, and especially the port of Gwadar, one of China’s largest overseas projects. If the US can push the Taliban into Pakistani Baluchistan and into the area around Gwadar, they will have a pretext for militarization ­ perhaps through Blackwater mercenaries, who are already operating massively in Pakistan, or perhaps through direct US military involvement in the zone. US jackboots on the ground in Baluchistan would interfere mightily with Chinese economic development plans. They would also allow the US to commandeer Gwadar as the home port of a new NATO supply line into southern Afghanistan, allowing the avoidance of the Khyber Pass bottleneck. The US could also use Baluchistan as a springboard for bigger and better terror ops into Iran, electronic surveillance of Iranian activities, and so forth.

The US and NATO had evidently planned a double envelopment of Baluchistan, with Taliban fighters from Helmand arriving from the north, while the Jundullah escalated their own activity on the ground. Now that Rigi has joined his brother in Iranian jails, Jundullah has been decapitated, and the NATO strategy has consequently been undermined. Iran has bagged a dangerous terrorist foe. Another winner is Pakistan, where The Dawn celebrated the capture of Rigi as “a godsend” and “a lucky break” for Pakistan. By helping Rigi to fall into Iranian hands, Pakistan may have finally found an effective way to counter the US-UK strategy, which notoriously aims at the breakup and partition of Pakistan. The coming Iranian trial of Rigi may go far towards exposing the real mechanism of terrorism in today’s world, with the CIA sitting in the dock next to Rigi.