India-Pakistan: War With America

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October 5, 2011:  In Pakistan, decades of anti-American and anti-Indian propaganda, and support for Islamic radicalism, has brought the country to the brink of disaster. The U.S. has stopped being discreet and secretive about Pakistani military and intelligence (ISI) attacks on Americans during the last decade. These attacks were played down in the hope that Pakistan could be persuaded to eliminate the pro-terrorist people in the army and ISI. This didn't happen. The army and the ISI needed the Islamic radicals, to keep tensions with India high (via Pakistani-backed terror attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.) The army/ISI leaders fear loss of their large share of the national economy if the Indian "threat" is viewed more realistically. The political parties, which are corrupt, and often allies of the military, have backed the generals in their opposition to American demands to crack down on Islamic terrorism. Most Pakistanis believe that the United States cannot possibly operate in Afghanistan without the support of Pakistan. This despite vigorous NATO efforts to shift their supply lines from Pakistan to Central Asia. Pakistan believes that possession of nuclear weapons will keep the United States from doing anything drastic, like more raids into Pakistan to destroy terrorists. The May raid to kill Osama bin Laden shows that the U.S. could, and would, do this. Now Pakistan has said it will not shut down Islamic terrorist sanctuaries in North Waziristan (in the northeast) and Quetta (in the southwest). The U.S. says that if the Pakistanis won't, the U.S. will. Pakistan says that if America tries that, it will mean war. It's no secret that the U.S. has made plans to seize Pakistani nuclear weapons, and India has just signed a cooperation treaty with Afghanistan. Pakistanis like to believe that they have America in a corner, but it's becoming more likely that it is Pakistan that has painted itself into a corner. Pakistan has long complained of being surrounded by conspiracies and enemies. Now, because of Pakistani support for Islamic terrorism, those fears are about to become true. Pakistan denies any responsibility for this, insisting that it is the victim. That will make no difference in the end, other than to provide some incredulous footnotes in the histories of the late, great, Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has more immediate threats to deal with. The possibility of American invasion is, for the moment, theoretical. But violence in Karachi has been out of control for most of this year. A massive influx of security personnel has quieted down the violence in Karachi. But when the additional police and troops are withdrawn, it's believed that the ethnic, religious and political violence will resume. Recently, popular demonstrations to protest power blackouts, because of insufficient electricity supplies, have been growing. Government officials have been warned about this shortage for years, but the corruption did what it usually does, and prevented a solution. That's how it goes in Pakistan; lots of problems, which creates more conspiracy theories than solutions.

By siding with the United States after September 11, 2001, Pakistan turned many Islamic terrorists against it. Despite long support for Islamic terrorists, Pakistan has to deal with growing Islamic terrorism against the state. The only thing that will calm down the Islamic terrorists is turning Pakistan into a religious dictatorship (an "Islamic republic.") That is not acceptable to most Pakistanis. In the meantime, the military continues to count the Islamic terrorists as a national asset.

Pakistan has turned to long time weapons supplier China, and asked for the kind of economic and military support the United States has provided during the last decade. China politely refused, and it was no secret that China considered Pakistan a failed state, and not efficient or reliable enough to justify large Chinese investments.  For example, China recently withdrew from a major mining project because of the terrorist threat. China will trade with Pakistan, and sell them weapons. But large scale aid is not seen as prudent. Many other potential investors, and aid donors, agree. The corruption and prevalence of Islamic radicalism bring with it a high degree of violence, or the threat of it, along with massive theft and mismanagement.

Pakistanis do share one thing with India, a yearning to deal with the pervasive corruption and mismanagement in government. It's bad in India, but worse in Pakistan. Popular Pakistani demands for solutions has resulted in some former generals being put on trial, and admissions that a lot of the money lavished on the military, and the many businesses the military is allowed to operate, are stolen or mishandled. That's as far as it goes for the moment.

The corruption creates problems with neighbors, especially Afghanistan. Some 80 percent of the explosives used by the Taliban in Afghanistan come from Pakistan. Not in the form of explosives, but as ammonium nitrate fertilizer that is easily turned into explosives. This fertilizer is forbidden in Afghanistan, and nearly all of the fertilizer smuggled in can be traced (via chemical analysis) to the one factory in Pakistan that produces it. Pakistan refuses to do anything to halt the illegal flow of fertilizer into Afghanistan, for that would be loss of sales, profits and bribes.

Bangladesh is indicting 52 people for helping purchase (from China) and smuggle weapons to Indian separatist rebels. This can be traced back to a 2004 incident, in which ten trucks of weapons were seized before they could get across the border into northeast India.

October 4, 2011: India and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement that recognizes the fact that India is a reliable ally of Afghanistan, in part because Afghanistan fears continued Pakistani meddling in Afghan affairs. The new agreement includes Indians training and advising Afghan troops. Pakistan sees this as further proof that India is trying to surround and destroy Pakistan. But the agreement is also an effort by Afghanistan to get some local allies, to replace American and NATO troops that will be pulling out after 2014.

October 3, 2011: The U.S. has admitted that there have been a growing number of incidents this year in which Pakistani troops fired on American forces just across the border in Afghanistan. This has long been going on with India, but until recently it was rare to see this form of aggression directed against U.S. troops.

October 2, 2011: Pakistan denied that ISI had anything to do with the recent assassination (via a suicide bomber) of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani. The U.S. says otherwise, and the Afghans believe Pakistan was involved.  

September 30, 2011: A U.S. UAV missile attack in North Waziristan killed a Taliban leader regarded as friendly towards the Pakistani military. Pakistan tries to persuade the United States to not target such "good" Taliban. These attacks are increasingly frequent and the Americans locate terrorist leaders despite increasingly frantic efforts to find the informers, or come up with ways to avoid the attacks. The Taliban created a special "spy hunter" team two years ago, which has the authority to kill any civilians suspected of being informers. Many innocent people have been killed by this death squad, and the UAV attacks continue.

 

 

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