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Punishing Pakistan and Challenging China

Punishing Pakistan and Challenging China
Pakistan in Pieces, Part 2

Global Research, June 30, 2011

This is Part 2 of “Pakistan in Pieces.”

Part 1: Imperial Eye on Pakistan


The AfPak War Theatre: Establishing the New Strategy

As Senator Obama became the President-elect Obama, his foreign policy strategy on Afghanistan was already being formed. In 2007, Obama took on veteran geostrategist and Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski as one of his top foreign policy advisers,[1] and he remained his foreign policy adviser throughout 2008.[2] On Obama’s campaign, he announced that as President, he would scale down the war in Iraq, and focus the “War on Terror” on Afghanistan, promising “to send in about 10,000 more troops and to strike next-door Pakistan, if top terrorists are spotted there.”[3]

In October of 2008, before the Presidential elections, “senior Bush administration officials gathered in secret with Afghanistan experts from NATO and the United Nations,” to deliver a message to advisers of McCain and Obama to tell them that, “the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse,” and “that the next president needed to have a plan for Afghanistan before he took office,” or else, “it could be too late.”[4] Both McCain and Obama had agreed to a troop increase for Afghanistan, essentially ensuring the “continuity of empire” from one administration to the next.

A week after winning the election, Obama invited one of Hillary Clinton’s top supporters and advisers to meet with him. Richard Holbrooke, who had worked in every Democratic administration since John F. Kennedy, “which extended from the Vietnam War, in the sixties, to the Balkan conflicts of the nineties,” was Clinton’s Ambassador to the United Nations for the last year and a half of the Clinton administration. Obama had decided “that Holbrooke should take on the hardest foreign-policy problem that the Administration faced: Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Holbrooke wrote in March of 2008, before Obama won the Presidency, that, “The conflict in Afghanistan will be far more costly and much, much longer than Americans realize,” and it “will eventually become the longest in American history.”[5]

The position Holbrooke was to receive in the Obama administration was one created specifically for him. He was to become a “special representative” to the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan:

[I]n addition to being an emissary to the region, Holbrooke would run operations on the civilian side of American policy. He would create a rump regional bureau within the State Department, carved out of the Bureau of South and Central Asia, whose Afghanistan and Pakistan desks would report directly to him. He would assemble outside experts and officials from various government agencies to work for him, and he would report to the President through Hillary Clinton. Clinton told Holbrooke that he would be the civilian counterpart to General David Petraeus, the military head of Central Command.[6]

Holbrooke was thus placed in charge of “Af-Pak”, a term of his own creation, “to make the point that the two countries could not be dealt with separately,” which was then adopted into official parlance.[7]

In November of 2008, the Washington Post reported that while Obama was considering giving the position of Secretary of State (which he then did), he was also discussing giving General James L. Jones the position of National Security Adviser, which he subsequently did. The article stated that, “Obama is considering expanding the scope of the job to give the adviser the kind of authority once wielded by powerful figures such as Henry A. Kissinger.” James Jones was a former NATO commander and Marine Corps commandant.[8]

Jones as NATO commander was pivotal in assembling troops for the war in Afghanistan, and at the time of his nomination as NSA (National Security Adviser), he headed “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.”[9] The official statement of purpose for the Institute for 21st Century Energy is:

to unify energy policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense strategy that ensures affordable, reliable, and diverse energy supplies, improves environmental stewardship, promotes economic growth, and strengthens national security.[10]

Jones earned $900,000 in salary from the Chamber of Commerce, and got $330,000 from serving on the board of Boeing and $290,000 for serving on the board of Chevron upon his resignations of those positions to become National Security Adviser.[11] In October of 2010, Jones was replaced as National Security Advisor by Tom Donilon.

On February 8, 2009, within weeks of being installed as NSA, Jones gave a speech at the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy, in which he stated:

As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. [Henry] Kissinger, filtered down through Generaal Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today.[12]

He then elaborated on the purpose and restructuring of the National Security Council under the Obama administration. He stated that the NSC “must be strategic” in that, “we won’t effectively advance the priorities if we spend our time reacting to events, instead of shaping them. And that requires strategic thinking.” He further stated that:

the NSC today works very closely with President Obama’s National Economic Council, which is led by Mr. Larry Summers, so that our response to the economic crisis is coordinated with our global partners and our national security needs.[13]

Shortly after taking office, Obama set up a two-month White House strategic review of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to be headed by Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and scholar at the Brookings Institution, and “Riedel will report to Obama and to retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr., the national security advisor,” and was to work very closely with Richard Holbrooke in drafting the policy review.[14]

In February of 2009, Henry Kissinger wrote an article for the Washington Post describing the strategy America should undertake in Afghanistan and Pakistan, emphasizing the role of “security” over the aim of “reform” of the Afghan government, stating that, “Reform will require decades; it should occur as a result of, and even side by side with, the attainment of security — but it cannot be the precondition for it.” Militarily, Kissinger recommended the “control of Kabul and the Pashtun area,” which stretches from Afghanistan to the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan province in Pakistan. When it came to the issue of Pakistan, Kissinger wrote:

The conduct of Pakistan will be crucial. Pakistan’s leaders must face the fact that continued toleration of the sanctuaries — or continued impotence with respect to them — will draw their country ever deeper into an international maelstrom.[15]

Following the policy review, on March 27, Obama announced the administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, decidedly to make it a dual strategy: the AfPak strategy. Obama promised “to send lawyers and agricultural experts to Afghanistan to reform its government and economy, and to offer seven and a half billion dollars in new aid for schools, roads, and democracy in Pakistan.”[16]

Holbrooke had a staff of 30 in the State Department, and “nine government agencies, including the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Defense and Treasury Departments, and two foreign countries, Britain and Canada, [were] represented in the office.” General David Patraeus, then Commander of U.S. CENTCOM (the Pentagon’s Central Command with authority over the Middle East, Egypt and Central Asia), along with then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, and Richard Holbrooke worked together and “pressured General Ashfaq Kayani, the head of the Pakistani Army, to push back against the Taliban in Swat,” which had the effect of precipitating the internal displacement of more than 2 million people.[17]

Changing Strategy, Changing Command

In January of 2009, shortly after Obama took office, he announced that his administration “picked Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, a former top military commander in Afghanistan, to be the next United States ambassador to Kabul,” of which the New York Times said:

Tapping a career Army officer who will soon retire from the service to fill one of the country’s most sensitive diplomatic jobs is a highly unusual choice.[18]

Further, the General had “repeatedly warned that the United States could not prevail in Afghanistan and defeat global terrorism without addressing the havens that fighters with Al Qaeda had established in neighboring Pakistan,” which is parallel to the new strategy in Afghanistan. His appointment “has the backing of Richard C. Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.”[19]

On May 11, Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired General David D. McKiernan, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which commands all NATO forces in Afghanistan. Gates stated that, “It’s time for new leadership and fresh eyes,” and that it was the Pentagon command which recommended the White House fire McKiernan, including Gates, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mullen and McKiernan’s military boss, General Patraeus, Commander of CENTCOM.[20]

There has been much speculation as to the reasons for his firing, and it is a significant question to ask, as the firing of a General in the field is a rarity in the American experience. The general view pushed by the Pentagon was that it was due to a matter of “consistency,” as in changing strategies and changing ambassadors, it was also necessary to change Generals. While McKiernan was focused on military means and tactics, the strategy required counter-insurgency tactics. It was reported that, “McKiernan was overly cautious in creating U.S.-backed local militias, a tactic that Petraeus had employed when he was the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.”[21]

One Washington Post article made the claim that the push to fire McKiernan came initially and most forcefully from the Chairman of the JCS Mullen, and that Gates agreed and lobbied Obama to fire him. The reasoning was that McKiernan was “too deferential to NATO” in that he wasn’t able to properly manage the NATO forces in Afghanistan, and lacked the political fortitude to manage both military and political affairs.[22]

The official reason for the firing was mostly to facilitate alignment with the new strategy requiring a new military commander, which is likely true. However, it requires an understanding of the new strategy as well as a look at who was sent in to replace McKiernan where you realize the true nature of his being fired. [Note: McChrystal himself was later fired in 2010 after publicly speaking out against top administration officials].

McKiernan was replaced with Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, former Commander of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the highly secretive command of U.S. Special Forces operations. As the Washington Post pointed out, his appointment “marks the continued ascendancy of officers who have pressed for the use of counterinsurgency tactics, in Iraq and Afghanistan, that are markedly different from the Army’s traditional doctrine.”[23]

The new AfPak strategy, which McChrystal would oversee, “relies on the kind of special forces and counterinsurgency tactics McChrystal knows well, as well as nonmilitary approaches to confronting the Taliban. It would hinge success in the seven-year-old war to political and other conditions across the border in Pakistan.”[24]

In March of 2009, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that the U.S. military was running an “executive assassination ring” during the Bush years, and that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was running it, and that, “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” and that, “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office… Congress has no oversight of it.” He elaborated:

Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.[25]

Hersh appeared on Amy Goodman’s program, Democracy Now, to further discuss the program, of which he stated:

There’s more—at least a dozen countries and perhaps more. The President has authorized these kinds of actions in the Middle East and also in Latin America, I will tell you, Central America, some countries. They’ve been—our boys have been told they can go and take the kind of executive action they need, and that’s simply—there’s no legal basis for it.[26]

At the time this news story broke, it was reported that the JSOC commander at the time, “ordered a halt to most commando missions in Afghanistan, reflecting a growing concern that civilian deaths caused by American firepower are jeopardizing broader goals there.” The halt lasted a total of two weeks, and “came after a series of nighttime raids by Special Operations troops in recent months killed women and children.”[27]

All of this is very concerning, considering that the new Commander of NATO operations in Afghanistan, was the former head of the “executive assassination ring.” Having run JSOC between 2003 and 2008, McChrystal “built a sophisticated network of soldiers and intelligence operatives,” which conducted operations and assassinations in Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan.”[28]

In June it was reported that McChrystal was “given carte blanche to handpick a dream team of subordinates, including many Special Operations veterans, as he moves to carry out an ambitious new strategy.” He was reported to be assembling a corps of 400 officers and soldiers “who will rotate between the United States and Afghanistan for a minimum of three years.” The New York Times referred to this strategy as “unknown in the military today outside Special Operations.” The Times further reported that McChrystal:

picked the senior intelligence adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, to join him in Kabul as director of intelligence there. In Washington, Brig. Gen. Scott Miller, a longtime Special Operations officer now assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff but who had served previously under General McChrystal, is now organizing a new Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell.[29]

In June of 2006, Newsweek referred to McChrystal’s JSOC as being a “part of what Vice President Dick Cheney was referring to when he said America would have to ‘work the dark side’ after 9/11.” McChrystal also happened to be a Fellow at Harvard and the Council on Foreign Relations.[30]

As it was later revealed, the CIA had been running – from 2002 onwards – a force of roughly 3,000 elite paramilitary Afghans, purportedly to hunt al-Qaeda and the Taliban for the CIA. Used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and actual operations, many in the force have been trained by the CIA in the United States, and their operations and numbers have expanded since the new strategy involving Pakistan was put in place. The paramilitary force – or terrorists, depending upon one’s perspective – are undertaking covert operations inside Pakistan, often working directly with U.S. Special Forces.[31] It must be remembered that during the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980s when the CIA was funding, arming and training the Afghan Mujahideen to fight the Soviets – late to become known as ‘al-Qaeda’ – they were, at the time, referred to as “freedom fighters,” just as the terrorist death squads were referred to in Nicaragua. Thus, the nomenclature of “paramilitary force” must be viewed with suspicion as to what the group is actually doing: covert operations, surveillance, assassinations, etc., which by many definitions would make them a terrorist outfit.

In May of 2009, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was reported as saying that a US military offensive in southern Afghanistan could have the effect of pushing militants and Taliban into Pakistan, “whose troops are already struggling to combat militants.” Chairman Mike Mullen stated that this means that Pakistan “could face even greater turmoil in the months ahead.” This was based off of a US surge of troops in Afghanistan. Senator Russ Feingold said that, “We may end up further destabilizing Pakistan without providing substantial lasting improvements in Afghanistan,” and that, “Weak civilian governments, an increased number of militants and an expanded U.S. troop presence could be a recipe for disaster for those nations in the region as well as our own nation’s security.” Mullen responded to the Senator’s concerns by stating, “Can I… (be) 100 percent certain that won’t destabilize Pakistan? I don’t know the answer to that.”[32]

But of course, the answer is in fact, certain; and it’s an unequivocal “yes”. These remarks were made following the surge of an additional 21,000 US troops to Afghanistan in March. In the beginning of May, Pakistan launched a military offensive against the Taliban in Swat and other areas of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), after a peace deal broke down between them, “forcing more than two million people from their homes.”[33] It was further reported that:

Pakistani military chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani has told U.S. officials he’s worried not only about Taliban moving across the border, but also the possibility that U.S. forces could prompt an exodus of refugees from southern Afghanistan.[34]

In May, Holbrooke and the American military establishment had pressured the Pakistani government to undertake the offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley, which led to the displacement of more than 2 million people. As the New Yorker put it, Holbrooke “was mapping out a new vision for American interests in a volatile region, as his old friend Henry Kissinger had done in Southeast Asia. And he was positioning himself to be a mediator in an international conflict, as he had done in the Balkans.”[35]

In September of 2009 a classified report written by General McChrystal was leaked, in which he had concluded, “that a successful counterinsurgency strategy will require 500,000 troops over five years.”[36] It was further reported in September that, “the CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence ‘surge’ that will make its station there among the largest in the agency’s history,” rivaling its stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. The initiative began “under pressure from Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal,” and the extra personnel are being employed in a number of ways, including teaming up with Special Forces troops in “pursuing high-value targets.” Further:

The intelligence expansion goes beyond the CIA to involve every major spy service, officials said, including the National Security Agency, which intercepts calls and e-mails, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency, which tracks military threats.[37]

In October of 2009, it was reported by the Washington Post that although Obama announced a troop surge in Afghanistan of 21,000 additional troops, “in an unannounced move, the White House has also authorized — and the Pentagon is deploying — at least 13,000 troops beyond that number.” It was reported that these additional forces were primarily made up of “support forces, including engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police.” Thus, it brings the total 2009 surge in Afghanistan to 34,000 US troops. Thus as of October 2009, there were 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan (more than double the amount of when Bush left office), and 124,000 US troops in Iraq.[38]

In early October, Henry Kissinger wrote an article for Newsweek in which he proposed a strategy for the US in Afghanistan, in which he initially made it clear that he supported General McChrystal’s proposal of sending an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. Kissinger proclaimed that calls for an “exit strategy” were a “metaphor for withdrawal,” which is tantamount to “abandonment.” Clearly, Kissinger favours a long-term presence. He stated that even a victory “may not permit troop withdrawals,” citing the case of South Korea. Kissinger further wrote on the options for Afghan strategy, stating:

A negotiation with the [Taliban] might isolate Al Qaeda and lead to its defeat, in return for not challenging the Taliban in the governance of Afghanistan. After all, it was the Taliban which provided bases for Al Qaeda in the first place.

This theory seems to me to be too clever by half. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are unlikely to be able to be separated so neatly geographically. It would also imply the partition of Afghanistan along functional lines, for it is highly improbable that the civic actions on which our policies are based could be carried out in areas controlled by the Taliban. Even so-called realists—like me—would gag at a tacit U.S. cooperation with the Taliban in the governance of Afghanistan.[39]

Kissinger further claimed that a reduction of forces in Afghanistan would “fundamentally affect domestic stability in Pakistan by freeing the Qaeda forces along the Afghan border for even deeper incursions into Pakistan, threatening domestic chaos,” and that, “the prospects of world order will be greatly affected by whether our strategy comes to be perceived as a retreat from the region, or a more effective way to sustain it.”[40]

He further explained that any attempts to “endow the central government with overriding authority” could produce resistance, which would “be ironic if, by following the received counterinsurgency playbook too literally, we produced another motive for civil war.” Kissinger thus proposed a strategy not aimed at “control from Kabul,” but rather, “emphasis needs to be given to regional efforts and regional militia.” Kissinger explained the regional importance of Afghanistan, and thus, the “challenge” of American strategy:

The special aspect of Afghanistan is that it has powerful neighbors or near neighbors—Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Iran. Each is threatened in one way or another and, in many respects, more than we are by the emergence of a base for international terrorism: Pakistan by Al Qaeda; India by general jihadism and specific terror groups; China by fundamentalist Shiite jihadists in Xinjiang; Russia by unrest in the Muslim south; even Iran by the fundamentalist Sunni Taliban. Each has substantial capacities for defending its interests. Each has chosen, so far, to stand more or less aloof.[41]

In November of 2009, Malalai Joya, a former Afghan MP and one of the few female political leaders in Afghanistan, said that:

Eight years ago, the U.S. and NATO—under the banner of women’s rights, human rights, and democracy—occupied my country and pushed us from the frying pan into the fire . . . Eight years is enough to know better about the corrupt, mafia system of [President] Hamid Karzai . . . My people are crushed between two powerful enemies . . . From the sky, occupation forces bomb and kill civilians…and on the ground, the Taliban and warlords continue their crimes . . . It is better that they leave my country; my people are that fed up . . . Occupation will never bring liberation, and it is impossible to bring democracy by war.[42]

In late November, Pakistani Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani warned “that the US’s decision to send thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan may destabilize his country,” as it would likely lead to “a spill over of militants inside Pakistan.” In particular, it could force militants and Taliban to migrate into Pakistan’s southern province of Balochistan.[43]

On December 1, President Obama announced that the U.S. would send an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan by summer 2010, and with a “plan” to purportedly withdraw by July 2011. As the Washington Post reported, “adding 30,000 U.S. troops to the roughly 70,000 that are in Afghanistan now amounts to most of what Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces there, requested at the end of August.” Obama stated that the chief objective was to “destroy al-Qaeda,” and a senior administration official said that, “the goal for the Afghan army, for example, is to increase its ranks from 90,000 to 134,000 by the end of 2010.”[44]

President Karzai said in early December that, “Afghanistan’s security forces will need U.S. support for another 15 to 20 years,” and that, “it would take five years for his forces to assume responsibility for security throughout the country.”[45] This statement supports the conclusions set out in McChrystal’s classified report, which stated that the US would need to remain for at least 5 years.

Seth Jones, a civilian adviser to the U.S. military and senior political scientist at RAND Corporation, one of America’s top defense think tanks, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in December titled, “Take the War to Pakistan.” He stated that the U.S. is repeating the same mistakes of the Soviets when they occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s by not attacking the Taliban “sanctuary” in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. He stated that, “This sanctuary is critical because the Afghan war is organized and run out of Baluchistan.” He then proclaimed that, “the United States and Pakistan must target Taliban leaders in Baluchistan,” which could include conducting raids into Pakistani territory or hit Taliban leaders with drone strikes.[46]

As Jeremy Scahill reported in June 2009, “more than 240,000 contractor employees, about 80 percent of them foreign nationals, are working in Iraq and Afghanistan to support operations and projects of the U.S. military, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.” Scahill reported on the findings of a Defense Department report on contracting work in the war zones, stating that, “there has been a 23% increase in the number of ‘Private Security Contractors’ working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which ‘correlates to the build up of forces’ in the country.” While contractors outnumbered forces in Afghanistan, in Iraq they were roughly equal to the US forces occupying the country, at 130,000.[47]

It was reported that as Obama ordered more troops to Afghanistan in December of 2009, a new surge of contractors would follow suit. As of June 2009, the number of contractors in Afghanistan outweighed the US military presence itself, with 73,968 contractors and 55,107 troops. According to different estimates, “Between 7% and 16% of the total are Blackwater-style private security contractors.” As of December 2009, the number of contractors in Afghanistan was reported to be 104,100.[48]

In January of 2010, as Obama’s announced 30,000 extra troops began to be deployed to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials became increasingly fearful that “a stepped-up war just over the border could worsen the increasingly bloody struggle with militancy” within Pakistan itself, ultimately further destabilizing Pakistan’s southwestern border and the “already volatile tribal areas in the northwest.” On top of sending militants into Pakistan, there were fears that it would exacerbate the flow of Afghan refugees into Pakistani territory.[49]

Blackwater and the “Secret War” in Pakistan

In November of 2009, investigative journalist and best-selling author Jeremy Scahill wrote an exclusive report on the secret war of the United States in Pakistan. The story sheds light on the American strategy in the region aimed at the destabilization and ultimately the implosion of Pakistan. The chief architects and administrators of this policy in Pakistan are none other than the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), previously run as an “executive assassination ring” by General McChrystal, and the infamous mercenary organization, Blackwater, now known as Xe Services. JSOC and Blackwater work together covertly in undertaking a covert war in yet another nation in the region, adding to the list of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Scahill described the covert operations as “targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives,” as well as “other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan.” Further, “the Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes.” The sources for the report are drawn heavily from individuals within the US military intelligence apparatus. One source revealed that the program is so “compartmentalized” that “senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.” This program is also separate from the CIA’s own programs, including both drone attacks and assassinations, of which the CIA assassination program was said to be cancelled in June of 2009.

It was in 2006 that JSOC reached an agreement with the Pakistani government to run operations within the country, back when Stanley McChrystal was running it in close cooperation with Vice President Dick Cheney as an “executive assassination ring.” A former Blackwater executive confirmed that Blackwater was operating in Pakistan in cooperation with both the CIA and JSOC, as well as being on a subcontract for the Pakistani government itself, as well as “working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm that puts US Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces in counter-terrorism operations, including house raids and border interdictions, in the North-West Frontier Province and elsewhere in Pakistan.”

JSOC’s covert program in liaison with Blackwater in Pakistan dates back to 2007, and the operations are coordinated out of the US Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and that Blackwater operates at “an ultra-exclusive level above top secret.” The contracts are all kept secret, and therefore “shielded from public oversight.” On top of carrying out operations for JSOC and the CIA inside Pakistan, Blackwater further conducts operations in Uzbekistan.

In regards to the drone strikes within Pakistan, while largely reported as being a part of the CIA drone program, many are, in fact, undertaken under a covert parallel JSOC program. One intelligence source told Jeremy Scahill that, “when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes.” Further, Blackwater is involved in the drone strike program with JSOC, “Contractors and especially JSOC personnel working under a classified mandate are not [overseen by Congress], so they just don’t care. If there’s one person they’re going after and there’s thirty-four people in the building, thirty-five people are going to die. That’s the mentality.” Blackwater further provides security for many secret US drone bases, as well as JSOC camps and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) camps within Pakistan.

With General McChrystal’s rise from JSOC Commander to Commander of the Afghan war theatre (which in military-strategic terms now includes Pakistan under the umbrella of “AfPak”), “there is a concomitant rise in JSOC’s power and influence within the military structure.” McChrystal had overseen JSOC during the majority of the Bush years, where he worked very closely and directly with Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As Seymour Hersh had exposed, JSOC operated as an “executive assassination ring” and had caused many problematic diplomatic situations for the United States, as even the State Department wasn’t informed about their operations. One high-level State Department official was quoted as saying:

The only way we found out about it is our ambassadors started to call us and say, ‘Who the hell are these six-foot-four white males with eighteen-inch biceps walking around our capital cities?’ So we discovered this, we discovered one in South America, for example, because he actually murdered a taxi driver, and we had to get him out of there real quick. We rendered him–we rendered him home.[50]

Blackwater is also involved in providing “security for a US-backed aid project” in a region of Pakistan, which implies that even some aid projects are connected with military and intelligence operations, often using them as a cover for covert operations. Blackwater still operates in Afghanistan working for the US military, the State Department and the CIA. As one military-intelligence official stated:

Having learned its lessons after the private security contracting fiasco in Iraq, Blackwater has shifted its operational focus to two venues: protecting things that are in danger and anticipating other places we’re going to go as a nation that are dangerous.[51]

Much of Scahill’s information has been supported by other mainstream news sources. In August of 2009, the New York Times reported that in 2004, the CIA “hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda.” The CIA had held high-level meetings with Blackwater founder and former Navy SEAL Erik Prince. The article also revealed that in 2002, Blackwater had been awarded the contract to handle security for the CIA station in Afghanistan, “and the company maintains other classified contracts with the C.I.A.” Blackwater has hired several former CIA officials, “including Cofer Black, who ran the C.I.A. counterterrorism center immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.”[52]

On December 10, 2009, the New York Times reported that in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Blackwater “participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents.” These raids, referred to as “snatch and grab” operations, occurred almost nightly between 2004 and 2006, and that, “involvement in the operations became so routine that the lines supposedly dividing the Central Intelligence Agency, the military and Blackwater became blurred.” One former CIA official was quoted as saying, “There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually became an extension of the agency.” Further, Blackwater was reported to have provided security not only for the CIA station in Afghanistan, but also in Iraq; and in both countries, Blackwater “personnel accompanied the [CIA] officers even on offensive operations sometimes begun in conjunction with Delta Force or Navy Seals teams.”[53]

In late August it was reported that Blackwater had a CIA contract to operate the remotely piloted drones, carried out at “hidden bases” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as provide security at the bases.[54] In December, the New York Times ran a story reporting that the CIA had terminated its contract with Blackwater “that allowed the company to load bombs on C.I.A. drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” However, while the CIA claimed that all Blackwater contracts were under review, a CIA spokesperson said that, “At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any C.I.A. operations other than in a security or support role,”[55] which is still a very wide role, considering how the roles have been blurred between providing “security” and actively taking part in missions.

As the Guardian reported in December of 2009, Blackwater had a contract in Pakistan “to manage the construction of a training facility for the paramilitary Frontier Corps, just outside Peshawar,” which is the Pakistani Army’s paramilitary force.[56] Despite a continual official denial of Blackwater involvement in Pakistan, in December, the CIA admitted Blackwater operates in Pakistan under CIA contracts,[57] and in January of 2010, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that both Blackwater (now known as Xe Services) and DynCorp have been operating in Pakistan.[58]

However, some reports indicate that Blackwater may be involved in even more nefarious activities inside Pakistan. A former head of Pakistani’s intelligence services, the ISI, stated in an interview that apart from simply taking part in drone attacks, Blackwater “may be involved in actions that destabilize the country.” Elaborating, he said, “My assessment is that they [Blackwater agents] — either themselves or most probably through others, through the locals — do carry out some of the explosions,” and that, “the idea is to carry out such actions, like carrying attacks in the civilian areas to make the others look bad in the eyes of the public.” In other words, according to the former head of the ISI, Blackwater may be involved in committing false flag terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.[59]

In November of 2009, Al-Jazeera reported that while many attacks occurring across Pakistan are blamed on the Tehreek e-Taliban, Pakistan’s Taliban, “the group has issued its first video statement denying involvement in targeting civilians and has blamed external forces for at least two recent blasts.” The denial stated that the attacks are being used as an excuse to prepare for military operations in various tribal regions of Pakistan, including South Waziristan. The denial also stated that the Pakistani Taliban “had no role in the bomb blast in a Peshawar market that killed at least 100 people as well as an attack in Charsada, a town located in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.” The spokesperson claimed that the Pakistani Taliban does not target civilians, and that the bombings were “linked to Blackwater activities in the country.” Even when the bombings initially occurred the Taliban denied involvement, and the local media was blaming “Blackwater and other American agencies.”[60]

The head of the Pakistani Taliban had previously stated that, “if Taliban can carry out attacks in Islamabad and target Pakistan army’s headquarters, then why should they target general public,” and proceeded to blame the bomb blast in Peshawar that killed 108 people on “Blackwater and Pakistani agencies [that] are involved in attacks in public places to blame the militants.” He was further quoted as saying, “Our war is against the government and the security forces and not against the people. We are not involved in blasts.”[61]

In January of 2010, it was reported that Blackwater “is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan’s troubled national police force,” as Blackwater already “trains the Afghan border police — an arm of the national police — and drug interdiction units in volatile southern Afghanistan.”[62]

As Jeremy Scahill reported in August of 2009 on a legal case against Blackwater, where a former Blackwater mercenary and an ex-US Marine “have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia.” Among the claims:

The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”[63]

Further, both men stated that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq, often on Erik Prince’s private planes. These allegations surfaced in a trial against Blackwater for committing human rights violations and war crimes in Iraq against civilians. One of those who testified further stated that, “On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince’s employ, Mr. Prince’s management has personally threatened me with death and violence.” The testimony continued in explaining that:

Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”[64]

In January of 2010, Erik Prince, the controversial founder and CEO of Blackwater gave an interview with Vanity Fair magazine which was intended to not simply discuss the company, but also the man behind the company. It begins by quoting Prince as saying, “I put myself and my company at the C.I.A.’s disposal for some very risky missions,” and continued, “But when it became politically expedient to do so, someone threw me under the bus.” It is worth quoting the article at some length:

Publicly, [Erik Prince] has served as Blackwater’s C.E.O. and chairman. Privately, and secretly, he has been doing the C.I.A.’s bidding, helping to craft, fund, and execute operations ranging from inserting personnel into “denied areas”—places U.S. intelligence has trouble penetrating—to assembling hit teams targeting al-Qaeda members and their allies. Prince, according to sources with knowledge of his activities, has been working as a C.I.A. asset: in a word, as a spy. While his company was busy gleaning more than $1.5 billion in government contracts between 2001 and 2009—by acting, among other things, as an overseas Praetorian guard for C.I.A. and State Department officials—Prince became a Mr. Fix-It in the war on terror. His access to paramilitary forces, weapons, and aircraft, and his indefatigable ambition—the very attributes that have galvanized his critics—also made him extremely valuable, some say, to U.S. intelligence.[65]

Prince’s Afghan security team is the “special-projects” team of Blackwater, and “except for their language its men appear indistinguishable from Afghans. They have full beards, headscarves, and traditional knee-length shirts over baggy trousers.” In regards to Prince’s worth with the CIA, he:

wasn’t merely a contractor; he was, insiders say, a full-blown asset. Three sources with direct knowledge of the relationship say that the C.I.A.’s National Resources Division recruited Prince in 2004 to join a secret network of American citizens with special skills or unusual access to targets of interest.[66]

In Afghanistan, Blackwater “provides security for the US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and his staff, and trains narcotics and Afghan special police units.” There was also a revolving door of sorts between Blackwater and the CIA. Not only was Prince a CIA asset, but many higher-ups in the CIA would also move into Blackwater. A Blackwater-CIA team even hunted down an alleged Al-Qaeda financier in Hamburg, Germany, without even the German government’s awareness of it. Publicly, the Blackwater program with the CIA was canned. Although there was no mention of its covert program with JSOC in Pakistan, so one must assume its relationship is maintained in some capacity. Prince ultimately left his position at Blackwater in the face of bad press, but still controls the majority of the stock.[67]

In September of 2009, General Mirza Aslam Beg, Pakistan’s former Army Chief, said that, “Blackwater was directly involved in the assassinations of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.” He told a Saudi Arabian daily that, “former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf had given Blackwater the green light to carry out terrorist operations in the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and Quetta.” It was in an interview with a Pakistani TV network when he stated that Blackwater and “the United States killed Benazir Bhutto.” Beg was chief of Army staff during Benazir Bhutto’s first administration. He claimed that she was killed “in an international conspiracy because she had decided to back out of the deal through which she had returned to the country after nine years in exile.”[68]

Is the West Punishing Pakistan to Challenge China?

China and Pakistan established diplomatic ties in 1951, and have enjoyed a close relationship since then, with Pakistan being one of the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1950. One of the primary reasons behind the close and ever-closer relationship between China and Pakistan is the role of India, as both an adversary and competitor to Pakistan and China. A Pakistani ambassador to the United States said that for Pakistan, “China is a high-value guarantor of security against India.” Further, within India, increased Chinese military support to Pakistan is perceived as “a key aspect of Beijing’s perceived policy of ‘encirclement’ or constraint of India as a means of preventing or delaying New Delhi’s ability to challenge Beijing’s region-wide influence.” These ties have increased since the 1990s, and especially as the United States became increasingly close to India. As a Council on Foreign Relations background report on China-Pakistan relations explained:

The two countries have cooperated on a variety of large-scale infrastructure projects in Pakistan, including highways, gold and copper mines, major electricity complexes and power plants, and numerous nuclear power projects. With roughly ten thousand Chinese workers engaged in 120 projects in Pakistan, total Chinese investment–which includes heavy engineering, power generation, mining, and telecommunications–was valued at $4 billion in 2007 and is expected to rise to $15 billion by 2010.[69]

As the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. further explained, “Pakistan thinks that both China and the United States are crucial for it,” however, he went on, “If push comes to shove, it would probably choose China–but for this moment, it doesn’t look like there has to be a choice.” The recent U.S.-India civilian nuclear agreement has further entrenched a distrust of America within Pakistan and pushed the country closer to China. In 2010, China announced it would be building two nuclear power reactors in Pakistan.[70]

In 2007, China and Pakistan inaugurated Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province along the Arabian Sea, creating the first major point in an “energy corridor” which would eventually bring oil from the Gulf overland through Pakistan into China. China financed the building of the port city for $200 million, with plans to fund billions more worth of railroads, roads, and pipelines which would link Gwadar Port to China. Pakistan is strategically placed in the centre of the new ‘Great Game’, a nomenclature for the great imperial battles over Central Asia in the 19th century. Pakistan is neighbour to Iran, India, China, and Afghanistan, with a coastline on the Arabian Sea. Thus, Pakistan is situated between the oil-rich Middle East and the natural gas-rich Central Asian countries, with two of the fastest growing economies in the world – India and China – as energy-hungry neighbours; with the imperial presence of America in neighbouring Afghanistan, with its eye focused intensely on neighbouring Iran. A ‘Great Game’ ensues, drawing in Russia, China, India and America, and the main focus of the game is pipelines.[71]

China has a major pipeline project in the works to bring in natural gas from Central Asia, transporting the gas from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and into China, which is set to be completed by 2013.[72] Iran, OPEC’s second largest oil exporter (after Saudi Arabia), is among the top ten oil exporters to China, and in 2010 it was reported that the Chinese have invested roughly $40 billion in Iran’s oil and gas sectors, including financing for the construction of seven new oil refineries, as well as various oil and gas pipeline projects.[73] In June of 2011, it was reported that China’s oil imports from Iran have increased by 32%, signaling a growing importance in the relationship between the two countries. The largest three oil exporters to China are Saudi Arabia, Angola, and Iran, respectively.[74]

The Gwadar Port city built by Chinese investments is destined to be a central hub in the pipeline politics of the ‘Great Game,’ in particular between the competing pipeline projects of the Trans-Afghan Pipeline (TAP or TAPI), involving a pipeline bringing natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and into India; and the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (IPI). The major issue here is that the TAPI pipeline cannot be built so long as Afghanistan is plunged into war, thus the project has been incessantly stalled. On the other hand, India has been wavering and moving out of the picture in the IPI pipeline, in no small measure due to its increasingly close relations with the United States, which has sought to dissuade Pakistan from building a pipeline with Iran. However, in 2010, Pakistan and Iran signed the agreement, and are willing to either allow India or China to be the beneficiary of the pipeline. Whether going to India or China, Gwadar Port will be a central hub in this project.[75] Pakistan has now been seeking direct help from China on the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project.[76] The U.S., for its part, warned Pakistan against signing onto a pipeline project with Iran, yet Pakistan proceeded with the project regardless.[77]

The southern Pakistani province of Balochistan is home to oil, gas, copper, gold, and coal reserves, not to mention, it is the strategic corridor through which the pipeline projects would run, and is home to the strategically significant port city of Gwadar. For the past fifty years, however, Balochistan has been a major hub of Chinese investment and opportunity, with Chinese companies having poured $15 billion into projects in the province, including the construction of an oil refinery, copper and zinc mines, and of course, Gwadar Port.[78] India is increasingly concerned about China’s presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. China is building ports not only in Pakistan, but in Bangladesh and Burma, as well as railroad lines in Nepal.[79]

Following the supposed assassination of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. in Pakistani territory, tensions between Pakistan and America increased, and ties between China and Pakistan deepened. The Chinese were subsequently approached by the Pakistanis to take control of the port of Gwadar, and perhaps to even build a Pakistani naval base there, though the Chinese have denied Pakistani claims that any such deal had been reached. China, further, in response to the apparent U.S. assassination of Bin Laden, said that the ‘international community’ (referring to the United States) “must respect” Pakistani sovereignty. Indian news quoted diplomatic sources as saying that China “warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China.”[80]

Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani visited China on a state visit shortly after the American raid into Pakistan. Following the meetings, China agreed to immediately provide 50 fighter jets to Pakistan, a clear signal that Pakistan is looking for alternatives to its American dependence, and China is all too happy to provide such an alternative.[81] As the Financial Times reported, “Pakistan has asked China to build a naval base at its south-western port of Gwadar and expects the Chinese navy to maintain a regular presence there.”[82] China has also signaled that it would be interested in setting up foreign military bases, just as the United States has, and specifically is interested in such a base inside Pakistan. The aim “would be to exert pressure on India as well as counter US influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”[83]

Conclusion

It would seem, then, that the true cause of chaos, destabilization, and war in Pakistan is not the Orientalist perspective of Pakistanis being the ‘Other’: barbaric, backwards, violent and self-destructive, in need to ‘intervention’ to right their own wrongs. Following along the same lines as the dismantling of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the destabilization of Pakistan is aimed at wider strategic objectives for the Western imperial powers: namely, the isolation of China. While Pakistan has long been a staunch U.S. puppet regime, in the wider geopolitical context of a global rivalry between the United States and China for control of the world’s resources and strategic positions, Pakistan may be sacrificed upon the altar of empire. The potential result of this strategy, in a country exceeding 180 million people, armed with nuclear weapons, and in the centre of one of the most tumultuous regions in the world, may be cataclysmic, perhaps even resulting in a war between the ‘great powers.’ The only way to help prevent such a potential scenario would be to analyze the strategy further, and expose it to a much wider audience, thus initiating a wider public discussion on the issue. As long as the public discourse on Pakistan is framed as an issue of “terrorism” and the “War on Terror” alone, this strategic nightmare will continue forward.

As the saying goes, “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

But so too then, can war be the casualty of Truth.

Notes

[1]        Russell Berman, Despite Criticism, Obama Stands By Adviser Brzezinski. The New York Sun: September 13, 2007:
http://www.nysun.com/national/despite-criticism-obama-stands-by-adviser/62534/

[2]        Eli Lake, Obama Adviser Leads Delegation to Damascus. The New York Sun: February 12, 2008:
http://www.nysun.com/foreign/obama-adviser-leads-delegation-to-damascus/71123/

[3]        Jonathan Tepperman, How Obama’s Star Could Fall. Newsweek: October 13, 2008:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/162316

[4]        Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, McCain and Obama advisers briefed on deteriorating Afghan war. The New York Times: October 31, 2008:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/world/americas/31iht-31policy.17405861.html

[5]        George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 1009:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[6]        Ibid.

[7]        Ibid.

[8]        Michael Abramowitz, Shailagh Murray and Anne E. Kornblut, Obama Close to Choosing Clinton, Jones for Key Posts. The Washington Post: November 22, 2008:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/21/AR2008112103981.html

[9]        Ibid.

[10]      About Us, Our Mission. Chamber of Commerce: Institute for 21st Century Energy:
http://www.energyxxi.org/pages/about_us.aspx

[11]      JOHN D. MCKINNON and T.W. FARNAM, Hedge Fund Paid Summers $5.2 Million in Past Year. The Wall Street Journal: April 5, 2009:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123879462053487927.html

[12]      James L. Jones, Remarks by National Security Adviser Jones at 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy. The Council on Foreign Relations: February 8, 2009:
http://www.cfr.org/publication/18515/remarks_by_national_security_adviser_jones_at_45th_munich_conference_on_security_policy.html

[13]      Ibid.

[14]      Julian E. Barnes, Obama team works on overhaul of Afghanistan, Pakistan policy. Los Angeles Times: February 11, 2009:
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/11/world/fg-us-afghan11

[15]      Henry A. Kissinger, A Strategy for Afghanistan. The Washington Post: February 26, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/25/AR2009022503124.html

[16]      George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 1009:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[17]      Ibid.

[18]      Eric Schmitt, Obama Taps a General as the Envoy to Kabul. The New York Times: January 29, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/washington/30diplo.html

[19]      Ibid.

[20]      Agencies, US fires top general in Afghanistan as war worsens. China Daily: May 12, 2009:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-05/12/content_7766306.htm

[21]      Ann Scott Tyson, Top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Is Fired. The Washington Post: May 12, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/11/AR2009051101864.html

[22]      Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Pentagon Worries Led to Command Change. The Washington Post: August 17, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/16/AR2009081602304_pf.html

[23]      Ann Scott Tyson, Top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Is Fired. The Washington Post: May 12, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/11/AR2009051101864.html

[24]      Agencies, US fires top general in Afghanistan as war worsens. China Daily: May 12, 2009:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-05/12/content_7766306.htm

[25]      Muriel Kane, Hersh: ‘Executive assassination ring’ reported directly to Cheney. The Raw Story: March 11, 2009:
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Hersh_US_has_been_running_executive_0311.html

[26]      Transcript, Seymour Hersh: Secret US Forces Carried Out Assassinations in a Dozen Countries, Including in Latin America. Democracy Now!: March 31, 2009:
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/31/seymour_hersh_secret_us_forces_carried

[27]      MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT, U.S. Halted Some Raids in Afghanistan. The New York Times: March 9, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/world/asia/10terror.html

[28]      Ann Scott Tyson, Manhunter To Take On a Wider Mission. The Washington Post: May 13, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/12/AR2009051203679_pf.html

[29]      THOM SHANKER and ERIC SCHMITT, U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Is Given More Leeway. The New York Times: June 10, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/world/asia/11command.html

[30]      Michael Hirsh and John Barry, The Hidden General. Newsweek: June 26, 2006:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/52445

[31]      KIMBERLY DOZIER and ADAM GOLDMAN, Counterterrorist Pursuit Team: 3,000 Man CIA Paramilitary Force Hunts Militants In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Huffington Post, 22 September 2010:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/22/counterterrorist-pursuit-_n_734961.html

[32]      Andrew Gray, US Afghan surge could push militants into Pakistan. Reuters: May 21, 2009:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N21412211.htm

[33]      Isambard Wilkinson, Top US official warns that war in Afghanistan strengthens Taliban in Pakistan. The Telegraph: May 22, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/5369740/Top-US-official-warns-that-war-in-Afghanistan-strengthens-Taliban-in-Pakistan.html

[34]      AP, Afghanistan surge tied to Pakistan stability. MSNBC: May 21, 2009:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30871807/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

[35]      George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 2009:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[36]      Tom Andrews, Classified McChrystal Report: 500,000 Troops Will Be Required Over Five Years in Afghanistan. Huffington Post: September 24, 2009:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-andrews/classified-mcchrystal-rep_b_298528.html

[37]      Greg Miller, CIA expanding presence in Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times: September 20, 2009:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-intel20-2009sep20,0,1183243.story?page=1

[38]      Ann Scott Tyson, Support Troops Swelling U.S. Force in Afghanistan. The Washington Post: October 13, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/12/AR2009101203142.html?hpid=topnews

[39]      Henry A. Kissinger, Deployments and Diplomacy. Newsweek: October 12, 2009:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/216704

[40]      Ibid.

[41]      Ibid.

[42]      Travis Lupick, Suspended Afghan MP Malalai Joya wants NATO’s mission to end. The Georgia Straight: November 12, 2009:
http://www.straight.com/article-270310/vancouver/afghan-activist-wants-natos-mission-end

[43]      US surge in Afghanistan ‘may destablize Pakistan’. Press TV: November 30, 2009:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=112484&sectionid=351020401

[44]      Scott Wilson, Obama: U.S. security is still at stake. The Washington Post: December 2, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/01/AR2009120101231.html

[45]      Julian E. Barnes and Tony Perry, Afghanistan will need U.S. help for 15 to 20 years, Karzai says. The Los Angeles Times: December 9, 2009:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-afghan-mcchrystal9-2009dec09,0,224382.story

[46]      Seth G. Jones, Take the War to Pakistan. The New York Times: December 3, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/opinion/04jones.html

[47]      Jeremy Scahill, U.S. War Privatization Results in Billions Lost in Fraud, Waste and Abuse—Report. Rebel Reports: June 10, 2009:
http://rebelreports.com/post/121172812/u-s-war-privatization-results-in-billions-lost-in

[48]      Justin Elliott, As Obama Sends More Troops, Giant Shadow Army Of Contractors Set To Grow In Afghanistan. TPMMuckraker: December 1, 2009:
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/as_obama_sends_more_troops_giant_shadow_army_of_co.php?ref=fpb

[49]      Karin Brulliard, Pakistan worried U.S. buildup in Afghanistan will send militants across border. The Washington Post: January 5, 2010:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/04/AR2010010403335.html

[50]      Jeremy Scahill, The Secret US War in Pakistan. The Nation: November 23, 2009:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091207/scahill

[51]      Ibid.

[52]      Mark Mazzetti, C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help to Kill Jihadists. The New York Times: August 19, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/us/20intel.html

[53]      James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret C.I.A. Raids. The New York Times: December 10, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/us/politics/11blackwater.html

[54]      James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones. The New York Times: August 20, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/us/21intel.html

[55]      Mark Mazzetti, Blackwater Loses a Job for the C.I.A. The New York Times: December 11, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/12/us/politics/12blackwater.html

[56]      Declan Walsh and Ewen MacAskill, Blackwater operating at CIA Pakistan base, ex-official says. The Guardian: December 11, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/11/blackwater-in-cia-pakistan-base

[57]      CIA admits Blackwater presence in Pakistan. Press TV: December 12, 2009:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=113512&sectionid=351020401

[58]      Gates confirms Blackwater presence in Pakistan. Press TV: January 22, 2010:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116754&sectionid=351020401

[59]      Blackwater behind Pakistan bombings: Ex-intel chief. Press TV: December 12, 2009:
http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=113540&sectionid=351020401

[60]      Pakistan Taliban airs video denial. Al-Jazeera: November 16, 2009:
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/11/20091116145058336650.html

[61]      Xihua, Taliban in Pakistan blame U.S. Blackwater for deadly blast. China View: October 29, 2009:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/29/content_12358907.htm

[62]      Richard Lardner, Xe Services aiming for Afghan police training deal. The Guardian: January 9, 2010:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8891058

[63]      Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder. The Nation: August 4, 2009:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090817/scahill

[64]      Ibid.

[65]      Adam Ciralsky, Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy. Vanity Fair: January 2010:
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2010/01/blackwater-201001

[66]      Ibid.

[67]      Ibid.

[68]      Blackwater involved in Bhutto and Hariri hits: former Pakistani army chief. Tehran Times: September 14, 2009:
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=203224

[69]      Jamal Afridi and Jayshree Bajoria, China-Pakistan Relations, Backgrounder: Council on Foreign Relations, 6 July 2010:
http://www.cfr.org/china/china-pakistan-relations/p10070

[70]      Jamal Afridi and Jayshree Bajoria, China-Pakistan Relations, Backgrounder: Council on Foreign Relations, 6 July 2010:
http://www.cfr.org/china/china-pakistan-relations/p10070

[71]      David Montero, China, Pakistan team up on energy, Christian Science Monitor, 13 April 2007:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0413/p06s01-wosc.html

[72]      Li Woke, China to enhance natural gas imports via Central Asian pipeline, Global Times, 19 September 2010:
http://business.globaltimes.cn/industries/2010-09/574887.html

[73]      JPost Staff, China invests $40b. in Iran oil and gas, The Jerusalem Post, 31 July 2010:
http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=183200

[74]      China oil imports from Iran up 32 percent, Trend Energy News, 8 June 2011:
http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1888392.html

[75]      Pepe Escobar, China wages “war” over Asian pipelines, Salon, 12 October 2010:
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/10/12/china_oil_gas_pipeline

[76]      Pakistan Seeks China’s Help for IP Gas Pipeline, Gulf Oil and Gas, 13 March 2011:
http://www.gulfoilandgas.com/webpro1/MAIN/Mainnews.asp?id=14611

[77]      AP, US opposes Pakistan-Iran pipeline deal, The Jerusalem Post, 21 June 2010:
http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?ID=179002

[78]      Maha Atal, China’s Pakistan Corridor, Forbes, 10 May 2010:
http://www.forbes.com/global/2010/0510/companies-pakistan-oil-gas-balochistan-china-pak-corridor.html

[79]      VIKAS BAJAJ, India Worries as China Builds Ports in South Asia, The New York Times, 15 February 2010:
h
ttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/business/global/16port.html

[80]      China asks US to respect Pak’s sovereignty, independence, Economic Times, 20 May 2011:
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-05-20/news/29565072_1_pakistan-s-ambassador-pakistan-china-pakistan-media

[81]      JANE PERLEZ, China Gives Pakistan 50 Fighter Jets, The New York Times, 19 May 2011:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/world/asia/20pakistan.html?_r=3

[82]      Farhan Bokhari and Kathrin Hille, Pakistan turns to China for naval base, The Financial Times, 22 May 2011:
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3914bd36-8467-11e0-afcb-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Ol8EY8QF

[83]      Saibal Dasgupta, China mulls setting up military base in Pakistan, The Times of India, 28 January 2010:
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-01-28/china/28120878_1_karokoram-highway-military-bases-north-west-frontier-province

Imperial Eye on Pakistan

Imperial Eye on Pakistan
Pakistan in Pieces, Part 1
Global Research, May 28, 2011

Introduction

As the purported assassination of Osama bin Laden has placed the focus on Pakistan, it is vital to assess the changing role of Pakistan in broad geostrategic terms, and in particular, of the changing American strategy toward Pakistan. The recently reported assassination was a propaganda ploy aimed at targeting Pakistan. To understand this, it is necessary to examine how America has, in recent years, altered its strategy in Pakistan in the direction of destabilization. In short, Pakistan is an American target. The reason: Pakistan’s growing military and strategic ties to China, America’s primary global strategic rival. In the ‘Great Game’ for global hegemony, any country that impedes America’s world primacy – even one as historically significant to America as Pakistan – may be sacrificed upon the altar of war.

Part 1 of ‘Pakistan in Pieces’ examines the changing views of the American strategic community – particularly the military and intelligence circles – towards Pakistan. In particular, there is a general acknowledgement that Pakistan will very likely continue to be destabilized and ultimately collapse. What is not mentioned in these assessments, however, is the role of the military and intelligence communities in making this a reality; a veritable self-fulfilling prophecy. This part also examines the active on the ground changes in American strategy in Pakistan, with increasing military incursions into the country.

Imperial Eye on Pakistan

In December of 2000, the CIA released a report of global trends to the year 2015, which stated that by 2015, “Pakistan will be more fractious, isolated, and dependent on international financial assistance.”[1] Further, it was predicted, Pakistan:

Will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive politics, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction. Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. Further domestic decline would benefit Islamic political activists, who may significantly increase their role in national politics and alter the makeup and cohesion of the military – once Pakistan’s most capable institution. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the central government’s control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi.[2]

The report further analyzed the trends developing in relation to the Pakistan-India standoff in the region:

The threat of major conflict between India and Pakistan will overshadow all other regional issues during the next 15 years. Continued turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan will spill over into Kashmir and other areas of the subcontinent, prompting Indian leaders to take more aggressive preemptive and retaliatory actions. India’s conventional military advantage over Pakistan will widen as a result of New Delhi’s superior economic position.[3]

In 2005, the Times of India reported on a US National Intelligence Council report, written in conjunction with the CIA, which predicted a “Yugoslavia-like fate” for Pakistan, saying that, “by year 2015 Pakistan would be a failed state, ripe with civil war, bloodshed, inter-provincial rivalries and a struggle for control of its nuclear weapons and complete Talibanisation.”[4]

In November of 2008, the US National Intelligence Council released a report, “Global Trends 2025,” in which they outlined major trends in the world by the year 2025. When it came to Pakistan, the report stated that, “Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers.”[5] It stated that Pakistan “will be at risk of state failure.”[6] In examining potential failed states, the report stated that:

[Y]outh bulges, deeply rooted conflicts, and limited economic prospects are likely to keep Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others in the high-risk category.  Spillover from turmoil in these states and potentially others increases the chance that moves elsewhere in the region toward greater prosperity and political stability will be rocky.[7]

The report referred to Pakistan as a “wildcard” and stated that if it is “unable to hold together until 2025, a broader coalescence of Pashtun tribes is likely to emerge and act together to erase the Durand Line [separating Pakistan from Afghanistan], maximizing Pashtun space at the expense of Punjabis in Pakistan and Tajiks and others in Afghanistan.”[8]

In January of 2009, a Pentagon report analyzing geopolitical trends of significance to the US military over the next 25 years, reported that Pakistan could face a “rapid and sudden” collapse. It stated that, “Some forms of collapse in Pakistan would carry with it the likelihood of a sustained violent and bloody civil and sectarian war, an even bigger haven for violent extremists, and the question of what would happen to its nuclear weapons,” and as such, “that ‘perfect storm’ of uncertainty alone might require the engagement of U.S. and coalition forces into a situation of immense complexity and danger.”[9]

A top adviser to former President George Bush and current President Obama warned in April of 2009, that Pakistan could collapse within months, and that, “We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we’re calling the war on terror now.” The adviser and consultant, David Kilcullen, explained that this would be unlike the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, which each had a population of over 30 million, whereas “Pakistan has [187] million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al-Qaeda sitting in two-thirds of the country which the Government does not control.”[10]

Target: Pakistan

Going back to the later years of the Bush administration, it is apparent that the US strategy in Pakistan was already changing in seeing it increasingly as a target for military operations as opposed to simply a conduit. In August of 2007, newly uncovered documents revealed that the US military “gave elite units broad authority” in 2004, “to pursue suspected terrorists into Pakistan, with no mention of telling the Pakistanis in advance.”[11]

In November of 2007, an op-ed in the New York Times stated categorically that, “the United States simply could not stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss,” and that, “we need to think — now — about our feasible military options in Pakistan, should it really come to that.” The authors, Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon are both well-known strategists and scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution, two of the most prominent and influential think tanks in the United States. While stating that Pakistan’s leaders are still primarily moderate and friendly to the US, “Americans felt similarly about the shah’s regime in Iran until it was too late,” referring to the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. They warn:

The most likely possible dangers are these: a complete collapse of Pakistani government rule that allows an extreme Islamist movement to fill the vacuum; a total loss of federal control over outlying provinces, which splinter along ethnic and tribal lines; or a struggle within the Pakistani military in which the minority sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda try to establish Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.[12]

They state that the military solutions are “daunting” as Pakistan is a nation of 187 million people, roughly five times the size of Iraq. They wrote that, “estimates suggest that a force of more than a million troops would be required for a country of this size,” which led them to conclude, “Thus, if we have any hope of success, we would have to act before a complete government collapse, and we would need the cooperation of moderate Pakistani forces.” They suggested one plan would be to deploy Special Forces “with the limited goal of preventing Pakistan’s nuclear materials and warheads from getting into the wrong hand.” However, they admit that, “even pro-American Pakistanis would be unlikely to cooperate.” Another option, they contend:

would involve supporting the core of the Pakistani armed forces as they sought to hold the country together in the face of an ineffective government, seceding border regions and Al Qaeda and Taliban assassination attempts against the leadership. This would require a sizable combat force — not only from the United States, but ideally also other Western powers and moderate Muslim nations.[13]

The authors concluded, saying that any state decline in Pakistan would likely be gradual, therefore allowing the US to have time to respond, and placed an emphasis on securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and combating militants. They finished the article with the warning: “Pakistan may be the next big test.”[14]

In December of 2007, the Asia Times Online ran a story about the US plan to rid Pakistan of President Musharraf, and that the US and the West, more broadly, had begun a strategy aimed at toppling Pakistan’s military. As part of this, the US launched a media campaign aimed at demonizing Pakistan’s military establishment. At this time, Benazir Bhutto was criticizing the ISI, suggesting they needed a dramatic restructuring, and at the same time, reports were appearing in the US media blaming the ISI for funding and providing assistance to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. While much of this is documented, the fact that it suddenly emerged as talking points with several western officials and in the media does suggest a turn-around against a long-time ally.[15]

Both Democratic and Republican politicians were making statements that Pakistan represented a greater threat than Iran, and then-Senator (now Vice President) Joseph Biden suggested that the United States needed to put soldiers on the ground in Pakistan in cooperation with the “international community.” Biden said that, “We should be in there,” and “we should be supplying tens of millions of dollars to build new schools to compete with the madrassas. We should be in there building democratic institutions. We should be in there, and get the rest of the world in there, giving some structure to the emergence of, hopefully, the reemergence of a democratic process.”[16]

In American policy-strategy circles, officials openly began discussing the possibility of Pakistan breaking up into smaller states, and increasing discussion that Musharraf was going to be “removed,” which obviously happened. As the Asia Times stated:

Another worrying thing is how US officials are publicly signaling to the Pakistanis that Bhutto has their backing as the next leader of the country. Such signals from Washington are not only a kiss of death for any public leader in Pakistan, but the Americans also know that their actions are inviting potential assassins to target Bhutto.

If she is killed in this way, there won’t be enough time to find the real culprit, but what’s certain is that unprecedented international pressure will be placed on Islamabad while everyone will use their local assets to create maximum internal chaos in the country.[17]

Of course, this subsequently happened in Pakistan. As the author of the article pointed out with startlingly accurate foresight, “Getting Bhutto killed can generate the kind of pressure that could result in permanently putting the Pakistani military on a back foot, giving Washington enough room to push for installing a new pliant leadership in Islamabad.” He observed that, “the US is very serious this time. They cannot let Pakistan get out of their hands.”[18]

Thus, it would appear that the new US strategic aim in Pakistan was focused on removing the Pakistani military from power, implying the need to replace Musharraf, and replace him with a new, compliant civilian leadership. This would have the effect of fracturing the Pakistani elite, threatening the Army’s influence within Pakistani politics, and undertaking more direct control of Pakistan’s government.

As if on cue, in late December it was reported that, “US special forces snatch squads are on standby to seize or disable Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the event of a collapse of government authority or the outbreak of civil war following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.”[19]

The New York Times ran an article in early January 2008, which reported that, “President Bush’s senior national security advisers are debating whether to expand the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan.” The article stated that the new strategy was purportedly in response to increased reports of Al-Qaeda and Taliban activity within Pakistan, which “are intensifying efforts there to destabilize the Pakistani government.” Bush’s National Security team supposedly organized this effort in response to Bhutto’s assassination 10 days previously.[20]

Officials involved in the strategy discussions said that some “options would probably involve the C.I.A. working with the military’s Special Operations forces,” and one official said, “After years of focusing on Afghanistan, we think the extremists now see a chance for the big prize — creating chaos in Pakistan itself.” Of pivotal importance to the strategy, as the Times reported: “Critics said more direct American military action would be ineffective, anger the Pakistani Army and increase support for the militants.”[21] Perhaps this is not simply a “side-effect” of the proposed strategy, but in fact, part of the strategy.

As one prominent Pakistani political and military analyst pointed out, raids into Pakistan would expand anger and “prompt a powerful popular backlash” against the Pakistani government, losing popular support.[22] However, as I previously stated, this might be the intention, as this would ultimately make the government more dependent upon the United States, and thus, more subservient.

On September 3, 2008, it was reported that a commando raid by US Special Forces was launched in Pakistan, which killed between 15 and 20 people, including women and children. The Special Forces were accompanied by five U.S. helicopters for the duration of the operation.[23]

In February of 2009, it was reported that, “More than 70 United States military advisers and technical specialists are secretly working in Pakistan to help its armed forces battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the country’s lawless tribal areas.” So not only are U.S. Special Forces invading Pakistani territory; but now US military advisers are secretly advising the Pakistani Army on its own operations, and the advisers are themselves primary made up of Special Forces soldiers. They provide the Pakistani Army “with intelligence and advising on combat tactics,” and make up a secret command run by US Central Command and Special Operations Command (presumably JSOC – Joint Special Operations Command).[24]

In May of 2009, it was reported that, “the U.S. is sending Special Forces teams into one of Pakistan’s most violent regions as part of a push to accelerate the training of the Pakistani military and make it a more effective ally in the fight against insurgents there.” The Special Forces were deploying to two training camps in the province of Baluchistan, and “will focus on training Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force responsible for battling the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.” Further, the project “is a joint effort with the U.K.,” which helps “fund the training, although it is unclear if British military personnel would take part in the initiative. British officials have been pushing for such an effort for several years.”[25]

In December of 2009 it was revealed that, “American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme,” which was revealed by a former NATO officer. He said these incursions had occurred between 2003 and 2008, indicating they go even further back than US military documents stipulate. The source further revealed that, “the Pakistanis were kept entirely in the dark about it. It was one of those things we wouldn’t confirm officially with them.” Further, as the source noted, British “SAS soldiers have been active in the province” of Bolochistan in 2002 and 2003 and “possibly beyond.”[26]

The “Balkanization” of Pakistan: Blaming the Pakistanis

Selig S. Harrison is a director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former journalist and correspondent. “His reputation for giving ‘early warning’ of foreign policy crises was well established during his career as a foreign correspondent.  In his study of foreign reporting, Between Two Worlds, John Hohenberg, former secretary of the Pulitzer Prize Board, cited Harrison’s prediction of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war eighteen months before it happened.” Further, “More than a year before the Russians invaded Afghanistan, Harrison warned of this possibility in one of his frequent contributions to the influential journal Foreign Policy.”[27]

On February 1, 2008, Selig Harrison threw his renowned “predictive” abilities on Pakistan in an op-ed for the New York Times in the run-up to the Pakistani elections. He started by stating that, “Whatever the outcome of the Pakistani elections, now scheduled for Feb. 18, the existing multiethnic Pakistani state is not likely to survive for long unless it is radically restructured.” Harrison then went on to explain that Pakistan would likely break up along ethnic lines; with the Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, the Sindhis in the southeast uniting with the Baluch tribesmen in the southwest, with the Punjab “rump state” of Pakistan.[28]

The Pashtuns in the north, “would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent ‘Pashtunistan’,” and the Sindhis “numbering 23 million, would unite with the six million Baluch tribesmen in the southwest to establish a federation along the Arabian Sea from India to Iran,” presumably named Baluchistan; while the rump state of Pakistan would remain Punjabi dominated and in control of the nuclear weapons. Selig Harrison explained that prior to partition from India, which led to the creation of the Pakistani state in 1947, Pashtun, Sindhi and Baluch ethnicities had “resist[ed] Punjabi domination for centuries,” and suddenly:

they found themselves subjected to Punjabi-dominated military regimes that have appropriated many of the natural resources in the minority provinces — particularly the natural gas deposits in the Baluch areas — and siphoned off much of the Indus River’s waters as they flow through the Punjab.

The resulting Punjabi-Pashtun animosity helps explain why the United States is failing to get effective Pakistani cooperation in fighting terrorists. The Pashtuns living along the Afghan border are happy to give sanctuary from Punjabi forces to the Taliban, which is composed primarily of fellow Pashtuns, and to its Qaeda friends.

Pashtun civilian casualties resulting from Pakistani and American air strikes on both sides of the border are breeding a potent underground Pashtun nationalist movement. Its initial objective is to unite all Pashtuns in Pakistan, now divided among political jurisdictions, into a unified province. In time, however, its leaders envisage full nationhood.

… The Baluch people, for their part, have been waging intermittent insurgencies since their forced incorporation into Pakistan in 1947. In the current warfare Pakistani forces are widely reported to be deploying American-supplied aircraft and intelligence equipment that was intended for use in Afghan border areas. Their victims are forging military links with Sindhi nationalist groups that have been galvanized into action by the death of Benazir Bhutto, a Sindhi hero as was her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[29]

This passage is very revealing of the processes and perceptions surrounding “Balkanization” and “destabilization.” What I mean by this, is that historically and presently, imperial powers would often use ethnic groups against each other in a strategy of divide and conquer, in order “to keep the barbarians from coming together” and dominate the region.

Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his 1997 book, “The Grand Chessboard,” that, “Geopolitics has moved from the regional to the global dimension, with preponderance over the entire Eurasian continent serving as the central basis for global primacy.”[30] Brzezinski then gave a masterful explanation of the American global strategy, which placed it into a firm imperialistic context:

To put it in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.[31]

While imperial powers manipulate, and historically, even create the ethnic groups within regions and nations, the West portrays conflict in such regions as being the product of these “ethnic” or “tribal” rivalries. This perception of the East (Asia and the Middle East) as well as Africa is referred to as Orientalism or Eurocentrism: meaning it generally portrays the East (and/or Africa) as “the Other”: inherently different and often barbaric. This prejudiced perspective is prevalent in Western academic, media, and policy circles. This perspective serves a major purpose: dehumanizing a people in a region that an imperial power seeks to dominate, which allows the hegemon to manipulate the people and divide them against each other, while framing them as “backwards” and “barbaric,” which in turn, justifies the Western imperial power exerting hegemony and control over the region; to “protect” the people from themselves.

Historically and presently, Western empires have divided people against each other, blamed the resulting conflict on the people themselves, and thus justified their control over both the people, and the region they occupy. This was the strategy employed in major recent geopolitical conflicts such as the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide. In both cases, Western imperial ambitions were met through exacerbating ethnic rivalries, providing financial, technical, and military aid and training to various factions; thus, spreading violent conflict, war, and genocide. In both cases, Western, and primarily American strategic interests were met through an increased presence militarily, pushing out other major imperial and powerful rivals, as well as increasing Western access to key economics resources.

This is the lens through which we must view the unfolding situation in Pakistan. However, the situation in Pakistan presents a far greater potential for conflict and devastation than either Yugoslavia or Rwanda. In short, the potential strategy of “Balkanization” and destabilization of Pakistan could dwarf any major global conflict in the past few decades. It’s sheer population of 187 million people, proximity to two major regional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its strategic location as neighbor to India, China, and Iran with access to the Indian Ocean, and its nuclear arsenal, combine to make Pakistan the potential trigger for a much wider regional and possibly global war. The destabilization of Pakistan has the potential to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe since World War II.

Thus, Selig Harrison’s op-ed in the New York Times in which he describes the “likely” breakup of Pakistan along ethnic lines as a result of “ethnic differences” must be viewed in the wider context of geopolitical ambitions. His article lays the foundation both for the explanation of a potential breakup, and thus the “justification” for Western intervention in the conflict. His “predictive” capacities as a seasoned journalist can be alternatively viewed as pre-emptive imperial propaganda.

Fracturing Pakistan

The war in Afghanistan is inherently related to the situation in Pakistan. From the days of the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980s, arms and money were flowing through Pakistan to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. During the civil war that followed, Pakistan armed and financed the Taliban, which eventually took power. When the U.S. and NATO initially attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, this was primarily achieved through cooperation with Pakistan. When the war theatre was re-named “AfPak,” the role of Pakistan, however, was formally altered. While the previous few years had seen the implementation of a strategy of destabilizing Pakistan, once the “AfPak” war theatre was established, Pakistan ceased to be as much of a conduit or proxy state and became a target.

In September of 2008, the editor of Indian Defence Review wrote an article explaining that a stable Pakistan is not in India’s interests: “With Pakistan on the brink of collapse due to massive internal as well as international contradictions, it is matter of time before it ceases to exist.” He explained that Pakistan’s collapse would bring “multiple benefits” to India, including preventing China from gaining a major port in the Indian Ocean, which is in the mutual interest of the United States. The author explained that this would be a “severe jolt” to China’s expansionist aims, and further, “India’s access to Central Asian energy routes will open up.”[32]

In August of 2009, Foreign Policy Journal published a report of an exclusive interview they held with former Pakistani ISI chief Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, who was Director General of the powerful intelligence services (ISI) between 1987 and 1989, at a time in which it was working closely with the CIA to fund and arm the Mujahideen. Once a close ally of the US, he is now considered extremely controversial and the US even recommended the UN to put him on the international terrorist list. Gul explained that he felt that the American people have not been told the truth about 9/11, and that the 9/11 Commission was a “cover up,” pointing out that, “They [the American government] haven’t even proved the case that 9/11 was done by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.” He said that the real reasons for the war on Afghanistan were that:

the U.S. wanted to “reach out to the Central Asian oilfields” and “open the door there”, which “was a requirement of corporate America, because the Taliban had not complied with their desire to allow an oil and gas pipeline to pass through Afghanistan. UNOCAL is a case in point. They wanted to keep the Chinese out. They wanted to give a wider security shield to the state of Israel, and they wanted to include this region into that shield. And that’s why they were talking at that time very hotly about ‘greater Middle East’. They were redrawing the map.”[33]

He also stated that part of the reason for going into Afghanistan was “to go for Pakistan’s nuclear capability,” as the U.S. “signed this strategic deal with India, and this was brokered by Israel. So there is a nexus now between Washington, Tel Aviv, and New Delhi.” When he was asked about the Pakistani Taliban, which the Pakistani government was being pressured to fight, and where the financing for that group came from; Gul stated:

Yeah, of course they are getting it from across the Durand line, from Afghanistan. And the Mossad is sitting there, RAW is sitting there — the Indian intelligence agency — they have the umbrella of the U.S. And now they have created another organization which is called RAMA. It may be news to you that very soon this intelligence agency — of course, they have decided to keep it covert — but it is Research and Analysis Milli Afghanistan. That’s the name. The Indians have helped create this organization, and its job is mainly to destabilize Pakistan.[34]

He explained that the Chief of Staff of the Afghan Army had told him that he had gone to India to offer the Indians five bases in Afghanistan, three of which are along the Pakistani border. Gul was asked a question as to why, if the West was supporting the TTP (Pakistani Taliban), would a CIA drone have killed the leader of the TTP. Gul explained that while Pakistan was fighting directly against the TTP leader, Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani government would provide the Americans where Mehsud was, “three times the Pakistan intelligence tipped off America, but they did not attack him.” So why all of a sudden did they attack?

Because there were some secret talks going on between Baitullah Mehsud and the Pakistani military establishment. They wanted to reach a peace agreement, and if you recall there is a long history of our tribal areas, whenever a tribal militant has reached a peace agreement with the government of Pakistan, Americans have without any hesitation struck that target.

… there was some kind of a deal which was about to be arrived at — they may have already cut a deal. I don’t know. I don’t have enough information on that. But this is my hunch, that Baitullah was killed because now he was trying to reach an agreement with the Pakistan army. And that’s why there were no suicide attacks inside Pakistan for the past six or seven months.[35]

An article in one of Canada’s national magazines, Macleans, reported on an interview with a Pakistani ISI spy, who claimed that India’s intelligence services, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), have “tens of thousands of RAW agents in Pakistan.” Many officials inside Pakistan were convinced that, “India’s endgame is nothing less than the breakup of Pakistan. And the RAW is no novice in that area. In the 1960s, it was actively involved in supporting separatists in Bangladesh, at the time East Pakistan. The eventual victory of Bangladeshi nationalism in 1971 was in large part credited to the support the RAW gave the secessionists.”[36]

Further, there were Indian consulates set up in Kandahar, the area of Afghanistan where Canadian troops are located, and which is strategically located next to the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which is home to a virulent separatist movement, of which Pakistan claims is being supported by India. Macleans reported on the conclusions by Michel Chossudovsky, economics professor at University of Ottawa, that, “the region’s massive gas and oil reserves are of strategic interest to the U.S. and India. A gas pipeline slated to be built from Iran to India, two countries that already enjoy close ties, would run through Baluchistan. The Baluch separatist movement, which is also active in Iran, offers an ideal proxy for both the U.S. and India to ensure their interests are met.”[37]

Even an Afghan government adviser told the media that India was using Afghan territory to destabilize Pakistan.[38] In September of 2009, the Pakistan Daily reported that captured members and leaders of the Pakistani Taliban have admitted to being trained and armed by India through RAW or RAMA in Afghanistan in order to fight the Pakistani Army.[39]

Foreign Policy magazine in February of 2009 quoted a former intelligence official as saying, “The Indians are up to their necks in supporting the Taliban against the Pakistani government in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” and that, “the same anti-Pakistani forces in Afghanistan also shooting at American soldiers are getting support from India. India should close its diplomatic establishments in Afghanistan and get the Christ out of there.”[40]

The Council on Foreign Relations published a backgrounder report on RAW, India’s intelligence agency, founded in 1968 “primarily to counter China’s influence, [however] over time it has shifted its focus to India’s other traditional rival, Pakistan.” For over three decades both Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies have been involved in covert operations against one another. One of RAW’s main successes was its covert operations in East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, which “aimed at fomenting independence sentiment” and ultimately led to the separation of Bangladesh by directly funding, arming and training the Pakistani separatists. Further, as the Council on Foreign Relations noted, “From the early days, RAW had a secret liaison relationship with the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency.”[41]

Since RAW was founded in 1968, it had developed close ties with the Afghan intelligence agency, KHAD, primarily to do with intelligence sharing on Pakistan. In the 1980s, while Pakistan was funding, arming and training the Afghan Mujahideen with the support of Saudi Arabia and the CIA, India was funding two covert groups which orchestrated terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, which included a “low-grade but steady campaign of bombings in major Pakistani cities, notably Karachi and Lahore.” RAW has also had a close relationship with the CIA, as even six years before RAW was created, in 1962, the CIA created a covert organization made up of Tibetan refugees, which aimed to “execute deep-penetration terror operations in China.” The CIA subsequently played a part in the creation of RAW. In the 1980s, while the CIA was working closely with the ISI in Pakistan, RAW, while wary of their relationship, continued to get counterterrorism training from the CIA.[42]

In October of 2009, the New York Times reported that the US strategy “to vastly expand its aid to Pakistan, as well as the footprint of its embassy and private security contractors here, are aggravating an already volatile anti-American mood as Washington pushes for greater action by the government against the Taliban.” The U.S. gave Pakistan an aid deal of $1.5 billion per year for the next five years, under the stipulation of “Pakistan to cease supporting terrorist groups on its soil and to ensure that the military does not interfere with civilian politics.” President Zaradari accepted the proposal, making him even more unpopular in Pakistan, and further angering Pakistan’s powerful military, which sees the deal as interfering in the internal affairs of the country.[43]

America is thus expanding its embassy and security presence within the country, as the Embassy “has publicized plans for a vast new building in Islamabad for about 1,000 people, with security for some diplomats provided through a Washington-based private contracting company, DynCorp.” The NYT article referred to how relations were becoming increasingly strained between Pakistan and the US, and tensions were growing within the country exponentially, as “the American presence was fueling a sense of occupation among Pakistani politicians and security officials,” and several Pakistani officials stated that, “the United States was now seen as behaving in Pakistan much as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Futher:

In particular, the Pakistani military and the intelligence agencies are concerned that DynCorp is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan, officials and politicians close to the army said.

The concerns are serious enough that last month a local company hired by DynCorp to provide Pakistani men to be trained as security guards for American diplomats was raided by the Islamabad police. The owner of the company, the Inter-Risk Security Company, Capt. Syed Ali Ja Zaidi, was later arrested.

The action against Inter-Risk, apparently intended to cripple the DynCorp program, was taken on orders from the senior levels of the Pakistani government, said an official familiar with the raid, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The entire workings of DynCorp within Pakistan are now under review by the Pakistani government.[44]

As revealed in the Wikileaks diplomatic cables, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson wrote in September of 2009 that the U.S. strategy of unilateral strikes inside Pakistan “risk destabilizing the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and military leadership, and provoking a broader governance crisis in Pakistan without finally achieving the goal.”[45]

In an interview with Press TV, Hamid Gul, former Inter-Services Intelligence chief revealed more of what he sees as the US strategy in Pakistan. He explained that with the massive expansion of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, and alongside that, the increased security staff, the Chinese are becoming increasingly concerned with the sovereignty and security of Pakistan. He claimed that the money that the US government offered (with heavy conditions) to Pakistan, $1.5 billion every year for five years, will be spent under the direction of the Americans, and that “they are going to set up a large intelligence network inside Pakistan,” and ultimately “they really want to go for Pakistan’s nuclear assets.” He further claimed that the Indians are trying to destabilize Pakistan; however, he explained, this does not necessarily mean disintegrate, but rather:

they are trying to destabilize Pakistan at the moment so that it feels weak and economically has to go begging on its knees to Americans and ask for succor and help. And in that process they will want to expect certain concessions with regards to nuclear power and also with regards to setting up their facilities here in Pakistan.[46]

When he was asked what America’s long-term goal was in regards to Pakistan, Gul responded that the goal:

for America is that they want to keep Pakistan destabilized; perhaps create a way for Baluchistan as a separate state and then create problems for Iran so that this new state will talk about greater Baluchistan… So it appears that the long-term objectives are really to fragment all these countries to an extent that they can establish a strip that would be pro-America, pro-India, pro-Israel. So this seems to be their long-term objective apart from denuclearizing Pakistan and blocking Iran’s progress in the nuclear field.[47]

In Part 2 of ‘Pakistan in Pieces’, I will examine the specific ways in which the American strategy of destabilization is being undertaken in Pakistan, including the waging of a secret war and the expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistani territory. In short, the military and intelligence projections for Pakistan over the next several years (discussed in the beginning of Part 1 above) are a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those very same military and intelligence agencies that predict a destabilized Pakistan and potential collapse are now undertaking strategies aimed at achieving those outcomes.

Notes

[1]        NIC, Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts. The Central Intelligence Agency: December 2000: page 64

http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_globaltrend2015.html

[2]        Ibid, page 66.

[3]        Ibid.

[4]        PTI, Pak will be failed state by 2015: CIA. The Times of India: February 13, 2005: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pak-will-be-failed-state-by-2015-CIA/articleshow/1019516.cms

[5]        NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council: November 2008: page x

http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[6]        Ibid, page 45.

[7]        Ibid, page 65.

[8]        Ibid, page 72.

[9]        Peter Goodspeed, Mexico, Pakistan face ‘rapid and sudden’ collapse: Pentagon. The National Post: January 15, 2009: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=1181621

[10]      PAUL MCGEOUGH, Warning that Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months. The Sydney Morning Herald: April 13, 2009: http://www.smh.com.au/world/warning-that-pakistan-is-in-danger-of-collapse-within-months-20090412-a40u.html

[11]      Scott Lindlaw, AP: U.S. gave troops OK to enter Pakistan. USA Today: August 23, 2007: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-08-23-pakistan-engagement_N.htm

[12]      Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, Pakistan’s Collapse, Our Problem. November 18, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/opinion/18kagan.html

[13]      Ibid.

[14]      Ibid.

[15]      Ahmed Quraishi, The plan to topple Pakistan’s military. Asia Times Online: December 6, 2007: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IL06Df03.html

[16]      Ibid.

[17]      Ibid.

[18]      Ibid.

[19]      Ian Bruce, Special forces on standby over nuclear threat. The Sunday Herald: December 31, 2007: http://www.heraldscotland.com/special-forces-on-standby-over-nuclear-threat-1.871766

[20]      Steven Lee Myers, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, U.S. Considers New Covert Push Within Pakistan. The New York Times: January 6, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/washington/06terror.html

[21]      Ibid.

[22]      Ibid.

[23]      Farhan Bokhari, Sami Yousafzai, and Tucker Reals, U.S. Special Forces Strike In Pakistan. CBS News: September 3, 2008: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/03/terror/main4409288.shtml

[24]      Eric Schmitt and Jane Perlez, U.S. Unit Secretly in Pakistan Lends Ally Support. The New York Times: February 22, 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/world/asia/23terror.html

[25]      YOCHI J. DREAZEN and SIOBHAN GORMAN, U.S. Special Forces Sent to Train Pakistanis. The Wall Street Journal: May 16, 2009: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124241541672724767.html

[26]      Declan Walsh, US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids in hunt for al-Qaida. The Guardian: December 21, 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/us-forces-secret-pakistan-raids

[27]      CIP, SELIG S. HARRISON. Center for International Policy: http://www.ciponline.org/asia/Seligbio.html

[28]      Selig S. Harriosn, Drawn and Quartered. The New York Times: February 1, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/opinion/01harrison.html

[29]      Ibid.

[30]      Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. (New York: Perseus, 1997), page 39

[31]      Ibid, page 40.

[32]      Bharat Verma, Stable Pakistan not in India’s interest. Indian Defence Review: September 11, 2008: http://www.indiandefencereview.com/2008/09/stable-pakistan-not-in-indias-interest.html

[33]      Jeremy R. Hammond, Ex-ISI Chief Says Purpose of New Afghan Intelligence Agency RAMA Is ‘to destabilize Pakistan’. Foreign Policy Journal: August 12, 2009: http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2009/08/12/ex-isi-chief-says-purpose-of-new-afghan-intelligence-agency-rama-is-%E2%80%98to-destabilize-pakistan%E2%80%99/

[34]      Ibid.

[35]      Ibid.

[36]      Adnan R. Khan, New Delhi’s endgame? Macleans: August 23, 2009: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/04/23/new-delhi%E2%80%99s-endgame/

[37]      Ibid. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan, Global Research, December 30, 2007

[38]      Imtiaz Indher, Afgan MPs call for early withdrawal of foreign troop. Associated Press of Pakistan: April 1, 2009: http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72423&Itemid=2

[39]      Moin Ansari, Proof: Captured TTP terrorists admit to being Indian RAW agents. Pakistan Daily: September 20, 2009: http://www.daily.pk/proof-captured-ttp-terrorists-admit-to-being-indian-raw-agents-11015/

[40]      Laura Rozen, Can the intel community defuse India-Pakistan tensions? Foreign Policy: February 16, 2009:
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/02/16/can_the_intel_community_defuse_india_pakistan_tensions

[41]      Jayshree Bajoria, RAW: India’s External Intelligence Agency. The Council on Foreign Relations: November 7, 2008: http://www.cfr.org/publication/17707/

[42]      Ibid.

[43]      Jane Perlez, U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance. The New York Times: October 5, 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/world/asia/06islamabad.html

[44]      Ibid.

[45]      US embassy cables, Reviewing our Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, The Guardian, 30 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/226531

[46]      US military bases ‘will destabilize Pakistan’. Press TV: September 13, 2009: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=106106&sectionid=3510302

[47]      Ibid.

Creating an “Arc of Crisis”: The Destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia

Creating an “Arc of Crisis”: The Destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia
The Mumbai Attacks and the “Strategy of Tension”
Global Research, December 7, 2008

Introduction

The recent attacks in Mumbai, while largely blamed on Pakistan’s state-sponsored militant groups, represent the latest phase in a far more complex and long-term “strategy of tension” in the region; being employed by the Anglo-American-Israeli Axis to ultimately divide and conquer the Middle East and Central Asia. The aim is destabilization of the region, subversion and acquiescence of the region’s countries, and control of its economies, all in the name of preserving the West’s hegemony over the “Arc of Crisis.”

The attacks in India are not an isolated event, unrelated to growing tensions in the region. They are part of a processof unfolding chaos that threatens to engulf an entire region, stretching from the Horn of Africa to India: the “Arc of Crisis,” as it has been known in the past.

The motives and modus operandi of the attackers must be examined and questioned, and before quickly asserting blame to Pakistan, it is necessary to step back and review:

Who benefits? Who had the means? Who had to motive? In whose interest is it to destabilize the region? Ultimately, the roles of the United States, Israel and Great Britain must be submitted to closer scrutiny.

The Mumbai Attacks: 11/26/08

On November 26, 2008, a number of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred across India’s main commercial city of Mumbai, which lasted until November 29. The attacks and three-day siege that ensued left hundreds dead, and roughly 295 others injured. Among the dead were a Briton, five Americans and six Israelis.[1]

Asserting the Blame

The 60-hour siege that engulfed Mumbai was reportedly undertaken by just ten, well-trained “commando killers.” Most blame has fallen on the heels of the group known as Lashkar-e-Taiba.[2]

At first, a previously-unheard of organization, known as the Deccan Mujahideen, took responsibility for the terror attacks when it sent emails to several news outlets a mere six hours after the fighting began. However, much skepticism remained about whether the group actually even exists.[3]

British intelligence then claimed that the attacks had the “hallmarks” of Al-Qaeda as it was undertaken in an effort to target westerners, similar to the 2002 Bali Bombings. British intelligence officials suggested the attacks were in “retaliation” for the recent US air attacks of suspected Al-Qaeda camps in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, and that India was chosen as the target because that is where Al-Qaeda has “sufficient resources to carry out an attack.”[4]

On November 28, India’s foreign minister said the attackers were coordinated “outside the country,” in a veiled reference to Pakistan.[5] India’s Prime Minister also blamed the attacks on militant groups based in Pakistan, which are supported by the Pakistani government.[6]

Then, the focus was put directly on the group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Pakistani-based organization responsible for past attacks in India. American intelligence early on pointed the finger at this group, as well as identifying the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) as its supporter.[7]

The Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT)

It is important to identify what the LeT is and how it has operated historically. The group operates out of the disputed territories between India and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir. It has close ties with the Pakistani ISI, and is largely known for its use of suicide attacks. However, aside from its links to the ISI, it is also closely allied with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The LeT is even referred to as the “most visible manifestation” of Al-Qaeda in India. It has branches across much of India, Pakistan, and in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, South East Asia, and the United Kingdom. It primarily gets its funding from Pakistani businessmen, the ISI and Saudi Arabia. The LeT also took part in the Bosnian campaign against the Serbs in the 1990s.[8]

All the above-mentioned connections make the LeT the most desirable outfit to blame for the Mumbai attacks, as its Al-Qaeda connections, international presence and historical precedents of terror attacks set it up as the perfect target. Much like with Al-Qaeda, the LeT’s international scope could serve as a basis for taking a “war against LeT” to the steps of many countries, thus further serving the interests of the Anglo-American “War on Terror.”

Militant Islam and Western Intelligence – The Case of Yugoslavia

The LeT has not operated independently of Pakistani influence and finances. It’s close relationship with the ISI must be viewed in context: the ISI has a close relationship with Western intelligence agencies, primarily those of Great Britain and the United States. The ISI has effectively acted as a conduit for Anglo-American intelligence operations in the region since the late 1970s, when the Afghan Mujahedeen were created in collusion with the CIA. Out of this collusion, lasting throughout the 1980s until the end of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1989, Al-Qaeda was created, as well as a series of other militant Islamic organizations.

It is often stated that the CIA then discontinued its relationship with the ISI, and in turn, that the militant Islamic organizations broke off from their Western intelligence sponsors to declare war against the West. However, the facts do not support this. The ties remained, but the strategy changed. What changed was that in the early 1990s, the Cold War ended, and Russia no longer was the “Evil Empire,” and thus the excuse for an exacerbated defence budget and imperialist foreign policy receded. As George H.W. Bush declared, it was during this time that we would see the formation of the “New World Order.” And with that, there was a need for a new, elusive enemy, not in the form of a nation, but a seemingly invisible enemy, international in scale, thus taking the war to an international arena.

So in the early 1990s, Western intelligence maintained its ties to these Islamic terrorist groups. Yugoslavia is a very important case to analyze in relation to current events. The break-up of Yugoslavia was a process undertaken by Anglo-American covert interests with the aim of serving their imperial ambitions in the region. In the early 1980s, the IMF set the stage in Yugoslavia with its Structural Adjustment Programs, which had the effect of creating an economic crisis, which in turn created a political crisis. This exacerbated ethnic rivalries, and in 1991, the CIA supported the Croat move for independence.

In 1992, with the start of the Bosnian War, Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists began operating with the ethnic Bosnian Muslim minority in fighting the Serbs. In turn, these Al-Qaeda affiliated groups were supported with training, arming, and finances by German, Turkish, Iranian and US intelligence agencies; with additional financial support from Saudi Arabia. In 1997, the Kosovo War began, in which the militant-terrorist-drug trafficking Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began fighting against Serbia, with training, arms and financial support from the US and other NATO countries. The CIA, German intelligence, the DIA, MI6 and British Special Forces (SAS) all provided training and support to the KLA.

Yugoslavia – Before and After Balkanization

The aim was in breaking up Yugoslavia, using ethnic rivalries as the trigger for regional conflict and ultimately war, leading to the dissolution of Yugoslavia into several countries, justifying a permanent US and NATO military presence in the region. [See: Breaking Yugoslavia, by Andrew G. Marshall, Geopolitical Monitor, July 21, 2008]

The Lashkar-e Taiba’s participation in the Bosnian War against Serbia would have in turn been financed and supported by these various Western intelligence agencies, thus serving the interests of Western Imperialist states; primarily those of Great Britain and the United States.

The LeT and Western Intelligence

The LeT has a sordid history of involvement with Western intelligence agencies, primarily those of Great Britain.

With the London 7/7 bombings [July 7, 2005] in which three underground stations and a double-decker bus had bombs explode on them; many of the suspected terrorists had interesting connections to Pakistan. For example, one of the suspects, Shehzad Tanweer, had apparently “attended a religious school run by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)” while in Pakistan. Due to the LeT’s ties with Al-Qaeda, this allowed for the conclusion to be drawn that Al-Qaeda may have played a part in the London bombings, which were initially blamed on the international terrorist organization. The LeT also has close ties with the Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI),[9] an Indonesian terrorist organization, which was blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, which also targeted tourists in Indonesia.

The Bali Bombings

Interesting to note, however, is that in the early 1990’s, when the Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI) was officially formed into a terrorist organization, it developed close ties with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Further, the organizations founders and leaders played a significant role in recruiting Muslims to join the Afghan Mujahideen in the war against the Soviets during the 1980’s, which was covertly directed and supported by US, British and various other Western intelligence agencies. The JI wouldn’t exist “without the CIA’s dirty operations in Afghanistan.” A former Indonesian President stated that one of JI’s key individuals was also a spy for the Indonesian intelligence agency, and that Indonesian intelligence played a more central role in the Bali bombings than the JI itself.

Bali Bombings

The JI itself, had reportedly been infiltrated by the CIA, Israeli Mossad, and that “the CIA and the Mossad, assisted by the Australian Special Action Police (SAP) and the M15 of England, are all working towards undermining Muslim organizations in an attempt to weaken the Muslims globally.” Further, one of JI’s key planners of the Bali bombings, Omar al-Faruq, was reportedly a CIA asset, and even senior Indonesian intelligence officials believed the CIA was behind the Bali bombings. The CIA subsequently “guided” Indonesia’s investigation into the bombings, which found the JI, and the JI alone, responsible for the attacks. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, The Bali Bombings. Geopolitical Monitor, November 15, 2008]

London 7/7

Much of the focus of the London bombings of July 7, 2005 (7/7), was focused on the “Pakistani connection.” The suspected bombers had all visited Pakistan, and apparently developed contacts with groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e Taiba. However, a less known and less publicized connection yields some very interesting information. The suspected mastermind of the London bombings, Haroon Rashid Aswat, had visited all the suspected bombers leading up to the attacks. Phone records revealed that there were “around 20 calls between him and the 7/7 gang, leading right up to those attacks.” Why is this significant? Because Haroon Rashid Aswat, apart from being an Al-Qaeda operative, also happened to be an MI6 agent, working for the British intelligence. Haroon also made his appearance on the scene of Islamic terrorism when he was in Kosovo in the 1990’s, where he “worked for British intelligence.”[10]


The Liquid Bomb Plot

Another event which brought to the forefront a “Pakistani connection” was the August 2006 London liquid bomb plot, in which terrorists supposedly were plotting to blow up nearly a dozen Atlantic airliners bound for major US cities.

The Pakistani ISI apparently helped in “uncovering” the liquid bomb plot, aiding the British in their roundup of suspects, and “tipped-off MI5.” One of the Pakistani groups accused of some involvement in the liquid bomb plot was the Lashkar-e Taiba.[11]

However, again, the suspected terrorists had been “infiltrated” and spied on by British intelligence for over a year. Further, the supposed ringleader of the bomb plot, Rashid Rauf, a dual British-Pakistani citizen, was pinpointed as the ringleader by both British and Pakistani intelligence, and was the link between the plot and Al-Qaeda. Rauf also has close ties with the ISI, and apparently had the plot approved by Al-Qaeda’s number two in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who formerly worked for the CIA during the Soviet-Afghan war. The ISI had arrested Rashid Rauf following the “exposure” of the liquid bomb plot, yet, in 2006, the charges against him were dropped, and in 2007, he amazingly escaped Pakistani custody, having “managed to open his handcuffs and evade two police guards.” [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Liquid Bomb Plot. Geopolitical Monitor: October 27, 2008]

Clearly, if the LeT is discovered to be responsible for the Mumbai attacks, its connections to Western intelligence agencies should be more closely examined and subject to investigation. The ISI, throughout its history, has not been the key player in supporting various terrorist organizations, rather, it can be more accurately described as a conduit for Western intelligence agencies to covertly fund and support terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Terrorizing India

We must examine the current attacks with a backdrop of reviewing recent terror attacks in India.

1993 Bombay Bombings

March 12, 1993, Bombay (today, Mumbai) experienced a coordinated attack of 13 explosions, which killed over 250 people. A man with close connections to Osama bin laden and Al-Qaeda, Dawood Ibrahim, was believed to have been the mastermind of the attacks. He has also financed several operations of the Lashkar-e Taiba, and was believed to be hiding out in Pakistan, and receiving protection and support from the Pakistani ISI, which in 2007, reportedly arrested him. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network. Global Research: September 17, 2008]

Mumbai Bombings, July 11, 2006: 7/11

Over 200 people were killed in Mumbai when seven bombs exploded within 11 minutes of one another on several trains. Blame for the attacks was placed with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), both of which have close ties with the ISI. The ISI was subsequently blamed for organizing the attacks, which were then carried out by the LeT and SIMI. The bombings led to the postponement of India-Pakistan peace talks, which were set to take place the next week. [Ibid]

Indian Embassy Bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan: July 7, 2008

On July 7, 2008, a bomb exploded at the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing over 50 people, and injuring over 100 others. The Afghan government and the Indian intelligence agency immediately blamed the ISI, in collaboration with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, of planning and executing the attack. Reports on the bombing suggested that the aim was to “increase the distrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan and undermine Pakistan’s relations with India, despite recent signs that a peace process between Islamabad and New Delhi was making some headway.”

Indian Embassy in Kabul

In early August, American intelligence agencies supported the claim that members of the ISI helped plan the attack, which they based upon “intercepted communications,” and that, “American officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the C.I.A. emissary, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, even before the attack.” Interestingly, “a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan [in August] to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups.” However, the CIA knows of these connections, as it has actively supported and financed these covert ISI connections with terrorist organizations. So, what was the real purpose of this top CIA official’s visit to Pakistan?

Days after the CIA released this information to the New York Times, the US accused Pakistan of undermining NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan by supporting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and further, “Mike Mc-Connell, the director of national intelligence, and [CIA director] Hayden asked Musharraf to allow the CIA greater freedom to operate in the tribal areas,” and was threatened with “retaliation” if he did not comply. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network. Global Research: September 17, 2008]

The ISI and the CIA

Again, if the ISI is to be blamed for the recent Mumbai attacks, as it has played a part in several attacks and support of terrorism throughout its history, it is important to identify its relationship with the CIA.

The CIA developed close ties with the ISI in the late 1970s, as the CIA used the ISI as a “go-between” for CIA support of the Afghan Mujahideen. This relationship was also pivotal in supporting the Afghan narcotics trade, which again is rampant. The relationship between the two agencies continued throughout the 1990s, in areas such as Chechnya, Yugoslavia and India. [See: Michel Chossudovsky, Al Qaeda and the “War on Terrorism”. Global Research: January 20, 2008]

A week prior to the 9/11 attacks, the head of Pakistan’s ISI was on a visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with several key policy figures, such as Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage; Senator Joseph Biden, who is going to be Obama’s Vice President; and with his counterparts in the CIA and Pentagon, and several other officials. He was in Washington right up to and after the 9/11 attacks, and was engaged in several key consultations with US officials, pledging support for the US War on Terror instantly. However, the very same Chief of the ISI also happened to have previously approved of wiring $100,000 to the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, which was also confirmed by the FBI. Thus, the ISI suddenly became a financier of the 9/11 attacks. Yet, no action was taken against the ISI or Pakistan, apart from the ISI Chief being fired upon this revelation making it into the media.

ISI Chief Lt.-General Mahmoud Ahmad

Of significance is that this ISI Chief, Lt.-General Mahmoud Ahmad, was approved as head of the ISI by the US in 1999. From then, he was in close contact and liaison with top officials of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Pentagon. [See: Michel Chossudovsky, Cover-up or Complicity of the Bush Administration? Global Research: November 2, 2001]

Collaboration between the ISI and CIA did not end with these disturbing revelations. In 2007, it was reported that the CIA was arming and funding a terrorist organization named Jundullah, based in Pakistan’s tribal areas, with the goal of “sowing chaos” in Iran. Jundullah not only is funded and armed by the CIA, but has extensive ties to Al-Qaeda, and the ISI, as the CIA’s financial support for the group is funneled through the ISI, so as to make it more difficult to establish a link between the CIA and the terrorist outfit. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia, op cit ]

As Michel Chossudovsky pointed out in his article, India’s 9/11, “In September, Washington pressured Islamabad, using the “war on terrorism” as a pretext to fire the ISI chief Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj,” and Pakistani “President Asif Ali Zardari had meetings in New York in late September with CIA Director Michael Hayden.” Following these meetings, “a new US approved ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was appointed by the Chief of the Army, General Kayani, on behalf of Washington.”

Anglo-American-Israeli Intelligence and India

In mid-October, American intelligence agencies warned Indian intelligence warned India about an attack “from the sea against hotels and business centers in Mumbai.” Even the Taj Hotel, which became the key area of fighting, was listed as a specific target.[12] In late November, “India’s intelligence services had delivered at least three precise warnings that a major terrorist attack on Mumbai was imminent.”[13]

Immediately following the attacks, it was reported that, “Unprecedented intelligence cooperation involving investigating agencies and spy outfits of India, United States, United Kingdom and Israel has got underway to crack the method and motive behind the Mumbai terrorist massacre, now widely blamed on Islamist radicals who appeared to have all four countries on their hit list when they arrived on the shores of India.” Specifically, “Investigators, forensic analysts, counter-terrorism experts and spymasters from agencies the four countries are converging in New Delhi and Mumbai to put their heads, resources, and skills together to understand the evolving nature of the beast.”

Further, “Washington suggested sending US Special Forces for on-the-ground operations in Mumbai but New Delhi declined the offer, saying its own forces could take care of the situation.” This unprecedented intelligence cooperation was based upon the understanding that, “the manner in which the terrorists who attacked Mumbai are reported to have singled out Americans and Britons, besides pointedly occupying a Jewish center, has revealed that their agenda was wider than just domestic discontent or the Kashmir issue.”[14]

Shortly after the attacks began, it was reported that FBI agents were quickly flown to Mumbai to help in investigating the Mumbai attacks.[15] Israel also offered to send in its “crack commandos to Mumbai to rescue Israeli hostages held in a Jewish centre,” which was refused by India, which led to Israeli media criticizing India’s response to the attacks as “slow, confused and inefficient.”[16]

The Terrorists

Hours after the attacks began on November 26, it was reported that two terrorists were killed and two others were arrested.[17] Later on, reports surfaced in which Indian police had killed four of the Mumbai terrorists and arrested nine of them.[18] The international media was full of this reported capture of nine terrorists.

Interestingly, by November 29, the story had changed. All of a sudden, Mumbai cops had only “nabbed” one terrorist. This person has effectively become the nail-in-the-coffin for laying the blame at Pakistan’s door. As soon as this person was caught, he began to sing like a canary, and said that, “all [the] terrorists were trained in marine warfare along with the special course Daura-e-Shifa conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in what at once transforms the nature of the planning from a routine terror strike and into a specialized raid by commandos.” He also stated that the terrorists “were made to believe by their Lashkar bosses that they were not being sent on a suicide mission and that they would be coming back alive.” He also revealed the names of his fellow terrorists, all of them Pakistani citizens.[19]

Along the same lines, another very interesting mystery of the Mumbai massacre is the early reports of British involvement. Shortly following the outbreak of violence, Indian authorities stated that, “Seven of the Mumbai terrorists were British Pakistanis,” and that, “two Brits had been arrested and another five suspects were from the UK.” Further, Blackberry phones found on the suspects contained “a lot of content” connecting them with the UK.[20] The Chief Minister of Mumbai had early on reported that, “two British-born Pakistanis were among eight gunmen seized by Indian commandos who stormed buildings to free hostages.”[21]

On December 1, the Daily Mail reported that, “As many as seven of the terrorists may have British connections and some could be from Leeds and Bradford where London’s July 7 bombers lived.” As a result of these revelations, Scotland Yard anti-terrorist detectives were sent to Mumbai “to assist in the investigation.” There was also speculation that one particular British Al-Qaeda suspect may have helped plan the assault, and just happened to be killed a week earlier in Pakistan by the CIA. That person was Rashid Rauf.[22] This is the same Rashid Rauf who was at first declared the mastermind of the London liquid bomb plot, who had close ties with the ISI and Al-Qaeda, who was subsequently arrested by the ISI, and then miraculously “escaped” from Pakistani custody. Barely a week before the Mumbai Massacre, Rauf was reportedly killed by a CIA drone attack on a militant Islamic base in Pakistan’s tribal region.

Early on, there was an incident in which a taxicab was blown up in Mumbai, with the driver and passenger killed. The taxi started moving through a red light when the car bomb exploded, which ended up saving the lives of “hundreds,” as opposed to if the car had moved when the light was green and intersection was full. This ensured that the only ones who died were those in the taxi.[23] This sparked an investigation into whether the driver “was aware that his car was loaded with explosives.”[24]

Why is this significant? Because this closely resembles tactics used in Iraq since the Anglo-American occupation of the country, employed by both US and British intelligence and special forces in an effort to sow chaos and create civil strife and war. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, State-Sponsored Terror: British and American Black Ops in Iraq. Global Research, June 25, 2008]

Means, Modus Operandi and Motive

Means

While the possibility that Pakistan and the ISI (or Lashkar-e Taiba) are responsible for the Mumbai attacks should be taken into consideration, given precedence and means, we must allow ourselves to contemplate other possibilities.

While India and the west are placing the blame for the attacks on Pakistan’s ISI and the Lashkar-e Taiba, the Pakistani press is reporting on another possibility.

On November 29, the Pakistan Daily reported that, with a stiff side of anti-Israel rhetoric, that the Mumbai attack would be used “as justification for a US invasion of Pakistan.” It reported that the Israeli Mossad “has mobilized since 2000 in the Jammu and Kashmir areas of India, where the Indian government has been pursuing a ‘security’ issue with regard to the Kashmiri people.” It quoted a Times of India article that reported, “Israeli counter-terrorism experts are now touring Jammu and Kashmir and several other states in India at the invitation of Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani to make an assessment of New Delhi’s security needs. The Israeli team, headed by Eli Katzir of the Israel Counter-Terrorism Combat Unit, includes Israeli military intelligence officials and a senior police official.” There was also a reported agreement on “closer India-Israeli cooperation on all security matters.”[25]

Modus Operandi

Shortly after the start of the attacks in Mumbai, a Russia counter-terrorism presidential envoy stated that, “The terrorists in the Indian city of Mumbai, who killed more than 150 people and injured over 300, used the same tactics that Chechen field militants employed in the Northern Caucasus.” He elaborated, “These tactics were used during raids by militant Chechen field commanders Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduyev against the towns of Buddyonnovsk and Pervomaiskoye. For the first time in history the entire towns were terrorized, with homes and hospitals seized. The Mumbai terrorists have learned these tactics well.”[26]

Shamil Basayev, one of the Chechen rebel leaders, as well as many of the other Chechen leaders, were trained by the CIA and ISI in Afghanistan, in CIA-run training camps during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s.[27]

Motive

On December 2, former ISI Chief Hameed Gul, said that the “Mumbai incident is an international based conspiracy to deprive Pakistan of its atomic power. Talking to a private TV channel on Friday, he said that to involve Pakistan in the incident reflected that some forces wanted to declare Pakistan a fail[ed] state as somehow it had become necessary to make Pakistan kneel down in order to snatch its atomic power away.” He elaborated that the method of attacks, and how the militants executed them, “seemed impossible without internal support.” He continued in stating that the “US wanted to see [the] Indian army in Afghanistan to disintegrate the country,” and referred to recent US maps showing a divided Pakistan in four parts, and that making Pakistan “kneel down” before the IMF was “part of a pre-planned trick.”[28]

As astonishing and outlandish as these claims may seem, the US has a long history of turning on its allies when they seek to become self-sufficient and developed, such as with Saddam Hussein and Iraq in the early 1990s. Also, it is vital to note the role of the IMF and World Bank in creating economic crises, and thus, political-social-ethnic instability, which invariably has led to all out ethnic war, genocides and “international interventions,” in countries such as Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The International Financial Institutions (IFIs) often create the conditions for political instability, while covert Western intelligence support to disaffected and radical groups creates the means for rebellion; which then becomes the excuse for foreign military intervention; which then secures an imperial military presence in the region, thus gaining control over the particular region’s resources and strategic position. This is the age-old conquest of empire: divide and conquer.

Interesting to note is that in 2008, “Pakistan was again seeking IMF help. On Nov. 25, it won final approval on a $7.6 billion loan package after foreign reserves shrank 74 percent to $3.5 billion in the 12 months ended on Nov. 8.”[29] This loan was approved a day before the Mumbai attacks began. On December 4, it was reported that, “Tough conditions of International Monetary Fund (IMF) have now started surfacing as IMF and the Government of Pakistan (GoP) agreed to discontinue oil import support, eliminate power subsidies and budgetary support of the government, public and private entities. IMF and GoP have agreed to phase out the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBPs) provision of foreign exchange for oil imports.” On top of this, “further steps will be taken during the remainder of the fiscal year to strengthen tax enforcement. Moreover, fuel prices will continue to be adjusted to pass through changes in international prices.” Further, “The programme envisages a significant tightening of monetary policy.”[30]

The results of these conditionalities are predictable: Pakistan will lose all subsidies; fuel prices will drastically rise, as will food and other necessary commodity prices. At the same time, a tightening of monetary policy and World Bank/IMF control over Pakistan’s central bank will prevent Pakistan from taking measures to curb inflation, and the cost of living will skyrocket as the currency value plummets. All this is going on while taxes are increased and expanded greatly, and public jobs such as bureaucratic positions, education, etc., are downsized or altogether disbanded. Money will likely continue to flow to the ISI and Army, which will create discontent among Pakistan’s deprived and disillusioned. A military coup would be likely, followed by rebellion en masse, which would in turn pit the various ethnicities against one another. This could lead to either a war against India, ultimately ending with a consolidated national security state to act as a conduit for Anglo-American imperial ambitions, such as in Rwanda; or, it could result in ethnic conflict and wars, ultimately ending up in the break-up of Pakistan into smaller states divided among ethnic lines, such as in Yugoslavia. Or, it could end with a combination of the two, a divided, warring, region engulfed in crisis.

The break up of Pakistan is not a far-fetched idea in terms of Anglo-American strategy. In fact, the plan for the destabilization and ultimately, balkanization of Pakistan has originated in Anglo-American-Israeli military strategic circles. As I previously documented in Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project [Global Research, July 10, 2008], the destabilization and balkanization of the near-entire Middle East and Central Asia has been a long-held strategy for the Anglo-America-Israeli Axis since the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Divide and Conquer

This concept evolved in strategic planning circles in the late 1970s in response to regional nationalist tendencies in the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as a perceived threat of growing Soviet influence in the region. The central aim of these strategic thinkers was to secure Middle Eastern oil and Central Asian gas reserves and pipeline routes under the control of the Anglo-Americans. Control over these vital energy reserves is a strategic as much as economic concern, as most of the world gets its energy from this area; so those who control the energy, control who gets it, and thus, control much of the world. The economic benefits of Anglo-Americans controlling the regions energy reserves cannot be analyzed separately from strategic interests, as they are one and the same. Anglo-American oil companies gain control of the oil and gas, while the British and American governments install puppet regimes to look after their interests; and to act as proxies in creating conflicts and wars with countries of the region who act in their own national interest, as opposed to acting under the guidance of and submission to the Anglo-Americans.

Arc of Crisis

After the 1973 oil shocks, which were, in fact, promoted and covertly orchestrated by Anglo-American banking and oil interests, the oil producing nations grew very wealthy, such as Iran. As well as this, countries like Afghanistan were becoming increasingly leftist and progressive. Fearing possible alliances developing between Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries with the Soviet Union, as well as the even greater threat of these countries becoming truly independent, taking control of their own resources for the good of their own people; Anglo-American strategists turned to what is called the “Arc of Crisis.”

The “Arc of Crisis” describes the “nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.” Further, the “center of gravity of this arc is Iran.” In 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a speech in which he stated, “An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.”[36]

Anglo-American strategy in the region thus developed and changed at this time, as “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets. It was a Brzezinski concept.”[37] Bilderberg member, Bernard Lewis, presented a British-American strategy to the Bilderberg Group during the 1979 meeting, which, “endorsed the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. Lewis argued that the West should encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites, Ethiopian Copts, Azerbaijani Turks, and so forth. The chaos would spread in what he termed an ‘Arc of Crisis,’ which would spill over into the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union.”[38] Since the Soviet Union was viewed as a secular and atheist regime, having oppressed religion within its sphere of influence, the rise of radical Islamic influence and governments in the Middle East and Central Asia would ensure that Soviet influence would not enter into the region, as radical Muslims would view the Soviets with more distrust than the Americans. The Anglo-Americans positioned themselves as the lesser of two evils.

Bernard Lewis was a former British intelligence officer and historian who is infamous for explaining Arab discontent towards the West as not being rooted in a reaction toward imperialism, but rather that it is rooted in Islam; in that Islam is incompatible with the West, and that they are destined to clash, using the term, “Clash of Civilizations.” For decades, “Lewis played a critical role as professor, mentor, and guru to two generations of Orientalists, academics, U.S. and British intelligence specialists, think tank denizens, and assorted neoconservatives.” In the 1980s, Lewis “was hobnobbing with top Department of Defense officials.”[39] Lewis wrote a 1992 article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, titled, “Rethinking the Middle East.” In this article, Lewis raised the prospect of another policy towards the Middle East in the wake of the end of the Cold War and beginnings of the New World Order, “which could even be precipitated by fundamentalism, is what has of late become fashionable to call ‘Lebanonization.’ Most of the states of the Middle East – Egypt is an obvious exception – are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a proc ess. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the nation-state. The state then disintegrates – as happened in Lebanon – into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties.”[40]

Bernard Lewis’ Redrawn Map of the “Arc of Crisis”

A Foreign Affairs article of 1979, the journal put out by the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), discussed the Arc of Crisis: “The Middle East constitutes its central core. Its strategic position is unequalled: it is the last major region of the Free World directly adjacent to the Soviet Union, it holds in its subsoil about three-fourths of the proven and estimated world oil reserves, and it is the locus of one of the most intractable conflicts of the twentieth century: that of Zionism versus Arab nationalism.” It explained that US strategy in the region was focused with “containment” of the Soviet Union as well as access to the regions oil. [41]

It was in this context that in 1979, as Zbigniew Brzezinski later admitted, “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” He claimed that, “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” What a perfect example of what George Orwell would call “double-speak,” saying that the Americans “didn’t push the Russians to intervene” but rather, “increased the probability that they would.” In other words, they “pushed” them to intervene.[42]

This is when the Mujahideen were created, and through this, Al-Qaeda, and a variety of other radical Islamic groups which have come to plague global geopolitics since this era. Terrorism cannot be viewed, as it often is, in such a simple manner as “non-state actors” reacting to geopolitics of nations and corporations. In fact, many terrorist groups, particularly the largest, most well organized, extremist and violent ones, are “proxy state actors,” receiving covert support – through arms and training – by various state intelligence agencies. They are not simply “reacting” to geopolitics, but are important players in the geopolitical chessboard. They represent the perfect excuse for foreign militaristic adventurism and war; domestic tyranny in the form of developing police states to control populations, stifle dissent and create a totalitarian base of control.

As the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in September of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, “The map of terrorist sanctuaries and targets in the Middle East and Central Asia is also, to an extraordinary degree, a map of the world’s principal energy sources in the 21st century. The defense of these energy resources — rather than a simple confrontation between Islam and the West — will be the primary flash point of global conflict for decades to come.” Further, it stated: “It is inevitable that the war against terrorism will be seen by many as a war on behalf of America’s Chevron, ExxonMobil and Arco; France’s TotalFinaElf; British Petroleum; Royal Dutch Shell and other multinational giants, which have hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the region.”[43] Indeed, where Al-Qaeda is present, the US military follows, and behind the military, the oil companies wait and push; and behind the oil companies, the banks cash in.

Balkanizing the Middle East

In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist wrote a report for a publication of the World Zionist Organization in which he advocated, “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon [which] is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.”

In 1996, an Israeli think tank with many prominent American neo-conservatives, issued a report in which they advocated for Israel to “Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats,” among them, to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

In 2000, the Project for the New American Century, an American neo-conservative think tank, published a report called Rebuilding America’s Defenses, in which they openly advocated for an American empire in the Middle East, focusing on removing the “threats” of Iraq and Iran.

Shortly after the US invasion of Iraq, prominent members of the Council on Foreign Relations had begun advocating the break-up of Iraq into at least three smaller states, using Yugoslavia as an example of how to achieve this.

In 2006, the Armed Force Journal published an article by retired Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, which called for the redrawing of the borders of the Middle East. He first advocated the breakup of Iraq, and that, “Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan,” and that, “Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan.”

Describing Pakistan as “an unnatural state,” he said, “Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren,” and that it “would also lose its Baluch territory to Free Baluchistan. The remaining “natural” Pakistan would lie entirely east of the Indus, except for a westward spur near Karachi.” He even made up a helpful little list of “losers” and “winners” in this new great game: as in, who gains territory, and who loses territory. Among the losers are Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the West Bank and Pakistan. And Peters made the startling statement that redrawing borders is often only achieved through war and violence, and that “one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.”

Conclusion

Ultimately, the aims of the Mumbai attacks are to target Pakistan for balkanization. The question of who is responsible – either the ISI, largely rogue of Pakistan’s civilian government and under the authority of Anglo-American intelligence; or separate Indian terrorists, likely supported by the same Anglo-American intelligence community – while important, is ultimately a secondary consideration in comparison to the question of Why?

The Who, What, Where, and When is a show for public consumption; masked in confusion and half-truths, designed to confuse and ultimately frustrate the observer – creating a sense of unease and fear of the unknown. The WHY, on the other hand, is the most important question; once you discover the why, the who, where, what, and when begin to fall into place, and create a full picture.

If the Mumbai attacks were designed to be blamed on Pakistan – as they likely were – and thus, to possibly start a war between Pakistan and India – which is now a growing reality – what is the ultimate significance of knowing if it was the ISI or Indian elements responsible? Albeit, this is important to know, however, when it comes to understanding the motives behind the attacks, it pales in comparison.

Pakistan is a strategic lynch-point in the region. Pakistan borders Iran, Afghanistan, India and China. It lies directly below the Central Asian republics of the Former Soviet Union, which are rich in natural gas resources. With NATO’s war in Afghanistan, and the Anglo-Americans in Iraq, and American forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the occupation of Pakistan would position Western imperial militaries around Iran, the central Middle Eastern target. With the balkanization of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, destabilizing forces would cross the borders into Iran, ultimately creating the conditions for political and social collapse within the country.

A conflict between Pakistan and India would not only have the effect of dismantling Pakistan, but would also greatly deter India’s rapid economic and social development as the world’s largest democracy, and would force it to come under the influence or “protection” of Western military might and International Financial Institutions. The same is likely for China, as destabilization would cross Pakistan’s borders into the most populated country on earth, exacerbating ethnic differences and social disparities.

A large Anglo-American military presence in Pakistan, or, alternatively, a NATO or UN force, combined with the already present NATO force in Afghanistan, would be a massive military strategic position against advancement of China, Russia or India into the region. With China’s massively increasing influence in Africa threatening Anglo-American and European domination of the continent, a massive military presence on the border of China could act as a powerful warning.

The Mumbai attacks do not aid India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or any nation within the region. The beneficiaries of the Mumbai Massacre are in London and New York, in the boardrooms and shareholders of the largest international banks; which seek total control of the world. Having dominated North America and Europe for much of recent history, these bankers, primarily Anglo-American, but also European, seek to exert their total control over the world’s resources, currencies, and populations. There are many concurrent strategies they are employing to achieve this end: among them, the global financial crisis, to reign in and control the world economy; and a “total war” in the Middle East, likely escalating into a World War with Russia and China, is the perfect tool to strike enough fear into the world population to accept an over-arching supranational governance structure – to ensure no future wars occur, to ensure stability of the global economy – a utopian vision of a single world order.

The problem with utopias is that they are “ultimate ideals,” and if humanity has learned anything in its history on this planet; it is that perfection is impossible, be it in the form of an “ideal person” or an “ideal government;” humanity is plagued by imperfections and emotion. Accepting our imperfections as a species is what can make us great, and understanding that a utopian ideal is impossible to achieve is what can allow us to create the “best possible” society we can have. All utopias attempted throughout history have always turned into dystopias. We must learn from humanity’s history of sordid flaws; and only when we accept that we are not perfect, and cannot ever become perfect, in person or in politics, are we free to become humanity at it’s most advanced and at its most noble.

Notes

[1]        Damien McElroy and Rahul Bedi, Mumbai attacks: 300 feared dead as full horror of the terrorist attacks emerges. The Telegraph: November 30, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/3536220/Mumbai-siege-300-feared-dead-as-full-horror-of-the-terrorist-attacks-emerges.html

[2]        Andrew Buncombe and Jonathan Owen, Just ten trained terrorists caused carnage. The Independent: November 30, 2008: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/just-ten-trained-terrorists-caused-carnage-1041639.html

[3]        Maseeh Rahman, Mumbai terror attacks: Who could be behind them? The Guardian: November 27, 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/27/mumbai-terror-attacks-india8

[4]        Hasan Suroor, U.K. intelligence suspects Al-Qaeda hand. The Hindu: November 28, 2008: http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/28/stories/2008112860481700.htm

[5]        Press TV, India links Mumbai attackers to Pakistan. Press TV: November 28, 2008: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=76797&sectionid=351020402

[6]        Agencies, India blames Pakistan for Mumbai attacks. Gulf News: November 28, 2008:
http://www.gulfnews.com/world/India/10263289.html

[7]        Mark Mazzetti, U.S. Intelligence Focuses on Pakistani Group. The New York Times: November 28, 2008:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/world/asia/29intel.html?_r=3&em

[8]        SATP, Lashkar-e-Toiba: ‘Army of the Pure’. South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:

http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/lashkar_e_toiba.htm

[9]        Gethin Chamberlain, Attacker ‘was recruited’ at terror group’s religious school. The Scotsman: July 14, 2005: http://news.scotsman.com/londonbombings/Attacker-was-recruited-at-terror.2642907.jp

[10]      Michel Chossudovsky, London 7/7 Terror Suspect Linked to British Intelligence? Global Research: August 1, 2005: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=782

[11]      Michel Chossudovsky, The Foiled UK Terror Plot and the “Pakistani Connection”. Global Research: August 14, 2006: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2960

[12]      Richard Esposito, et. al., US Warned India in October of Potential Terror Attack. ABC News: December 1, 2008: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=6368013&page=1

[13]      Praveen Swami, Pointed intelligence warnings preceded attacks. The Hindu: November 30, 2008: http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/30/stories/2008113055981500.htm

[14]      Chidanand Rajghatta, US, UK, Israel ramp up intelligence aid to India. The Times of India: November 28, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/India_gets_intelligence_aid_from_US_UK/articleshow/3770950.cms

[15]      Foster Klug and Lara Jakes Jordan, US sends FBI agents to India to investigate attack. AP: November 30, 2008: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gsTS09Q-pwO8Q0F_68FHwrmhCJOgD94OA5A80

[16]      IANS, Israeli daily critical of India’s ’slow’ response to terror strike. Thaindian News: November 28, 2008:
http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/israeli-daily-critical-of-indias-slow-response-to-terror-strike_100124946.html

[17]      IANS, Two terrorists killed, two arrested in Mumbai. Thaindian News: November 27, 2008: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/two-terrorists-killed-two-arrested-in-mumbai_100124003.html

[18]      Agencies, Four terrorists killed, nine arrested. Express India: November 27, 2008: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Four-terrorists-killed-nine-arrested/391103/

[19]      ToI, Arrested terrorist says gang hoped to get away. The Times of India: November 29, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Arrested_terrorist_says_gang_hoped_to_get_away/articleshow/3771598.cms

[20]      Mark Jefferies, Mumbai attacks: Seven terrorists were British, claims Indian government. Daily Record: November 29, 2008: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2008/11/29/mumbai-attacks-seven-terrorists-were-british-claims-indian-government-86908-20932992/

[21]      Jon Swaine, Mumbai attack: ‘British men among terrorists’. The Telegraph: November 28, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/3533472/Mumbai-attack-British-men-among-terrorists.html

[22]      Justin Davenport, et. al., Massacre in Mumbai: Up to SEVEN gunmen were British and ‘came from same area as 7/7 bombers’. The Daily Mail: December 1, 2008: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1089711/Massacre-Mumbai-Up-SEVEN-gunmen-British-came-area-7-7-bombers.html

[23]      Debasish Panigrahi, Taxi with bomb jumped signal, saving many lives. The Hindustan Times: November 28, 2008: http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.aspx?id=505311b6-974c-4d7b-87bb-8b5e29333299Mumbaiunderattack_Special&&Headline=Taxi+with+bomb+jumped+signal%2c+saving+many+lives

[24]      Vijay V Singh, Was taxi driver aware of bomb in car? The Times of India: November 29, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mumbai/Was_taxi_driver_aware_of_bomb_in_car/articleshow/3770989.cms

[25]      PD, The Israeli Mossad False Flag Opperation Strikes In Mumbai. Pakistan Daily: November 29, 2008:
http://www.daily.pk/world/asia/8383-the-israeli-mossad-false-flag-opperation-strikes-in-mumbai.html

[26]      RT, Mumbai terrorists used Chechen tactics. Russia Today: November 29, 2008: http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/33921

[27]      Michel Chossudovsky, Who Is Osama Bin Laden? Global Research: September 12, 2001: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO109C.html

[28]      PD, Former ISI Chief Mumbai incident international conspiracy to deprive Pakistan of atomic power. Pakistan Daily: December 2, 2008:
http://www.daily.pk/local/other-local/8426-former-isi-chief-mumbai-incident-international-conspiracy-to-deprive-pakistan-of-atomic-power.html

[29]      Yoolim Lee and Naween A. Mangi, Pakistan’s Richest Man Defies Terrorism to Expand Bank Empire. Bloomberg: December 3, 2008:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aI3f99JIujV4&refer=home

[30]      Sajid Chaudhry, Inevitable conditionalities of IMF start surfacing. The Daily Times: December 4, 2008:
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008\124\story_4-12-2008_pg5_1

[31]      Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: pages 21-22

[32]      Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: page 22

[33]      Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power. Perseus, 2002: pages 193-194

[34]      Herbert R. Lottman, Return of the Rothschilds: The Great Banking Dynasty Through Two Turbulent Centuries. I.B. Tauris, 1995: page 81

[35]      Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: pages 22-23

[36]      HP-Time, The Crescent of Crisis. Time Magazine: January 15, 1979:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,919995-1,00.html

[37]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 67

[38]      F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 171

[39]      Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. Owl Books, 2005: page 332-333

[40]      Bernard Lewis, Rethinking the Middle East. Foreign Affairs, Fall 1992: pages 116-117

[41]      George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 796

[42]      Le Nouvel Observateur, The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan. Global Research: October 15, 2001:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html

[43]      Frank Viviano, Energy future rides on U.S. war: Conflict centered in world’s oil patch. The San Francisco Chronicle: September 26, 2001:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/09/26/MN70983.DTL

Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network

Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network
Global Research, September 17, 2008

Introduction

Recent terror attacks in New Delhi on September 13, 2008, raise the questions of who was responsible and for what reason these attacks occurred. Terror attacks in India are not a new phenomenon, however, in their recent past, they can be largely attributed to the actions, finances, training and resources of one organization: The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). These new bombings bare the same relationship with the ISI as has occurred in the past, and so it must be asked: what is the purpose of the ISI both in Central Asia as well as South Asia?

The ISI appears to play the role of a force for the destabilization of Central Asia, India and the Middle East. It acts as a Central Asian base of operations for the CIA and British Intelligence to carry out Anglo-American imperial aims.

India will be the main focus of this report, due to the escalation of organized terror and violence against it in the past few years. As India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, after China, its northern neighbor which also borders Central Asian countries, its place in the New World Order is yet to be set in stone. Do western, and particularly Anglo-American elites allow India to grow as China, all the while attempting to co-opt their banking system to the western banking elite, thus, making them controllable? Or, will India be destabilized and dismantled, as is the plan with the Middle East and Central Asia, in order to redraw borders to suit geopolitical imperial ambitions, creating a network of manageable territories feeding the Metropoles of the New World Order, specifically New York (Wall Street) and London (The City of London)?

The September 13, 2008 New Delhi Bombings: 9/13/08

The Bombings

On September 13, 2008, five blasts ripped through New Delhi within 45 minutes of each other, killing 21 people and injuring roughly 100 more. The Indian Mujahedin claimed responsibility for the bombings, sending emails to major Indian news organizations. In July, bombings took place in the western state of Gujarat, which killed 45 people, and in May in the city of Jaipur, which killed 61 people. The Indian Mujahedin also claimed responsibility for those attacks. This new wave of attacks across Indian cities was intended to “sow panic, inflict civilian casualties and, according to Indian officials, inflame tensions between Hindus and Muslims.”

National elections are also approaching in India, giving the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party the opportunity to criticize “the coalition government led by the Congress Party for its inability to prevent bombings like those of Saturday,” making it a “major point of vulnerability for the incumbent administration.”[1]

What is the Indian Mujahedin?

According to Indian police, the Indian Mujahedin (IM) is “an offshoot of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).”[2] In fact, it is “the hardline faction of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) that broke away in 2005 to protest against the diffidence of the moderate faction about declaring a full-scale war on India.”[3] Reports also link the IM with the banned organizations, Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami and Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen.[4]

The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has reported ties with the Pakistani ISI, in having had cadres of its members being trained by the ISI to launch terror attacks in India. The ISI is also reported to have maintained contacts with SIMI in relation to their operatives traveling around the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, to engage in fund raising. SIMI’s reorganization was also aided by the ISI, which led to the branching out of the hardline element, the Indian Mujahedin.[5]

Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami also has extensive ties with the ISI, as the group carried out terror attacks in Hyderabad in 2007, “at the instance of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence.”[6] Many members of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami were trained at ISI camps in Pakistan, and it “receives patronage and support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.” Significantly, “the group’s anti-India operations are planned by the ISI, mostly from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.”[7]

Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, the third terror network with extensive ties to the Indian Mujahedin, used to be known as the Harkat ul-Ansar. Harkat ul-Ansar was created by then-Pakistani General and future President Musharraf in the early 1990s, and was active in recruiting 200 Pakistanis to be trained by the ISI and sent to fight a jihad in Bosnia, “with the full knowledge and complicity of the British and American intelligence agencies.” This group also has links to those individuals associated with financing 9/11, as well as being involved with the London 7/7/ bombings.[8]

So all three terrorist groups associated with creating and having links with the Indian Mujahedin (IM) have extensive ties with the Pakistani ISI. Since these three organizations created the IM, it is essentially a creation of the ISI itself.

Who Benefits?

Two days before the bombings took place, the Times of India ran a story discussing US defense corporations seeking major contracts in India, including “the single largest one-time military contract in history,” India’s buying 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA). The deal is said to be worth $10 billion, “which would not be concluded in the term of this government but by the next government.” Two major US companies vying for this contract are defense giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin. India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony said that his recent meetings with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other Washington figures were primarily focused on “Pakistan’s rapid descent into chaos and the stepped up terrorist activity by renegade elements in the country, including provocations on the border and in Kashmir.”[9]

Two days later, the attacks within India would confirm the need for a built up defense and military establishment within India. Contracts are sure to be signed.

The bombings also occurred at a time that “India is resisting renewed pressure from the West to send its troops into Afghanistan to boost the coalition troops there.” More troops are needed in Afghanistan as the Taliban experience a resurgence, armed and financed by Pakistan’s ISI. However, as the Times of India notes, “India is not about to enter this particular cauldron because its troops would fan the flames in a way that no others would do. They would draw fire from Pakistanis and India would be sucked into a battle, which would have huge implications for its internal security.”[10] Perhaps this is the idea?

The attacks also occurred just as “the US Congress is considering the approval of the US-India civil nuclear deal and days before [Indian] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Washington.”[11]

The ISI-CIA Islamic Terror Networks

The Mujahideen

The ISI has long established ties with terrorist networks in the region. The ISI was used as a conduit by the CIA in 1979 to finance and arm the Afghan Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the Afghan-Soviet War of 1979 to 1989. The Mujahideen then branched off, with the active financing and support of the ISI, into both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.[12]

During the 1980s, many “officers from the ISI’s Covert Action Division received training in the US and many covert action experts of the CIA were attached to the ISI to guide it in its operations against the Soviet troops by using the Afghan Mujahideen, Islamic fundamentalists of Pakistan and Arab volunteers.” Further, the “CIA, through the ISI, promoted the smuggling of heroin into Afghanistan in order to make the Soviet troops heroin addicts. Once the Soviet troops were withdrawn in 1988, these heroin smugglers started smuggling the drugs to the West, with the complicity of the ISI.”[13]

Al-Qaeda and Yugoslavia

The ISI not only has had close ties to Al-Qaeda, but also to guerillas fighting in the disputed territory of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.[14] The ISI’s connections with Al-Qaeda were so extensive, that even on the night before 9/11, Osama bin Laden was in a hospital in Pakistan protected by Pakistani military and intelligence.[15] The ISI also supported the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia throughout the 1990s, by training and sending militant Islamists into the regions to sow chaos and exacerbate ethnic tensions, leading to the break-up of Yugoslavia. All this was done with the tacit approval, support and complicity of British and American intelligence.[16] The ISI financed its covert terrorist support through the global drug trade, especially important in Afghanistan. The ISI also supported terrorist groups in Chechnya.[17]

The LeT

The Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) terrorist organization also works very closely with the ISI, and they work together in a “coordinated effort” in orchestrating terror attacks in Kashmir.[18] The LeT is “funded, armed and trained by the Inter-Services Intelligence,” and is linked up with Al-Qaeda, and is “the most visible manifestation” of Al-Qaeda in India. The LeT “receives considerable financial, material and other forms of assistance from the Pakistan government, routed primarily through the ISI. The ISI is the main source of LeT’s funding. Saudi Arabia also provides funds.” The LeT also played a part in the ISI organized “Bosnian campaign against the Serbs,” which was directed above the ISI by the CIA and British intelligence.[19]

The ISI and 9/11

The ISI may also have played a roll in 9/11 itself, as its General was in Washington in the lead up to and during the 9/11 attacks, meeting with top intelligence, State Department and Congressional officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senator Bob Graham, Representative Porter Goss, who would go on to become CIA director, and Joseph Biden, who is now Barack Obama’s running mate. The ISI’s General, while meeting with all these top US officials in foreign affairs and intelligence, also happened to be the money man behind 9/11, having wired $100,000 to the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta.[20]

The Liquid Bomb Plot

In August 2006 in the UK, there was a massive roundup of terrorism suspects as the British and Pakistani authorities revealed that they uncovered and prevented a massive terrorist plot to blow up several transatlantic airliners with liquid explosives. This plot is the reason for which people can no longer carry a bottle of water or any liquids through security at airports. However, following the roundups, Pakistan arrested the “lead suspect” who was said to have masterminded the whole operation, Rashid Rauf. Over a year later, Rashid Rauf escaped from Pakistani police custody, however, as it turned out, he was kidnapped by the ISI to prevent him being extradited to the UK.[21]

As Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote shortly after the plot was ‘foiled’, “According to John Loftus, a former Justice Department prosecutor, [bomb plot suspects] Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza, as well as the suspected mastermind of the London bombings Haroon Aswat, were all recruited by MI6 in the mid-1990s to draft up British Muslims to fight in Kosovo. American and French security sources corroborate the revelation.”[22]

Covert War Against Iran

It was revealed by the London Telegraph in 2007 that the US, through the CIA, was funding and arming terrorist organizations to “sow chaos” inside Iran.[23] ABC News reported just over a month later that the terrorist group was a Pakistani militant group named Jundullah, which is based in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.[24] Jundullah also has very close ties with Al-Qaeda.[25] Although the US funds this Al-Qaeda-linked group, the funding is indirect, as it travels through Pakistan’s ISI.[26]

So clearly, the ISI has some troubling connections to Al-Qaeda, various other Islamic extremist groups, and British and American intelligence. Where the ISI is operational, so too, are Anglo-American ambitions.

The 1993 Bombay Bombings: 3/12/93

On March 12, 1993, Bombay (now called Mumbai) experienced 13 explosions in a coordinated attack, of which the most significant target was the Bombay Stock Exchange, which killed roughly 50 people. The total number of dead was 257, with roughly 1,400 other injured. Dawood Ibrahim was believed to have coordinated the attacks. Ibrahim is known for extensive ties to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda,[27] has financed operations of the Lashkar e Toiba (LeT),[28] and was believed to be hiding out in Pakistan.[29] The 1993 Bombay bombings were “organised by Dawood Ibrahim under pressure from the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan.”[30] In 2007, the ISI was reported to have taken Ibrahim and his top lieutenant into custody from the Pakistan-Afghan border.[31]

The 2006 Mumbai Bombings: 7/11/06

On July 11, 2006, Mumbai experienced another major terrorist attack, as seven bombs went off within 11 minutes of one another on trains. The total deaths reached 209 with roughly 700 others injured.

The blame for the bombings was placed on the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and local Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI),[32] which are closely interlinked with each other and have direct links with the ISI.[33] A few months later, following an investigation, Mumbai police “blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI for masterminding the explosions which were executed by activists of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba and SIMI.” The Mumbai Police Commissioner said that, “the attacks were planned by ISI in Pakistan and carried out by Pakistan-based militant group LeT with the help of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).”[34] India even shared evidence of Pakistani ISI involvement in the attacks with the United States.[35]

The bombings led to a postponement of India-Pakistan peace talks, which were set to take place the following week.[36] The Indian Prime Minister had said that, “a peace process with Pakistan was threatened if Islamabad did not curb ‘terrorist’ violence directed at India.”[37] Again, perhaps a peace in the region is not in the interests of the Anglo-Americans.

The 2008 Indian Embassy Bombing in Kabul: 7/7/08

On July 7, 2008, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was bombed, killing 58 people and wounding 141. Two days after, it was reported that, “The Afghanistan government and Indian Intelligence Agencies have confirmed that some elements within the ISI in collaboration with the Taliban/Al Qaeda planned and executed the attack on the Indian embassy.” Further, “the ISI Station Head in Kabul, is collaborating with the Taliban to destabilise India’s strategic presence in Afghanistan.”[38]

The day after the attack, the Afghan Interior Ministry said that, “[it] was carried out in co-ordination and consultation with an active intelligence service in the region,” and as the Financial Times reported, “Western diplomats in Islamabad warned that the Kabul bombing was likely to increase the distrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan and undermine Pakistan’s relations with India, despite recent signs that a peace process between Islamabad and New Delhi was making some headway.”[39]

It was also reported that the Afghan Interior Ministry stated that, “Militants who carried out this week’s suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital received their training at camps in Pakistan.”[40]

Just weeks earlier, on June 25, 2008, “An Afghan official accused Pakistan’s premier spy agency on Wednesday of organizing a recent assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai,” and that they were “sure and confident” of an ISI connection.[41]

On July 13, “Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) [had] been blamed by India for the bomb attack on Kabul’s Indian embassy.”[42] On July 10, “The United States has said there was no evidence suggesting involvement of foreign agents in the suicide bombing on the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan.”[43]

However, on August 1, the New York Times reported that, “American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul,” and that, “The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack.” Interestingly, “American officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the C.I.A. emissary, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, even before the attack.” Further, “a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan this month to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups.”[44]

However, given that this is not new information, and that CIA collaboration with these efforts has been widely documented, what was the real purpose of this top CIA emissary going to Islamabad?

Two days after the New York Times report surfaced, it was reported that, “The United States has accused Pakistan’s main spy agency of deliberately undermining Nato efforts in Afghanistan by helping the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants they are supposed to be fighting.” In January, the Bush administration “sent two senior intelligence officials to Pakistan” over “concerns” that the ISI was supporting militants, and further, “Mike Mc-Connell, the director of national intelligence, and [CIA director] Hayden asked Musharraf to allow the CIA greater freedom to operate in the tribal areas.” President Bush also “warned of retaliation if it continues.”[45]

Who Benefits?

In 2006, it was reported that as Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, was trying to balance a relationship with Pakistan and India, “Islamabad might be feeling squeezed and do its best to undermine the renewed Afghan-Indian partnership — at great cost to Afghanistan.”[46]

As Time Magazine reported on the day of the Embassy bombing, “The bombing is likely to have regional ramifications, both for India’s relations with the neighborhood and those of every other country supporting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.” Further, “India and Pakistan have been vying for influence in Kabul for decades, and India — which for years backed the opposition Northern Alliance against the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime — came out on top after the U.S.-led invasion scattered the Taliban and installed President Karzai in power.” India has also pledged $850 million in reconstruction aid for Afghanistan.[47]

As the UK Times explained, India is “the only regional power committed to a new democratic Afghanistan. It was no accident that India shouldered part of the cost of the parliamentary and presidential elections. Nor should one ignore the symbolic value of the fact that India is building the new Palace of Democracy to house the Afghan parliament.” Further, “The only power likely to offer Afghanistan long-term support is India. Helping Afghanistan would weaken radical Islamism and prevent Pakistan acquiring a hinterland through Afghanistan in Muslim Central Asia.”[48]

Historically, the Taliban were financed and armed by the Pakistani ISI, while India had backed the Northern Alliance during the 1990s. After the 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance was put back into power as the Taliban were deposed.[49] This would explain why the ISI and Pakistan has again become the main supporter of the Taliban.[50] However, in most discussion on Pakistan funding the revival of the Taliban, what is left ignored is the ISI’s continued connections to British and American intelligence. For example, with the London 7/7 bombings, the mastermind was an MI6 asset and he had, along with several of the suspected bombers, connections to the Pakistani ISI.[51]

Interestingly, keeping in mind the ISI’s help in the resurgence of the Taliban, in February of 2008, it was reported that, “Britain planned to build a Taliban training camp for 2,000 fighters in southern Afghanistan, as part of a top-secret deal to make them swap sides.” Further, “Afghan government officials insist it was bankrolled by the British. UK diplomats, the UN, Western officials and senior Afghan officials have all confirmed the outline of the plan, which they agree is entirely British-led, but all refused to talk about it on the record.”[52]

Conclusion

Ultimately, the benefactors of the Indian Embassy bombing in Kabul and other bombings, such as the recent New Delhi bombing in India, is not Pakistan, but is the Anglo-Americans. Pakistan ultimately will collapse as a result of these actions being taken. The ISI has long been referred to as Pakistan’s “secret government” or “shadow state.” It’s long-standing ties and reliance upon American and British intelligence have not let up, therefore actions taken by the ISI should be viewed in the context of being a Central Asian outpost of Anglo-American covert intelligence operations. This connection between American and British intelligence and the ISI is also corroborated by their continued cooperation in the covert opium trade in Afghanistan, whose profits are funneled into the banks of Wall Street and the City of London.[53]

The goal in Pakistan is not to maintain stability, just as this is not the goal throughout the region of the Middle East and Central Asia. Recent events in Pakistan, such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, which has been linked to the ISI, should be viewed in the context as an active Anglo-American strategy of breaking up Pakistan, which will spread chaos through the region.[54]

Pakistan’s position as a strategic focal point cannot be underestimated. It borders India, Afghanistan, China and Iran. Destabilizing and ultimately breaking Pakistan up into several countries or regions will naturally spread chaos and destabilization into neighboring countries. This is also true of Iraq on the other side of Iran, as the Anglo-American have undertaken, primarily through Iraq, a strategy of balkanizing the entire Middle East in a new imperial project.[55]

One of the main targets in this project is Iran, for which the US and Britain have engaged in massive acts of terror and orchestrating large battles and conflicts from within the already-failed state of Iraq.[56] The Anglo-American role as terrorist supporters and as covertly orchestrating terror attacks within Iraq is amply documented.[57] To imagine that these same Anglo-American intelligence and covert networks are not using their long-time conduit, the ISI, for the same purposes in Central Asia, is a stretch of the imagination and logic. It is not merely the Middle East that is the target, but Central Asia, specifically for its geographical relationship to the rising giants such as India and China. This also follows in line with Anglo-American strategies in destabilizing the Central European region, specifically the former Yugoslavia,[58] and more recently, Georgia, largely in an effort to target Russia.[59]

What we are seeing with Pakistan and India is an effort to drive the region into chaos. The US allowing blame to be placed on the Pakistani ISI for the Embassy bombings in Kabul has provided an excuse and basis for US military intervention in Pakistan, which has already begun,[60] and which threatens to plunge the region into total war and crisis. But then again, that’s the idea.

Endnotes

[1] AP, Police detain suspects after 5 blasts in New Delhi. International Herald Tribune: September 14, 2008:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/14/asia/india.php

[2] Reuters, FACTBOX-Indian Mujahideen Islamic militant group. Reuters News Service: September 13, 2008:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LD514149.htm

[3] Pradeep Thakur & Vishwa Mohan, Indian Mujahideen is just hardline version of SIMI. The Times of India: August 17, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Indian_Mujahideen_is_just_hardline_version_of_SIMI/articleshow/3371985.cms

[4] Vicky Nanjappa, The truth about Indian Mujahideen. Rediff India Abroad: November 23, 2007:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/nov/23court15.htm

[5] Animesh Roul, Students Islamic Movement of India: A Profile. Global Terrorism Analysis: April 6, 2006:
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369953

[6] PTI, Suspect said ISI behind Hyderabad blasts: cops. Rediff India Abroad: October 6, 2007: http://ia.rediff.com/news/2007/oct/06hydblast.htm

[7] SATP, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm

[8] History Commons, Profile: Harkat ul-Mujahedeen (HUM).
http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=harkat_ul-mujahedeen

[9] Chidanand Rajghatta, US defence companies will get level playing field: Antony. The Times of India: September 11, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_defence_companies_will_get_level_playing_field_Antony/articleshow/3472916.cms

[10] ToA, Pressure mounts on India to send troops to Afghanistan. Times of India: September 14, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Pressure_mounts_on_India_to_send_troops_to_Afghanistan/articleshow/3480892.cms

[11] James Lamont and Joe Leahy, Five bombs hit New Delhi. The Financial Times: September 13, 2008:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b3aadd2e-8199-11dd-ae8b-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

[12] Rahul Bedi, Vital intelligence on the Taliban may rest with its prime sponsor – Pakistan’s ISI. Jane’s Information Group: October 1, 2001: http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/misc/janes011001_1_n.shtml

[13] B. Raman, PAKISTAN’S INTER-SERVICES INTELLIGENCE (ISI). South Asia Analysis Group: January 8, 2001:
http://www.acsa.net/isi/index.html

[14] James Risen and Judith Miller, Pakistani Intelligence Had Links to Al Qaeda, U.S. Officials Say. October 29, 2001:
http://civet.berkeley.edu/sohrab/politics/isi_problems.html

[15] Michel Chossudovsky, Where was Osama on September 11, 2001? Global Research: September 11, 2008:
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3194

[16] Michel Chossudovsky, Osamagate. Global Research: October 9, 2001:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=369

[17] Michel Chossudovsky, The Truth behind 9/11: Who Is Osama Bin Laden? Global Research: September 11, 2008:
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3198

[18] Preetam Sohani, Pakistan’s shadow ISI and Lashkar-e-Toiba worked together to create terror in Ayodhya. India Daily: July 16, 2005:
http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/3622.asp

[19] SATP, Lashkar-e-Toiba: ‘Army of the Pure’. South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:
ttp://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/lashkar_e_toiba.htm

[20] Michel Chossudovsky, Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11. Global Research: June 20, 2002:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=371

[21] Dean Nelson and Ghulam Hasnain, Pakistan agents ‘staged escape’ of terror suspect. The Times Online: December 23, 2007:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3087090.ece

[22] Craig Murray, British Army expert casts doubt on ‘liquid explosives’ threat, Al Qaeda network in UK Identified. The Raw Story: September 21, 2006:
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2006/09/british_army_ex.html

[23] William Lowther and Colin Freeman, US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran. The London Telegraph: February 25, 2007:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1543798/US-funds-terror-groups-to-sow-chaos-in-Iran.html

[24] Brian Ross and Christopher Isham, ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran. ABC News: April 3, 2007:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/04/abc_news_exclus.html

[25] Zahid Hussain, Al-Qaeda’s New Face. Newsline: August 2004:
http://www.newsline.com.pk/NewsAug2004/cover1Aug2004.htm

[26] Michel Chossudovsky, “Islamic Terrorists” supported by Uncle Sam: Bush Administration “Black Ops” directed against Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Global Research: May 31, 2007:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=5837&context=va

[27] Vishwa Mohan, Interpol sends special notice against Dawood Ibrahim. The Times of India: April 8, 2006:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1483035.cms

[28] Robert Windrem, Possible al-Qaida link to India train attacks. MSNBC: July 11, 2006:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13815413/

[29] PTI, Dawood Ibrahim is a global terrorist: US. Rediff: October 17, 2003:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/oct/17daw.htm

[30] Rediff, ‘ISI pressured Dawood to carry out Mumbai blasts’. Rediff.com: December 22, 2002:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/dec/22isi.htm

[31] S Balakrishnan, Dawood, Tiger Memon in ISI custody. The Times of India: August 7, 2007:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2260818.cms

[32] ToA, LeT, SIMI hand in Mumbai blasts. Time of India: July 12, 2006:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1733318.cms

[33] SATP, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/terroristoutfits/simi.htm

[34] ToA, Mumbai Police blames ISI, LeT for 7/11 blasts. The Times of India: September 30, 2006:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2052996.cms

[35] AP, India shares evidence of Pakistan’s alleged involvement in Mumbai bombings with US. The International herald Tribune: October 7, 2006: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/07/asia/AS_GEN_India_US_Train_Bombings.php

[36] Sudha Ramachandran, India’s soft response to the Mumbai bombings. Asia Times Online: July 19, 2006: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HG19Df03.html

[37] Reuters, Manmohan warns Pak: Stop terror. Express India: July 14, 2006:
http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=71060

[38] V K Shashikumar, ISI, al Qaeda planned Kabul blast: Sources. IBNLive: July 9, 2008:
http://www.ibnlive.com/news/isi-al-qaeda-planned-kabul-blast-sources/68541-2.html?xml

[39] Aunohita Mojumdar and Farhan Bokhari, Kabul blames spy agency for suicide blast at India embassy. The Financial Times: July 8, 2008:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c122796c-4c88-11dd-96bb-000077b07658.html

[40] Roman Kozhevnikov, Afghanistan says embassy bombers trained in Pakistan. Reuters: July 9, 2008:
http://www.stv.tv/articles/reuters/world/Afghanistan_says_embassy_bombers_trained_in_Pakistan_125456

[41] AP, Afghanistan blames Pakistan for attempt to kill Karzai. CTV: June 25, 2008:
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080625/NATO_helmand_08025

[42] Agencies, India blames Pakistan for Kabul embassy attack. Gulf News: July 13, 2008:
http://www.gulfnews.com/world/India/10228506.html

[43] PTI, No foreign hand in Kabul blast: Robert Gates. Rediff: July 10, 2008:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jul/10kabul2.htm

[44] MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT, Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say. The New York Times: August 1, 2008:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?ref=worldspecial

[45] Christina Lamb, Rogue Pakistan spies aid Taliban in Afghanistan. The Times Online: August 3, 2008:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article4449330.ece

[46] Amin Tarzi, Afghanistan: Kabul’s India Ties Worry Pakistan. Radio Free Europe: April 16, 2006:
http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1067690.html

[47] Jyoti Thottam, Afghan Bombing Fuels Regional Furor. Time Magazine: July 7, 2008:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1820716,00.html

[48] Amir Taheri, A vicious attack on India’s crucial role in Afghanistan. The Times Online: July 9, 2008:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article4295636.ece

[49] Scott Baldauf, India-Pakistan rivalry reaches into Afghanistan. Christian Science Monitor: September 13, 2003:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0912/p07s01-wosc.html

[50] Ron Moreau and Mark Hosenball, Pakistan’s Dangerous Double Game. Newsweek: September 13, 2008:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/158861

[51] Michel Chossudovsky, London 7/7 Terror Suspect Linked to British Intelligence?. Global research: August 1, 2005:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20050801&articleId=782

[52] Jerome Starkey, Revealed: British plan to build training camp for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The Independent: February 4, 2008:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/revealed-british-plan-to-build-training-camp-for-taliban-fighters-in-afghanistan-777671.html

[53] Andrew G. Marshall, Afghan heroin & the CIA. Geopolitical Monitor: April 1, 2008:
http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/content/backgrounders/2008-04-01/afghan-heroin-the-cia/

[54] Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan. Global Research: December 30, 2007:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7705

[55] Andrew G. Marshall, Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project. Global Research: July 10, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9451

[56] Andrew G. Marshall, Breaking Iraq and Blaming Iran. Global Research: July 3, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9450

[57] Andrew G. Marshall, State-Sponsored Terror: British and American Black Ops in Iraq. Global Research: June 25, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9447

[58] Andrew G. Marshall, Breaking Yugoslavia. Geopolitical Monitor: July 21, 2008:
http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/content/backgrounders/2008-07-21/breaking-yugoslavia/

[59] Andrew G. Marshall, The Georgian War. Geopolitical Monitor: August 30, 2008:
http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/content/backgrounders/2008-08-30/pipelines-the-georgian-war/

[60] BBC, Pakistan soldiers ‘confront US’. BBC News: September 15, 2008:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7396366.stm

Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project

Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project
Global Research, July 10, 2008

Establishing an “Arc of Crisis”

Many would be skeptical that the Anglo-Americans would be behind terrorist acts in Iraq, such as with the British in Basra, when two British SAS soldiers were caught dressed as Arabs, with explosives and massive arsenal of weapons.[1] Why would the British be complicit in orchestrating terror in the very city in which they are to provide security? What would be the purpose behind this? That question leads us to an even more important question to ask, the question of why Iraq was occupied; what is the purpose of the war on Iraq? If the answer is, as we are often told with our daily dose of CNN, SkyNews and the statements of public officials, to spread democracy and freedom and rid the world of tyranny and terror, then it doesn’t make sense that the British or Americans would orchestrate terror.

However, if the answer to the question of why the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq occurred was not to spread democracy and freedom, but to spread fear and chaos, plunge the country into civil war, balkanize Iraq into several countries, and create an “arc of crisis” across the Middle East, enveloping neighboring countries, notably Iran, then terror is a very efficient and effective means to an end.

An Imperial Strategy

In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry wrote an article for a publication of the World Zionist Organization in which he outlined a “strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” In this article, he stated, “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.” He continued, “An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon.” He continues, “In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul and Shiite areas in the South will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.”[2]

The Iran-Iraq War, which lasted until 1988, did not result in Oded Yinon’s desired break-up of Iraq into ethnically based provinces. Nor did the subsequent Gulf War of 1991 in which the US destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, as well as the following decade-plus of devastating sanctions and aerial bombardments by the Clinton administration. What did occur during these decades, however, were the deaths of millions of Iraqis and Iranians.

A Clean Break for a New American Century

In 1996, an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, issued a report under the think tank’s Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000, entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” In this paper, which laid out recommendations for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they state that Israel can, “Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats,” as well as, “Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas,” and to, “Forge a new basis for relations with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West.”

The report recommended Israel to seize “the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon,” and to use “Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.” It also states, “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”[3]

The authors of the report include Douglas Feith, an ardent neoconservative who went on to become George W. Bush’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2001 to 2005; David Wurmser, who was appointed by Douglas Feith after 9/11 to be part of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and served as a Mideast Adviser to Dick Cheney from 2003 to 2007; and Meyrav Wurmser, David’s wife, who is now an official with the American think tank, the Hudson Institute.

Richard Perle headed the study, and worked on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2004, and was Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2004, where he played a key role in the lead-up to the Iraq war. He was also a member of several US think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century.

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is an American neoconservative think tank, whose membership and affiliations included many people who were associated with the present Bush administration, such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Richard Armitage, Jeb Bush, Elliott Abrams, Eliot A. Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Peter Rodman, Dov Zakheim and Robert B. Zoellick.

PNAC produced a report in September of 2000, entitled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” in which they outlined a blueprint for a Pax Americana, or American Empire. The report puts much focus on Iraq and Iran, stating, “Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests in the Gulf as Iraq has.”[4] Stating that, “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security,” the report suggests that, “the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification,” however, “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime change of Saddam Hussein.”[5]

Engineer a Civil War for the “Three State Solution”

Shortly after the initial 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the New York Times ran an op-ed piece by Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Member of the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, the most influential and powerful think tank in the United States. The op-ed, titled, “The Three State Solution,” published in November of 2003, stated that the “only viable strategy” for Iraq, “may be to correct the historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” Citing the example of the break up of Yugoslavia, Gelb stated that the Americans and Europeans “gave the Bosnian Muslims and Croats the means to fight back, and the Serbs accepted separation.” Explaining the strategy, Gelb states that, “The first step would be to make the north and south into self-governing regions, with boundaries drawn as closely as possible along ethnic lines,” and to “require democratic elections within each region.” Further, “at the same time, draw down American troops in the Sunni Triangle and ask the United Nations to oversee the transition to self-government there.” Gelb then states that this policy “would be both difficult and dangerous. Washington would have to be very hard-headed, and hard-hearted, to engineer this breakup.”[6]

Following the example of Yugoslavia, as Gelb cited, would require an engineered civil war between the various ethnic groups. The US supported and funded Muslim forces in Bosnia in the early 1990s, under the leadership of the CIA-trained Afghan Mujahideen, infamous for their CIA-directed war against the Soviet Union from 1979-1989. In Bosnia, the Mujahideen were “accompanied by US Special Forces,” and Bill Clinton personally approved of collaboration with “several Islamic fundamentalist organisations including Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.” In Kosovo, years later, “Mujahideen mercenaries from the Middle East and Central Asia were recruited to fight in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998-99, largely supporting NATO’s war effort.” The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the British Secret Intelligence Services (MI6), British SAS soldiers and American and British private security companies had the job of arming and training the KLA. Further, “The U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization, indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them allegedly Usama bin Laden,” and as well as that, “the brother of a leader in an Egyptian Jihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict.”[7]

Could this be the same strategy being deployed in Iraq in order to break up the country for similar geopolitical reasons?

The Asia Times Online reported in 2005, that the plan of “balkanizing” Iraq into several smaller states, “is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli plan to balkanize Iraq – an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East. Curiously, Henry Kissinger was selling the same idea even before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.” It continued, “this is classic divide and rule: the objective is the perpetuation of Arab disunity. Call it Iraqification; what it actually means is sectarian fever translated into civil war.”[8]

In 2006, an “independent commission set up by Congress with the approval of President George W Bush,” termed the “Baker Commission” after former Secretary of State, James Baker, “has grown increasingly interested in the idea of splitting the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish regions of Iraq as the only alternative to what Baker calls ‘cutting and running’ or ‘staying the course’.”[9]

It was also reported in 2006 that, “Iraq’s federal future is already enshrined within its constitution, allowing regions to form, if not actually prescribing how this should happen,” and that, “the Iraqi parliament (dominated by Shi’a and Kurds) passed a bill earlier this month [October, 2006] allowing federal regions to form (by majority vote in the provinces seeking merger).” Further, “The law, which unsurprisingly failed to win Sunni support, will be reviewed over the next 18 months in a bid to bring its opponents round.” The article, however, stated that instead of a three state solution, “a system based upon five regions would seem to have more chance of succeeding. A five-region model could see two regions in the south, one based around Basra and one around the holy cities. Kurdistan and the Sunni region would remain, but Baghdad and its environs would form a fifth, metropolitan, region.”[10] The author of the article was Gareth Stansfield, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House think tank in London, which preceded, works with and is the British equivalent of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Ethnic Cleansing Works”

In 2006, the Armed Forces Journal published an article by retired Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, titled, “Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look.” In the article, Peters explains that the best plan for the Middle East would be to “readjust” the borders of the countries. “Accepting that international statecraft has never developed effective tools — short of war — for readjusting faulty borders, a mental effort to grasp the Middle East’s “organic” frontiers nonetheless helps us understand the extent of the difficulties we face and will continue to face. We are dealing with colossal, man-made deformities that will not stop generating hatred and violence until they are corrected.” He states that after the 2003 invasion, “Iraq should have been divided into three smaller states immediately.” However, Iraq is not the only country to fall victim to “Balkanization” in Peters’ eyes, as, “Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan,” and “Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan.” Further, “What Afghanistan would lose to Persia in the west, it would gain in the east, as Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren.” Peters states that “correcting borders” may be impossible, “For now. But given time — and the inevitable attendant bloodshed — new and natural borders will emerge. Babylon has fallen more than once.” He further makes the astonishing statement that, “Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.”[11]

The map of the re-drawn Middle East, initially published alongside Peters’ article, but no longer present, “has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles.”[12] Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed wrote of Peters’ proposal, that “the sweeping reconfiguration of borders he proposes would necessarily involve massive ethnic cleansing and accompanying bloodshed on perhaps a genocidal scale.”[13]

Federalism or Incremental Balkanization?

A month before Peters’ article was published, Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Joseph Biden, a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, in which they stated, “America must get beyond the present false choice between “staying the course” and “bringing the troops home now” and choose a third way that would wind down our military presence responsibly while preventing chaos and preserving our key security goals.” What is this third option? “The idea, as in Bosnia, is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group—Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab—room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests.”

They describe a few aspects of this plan. “The first is to establish three largely autonomous regions with a viable central government in Baghdad. The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security. The central government would control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues.” Then, “The second element would be to entice the Sunnis into joining the federal system with an offer they couldn’t refuse. To begin with, running their own region should be far preferable to the alternatives: being dominated by Kurds and Shiites in a central government or being the main victims of a civil war.”[14]

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2007, Leslie Gelb stated that his plan for “federalizing” Iraq, “would look like this: The central government would be based on the areas where there are genuine common interests among the different Iraqi parties. That is, foreign affairs, border defense, currency and, above all, oil and gas production and revenues.” And, “As for the regions, whether they be three or four or five, whatever it may be, it’s up to—all this is up to the Iraqis to decide, would be responsible for legislation, administration and internal security.”[15]

The Senate subsequently passed a nonbinding resolution supporting a federal system for Iraq, which has still yet to be enacted upon, because it stated that this resolution was something that had to be enacted upon by the Iraqis, so as not to be viewed as “something that the United States was going to force down their throats.” Further, “when Ambassador Ryan Crocker appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he testified in favor of federalism. In his private conversations with senators, he also supported the idea,” yet, while in Baghdad, the Ambassador “blasted the resolution.”[16] Could this be a method of manipulation? If the American Embassy in Baghdad promotes a particular solution for Iraq, it would likely be viewed by Iraqis as a bad choice and in the interest of the Americans. So, if the Ambassador publicly bashes the resolution from Iraq, which he did, it conveys the idea that the current administration is not behind it, which could make Iraqis see it as a viable alternative, and perhaps in their interests. For Iraqi politicians, embracing the American view on major issues is political (and often actual) suicide. The American Embassy in Baghdad publicly denouncing a particular strategy gives Iraqi politicians public legitimacy to pursue it.

This resolution has still not gone through all the processes in Congress, and may, in fact, have been slipped into another bill, such as a Defense Authorization Act. However, the efforts behind this bill are larger than the increasingly irrelevant US Congress.

Also in 2007, another think tank called for the managed “break-up of Iraq into three separate states with their own governments and representatives to the United Nations, but continued economic cooperation in a larger entity modeled on the European Union.”[17] In a startling admission by former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, stated in 2007 that the “United States has “no strategic interest” in a united Iraq,” and he also suggested “that the United States shouldn’t necessarily keep Iraq from splitting up.”[18]

Conclusion

Clearly, whatever the excuse, or whatever the means of dividing Iraq, it is without a doubt in the Anglo-American strategy for Iraq to balkanize the country. Saying that what is being proposed is not balkanization, but federalism, is a moot point. This is because reverting to a more federal system where provinces have greater autonomy would naturally separate the country along ethno-religious boundaries. The Kurds would be in the north, the Sunnis in the centre, and the Shi’ites in the south, with all the oil. The disproportionate provincial resources will create animosity between provinces, and the long-manipulated ethnic differences will spill from the streets into the political sphere. As tensions grow, as they undoubtedly would, between the provinces, there would be a natural slide to eventual separation. Disagreements over power sharing in the federal government would lead to its eventual collapse, and the strategy of balkanization would have been achieved with the appearance of no outside involvement.

NOTES

[1] Global Research, Iraqi MP accuses British Forces in Basra of “Terrorism”. Al Jazeera: September 20, 2005: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050920&articleId=983

[2] Linda S. Heard, The Prophecy of Oded Yinon. Counter Punch: April 25, 2006: http://www.counterpunch.org/heard04252006.html

[3] Richard Perle, et. al., A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies: June 1996:  http://www.iasps.org/strat1.htm

[4] PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000: Page 17

[5] PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000: Page 14

[6] Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:

http://www.cfr.org/publication/6559/threestate_solution.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb%3Fpage%3D3

[7] Michel Chossudovsky, “Osamagate.” Global Research: October 9, 2001:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO110A.html

[8] Pepe Escobar, Exit strategy: Civil war. Asia Times Online: June 10, 2005:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GF10Ak03.html

[9] Sarah Baxter, America ponders cutting Iraq in three. The Times: October 8, 2006: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article664974.ece

[10] Gareth Stansfield, The only solution left for Iraq: a five-way split. The Telegraph: October 29, 2006: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/10/29/do2904.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/10/29/ixopinion.html

[11] Ralph Peters, Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look. Armed Forces Journal: June 2006: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/06/1833899

[12] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”. Global Research: November 18, 2006: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3882

[13] Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, US Army Contemplates Redrawing Middle East Map

to Stave Off Looming Global Meltdown. Dissident Voice: September 1, 2006: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Sept06/Ahmed01.htm

[14] Leslie Gelb and Joseph Biden, Jr., Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq. The New York Times: May 1, 2006: http://www.cfr.org/publication/10569/unity_through_autonomy_in_iraq.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb%3Fpage%3D2

[15] Leslie Gelb, Leslie Gelb before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The CFR: January 23, 2007: http://www.cfr.org/publication/12489/leslie_gelb_before_the_senate_foreign_relations_committee.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb

[16] Bernard Gwertzman, Gelb: Federalism Is Most Promising Way to End Civil War in Iraq. CFR: October 16, 2007: http://www.cfr.org/publication/14531/gelb.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb

[17] Robin Wright, Nonpartisan Group Calls for Three-State Split in Iraq. The Washington Post: August 17, 2007: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/17/AR2007081700918.html

[18] AP, French report: Former U.N. envoy Bolton says U.S. has ‘no strategic interest’ in united Iraq. International Herald Tribune: January 29, 2007: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/01/29/europe/EU-GEN-France-US-Iraq.php

Breaking Iraq and Blaming Iran

Breaking Iraq and Blaming Iran
British Black Ops and the Terror Campaign in Basra
Global Research, July 3, 2008

British Black Ops in Basra

In September of 2005, the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra, under British occupation since the 2003 invasion, was the scene of an extraordinarily controversial incident, which has since exposed the anatomy of the Anglo-American “dirty war” in Iraq, and in fact, the relevance to the wider “War on Terror”.

On September 19, 2005, two white men, dressed as Arabs, obviously suspicious to the British-trained Iraqi police, were pulled over in their car as they approached the city center of Basra. As the Independent reported, “the two men had been driving in an unmarked car when they arrived at a checkpoint in the city.” What followed was a confrontation between the two men and the Iraqi police, with shots fired and an Iraqi police officer killed and another wounded.[1] The men were then detained by the Iraqi police and taken to the central jail. As it turned out, the two men were members of the British elite SAS Special Forces.[2]

In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, Fattah al-Shaykh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly representing Basra, stated that, “I could see that the UK forces were always provoking the Iraqi people in Basra. There are indiscriminate arrests and pressure,” and that a representative of the British embassy informed him that, “two UK soldiers were trying to stir up disturbances. Explosive materials were found in their car and they opened fire.” He further elaborated that, “what the UK forces are doing is not necessarily known by the Iraqi forces or coordinated with them through exchange of information. There are occupation forces, armoured vehicles, tanks and military aircraft in Basra. Moreover, there are members of the British intelligence present in Basra especially, since Basra is currently a sensitive and important area in Iraq. There are members of the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] and Mossad [word indistinct], as well as many institutions in this city.”[3]

British journalist Robert Fisk asked in an article he wrote on the subject, “what [were] our two SAS lads were doing cruising around Basra in Arab dress with itsy-bitsy moustaches and guns? Why did no one ask? How many SAS men are in southern Iraq? Why are they there? What are their duties? What weapons do they carry? Whoops! No one asked.”[4]

The Great Escape

An astounding part of the story about the two British SAS agents is not simply what they were up to in Basra, but what happened to them after being arrested. Once arrested, they were questioned by Iraqi police, and as a Basra government official stated, “They refused to say what their mission was. They said they were British soldiers and to ask their commander about their mission.”[5]

Within hours of the arrests, ten British tanks backed by helicopters stormed the jail where the men were held and destroyed the building, freeing roughly 150 Iraqi prisoners in the process.[6] However, the British government initially stated that the men were released as a result of negotiations. British Defense officials “insisted they had been talking to the Iraqi authorities to secure the release of the men, but acknowledged a wall was demolished as British forces tried to “collect” the two prisoners.”[7] The Basra Provincial Governor described the incident as “barbaric, savage and irresponsible.”[8]

Later, the story was changed again, as the British Army reported that they staged the “rescue” because after the two soldiers were arrested, they were “then handed over to a militia group,” and likely as a result of British pressure, “Iraq’s interior ministry ordered the police force in Basra to release the soldiers but that order was ignored.” Brigadier John Lorimer, who led the operation, said, “that under Iraqi law the soldiers should have been handed over to coalition authorities, but this failed to happen despite repeated requests.”[9] It should be noted, however, that the Iraqi law being referred to was written up by the Anglo-American Coalition Provisional Authority upon its initial occupation of the country in 2003.

As John Pilger noted in the New Statesman, “Although reported initially by the Times and the Mail, all mention of the explosives allegedly found in the SAS men’s unmarked Cressida vanished from the news. Instead, the story was the danger the men faced if they were handed over to the militia run by the “radical” cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.” He further reported on how what was found in the car included, “weapons, explosives and a remote-control detonator.”[10]

It is an amazing display of Orwellian double-think for the British to be able to be responsible for inciting terror, orchestrate a massive assault on an Iraqi police station with tanks and helicopters, and yet, somehow spin it so that it looks like a heroic act of patriotism of the kind depicted in the classic World War 2 film, The Great Escape, where British and American POWs undertake a massive escape from a German POW camp. Although, far from a heroic escape, or valiant rescue, this was an overt military operation aimed at returning British terrorists into British hands.

A month after the “rescue” operation, the British government “officially apologized to Iraq over the recent Basra events,” and a British statement “said that London apologizes to the Iraqi people and government, Basra residents, city and province councils and the police force over mistakes made by the British.”[11]

The Investigation Hits a Dead End

The day after Britain officially apologized for terrorizing Basra, a “senior British military police officer in Iraq involved in the investigation of alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians by soldiers [has] been found dead at a camp in Basra.” Captain Ken Masters, commander of 61 Section of the Special Investigations Branch (SIB), “was found in his bed at the airport at the weekend.” The Independent quoted Defense sources as saying the death was “not due to hostile action and also not due to natural causes.” Friends referred to the incident as a “total surprise,” and it was reported that no suicide note or firearms were found.[12]

Masters’ job consisted of investigating all serious incidents involving the British military in Iraq, and as the Times reported, “Captain Masters’s biggest current investigation was ordered after the incident on September 19 when two SAS troopers had to be rescued by British troops in armoured vehicles after they had been arrested by Iraqi police. During a day of violent confrontations, the Iraqi authorities in Basra claimed that seven Iraqis were killed and 43 injured, many of them police.” The article elaborated on Masters’ duties, stating, “Compensation to the families of alleged Iraqi victims who died during the fracas depended on the official investigation being carried out by Captain Masters and his team.”[13]

The British Ministry of Defense “said the circumstances surrounding the death on Saturday of Captain Ken Masters, 40, were not suspicious.”[14] The day before Masters died, the official line put forward by the British military of the Basra incident was that, “the SAS had been ordered to carry out surveillance operations against several members of the Iraqi police, who were believed to be responsible for torturing prisoners at the notorious Jamiyat prison in Basra.”[15]

Later, the official line put out after an investigation was that Masters did indeed kill himself, due to work pressures. Masters, who was a husband and father of two, was due to return home from tour five days after he apparently killed himself.[16]

The Christmas Day Massacre

On December 25, 2006, the British again stormed the Basra headquarters of the serious crimes unit, the same police station where the SAS officers were held the previous September. The British killed seven men and destroyed the building, which “had been demolished with explosives after the pre-dawn assault by about 1,000 troops.” Further, “The operation came three days after British soldiers arrested the head and other members of the serious crimes unit on suspicion of involvement in the kidnap of two SAS soldiers and the murder of several Iraqis last year.” The “kidnap” being referred to here is an Orwellian double-speak version of the events describing the arrest of the two SAS officers for injuring and killing Iraqi police.

The official reason for the assault was that the serious crimes unit headquarters, “has long been accused of involvement in murders, attacks on coalition forces and kidnappings in the southern oil city, where rival Shia factions are fighting for control,” and that, “The British military acted after learning that some of the prisoners, all suspected criminals, inside the police station faced imminent execution.” Captain Dunlop stated, “We had clear directions from the prime minister and governor to dissolve the unit.”[17]

Three days earlier, on December 22, 2006, the “senior Iraqi policeman who allegedly masterminded the abduction of two SAS soldiers last year was arrested yesterday following a major security operation in Basra.” In other words, the senior Iraqi officer who was present for the arrest, detention and questioning of the SAS soldiers was taken into British custody. The Telegraph reported that, “Under cover of thick fog, 800 British troops in tanks and armoured vehicles swooped on the home of the policeman and six other Iraqi officers.” The Telegraph again re-wrote history when they reported that, “The two SAS troopers were allegedly minutes away from being sold to insurgents and certain death after they were abducted by rogue police at a checkpoint in the Jamiat area of Basra on Sept 19 last year.”[18]

In reaction to the storming and total destruction of the Serious Crimes Unit HQ in Basra, the Basra Council “described the raid as illegal and has suspended co-operation with the military,” and called the raid “provocative.” Notably, “A Ministry of Defence spokesman said 1,000 troops were involved and hundreds of seized files and computers have been taken as evidence.”[19] What exactly was contained on those files and computers? As reported by the New York Times, the “battle lasted nearly three hours. There were no British casualties, but the streets around the station were littered with bombed-out cars and rubble.”[20]

Considering the fact that the mainstream media and British officials put massive spin on and manipulated the facts of the story about the SAS soldiers in relation to this story, it raises the question as to what they may be lying about in relation to the actual storming of the prison once again. What exactly was the purpose of this massive undertaking? Surely, the police forces in Iraq are corrupt and influenced by local militias; it is, after all, a state of war. But, it seems that as long as the corruption is in line with Anglo-American strategy in the region, a blind-eye is turned. Was the real problem that the Serious Crimes Unit was actually doing its job, investigating the Basra incident involving the SAS? This could explain why the computers and files were taken. The current official line that the SAS were investigating corrupt officials can support why they were dressed as Arabs. But as to why they were heavily armed, had explosives and detonators and were the first ones to shoot during the confrontation with the police, this explanation does not stand up to scrutiny.

Also, to storm the jail under the pretense of preventing torture and executions is highly hypocritical considering what the Coalition is guilty of in Iraq and around the world. So, it begs the question, what else is being lied about in this situation, and for what purpose?

The British Follow the Paper Trail

Following very much in line with previous British actions in Basra, from the 2005 “rescue” of black-ops SAS state-terrorists, to the 2006 destruction of the jail, “rescue” of its computer records and arrest of its leading officials, the British again made their destabilizing presence known. On March 4, 2007, “Iraqi special operation forces and British troops swept into an Iraqi intelligence ministry building” in Basra, and, “found prisoners with signs of torture, British officials said.” Interestingly, “All 30 prisoners escaped during the surprise raid, which was triggered by information gleaned from suspects arrested hours earlier in another sweep.” The public explanation for the raid is very much the same as the previous Basra raid a year earlier, which actually appeared to be an operation aimed at retrieving information about and arresting all the officials involved with the previous year’s arrest of the two SAS soldiers. Officially, this 2007 raid was undertaken to “rescue” abused prisoners.

Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, referred to the raid as an “unlawful and irresponsible act.” As the Washington Post reported, “A British military statement said its forces acted quickly because it had gained information hours earlier that presented a high threat.”[21] According to the Telegraph, the British captured “an alleged death squad leader and four other militants.” The article further reported that, “A British military spokesman said it had not been possible to warn the provincial authorities before the raid because it was ordered just hours earlier, on the basis of information received from a detained insurgent.” About the prisoners that escaped during the raid, “the British denied they were deliberately freed, saying they “regrettably” took advantage of the chaos to make their escape.”[22]

The Iraqi Prime Minister released a statement saying that he “has ordered a prompt investigation into the incident of breaking into the security complex headquarters in Basra and he affirmed the need to punish those who have carried out this unlawful and irresponsible act.”[23] The BBC reported on the incident, stating that, “The British government said the Army’s main bases in the city [of Basra] would be closed and the total British strength reduced by several thousand over time,” and that, “The theory behind this is that the Iraqi forces are now ready to take over. The raids over the weekend were indeed led by the Iraqi security forces – but targeted other parts of the Iraqi security forces.”[24]

The question must be asked: What was the mission really about? Surely, and sadly, the only unique prison in Iraq would be one where torture does not occur, regardless of who is in control of it. And to say certain facilities under Iraqi government control are corrupt and involved in supporting terrorists and death squads is a diversionary point, as the Iraqi government itself is under Anglo-American control. The fact that the Iraqis were not told of this raid not only demonstrates that the British (and Americans) act above the law, but that the raid was something they did not want to have known by the Iraqis. There was a purpose behind the raid on the prison. It is important to note that it occurred a mere three months after the previous raid in December of 2006, in which the British seized “hundreds of files” and took computers “as evidence,” likely related to the British SAS incident. Since this was the Iraq intelligence unit in Basra, could it be that the previously destroyed Serious Crimes Unit had passed along some intelligence to the Iraqi Intelligence Ministry building? It would seem likely. And so, it would also seem to be likely that the British would follow the paper trail of evidence with their trail of terror.

The British Withdraw?

In an August, 2007 article, the Washington Post reported that, “As British forces pull back from Basra in southern Iraq, Shiite militias there have escalated a violent battle against each other for political supremacy and control over oil resources, deepening concerns among some U.S. officials in Baghdad that elements of Iraq’s Shiite-dominated national government will turn on one another once U.S. troops begin to draw down.” The article quoted a think tank called the International Crisis Group (ICG) as saying that Basra is plagued by “the systematic misuse of official institutions, political assassinations, tribal vendettas, neighborhood vigilantism and enforcement of social mores, together with the rise of criminal mafias that increasingly intermingle with political actors.”[25]

In September of 2007, amid widespread disenchantment among the British for their participation in the Iraq war and occupation, the British “pulled out of Basra Palace, the onetime southern residence of Saddam Hussein that became the symbol of the UK’s role in the US-led invasion.” As the Independent reported, “The British departure from their last remaining base inside the walls of Basra City, signalled their disengagement from the conflict and has highlighted a growing and public discord between Washington and London over Iraq, with the Americans claiming the move will severely undermine security.” The British were to remain at Basra airport only, which is on the outskirts of the city, “while what remains of the British-controlled south is handed over to the Iraqi authorities.” One Iraqi who is a resident of Basra was quoted as saying, “One thing we are uneasy about are rumours that the Americans may come to Basra to replace the British. We see what is happening in Baghdad and we don’t want that here.”[26]

On September 12, 2007, it was reported by the Independent that, “British forces have been sent from Basra to the volatile border with Iran amid warnings from the senior US commander in Iraq that Tehran is fomenting a “proxy war”,” and that, “The deployment came within a week of British forces leaving Basra Palace, their last remaining base inside Basra city, and withdrawing to the airport for a widely expected final departure from Iraq.” The move to the Iranian border was apparently at the request of the Americans, as “The move came as General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, made some of the strongest accusations yet by US officials about Iranian activity. General Petraeus spoke on Monday of a “proxy war” in Iraq, while Mr Crocker accused the Iranian government of “providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state”.”[27]

In December of 2007, the British officially “handed over control of Basra Province to Iraq’s government,” and as the New York Times reported, “American officials believe the transfer of control will be a serious test of Iraqi political and military leaders to maintain Basra — a strategically vital and politically fractious southern province, and the port city of the same name — under Iraqi control, and prevent Iran or Shiite militias from gaining too much influence.” However the British would remain in a “support role” in the Iraqi province that “holds most of Iraq’s proven petroleum reserves.” A British General was quoted as saying, “We will continue to help train Basra security forces.”[28]

So was the British departure from Basra really a drawing down of participation in the war? Was it for political legitimacy within the UK? Or, was there another reason behind this action? Basra’s strategic importance cannot be underestimated, being in the south of Iraq, the most oil-rich province, close to Iran and in the heart of the Gulf.

The British used to govern Iraq under a League of Nations mandate from its “independence” from the Ottoman Empire until 1932. In 1940, an anti-British nationalist leader, Rashid Ali, came to power in Iraq. After engaging in closer relationships with fascist Italy and quietly with Nazi Germany, he was replaced in 1941 as Prime Minister. A few months later, he orchestrated a coup d’état and returned to power. The British immediately responded by seizing Basra, what was seen, even then, as a vital supply route. The British also had a major military base in Basra. Significantly, also in 1941, Iran’s King was developing close ties to Germany. Britain was afraid of Iran’s oil reserves falling out of the hands of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as BP – British Petroleum), and into hands of Germany. So, a couple months after Britain took back Iraq, the British and USSR launched a joint invasion of Iran. The British of course invaded from the south in Iraq, from their bases, notably their base in Basra.

Could this glimpse into the past present any understanding of the present British situation in Basra? Considering that the British went from Basra and moved to a base on the Iranian border, it seems likely. But why leave Basra? Well, if the strategy of tension in the Middle East is directed at destabilizing the region, spilling civil war and conflict across borders,[29] perhaps it might be necessary for the British to step back and see if Basra collapses in on itself. Or perhaps, there would be some outside help in Basra’s implosion, but without the British forces present, foreign involvement would not be discussed as a cause of the problem, and could therefore be discussed as a possible solution to any implosion.

The Battle of Basra

Three months after handing control of Basra over to the Iraqis, a large battle was underway. The western media tenaciously referred to it as the “Battle of Basra.” On March 24, 2008, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went to Basra to oversee the planned Iraqi offensive to rid Basra of its Mahdi Army militia in key Sadrist neighborhoods of those loyal to Mahdi Army leader, Muqtada al-Sadr. This was the first major operation undertaken by the Iraqi Army.

The Battle lasted until March 31, resulting in hundreds of dead and significantly hundreds more wounded. During the battle, British papers such as the Times were calling for Britain to abandon its withdrawal timetable from the base outside of Basra, in order to remain in case of a need to “rescue” Basra.[30]

The Iraqi government forces were surprised by the resilience of the Mahdi Army in Basra, and were suffering a great deal at the defenses of the militia. This resulted in American forces having to be drawn into the battle to support the Iraqi government forces. US warplanes were used, ultimately killing civilians, and even the British were drawn into the fighting directly from their base at the airport. The Independent reported that, “If US and British forces engage in direct military action on a wide scale with the Sadrist militia, then Mr Sadr could call for a general uprising, which would engulf all of Shia Iraq in war.”[31] According to the BBC, “There have also been a small number of both British and American special forces on the ground” in Basra during the Battle.[32]

It was on March 29, that Muqtada al-Sadr called for a ceasefire between the Shi’a militia and Iraqi forces. The Independent reported that, “The Sadrists’ ceasefire was unexpected since they have prevented government forces from advancing in Basra and Baghdad. Hours before the announcement, militiamen stormed the state television station in Basra, forcing the guards to flee and setting armoured vehicles on fire.”[33] As it turned out, the ceasefire between Iraqi government officials and Sadr’s militia was brokered by Iran. USA Today reported that, “Iran has close ties with both al-Sadr’s movement and [Prime Minister] al-Maliki, who spent several years in exile there,” and that, “the agreement was brokered by the commander of Iran’s al-Quds Brigade, which is considered a terrorist organization by Washington.”[34]

What was Behind the Battle of Basra?

How exactly did the Battle of Basra begin, other than the initial attack by government forces? What was the reasoning and purpose behind this major offensive? Surely, a puppet government such as Iraq would never undertake such an operation without in the very least, the support of the Americans or British, but even more likely, at the direction of the Anglo-Americans. The Battle of Basra must be put into a wider context.

A week before the Battle broke out, Vice President Dick Cheney took a surprise tour of the Middle East. If George Bush is the “Decider” as he once proclaimed, Dick Cheney is certainly the “Destabilizer,” not to mention, the “Decider’s Decider.” On March 17, Cheney made a surprise, unannounced visit to Iraq, where his “first meeting was a classified briefing with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq who met him at the airport.” He also met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Among many of the possible topics of discussion during Cheney’s trip was that, “The Iraqis do not yet have a law for sharing the nation’s oil wealth among the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, a law that the Bush administration believes will trigger multinational energy companies to invest in exploration and production in Iraq,” as well as, “a plan for new provincial elections. Iraq’s presidential council, which must give its nod to laws passed by the Iraqi parliament, rejected a plan for new elections last month, shipping it back to the legislature.” The rejection was seen as “a setback to the U.S. campaign for national reconciliation, [which] came despite Cheney’s last-minute phone call to the main holdout on the three-member panel: Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite.” Cheney’s trip included visits to Oman, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Palestinian territories.[35]

Among much of the discussion regarding Cheney’s trip to the Middle East was rumours of preparing for a possible war with Iran. As the Telegraph reported, “Mr Cheney, whose nine-day tour has included stops in Turkey, the Gulf and Afghanistan, insisted that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.”[36] A surge of violence in Basra would provide Cheney with a convenient excuse to point the finger at Iran for “troublesome meddling” in Iraq.

It is important to take a closer look at possible reasons for the outbreak of violence in Basra in late March, a mere nine days after Cheney’s visit to Iraq. The main reasons, (none of which include the Iraqi government’s “decision” to displace the Mahdi Army), include scoring political points on the war issue in domestic American politics, passing an Iraqi oil law, pressing forward with provincial elections, building the case or creating a pretext for a war with Iran, and justifying a permanent occupation of Iraq.

Scoring Political Points

At Congressional hearings in early April following the Basra offensive, where Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Patraeus testified, Senator Ted Kennedy asked Crocker, “Were you at any meetings with the Vice President… where the issue of the Basra invasion took place?” Crocker responded, “Um, that was not discussed.” Kennedy pressed, “It wasn’t discussed at all, during the Vice President’s visit to Baghdad, ah, that the, the possibility of Maliki uh, going into Basra, was not discussed, you were not at any meetings where the Vice President was present or where this was discussed in his presence?” Crocker again replied, “Uh, it was not discussed in any meeting I attended, no, sir.” Kennedy then looked to General Patraeus, “Ah, General?” Patraeus replied, “Same, Senator.”

Ray McGovern, former 27-year CIA analyst who delivered several daily intelligence briefings to US Presidents, stated that, “I think Kennedy knows more than the rest of us know. I think it’s very clear that if you’re looking for why Maliki went off half-cocked for a big offensive down against Moqtada al-Sadr in southern Iraq, it was because Cheney had told him to. And I would be shocked if Cheney didn’t tell Patraeus and Crocker what he was going to tell Maliki.” He continued, “Patraeus has hundreds of troops there [in Basra] embedded with the Iraqi forces, he had to know exactly what was going on. He just couldn’t stop it. Why? Well, well he didn’t want to stop it because Cheney is running things. The plan was to get down there into the south to show that this fellow [Maliki] can take the initiative and be – well, the President was instructed two days later to say this was a ‘defining moment’ – a defining moment of the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki. Well, yeah, it was, but not the way they meant.” McGovern elaborated, “And so Patraeus and Crocker could come before Congress and say, ‘look, you told us – you told us last time that the Iraqis had to take more initiative, so that we’re not doing the fighting. Well, look, just what happened, they cleaned out the whole of southern Iraq. And they still played that theme… [that] Maliki took the initiative.” He further stated, “Ironically, they wanted to give the initiative to Maliki because they thought it might succeed, but then they wanted to give the initiative to Maliki because it failed miserably.”[37]

The Oil Law

Iraq has failed to pass an oil law for some time. Basra, the most oil rich province in Iraq, is of vital importance in any decision made regarding an oil law. In 2001, before 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Vice President Cheney met in secret with executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc., in what was known as the Cheney Energy Task Force.[38]

Interestingly, Judicial Watch, a public interest group and government watchdog, sued to get Commerce Department documents pertaining to Cheney’s secret Energy Task Force meetings. The documents contained “a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and ‘Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts’.” Further, “The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country’s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the projects, costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date.”[39]

Months after the Battle at Basra and Cheney’s visit, the International Herald Tribune reported that, “The Iraqi Oil Ministry is negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell on a joint venture deal to develop natural gas associated with oil production in southern Iraq,” and that, “The head of the Basra Economic Development Committee, Munadhil Abid Khanjar, said that Shell had approached the Oil Ministry last December with its plans and since then meetings have been held outside Iraq.”[40] Two days later, it was reported that, “Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.” The main oil companies are “Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — [and they], along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.” It was further reported that, “The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India.”[41]

So, if Cheney’s visit to Iraq was to do with oil, then, Mission Accomplished. However, it doesn’t seem likely that this was the reasoning behind the outbreak of violence in Basra. Surely, it was a topic of discussion between Cheney and Iraqi officials, however, it does not account for a push for violence in Basra, unless it is an issue of legitimizing a permanent occupation of the oil rich Basra province under the auspices of “stabilizing” the volatile region, but in reality, maintaining a presence there to protect the oil fields for Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, and BP.

The Provincial Elections

In February of 2008, it was reported that, “Iraq’s three-member presidency council has rejected a draft law to hold provincial elections and returned it to parliament,” and that, “The bill is expected to boost the powers of the provinces to launch their own economic projects with the money allocated by the central government.”[42] Two days after Cheney’s visit, “Iraq’s three-member presidential council on Wednesday approved legislation that sets a time frame for provincial elections, a development that Iraqi lawmakers called an important step toward reconciling rival factions in the divided government.”[43] This appears to be following the directions of the Council on Foreign Relations, among many other think tanks, in balkanizing Iraq, or as they put it, reverting to a federal system. Although pushing for a federal system for Iraq came after initial calls for a “three state solution,” as was the title of a Leslie Gelb article in the New York Times, who is President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.[44] The article he wrote called for the Balkanization of Iraq based upon the model of Yugoslavia, which, incidentally, was fractured largely through Western-financed, Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in Bosnia and Kosovo.[45]

President Bush said in a speech on March 27, 2008, during the Battle of Basra, that, “Last week, leaders reached agreement on a provincial powers law that helps define Iraqi federalism, and sets the stage for provincial elections later this year. And that’s an important piece of legislation because it will give Iraqis who boycotted the last provincial election — such as Sunnis in Anbar or Ninewa provinces — a chance to go to the polls and have a voice in their future.”[46]

Reverting to a more federal system will allow for the political fracturing of Iraq. Not only will it separate the regions likely according to Sunni, Kurd and Shi’a factions, but it will allow bigger powers, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, to not have their influence threatened by any actual strengthened and united Iraqi federal government.

As the Berkeley Daily Planet reported after the Battle of Basra, Muqtada al-Sadr, as a nationalist, “supports a unified Iraq with a strong central government,” while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has “pushed for dismembering Iraq into separate provinces dominated by the country’s three major ethnic groups—Sunnis in the west, Kurds in the north, and Shiites in the south. Since most of the oil reserves are in the south, as is the country’s only port, whoever controls the south essentially controls 70 percent of Iraq’s economy.” Further, the provincial election law that was passed “sets up an October election in which the various provinces will vote on whether they want to remain a unified country or splinter into separate provinces.”[47] The author stipulates that Maliki attacked Basra in an effort to win political points in driving out the militias in order to win the Basra provincial election come October, and thus, retain control over the oil reserves.

However, my problem with this hypothesis is that in the originally proposed recommendations from the Council on Foreign Relations in turning Iraq into a federal system, they state that oil laws are to be the prerogative of the federal government, not provincial.[48] Not to mention, Maliki has slim, if any chance, of ever winning the south of Iraq. Thus, it may be more likely that in attacking Basra, it creates great resentment among Shi’as and thusly, a federal political system will be so fractured and divided that it will likely lead to separation naturally. If the Iraqi provinces separated of their own accord, it would be harder to point the finger at the US for the balkanization of Iraq, which has long been a strategic aim.[49] [50] [51] When the US Senate passed a resolution in support of a federal system as a solution for Iraq, the Arab world, and even the Iraqi Prime Minister denounced it as an attempt to divide Iraq. But, if the Iraqi Parliament passes a law for provincial elections, which could lead to fracture, it is a “break through for democracy.”

Promoting War With Iran

The Financial Times reported prior to Cheney’s trip to the Middle East that, “On Iran, the vice-president is expected to urge countries in the region to do more to isolate Tehran diplomatically and economically,” and that, “The trip comes at a time of renewed interest in policy towards Iran after a senior US military commander resigned last week because of perceived differences with the White House over the issue. Admiral William Fallon was widely considered a dovish voice on Iran and his departure sparked speculation that hawkish figures such as Mr Cheney were regaining the upper hand over the issue.”[52] The day after Cheney visited Saudi Arabia, the government began preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors.”[53]

The outbreak of violence in Basra delivered the perfect opportunity to continue doing what the administration has been doing for so long, blaming Iran for the violence in Iraq. Amid the heated Battle of Basra, on March 27, it was reported that, “The U.S. military stated Iran is orchestrating the Shi’ite insurgency in southern Iraq and outbreaks of violence throughout the country,” and a Defense Department spokesman stated that, “There has been a persistent and troublesome meddling by Iran.”[54]

A month later, the US envoy to the United Nations blamed Iran “for fueling recent clashes in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and in Baghdad, saying Tehran was training and supplying weapons to militias.” Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and signatory to several PNAC documents, stated, “The recent clashes between criminal militia elements and Iraqi government forces in Basra and Baghdad have highlighted Iran’s destabilizing influence and actions.”[55] However, what he (intentionally) failed to realize is that Sadr had declared a ceasefire long before the Battle of Basra began, from August of 2007, (interestingly at the time that Bush’s “surge” strategy in Iraq became a “success” in reducing violence), and that the Battle began when the Iraqi government attacked Sadr strongholds in Basra. Khalilzad also mistakenly blamed Iran for being a destabilizing force. Yet, it was Iran that brokered the ceasefire, making Iran the most stabilizing force in the region.

On June 6, 2008, it was reported that, “Pentagon officials firmly opposed a proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney last summer for airstrikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bases by insisting that the administration would have to make clear decisions about how far the United States would go in escalating the conflict with Iran, according to a former George W. Bush administration official.” The report continued, “J. Scott Carpenter, who was then deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recalled in an interview that senior Defence Department (DoD) officials and the Joint Chiefs used the escalation issue as the main argument against the Cheney proposal,” and that Cheney had proposed “launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iran.” It further stated that, “The question of escalation posed by DoD officials involved not only the potential of the Mahdi Army in Iraq to attack, Carpenter said, but possible responses by Hezbollah and by Iran itself across the Middle East,” and that, “Cheney’s proposal was perceived as a ploy to provoke Iranian retaliation that could used to justify a strategic attack on Iran.”[56]

Cheney’s plan to provoke Iran through airstrikes on camps in Iran was rebuked by the Pentagon, and the attempt at scaring the world with threats of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons was rebuked by the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of all 16 US intelligence agencies in December of 2007, which said that Iran gave up attempting to build nuclear weapons in 2003.[57] It was even reported that Cheney tried to suppress the NIE from becoming public for over a year.[58] It seemed as if provoking a situation within Iraq was the best option for Cheney. However, because Iran acted quickly in ending the violence and brokering a ceasefire, Cheney’s plan backfired.

Permanent Occupation

Having a massive outbreak of violence in Iraq could have provided an excellent reason to justify a permanent occupation of Iraq. On April 8, 2008, a week after the fighting in Basra reached a ceasefire, the Guardian reported that, “A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country,” and that the “secret” and “sensitive” agreement was dated “March 7,” and, “is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to “conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security” without time limit.”[59]

On June 5, it was reported by the Independent that, “A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November,” and that, “Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.” Further, “Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.” The article reported that, “The Iraqi government wants to delay the actual signing of the agreement but the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney has been trying to force it through. The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, has spent weeks trying to secure the accord.”[60]

Important to note is that, “The agreement artfully drafted by US officials will not only jeopardize the Iraqi sovereignty but will also give the US military the right to use Iraq as a launching pad for attacks against other countries, including Syria and Iran.”[61] As of June 19, “Iraqi and U.S. officials are seeking a compromise on the pending issues over a new security agreement between the two countries.”[62]

Concluding Remarks

Understanding the anatomy of the conflict that has raged in Basra since 2003 is a pivotal study in understanding the wider “War on Terror.” The British, for nearly a century maintaining a destabilizing presence in the region, notably in Basra, have not given up their Empire’s long-standing tradition of “Divide and Conquer.” From the two SAS terrorist, to their dramatic “rescue,” the destruction of the Serious Crimes Unit and eventually, the liquidation of the Basra Intelligence Ministry, the British have maintained a position of being above the law and beyond moral restraint.

Notes 

[1] Helen McCormack, The day that Iraqi anger exploded in the face of the British occupiers. The Independent: September 20, 2005:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-day-that-iraqi-anger-exploded-in-the-face-of-the-british-occupiers-507597.html

[2] BBC, Iraq probe into soldier incident. BBC News: September 20, 2005:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4264614.stm

[3] Global Research, Iraqi MP accuses British Forces in Basra of “Terrorism”. Al Jazeera: September 20, 2005:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050920&articleId=983

[4] Robert Fisk, When nature and man conspire to expose the lies of the powerful, the truth will out. The Independent: September 24, 2005:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/fisk/robert-fisk-when-nature-and-man-conspire-to-expose-the-lies-of-the-powerful-the-truth-will-out-508135.html

[5] Times Online, British forces break soldiers out of Basra jail. Times Online: September 19, 2005:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article568439.ece

[6] Ibid.

[7] AP, British soldiers free two from Basra jail. USA Today: September 19, 2005:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-09-19-british-basra_x.htm

[8] Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer, British Smash Into Iraqi Jail To Free 2 Detained Soldiers. The Washington Post: September 20, 2005:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091900572.html

[9] BBC, Iraq probe into soldier incident. BBC News: September 20, 2005:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4264614.stm

[10] John Pilger, John Pilger blames Basra on the British. The New Statesman: October 3, 2005:
http://www.newstatesman.com/200510030009

[11] Michel Chossudovsky, Britain “apologizes” for terrorist act in Basra. Global Research: October 15, 2005:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=1094

[12] Kim Sengupta, Senior military investigator found dead in Iraq. The Independent: October 17, 2005:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/senior-military-investigator-found-dead-in-iraq-511240.html

[13] Michael Evans, Top military investigator is found dead in Basra. The Times Online: October 17, 2005:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article579399.ece

[14] Richard Norton-Taylor, Investigator found dead at Basra base. The Guardian: October 17, 2005:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/oct/17/military.iraq

[15] The Age, Captured SAS soldiers ‘spied on drill torturer’. The Age: October 17, 2005:
http://www.theage.com.au/news/iraq/captured-sas-soldiers-spied-on-drill-torturer/2005/10/16/1129401144904.html

[16] Ian Herbert, Suicide in Basra: The unravelling of a military man. The Independent: July 31, 2006:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/suicide-in-basra-the-unravelling-of-a-military-man-409965.html

[17] Telegraph staff, British troops storm ‘execution prison’. The Telegraph: December 25, 2006:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/migrationtemp/1537806/British-troops-storm-‘execution-prison’.html

[18] Thomas Harding, ‘Rogue’ police officers seized in Basra. The Telegraph: December 23, 2006:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1537714/%27Rogue%27-police-officers-seized-in-Basra.html

[19] BBC, Iraqi police ambushed near Basra. BBC News: October 29, 2006:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6097180.stm

[20] Marc Santora, British Soldiers Storm Iraqi Jail, Citing Torture. The New York Times: December 26, 2006:
http://www.truthout.org/article/british-soldiers-storm-iraqi-jail-citing-torture

[21] Sudarsan Raghavan, Basra Raid Finds Prisoners With Signs of Torture. The Washington Post: March 5, 2007:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/04/AR2007030400345.html

[22] Matthew Moore, Iraqi PM criticises ‘illegal’ British raid. The Telegraph: March 6, 2007:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/migrationtemp/1544637/Iraqi-PM-criticises-‘illegal’-British-raid.html

[23] Reuters, Iraqi PM orders probe of raid on Basra prison. Reuters: March 4, 2007:

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L04686706.htm

[24] Paul Wood, Basra raids raise power concerns. BBC News: March 6, 2007: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6423691.stm

[25] Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks, As British Leave, Basra Deteriorates. The Washington Post: August 7, 2007:
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[26] Kim Sengupta, British leave last remaining Basra base: What was achieved? The Independent: September 3, 2007:
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[27] Kim Sengupta, The ‘proxy war’: UK troops are sent to Iranian border. The Independent: September 12, 2007:
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[28] Paul von Zielbauer, British Hand Over Basra to Iraqis. The New York Times: December 16, 2007:
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[29] Ralph Peters, Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look. Armed Forces Journal: June 2006: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/06/1833899

[30] The Times, Iraq: the battle for Basra. Times Online: March 28, 2008:
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[31] Patrick Cockburn, British and US forces drawn into battle for Basra. The Independent: March 30, 2008:
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[32] BBC, Britain and the battle for Basra. BBC News: March 30, 2008: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7321461.stm

[33] Patrick Cockburn, Al-Sadr calls ceasefire after six days of clashes. The Independent: March 31, 2008:
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[34] Charles Levinson, Iranians help reach Iraq cease-fire. USA Today: March 31, 2008:
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[35] AP, In push for political unity, Cheney visits Iraq. MSNBC: March 17, 2008: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23667595/

[36] Tom Coghlan, Dick Cheney tour sparks Iran war rumours. The Telegraph: March 21, 2008:
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[37] Real News, Ex-CIA analyst on Petraeus and Cheney. The Real News Network: April 11, 2008:
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[38] Dana Milbank and Justin Blum, Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force. The Washington Post: November 16, 2005:
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[39] Press Office, CHENEY ENERGY TASK FORCE DOCUMENTS FEATURE MAP OF IRAQI OILFIELDS. Judicial Watch: July 17, 2003: http://www.judicialwatch.org/printer_iraqi-oilfield-pr.shtml

[40] AP, Iraq in talks with Royal Dutch Shell on joint venture deal to invest natural gas. The International Herald Tribune: June 17, 2008: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/06/17/business/ME-FIN-Iraq-Natural-Gas.php

[41] Andrew E. Kramer, Deals with Iraq are set to bring oil giants back. The International Herald Tribune: June 19, 2008: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/19/africa/19iraq.php

[42] AFP, Iraq presidency rejects provincial election law. AFP: February 27, 2008:
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[43] Sholnn Freeman, Iraqi Council Clears Key Legislation on Provincial Elections. The Washington Post: March 20, 2008:
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[44] Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:

http://www.cfr.org/publication/6559/threestate_solution.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb%3Fpage%3D3

[45] Michel Chossudovsky, “Osamagate.” Global Research: October 9, 2001:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO110A.html

[46] George W. Bush, Bush’s Speech on the Global War on Terror, March 2008. CFR: March 27, 2008:
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[47] Conn Hallinan, Column: Dispatches FromThe Edge: The Story Behind the Battle for Basra. The Berkeley Daily Planet: April 11, 2008: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2008-04-11/article/29715

[48] Leslie Gelb and Joseph Biden, Jr., Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq. The New York Times: May 1, 2006: http://www.cfr.org/publication/10569/unity_through_autonomy_in_iraq.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb%3Fpage%3D2

[49] Linda S. Heard, The Prophecy of Oded Yinon. Counter Punch: April 25, 2006: http://www.counterpunch.org/heard04252006.html

[50] Richard Perle, et. al., A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies: June 1996: http://www.iasps.org/strat1.htm

[51] Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:

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[52] Daniel Dombey and Andrew Ward, Oil tops Cheney’s Middle East tour agenda. The Financial Times: March 16, 2008: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d132d1e2-f3a2-11dc-b6bc-0000779fd2ac.html

[53] Chris Floyd, US Attack on Iran: Worried Yet? Saudis Prepare for “Sudden Nuclear Hazards” After Cheney Visit. Global Research: March 31, 2008: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8494

[54] World Tribune, U.S. charges Iran behind renewed violence in Iraq. The World Tribune: March 27, 2008: http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/ss_iran_03_27.asp

[55] Claudia Parsons, US envoy to UN blames Iran for fueling Iraq violence. Reuters: April 28, 2008:
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[56] Gareth Porter, US/IRAN: Fearing Escalation, Pentagon Fought Cheney Plan. IPS: June 6, 2008: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42696

[57] Mark Mazzetti, U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work. The New York Times: December 3, 2007: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/12/03/5588/

[58] Gareth Porter, POLITICS-US: Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran NIE. IPS: November 8, 2007: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39978

[59] Seumas Milne, Secret US plan for military future in Iraq. The Guardian: April 8, 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/08/iraq.usa

[60] Patrick Cockburn, Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control. The Independent: June 5, 2008:
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[61] Ismail Salami, US hidden agenda in Iraq security agreement. Press TV: June 7, 2008: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=59060&sectionid=3510303

[62] AP, Iraq, US seek security compromise. Associated Press: June 19, 2008: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g4Sx1RDO6xF-Ggz2GsqBY6y0vq6AD91DC1TG1