Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

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.

SCO to decide on Pakistani membership in June

SCO to decide on Pakistani membership in June

Pakistan in a significant move has signed the pipeline deal with Iran, defying US pressure. It is working with Iran and Turkey on a Pan-Afghan solution in Kabul, and working towards full membership of the SCO. This is a huge event in Pakistani history, where Pakistan would be formally tied with the ECO members, China and Russia. It is like joining NATO or the Warsaw pack of the future. The SCO has turned down Iran’s application on the pretexts that the SCO cannot admit a country under international sanctions. The SCO has not turned down the Pakistani application and the SCO is expected to vote on it in the second week of June in Tashkent.

  • Pakistan keen to become full member of SCO: Masood Khan
  • On May 22 the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers approved the draft procedure for admitting new members into the SCO.
  • The process would be submitted for approval in the SCO Heads of States meeting scheduled to take place on June 10 – 11, 2010 in Tashkent.

Membership in the SCO places Pakistan firmly in the Central Asia club led by China and Russia. The SCO membership would set up additional ties with the former Soviet republics and open up new avenues of military and economic cooperation.

It would also counterbalance US pressure on Pakistan on various subjects. Drone bombings is a serious issue for most Pakistanis and constantly creates new waves of resentment among the populace.

BEIJING, May 28 : Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Masood Khan met Muratbek Imanaliev, Secretary General of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Friday to underline Pakistan’s strong aspiration to become a full member of the SCO.SCO Secretary General Muratbek Imanaliev said as an observer of the SCO, Pakistan had been making consistent and substantial contribution to the work of the Organization.Talking to him Masood Khan observed that “because of geographical contiguity with SCO member states as well as strong desire to work for regional stability, security and economic prosperity, Pakistan fully qualifies to become a full member.”

“Pakistan is a natural ally and partner of SCO”, he added.

Ambassador Masood Khan said Pakistan fully supports SCO’s objective of strengthening security and stability in Central Asia and looks forward to deepening its cooperation with SCO member states in the areas of trade, investment, energy, transport, communications as well as science and technology.

On May 22 the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers approved the draft procedure for admitting new members into the SCO, which would be submitted for approval in the SCO Heads of States meeting scheduled to take place on June 10 – 11, 2010 in Tashkent.

It may be mentioned that right now Pakistan is an Observer of the SCO.

President Asif Ali Zardari attended the SCO summit held in Yekaterinburg in June last year and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani attended the SCO Heads of Government meeting held in Beijing in October 2009.
In addition to Pakistan, India and Iran also have observer status, whereas Afghanistan and Turkmenistan attend the SCO Conferences as guests. (APP)

Kyrgyzstan turmoil: Only the ECO can save Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan turmoil: Only the ECO can save Central Asia

News reports from Kabar the Kyrgyz news agency are announcing that the opposition has declared an alternate government announced on the seized TV stations. An emergency has been declared. Opposition leaders are reporting a 100 dead and 400 injured.

The war in Afghanistan is spreading to the Central Asian Republics–namely Kyrgyzstan and also Uzbekistan. The news from the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek is not good.


  • “Large-scale protests appear to have overthrown the government of Kyrgyzstan, an important American ally in Central Asia,” The New York Times is reporting.
  • Russia’s RT news agency writes that Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev “has fled” the capital, Bishkek.
  • Reuters reports that “the Kyrgyz government agreed on Wednesday to resign and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev flew to the southern city of Osh,” according to a senior opposition party official.
  • 100 dead and as many as 400 injured. This is not a riot–its a revolution in the making.

CNN is reporting that:

The fighting erupted amid political unrest between opposition forces and the government in the cities of Bishkek, Talas and Naryn. Russian state media reported that the Bishkek unrest was triggered by clashes that took place in Talas where some opposition leaders were arrested.

Protesters want detained opposition leaders to be released, and Interfax is reporting that opposition supporters have seized control of Naryn, Talas and others towns, such as Tokmok, Karakol and Cholpanata.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev sent a decree to parliament for the imposition of a curfew as demonstrators clashed with police in Bishkek.

The rioters stormed the parliament building under the leadership of the opposition leader Omar Tekab (Russianized into Omurbek Tekebayev). Russian News ( agencies are reporting that Kyrgyz “authorities have imposed a state of emergency in Bishkek and Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has signed a decree imposing a curfew as clashes continue between rioters and police in the capital. At least 21 died with over 140 injured in riots.” The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that “The Kyrgyzstan protests also took place in other cities”. Reuters reports that “Taimur Sariy [Russianized name Temir Sariyev]Temir Sariyev, an opposition party leader, told The Associated Press that a coalition of politicians had agreed on a new prime minister as well as a new interior minister and new security chief. Officials say 40 people have been killed and more than 400 wounded Wednesday in clashes with police trying to quell the anti-government uprising.”

This has serious implications for China, Russia and the region. The SCO was created to assist the Central Asian Republics to maintain their status quo–however the ISAF presence and the NATO supply routes through Kyrgyzstan have brought the war to Kyrgyzstan.

The US base brought the war to Kyrgyzstan.

America relies on Manas Air Base (renamed the “Transit Center at Manas” as 2009) an alternate NATO supply route to Afghanistan. Therefore the US will be all over Bishkek. The Kyrgyz people and the Bakiyev’s parliament voted to throw out the base in 2009–and it remains a demand of the Kyrgyz people–and a bone of contention. Kyrgyztanis see growing Anti-Americanism because of the base.

The alignment of land locked countries to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea will help the Central Asian Republics open up to the world. Dedicated freeways from Dushame and Fergana are being built to Gwader and Port Qasim with the help of the Russians and the Chinese. This economic integration and the SCO block is the future of Central Asia.

We predicted that the Afghan war would move Westward and Northwards. This has not just happened now–it has been happening for years.

Graveyard of Empires: AfPak-TurkTaj-UzbKaz-AzKyr -istan

For years we have shed light on the pull and push theory. Can the $80 Billion Think Tank industry not comprehend the simple truths described by Peter Senge in his seminal book “The 5th Discipline“. They theory goes as follows. When the Police cracks down on drug dealers on 42nd street, the drug dealing does not disappear, it simply moved to 52nd street or gets dispersed over a bigger area out of reach of the police raids. Similarly when the US bombs the insurgents in East Afghanistan, it is but obvious that they will find shelter and hideouts on the Duran Line and beyond. As the US drones bomb FATA, areas in Pakistan are affected destabilizing parts of the NWFP.

The conflict was broadly fought between government forces and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) – a coalition of Islamists and secular reformists. Al Jazeera

We strongly believe in the Push Theory is in action. In this case, the fear is that because of the actions of the Pakistan Army in Swat, some of the Uzbek militants belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) may have moved back to the Tajikistan and Uzbekistan where they have been active for more than a decade.

The Taliban won the war against the USSR by cutting off their supplies from the same routes that the US will use. The Taliban attacked the supplies coming via Pakistan. According to Russian estimates only about half the supplies made it to Afghanistan. Now the raids on the supplies may be moving to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

Mr. Bakiyev took power in the so-called “Tulip Revolution” of 2005, raising hope for democratic reform. But, as the International Crisis Group put in in 2008, “instead of opening up politics Bakiyev… is creating a system whose hallmarks are overweening control by the ruling family, widespread corruption and, most significantly, a monopoly over economic and political patronage.”

The 2009 US State Department Human Rights report, released this March, listed a litany of abuses by Bakiyev’s government:

Mr. Bakiyev faces a real problem–which could become a horrendous issue for the US. The failed policies of the Bush Administration are fast making Kyrgyzstan another Afghanistan. Unless the US learns from its mistakes from Afghanistan, many Americans will have to learn names of cities that they don’t even want to know about–Bishkek, Namamgan, Tashkent, Andijon. Unless sagacious and sane policies are implemented in the region these names will become household names like Falujah, Helmand, and Mazar e Sharif.

The world does not want to learn new names with atrocities and violence tied to them.

As it is the governments in the Central Asian republics face an onslaught of attacks from the disenfranchised and poor populations. The IMU is a major factor in trying to overthrow dictatorial regimes in the capitals of the Central Asian Republics.

There is another way–economic development and regional groupings to facilitate progress and prosperity in Central Asia.

(Reuters) – Kyrgyz riot police fired tear gas and flash grenades to disperse protesters in the capital Bishkek on Wednesday, witnesses said, the second day of unrest linked to mounting public anger over a weaker economy and corruption.

The Economic Cooperation Organization

Pakistan’s SCO membership: Analysis

April 2, 2010 2 comments

Pakistan’s SCO membership: Analysis

Many sages and muses have tried to decipher the mysteries of the East trying to define the seduction of Central Asia. The mysterious Khyber Pass has been a desideratum magnet for traders and a polestar for for ambitious invaders. Narrating the pull of the Hindukush, Herodotus vividly describes Greek conquests of Bactria and beyond in the prose and poetry under the titles of Illiad and Homer. Rubyard Kipling placed the mysteries of the Khyber inside an enigma. While Kipling eloquently weaved tales like “The Man who would be King“, he also extolled his fellow countrymen to carry the White Man’s Burden to civilize the natives through conquest and colonization.

Fitzroy MacLean tries to describe the intentions of the great powers in “Eastern Approaches” and Phillip Glazebrook describes the enigma of the Macedonian proclivity for Persian conquest in Journey to Khiva. Paddy Docherty eloquently describes the long history of the Khyber Pass in his well researched monograph titled “The Khyber Pass: A History of Empire & Invasion. Lord Curzon wrote much about the Pass, as did the British Blue Blood Sir Henry McMahon. Lenin of course had great interest in the Oxus, and took over the six Turkish republics into the USSR. Today Eric Morgalis and Pepe Escobar write reams about the Pipelines and “Great Games” of Central Asia. Mr. Morgalis harps on the Pakhtuns and seems to have an agenda which he clearly hides when he weaves his tales. Mr. Escobar milks a cliche as if he had discovered a new continent. He thinks his cute cliché gives him credibility to incessantly repeat his dated machination inside “Pipelinistan“.

Will Pakistan be accepted into the SCO? It all depends on Russia. There is not other opposition in the group. Russia on previous occasions has demanded Bharat’s inclusion along with that of Pakistan. Bharat however is not longer interested in the SCO, and Delhi’s relations with Moscow have soured. So Islamabad may soon become a member of the SCO. The SCO is considering the membership applications of Iran and Pakistan. While there is much discussion of Iran on the agenda, whose absorption into the regional grouping would be seen as a provocative step, there is almost no opposition to the membership of Pakistan.

It may be noted that Uzbekistan currently holds the chair of SCO.
The President said that Pakistan would appreciate Uzbekistan support to Pakistan in this regard. He said that being a key player in the international war against terror, Pakistan is ready to be associated with SCO’s Regional Counter-Terrorism structure which is currently based in Tashkent.

Look North Policy: Pakistan’s membership of the SCO will surely improve Pakistan’s standing with the Central Asia republics which has been one of the foreign policy objectives of Islamabad.

Pakistan desires to have a full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) so that it can actively participate in the group’s activities in the region, President Asif Ali Zardari said.

Talking to Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov, Zardari said Pakistan wants to have a full membership of SCO, an inter-governmental security organisation founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Xinhua reported Thursday. Sify News. 2010-04-02 03:40:00

Pakistan’s move towards the SCO is in its national interest, because it already enjoys a fraternal relationship with China. The SCO membership with build its relationship with Russia and consolidate the ECO–the future of Pakistan.

Pakistan enjoys the status of an observer along with India, Iran and Mongolia in the organisation. Uzbekistan currently holds the presidency of the SCO.

‘Pakistan would appreciate Uzbekistan’s support to Pakistan in this regard,’ Zardari said.

He said Pakistan, being a key player in the global war against terror, is ready to be associated with SCO’s regional counter-terrorism structure based in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital.

Zardari said Uzbekistan has an important role to play in promoting peace and security of the region. Being contiguous neighbour of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan can not only contribute toward peace and stability but also to the development of transport and energy corridor, which would facilitate promotion of economic stability and peace of the region, he said. Sify News. 2010-04-02 03:40:00

Three seminal events predicate the inculcation of Pakistan into the group led by China and Russia. The first event was the Trilateral pact on Afghanistan between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The 2nd seminal event was the regional conference on Afghanistan which included all the neighbors of Afghanistan. The third major event was the London Conference where several dozen countries including the USA, the UK, China, and Russia were in attendance. All three conferences endorsed the Pakistani point of view–and rejected the others. President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minster Mahmud must be given full credit for navigating the Pakistani foreign policy from the choppy waters of 2008 towards the blue skies seen in 2010. The Pakistani-US Strategic dialogue consecrated Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan–clearly enunciated by President Obama during his six hour after-dusk visit to Afghanistan.

The conflict in Afghanistan and expanding its membership to include Iran and Pakistan are key issues facing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the coming year, its new head said.

“In the current global context, the top priority is finding a solution to the Afghan issue,” Secretary-General Muratbek Sansyzbayevich Imanaliev said during a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

The fear is that instability within Afghanistan’s borders, where Taliban fighters are challenging the U.S. and NATO-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, could well spill over into neighboring countries.

The SCO is a security grouping dominated by Russia and China that also includes the four Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was initially established in 2001 to primarily deal with concerns over terrorism, separatism and extremism.

“All member countries of the SCO are making active contributions to the Afghanistan issue, including economic cooperation and energy support,” Imanaliev said.

He said the security bloc is assessing membership applications submitted by Tehran and Islamabad. The group is currently reviewing its criteria for new membership. He did not specify when a decision would be made on their bids.

It is obvious, that all the neighbors of Afghanistan endorse and hail Pakistan and its seminal role in Central Asia. The issue of Pakistani membership would not have come up if Russia and China had not considered it a worthwhile venture. China has supported Pakistan’s membership. However the membership was held hostage to Russian insistence on Bharati inclusion into the SCO.

Both Bharat and Pakistan were kept on the SCO as observers. However with Bharat leaning more and more into the US camp, there is much anxiety in Russia. As Bharat and the US have changed sides in the global chess–it seems that Pakistan too is on the anvil of joining the Russian and Chinese camp.

A geographical bloc of Pakistan with the former Soviet republics, along with China and Russia will transform Central Asia and give them access to the Arabian Sea–and the waters of the ocean. If Russia plays its cards right, Catherine the Greats dream of reaching the warm waters will finally come true under the Zardari watch.

Discussions on expanding the group’s membership is not surprising, although that doesn’t mean Iran and Pakistan will soon join, said Niu Jun, a professor at Peking University’s School of International Relations.

Niu said he expected there would be lengthy discussions first, especially on Iran, which would be seen as a provocative move.

“If Iran joined, it would drastically change the original function of the SCO, which was dealing with the terrorism threat with cooperation from China’s neighboring countries. The joining of Iran would mean that the meaning of SCO has totally changed,” he said.

China and Russia also see the group as a way to increase cooperation on financial issues, and consider it a counterweight to U.S. influence in the energy-rich, former Soviet states of Central Asia. Iran’s participation would boost that energy cooperation.

Imanaliev said member states are planning to step up cooperation on regional security issues, particularly anti-terrorism efforts, as well economic cooperation.

A summit among the six member nations is planned in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, later this year, though no date has been set.

Another conference on peace settlement in Afghanistan is supposed to take place in Kabul at the end of the year, the official China Daily newspaper reported.

There is tremendous energy and excitement about the SCO among the members.

China rail integrates Afghanistan, Tajikistan, & Pakistan. China is known for walking silently and brandishing a big stick. The Chinese plan to link Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan via a rail link is a seminal event in the history of their region. This news item did not make a headline in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Very quietly China is beginning to encroach upon Afghanistan and ensuring that it is integrated with the economies of Tajikisan, Western China and Pakistan. Linking Tajikistan and Afghanistan to Gwader is a very strategic step that will pay dividends in the long run.

Indeed, the cost of building so much infrastructure in a volatile security environment like Afghanistan is prohibitive for many private firms. But Niklas Norling, an expert on China and Central Asia at the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development, says the price tag is tolerable for a Chinese state firm because the project contributes to Beijing’s plans for the development of western China and its regional trade links.

Moscow. February 4. Kazakhstan Today – SCO Secretary General, Muratbek Imanaliev, said during video-press conference Moscow – Beijing that strengthening of the organization is one of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s goal (SCO), the agency reports.

“Further strengthening and improvement of intra organizational solidarity and unity is an important objective, despite all the achievements which have been reached during the previous years,” M. Imanaliev informed.

SCO Secretary General said that SCO has serious goals on strengthening and development of economic cooperation as in the organization, with the countries of our organization and other countries as well.

“We also need to create and reconstruct certain mechanisms, including contacts and cooperation with the various international organizations, for example the United Nations and some other regional organizations.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was organized on June, 15, 2002. The structure of the organization includes six member countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan), four countries-observers (India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan) and two dialogue partners (Belarus and Sri Lanka).

In the past few months Russia and China have invested lots of capital for linking Islamabad to Dushanbe and Fergana via rail and road networks. The ECOs physical network supporting the neural network that has been existence before Babur and Tamerlane came to the scene.

The China Peoples Daily, true to form, came out with a very stoic and neutral statement on the expansion of SCO.

In addition, procedures for Sri Lanka and Belarus to enter a dialogue partnership with the SCO are currently under review by SCO member countries for final approval, hopefully to be finalized at the Tashkent Summit this year, according to Imanaliev.

SCO has set up expert panels to establish principles and standards for incorporating new members. “One important principle is that the new member should be good for SCO’s growth and unification, not the other way round,” Imanaliev stressed.

“Enlarging membership is an important task for SCO at present and for a long time in the future. We will continue to enhance cooperation within the SCO framework,” Imanaliev said.

At present the SCO membership comprises: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaking earlier to Itar-Tass said that “active work is underway to prepare the SCO summit in Tashkent” this year. But no specific date has been set yet.”

Imanaliev added that the SCO will sign a series of bilateral memorandums with the dialogue partner countries to outline cooperation areas including economy, trade, science and culture.

Imanaliev said the major tasks facing the SCO are to develop a solution to terrorism in Afghanistan, to increase economic cooperation among the SCO members and to promote cooperation with other international organizations.

He said the SCO will continue to actively respond to the world’s anti-terrorism needs, and provide economic and humanitarian aids to Afghanistan for its peace and stability.

Zhang Deguang, SCO’s first secretary-general, said of the work plan for SCO this year. “It will carry on with its current work, including the activities of SCO-Afghanistan contact group, and continue to attend international meetings on the Afghan issue.”

The contact group, established with the purpose of developing proposals and recommendations on cooperation between the SCO and Afghanistan on issues of mutual interest, conducts its activity in the form of consultations.

At the international conference in London held on Jan 28, which was attended by the foreign ministers of SCO member countries, much attention was paid to the development of regional cooperation, including those within the SCO framework, aimed at making Afghanistan free of terrorism and drug crime.

The next conference on the peace settlement in Afghanistan will take place in Kabul at the end of this year. Imanaliev said new proposals will be raised to promote an earlier resolution.

Mentioning cooperation on energy, Imanaliev highly praised and promoted the “Energy Club” proposed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last year during his visit to Beijing.

“The Energy Club should have multiple roles including collection and analysis of information, energy export and import under the Business Council of SCO,” Imanaliev said.

The Business Council is a non-governmental body which brings together the most members of the business communities of the six SCO members with the aim of boosting economic cooperation in the framework of SCO. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is assessing Iran and Pakistan’s applications for membership and reviewing its criteria for membership, the new SCO Secretary-General Muratbek Sansyzbayevich Imanaliev told a press conference yesterday in Beijing. SCO appraises membership of Iran, Pakistan By Cheng Guangjin and Yang Xue (China Daily) Updated: 2010-02-04 07:57

For Pakistan, one of the seminal events of the year was not the SCO conference but what went on the sidelines. The most important meeting for Islamabad was the meeting with the Russian Russian president Dmitri Medvedev. Iit is pedagogical to note the positive assurances given by the Russian Prime Minister Mr. Putin to Pakistan. The very positive statements about Pakistan came in the aftermath of the Shivajee like embrace of Mr. Manmohan Singh, who during the embrace with the great Khan stabbed him in the heart. Mr. Manmohan Singh also threw an insult at Mr. Zardari during the first peace meeting in a few years.

  • June 22nd, 2009 Genral Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, discussed enhancing ties between armies of the two countries with General Vladimir Boldyrev, Commander-in-Chief Russian ground forces.
  • June 10 2009: (RIA Novosti) – Russia is ready to provide Pakistan with assistance in its fight against terrorism, President Dmitry Medvedev
  • Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told a Russian business daily his country wants to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. RIA Novosti
  • June 16 (APP) – Pakistan and Russia on Monday vowed to open a “new chapter” in their relationship with joint collaborative efforts to boost their economic ties

India Out Of The Loop On Af-Pak

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

India Out Of The Loop On Af-Pak

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN

WASHINGTON: The atmospherics are good but the ground realities are unfavourable. India is struggling to stay relevant and advance its geo-political equities with the United States at a time Washington is buffeted by domestic pressures and international crises that are undercutting its resolve to put ties with New Delhi on a higher plane.

Good intentions, broad agenda, and packed schedules notwithstanding, Indian diplomatic foray into Washington this week was notable for gripes and grievances than any significant advancement towards the stated goal of achieving a strategic relationship with the US, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had a series of meetings on Tuesday, including a drop-in by secretary of state Hillary Clinton at a state department meeting with her counterpart William Burns, but in the end there was no meeting of minds on the most fundamental security issue of the times.

India and US disagree on Afghanistan and Pakistan. That much became clear towards the end of the foreign secretary’s visit although elaboration on this issue was foiled by the cancellation of Rao’s wrap-up press meet (Indian Embassy said she was unwell).

At a time when Washington is searching for an exit strategy from the Af-Pak region, a statement released at the end of her visit (in lieu of the cancelled press conference) tersely noted that “she (Rao) reiterated India’s long-held position that it was important for the international community to stay the present course in Afghanistan for as long as it is necessary.” The international community on the other hand wants to get the hell out of Afghanistan — yesterday.

There were other unresolved issues. Rao’s engagement was also partly torpedoed by the withdrawal by the government of the nuclear liability bill in Parliament hours after her arrival here. As a result, there was little progress on tying up loose ends of the civilian nuclear deal including an agreement on reprocessing although there were brave words about the deal being on track and on schedule.

Most notably, on the issue of high-tech cooperation, the Indian side was still pleading for removal of some its organizations from the so-called Entities List, seven years after the establishment of the group. “The Indian side requested the US department of commerce to review US export controls applicable to India and update them to bring them in keeping with the changed political realities that contextualize India-US strategic partnership today,” the concluding statement said.

To say India has become a mere sideshow in Washington would be overstating it (besides meeting Clinton, Rao also called on the NSA Jim Jones and two key lawmakers on a day Washington was awash with the health care issue and the US-Israel spat). There were important advances in bilateral matters, including setting the stage for external affairs minister S M Krishna’s visit to Washington shortly leading in turn to President Obama’s visit to New Delhi later this year.

But on the Af-Pak issue, India is clearly out of the loop. Pakistan is again the new game in town. Even as the Indian foreign secretary made the rounds of a capital in political and legislative ferment (over the health care bill), diplomatic corridors were abuzz with Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s own outreach to the Taliban through his brothers and Pakistan’s effort to impose itself on that engagement.

Rao meanwhile was telling think-tankers that Taliban remained untouchables for New Delhi. India’s gripe about US arms to Pakistan also went largely unaddressed. In fact, even as Rao was complaining about the potential use by Pakistan of US-supplied weapons against India, Washington had delivered from its base in Jordan a squadron of 14 AH-1 Cobra advanced helicopter gunships to Pakistan.

Times of India

Categories: Afghan War, Afghanistan, Article, Asia-Pacific Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

After massive Foreign Policy failure Delhi needs new strategy

March 18, 2010 1 comment

After massive Foreign Policy failure Delhi needs new strategy

Bharati diplomacy is at a stalemate. It cannot win for losing. It has tried the sabotage Pakistan–trying to force it to cry Uncle strategy. Its support for the TTP, and the BlA has has turned world opinion against Delhi. It tried to muscle in to Tajikistan–and had to face reversals after China and even Russia asked them to leave. Delhi then tried to dump Karzai and support Abdullah Abdullah–something that backfired in a big way. Now Karzai is firmly in the Pakistan camp. Delhi then tried to ego massage the Saudis into getting a role in Afghanistan. They faced a No-bid in Riyadh. Even the Putin card failed when, when an embarrassed host had to hear Putin eulogize Pakistan–in Delhi. It strategy to bifurcate Afghanistan have been exposed. India using ‘aid’ to Kabul- to split Afghanistan

Ashok Mehta in the Daily Pioneer describes the political topography succinctly.

By acknowledging Pakistan’s pivotal role in peace and stability in Afghanistan, and downgrading India’s importance, Mr Karzai has made a dramatic turnaround from the days he refused to shake hands with President Pervez Musharraf. On a visit to Islamabad last week he described India “as a close friend of Afghanistan but Pakistan is a brother of Afghanistan. Pakistan is a twin brother. We are conjoined twins. There is no separation”. He has realised that without the Generals in Pakistan, there can be no reconciliation with the Taliban. Further in Islamabad he emphasised Afghanistan’s neutrality and stressed he did not want proxy wars between India and Pakistan and the US and Iran.

It now obvious that the geo strategic location of Pakistan has made it an important ally for America in Afghanistan. The pugnacious Pakistanis are playing their cards well in the face of horrible odds. The tripartite agreement with Iran and Afghanistan gave them leverage to impact the Regional Conference in Istanbul–which enabled them to get a sane resolution at the London Conference on Afghanistan. Indian presence in Afghanistan is history!

After the London Conference, both the US-led coalition and Afghanistan have put all their eggs in the Pakistani basket. What is not clear is US intention: Cut and run or stay the course beyond 2012. For the present it seems mid-2011 is only the time line for thinning out to commence and not any upstick of forces. A process of handing-taking over will start, based on a flexible transition timetable, commensurate with political and military capacity-building as well as development. In other words, a sequential transfer of authority to the Afghan Government, including ownership of the peace process.

Shaping up are two scenarios: A Karzai-led inclusive Government; a Taliban-led or dominated regime. Pakistan’s flag flies higher than India’s in Afghanistan. India’s stature has diminished due to a number of reasons: Rejection of its passionate advocacy that talking to Taliban is like frying snowflakes; not being consulted on AfPak; not invited to the Istanbul Conference and being sidelined at the London Conference. The final blow was the deadly third targeted attack last month against Indian interests in Kabul in which, among others, three Army Majors teaching English to the Afghan Army were killed. India diminished in Afghanistan, Ashok K Mehta. The Daily Pioneer.

What Fareed Zakaria describes as the success of Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy is actually the Pakistani policy from the very start. In 2001 the Pakistanis told the Americans not to attack Pakistan and bring about a regime change with the moderate Taliban. That sane advice was ignored. America after banging its head for a decade clearly realizes that victory in Afghanistan is very much dependent on the cooperation of Pakistan. It was hard to get through the American tin ear. It took a decade of body bags going back on C-130s for Washington to see things clearly. The Pakistanis have finally been able to influence American policies  and bring them in line with their strategic interests. Therefore the apparent indifference by the US towards Indian concerns as displayed by the uncharitable remarks of Holbrooke. India is hamstring by these realities, as well as overplaying its cards in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Things are worse for a variety of reasons. Bharat’s  foreign policy mandarins should have carried out a cost-benefit analysis regarding the Afghan mission and adopt a hard headed approach based on withdrawal. However Bharat has been unable to change its course

Chidanand Rjghatta has written an article in Times of India about Bharati (aka Indian) problems with the US. it describes the problems between the US and Bharat. India’s brilliant blunder in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON: The atmospherics are good but the ground realities are unfavourable. India is struggling to stay relevant and advance its geo-political equities with the United States at a time Washington is buffeted by domestic pressures and international crises that are undercutting its resolve to put ties with New Delhi on a higher plane. India out of the loop on Af-Pak,Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN, Mar 18, 2010, 01.13am IST

There is ample evidence, in this Post London Conference that Bharat is having a tough time selling its Anti-Pakistan agenda, which also proposes to bifurcate Afghanistan into Pakhutn and Non-Pakhtun mini-states. Bharat hopes that it will be able to influence the Non-Pakhtun state a bit better. Its entire aid package is built around its own strategic interests which aim to create new roads, and access to Central Asia via the Iranian port of Chahbahar. Bharat cares two hoots about Afghans–all it wants is Bharati goods to reach the markets of Europe and Central Asia. Wall Street’s role in the Indo-U.S. relationship.

Good intentions, broad agenda, and packed schedules notwithstanding, Indian diplomatic foray into Washington this week was notable for gripes and grievances than any significant advancement towards the stated goal of achieving a strategic relationship with the US, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had a series of meetings on Tuesday, including a drop-in by secretary of state Hillary Clinton at a state department meeting with her counterpart William Burns, but in the end there was no meeting of minds on the most fundamental security issue of the times. India out of the loop on Af-Pak, Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN, Mar 18, 2010, 01.13am IST

The Bharati press is full of gripes about the USA. Fake encounters, and false flags were used to malign Pakistan. Delhi even tried to play the Putin card. Nothing seems to working for the Bharati policy makers.

Rajghatta is behind the times. Using words that have fallen into disrepute shows, that Bharat is still parked in Bushland. Delhi has not realized that Bush is no longer president and the “build India as a counterweight to China” has been sent to the dustbin of history. Rajghatta still wants to use the term Af-Pak, a term hated by both Pakistan and Afghanistan. However Chidanand is right about the fact that the USA and Britain want to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible.

India and US disagree on Afghanistan and Pakistan. That much became clear towards the end of the foreign secretary’s visit although elaboration on this issue was foiled by the cancellation of Rao’s wrap-up press meet (Indian Embassy said she was unwell).

At a time when Washington is searching for an exit strategy from the Af-Pak region, a statement released at the end of her visit (in lieu of the cancelled press conference) tersely noted that “she (Rao) reiterated India’s long-held position that it was important for the international community to stay the present course in Afghanistan for as long as it is necessary.” The international community on the other hand wants to get the hell out of Afghanistan — yesterday. Chidanand Rajghatta

One of the biggest hurdles in the US-Bharati relationship is the non-operationalization of the 123-Nuclear deal which languishes on a backburner in Washington.

There were other unresolved issues. Rao’s engagement was also partly torpedoed by the withdrawal by the government of the nuclear liability bill in Parliament hours after her arrival here. As a result, there was little progress on tying up loose ends of the civilian nuclear deal including an agreement on reprocessing although there were brave words about the deal being on track and on schedule. Chidanand Rajghatta

Bharati companies are still on the export control list. Delhi is struggling to get them removed without much luck.

Most notably, on the issue of high-tech cooperation, the Indian side was still pleading for removal of some its organizations from the so-called Entities List, seven years after the establishment of the group. “The Indian side requested the US department of commerce to review US export controls applicable to India and update them to bring them in keeping with the changed political realities that contextualize India-US strategic partnership today,” the concluding statement said…But on the Af-Pak issue, India is clearly out of the loop. Pakistan is again the new game in town. Chidanand Rajghatta

Seema Mustafa has written a prodigiously effulgent article on the malaise of that Bharat (aka India) finds itself in. She writes of Buzz Express–and Indian news outlet. She clearly identifies the reasons for Delhi’s failure and provides a few pointers on new directions in Bharati foreign policy.

Pakistan is America’s strategic ally for Afghanistan to the point where India has been isolated. India, however, continues to strive to hold on to its few assets in Afghanistan in a bid to foil Islamabad’s plans to control Kabul, politically and strategically if and when the Americans manage to execute their exit policy. The attack on the guesthouse in Kabul that is a favourite with visiting Indians was a clear indication that their safety and security is now at high risk. And that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is not just incapable but also unwilling to ensure that all Indians working and living in Kabul are given adequate protection.

Bharat was also unable to make its case on not supplying arms to Islamabad. In fact Washington gifted a squadron of Cobras while Ms. Rao was making the rounds in Washington.

Rao meanwhile was telling think-tankers that Taliban remained untouchables for New Delhi. India’s gripe about US arms to Pakistan also went largely unaddressed. In fact, even as Rao was complaining about the potential use by Pakistan of US-supplied weapons against India, Washington had delivered from its base in Jordan a squadron of 14 AH-1 Cobra advanced helicopter gunships to Pakistan. Chidanand Rajghatta

Seema Mustafa correctly identifies the fact that Kabul, in fact all of Afghanistan is inhospitable for Bharatis.

It is apparent from the few leaked stories that are now appearing in the media that national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon returned from his visit to Kabul with the distinct impression that Indians there are no longer secure. The government seems to be seriously contemplating reducing the strength of missions in Kabul, and recalling soft targets like doctors and others. It is clear that the decision to send paramilitary forces for the protection of Indians in Afghanistan is not a foolproof arrangement against suicide bombers, and the issue of security will remain wide open.

Like Rajghatta Seema Mustafa laments about Washington, about Mr. Karzai, and about the failure of Bharati policies.

Pakistan has been urging the US to put pressure on India so that it closes its consulates in Afghanistan and curtails its presence in that country. New Delhi refused to succumb to the pressure but clearly now the threat of violence and the lukewarm response of the Karzai government is forcing a decision that does not serve Indian interests in the long run. But the choice is difficult and the government cannot be blamed for whittling down its presence in the violence torn country. Seema Mustafa

Ms. Mustafa complains about Pakistan not wanting to continue talks. The fact remains that it is Delhi that wants talks for the sake of talks–and like a broken record and a bad CD is stuck on the false flag of Mumbai. Bharat has overplayed its hand with the TTP–and now faces world approbation in the form of snubs in London and Washington. Bharati analysts do not realize that they are are barking up the wrong tree. The world is not interested in carping about Mumbai. They see the carnage in Lahore, and suspect Bharat.

The point however, is that Pakistan has decided not to continue talks with India and to keep the hostilities alive so that it does not have to shift the troops from the borders with India into ongoing operations along the Pakistan-Afghan border. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s willingness to talk despite the odds has been interpreted by Islamabad as weakness, and the anti-India cacophony has only intensified as a result.

The hardening of Pakistan policy is evident from this, as well as its decision to parade anti-India jihadi groups on Kashmir Solidarity Day all over that country, and its decision to invite the hardline Kashmiri separatists to visit Pakistan. Islamabad has decided to recognise only the Geelani faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, ignoring the more moderate voice of Mirwaiz Omar Farooq. It has also sought to create a new leadership that can replace the ageing and ailing Geelani, with two new invitees — the rabid Asiya of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat and Adbul Qayum of the Kashmir Bar Council. Seema Mustafa

The malaise in the Bharati foreign policy is evident for all to see. Every analyst worth his or her salt can see the failure. Ms. Mustafa simply consecrates the obvious. Ambassador Bhadrakumar says the same—Delhi lacks the self correcting mechanism to pull itself out of the hole it has dug itself into.

New Delhi seems to be bereft of strategy as the visit of Menon to Kabul suggests. His agenda should have been to get Karzai back on track but clearly he either did not even venture into this territory but this is hard to believe, or he just did not meet with any success. The last seems more likely as Karzai who was always vocal in criticising Pakistan, is now Islamabad’s friend and has moved quite a distance away from India.

The result of what could well be a complete diplomatic misadventure is that India will have a Taliban government sitting in Kabul … The question is not of a good or bad Taliban as everyone knows it is of a pliable and rigid Taliban. And the bad might be present in large numbers in the ‘pliable’ that Pakistan is trying to get to form a government in Kabul. The choices before India are now very few, as the strategists in government should have seen this coming but obviously were too arrogant or blind to sense it. Instead of opening all links with the remnants of the Northern Alliance, the war lords and even sections of the Taliban, Indian foreign policy focused for several years only on the nuclear deal with the US, and the dialogue with Pakistan. Afghanistan was handled in a totally kick jerk fashion and now that New Delhi is waking up to the reality it finds itself pretty much on the periphery with insignificant say in developments in the region. Seema Mustafa

Bharat is packing its bags in Afghanistan. It has had a good run of a decade. Now its time to get the soldiers, and the spies out of Kabul and back to Delhi.

Indian nationals have become the target of the Taliban, which is not fighting the US in the same manner as al-Qaeda. New Delhi does not have the support it needs to protect them, and this has been pretty much made clear to the government here. US envoy Richard Holbrooke’s first comment after the terror attack in Kabul that Indians were not the intended target is a striking example of the US disinterest, and although he retracted later, the message had come through with all its implications. This is adding to muscle-flexing in Islamabad with its foreign minister and prime minister making statements that just do not compliment politicians of their seniority.

This has to stop. And it is time that the PMO, MEA and MHA sat down in strategy sessions, invited strategic experts who necessarily do not see eye to eye with the government, and worked out a strategy for the region that could help India handle Afghanistan and Pakistan from a position of strength and not weakness. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must allow foreign policy and decision making to come back to India from Washington, and evolve a strategy that furthers Indian and not American interests. Seema MustafaFirst Published : 18 Mar 2010 11:42:00 PM IST Seema Mustafa is a commentator on political affairs.

A seminal article that describes the pickle Bharat finds itself in. Here is an excerpt from that article.

If Delhi failed to anticipate this shift in Karzai’s order of priorities, it has only itself to blame. Thus, even in the face of impending realignments in the Afghan political and military situation that were obvious to most perceptive foreign observers, Delhi kept up the presence of a few thousands Indians in Afghanistan whose security becomes now almost entirely its responsibility to shoulder.

The malaise of the Bharati foreign policy in Afghanistan and beyond is defined below.

In retrospect, Delhi’s hare-brained idea of a US-led “quadripartite alliance” against China, the “Tibet card”, the dilution of a 2003 strategic understanding with Iran, neglect of the traditional friendship with Russia, the lukewarm attitude toward the SCO, exaggerated notions within the establishment regarding the US-India strategic partnership as an alternative to an independent foreign policy and diversified external relationships – all these appear now like dreadful pantomimes out of India’s foreign policy chronicle of recent years that Delhi would rather not think about.Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar.

Bharat has consistently aligned itself on the wrong side of history. It opposed SEATO and CENTO. it opposed the US on almost everything, voting against US 95% of the time in the US. It tried to ally itself with one of the most brutal dictators of our time Marshall Tito. It befriended Saddam Husein. It opposed the recognition of China, it opposes the one China policy. It supported the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. FM Jiechi reaffirms China’s support to Pakistan on Kashmir dispute.

Since 2001, instead of playing a positive role in Afghanistan, Delhi used the opportunity to ingratiate itself with the worst druglords on the planet. It opposed the majority of the Pakhtuns and aligned itself with a very small minority of the Afghans. Its biggest blunder was supporting Abdullah Abdullah and opposing Hamid Karzai.Karzai sings a new tune: ‘Pakistan is twin brother’. Mr. Karzai has now totally and unconditionally aligned himself with Pakistan–supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, China, the US and the UK. Accepting Pakistan as a Nuclear state?

Why India cannot attack Pakistan. How could Bharat overcome its defeat. Bharat can do something spectacular so that world opinion changes. Perhaps a false flag attack on a Western capital attributable to the Lashkar, or the assassination of Hamid Karzai using RAW–which is very close to the Afghan president and has access to him. Other possibilities for Bharat may include some provocation to start a war with Pakistan. These are some of the possibilities that Delhi Analysts may be toying with. Rebutting Mr. Sameer Lakwani on Afghanistan

Bharat has to settle its border disputes with all its neighbors–possibly with some loss in ego and territory. Bharat has to fix it colossal cavities with the Dalits, Maoists and the Muslims. Delhi has reinvent itself and move away from sabotaging its neighbors–be it Lanka, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, China, Bangladesh or Pakistan. Delhi has to form a more perfect union–the current one is not working. Perhaps a looser confederation of fifty states than the current stifling 22 which don’t want to be part of “India”. Bharat has to use its influences in the world in a positive manner–not the detriment of other nations.

Bharat has tremendous potential–but it is a millstone on the neck of Asia–keeping all of South Asia as the only island of penury on the continent. Meagre progress in the last decade has not made it a superpower. Even China shuns that title. It is crazy–and Bharat is incapable of changing. Bharat has to get its citizens to come down to reality and Delhi has to manage expectations. Just because Farid Zakaria calls it great–doesn’t mean that the Gharibabad slums that engulf half of Mumbai have gone away. Bharat is the hungriest nation in South Asia and in the vicinity of Chad on the scale. It however just bought a rust bucket from Russia for more than $2 billion. Is this insanity or what?

Bharat needs a new direction. Is it up to the challenge?

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Iran Nabs Top NATO Terrorist With Pakistan Help

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment


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.