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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Double-Game Players

I believe the contents of this piece would have infuriated CIA: ISI is in constant contact with Taliban and helps them with money, military power and strategic planning. And when Taliban runs out of man power, ISI agents hunt madrasas to fill their ranks. Everyone knew that ISI is a spoiled uncontrollable brat. But this revelation has the potential to jeopardize the political equations between Pakistan and America.
Pakistan is sinking. Sunnis & Shiites don't get along well. The past decade has numerous cases of deadly attacks by these two sects that go back to the death of the prophet. Baluchis in the north want autonomy. The west is controlled by the Taliban. Jihadis in the east in the name of freedom have at best plundered the resources. There is a yawning gap between the rich & the poor. The economy is in tatters. President Zardari recently went begging around the gulf region to feed the starving economy and came back empty handed. There is a monstrous gap between the rights enjoyed by the men and the women. CII, a constitutional body, denounced the country's women commission's call for 'gender equality'. CII blatantly called it un-Islamic and impractical thinking. Scientific temperament among students is alarmingly declining. Madrassas are better funded than state-run schools. Add to this a sky-rocketing inflation and unhealthy unemployment rates.
Even when a democratic government ruled, military spending ranked one in their budget. Military officers have political clout and good houses. Economic development at the grassroot level has been treated as a nice-to-have feature, never a priority for them. America by this time will have realized that they can't bribe Pakistani presidents to do them favors. ISI is almost an autonomous body, unquestionable by the government, unquestionable by anybody. And since the foreign aid never reaches the man at the bottom of the pyramid, America will never earn his/her good will.
Ever since Obama took over, the strikes inside Pakistan have intensified. I have wondered if that's in part to appeal to the war-mongering right wingers who've looked down on Obama as the commander-in-chief without any military experience. But no, I believe he's a supreme pragmatist who weighs the pros and cons of his military decisions. (Though his financial and fiscal policies, which are to the left, I'm afraid are going to drive down the value of the dollar). Now that the evidence of Pakistani intelligence's official involvement with Taliban had gathered strength and with the toothless civilian government lost in its own cocoon of petty political turmoil standing aside helplessly, Obama will be forced to step up his military actions in the region.
So, a fraction of American tax-payers' money goes towards Pakistan's military establishment in the form of financial assistance and a part of that goes to Taliban and they launch missiles at American troops. A different kind of vicious circle, huh? There's a funny and sad paragraph in that NYT article linked above. British government officers are openly asking the ISI to request their Taliban friends to scale down their militant activities until the Afghan presidential elections due in August. Imagine what they might have conversed:
"We really have no long-term interests in the region. Really, believe me. Okay. We just want to score some political points. Okay. If the elections are free of violence, we can trumpet to the world that as an achievement of our intervention. That's all. And we will be gone in no time. What do you say?"
"Insha Allah."

I'm waiting for Nitin's response.

1 comment:

Freehit said...

The war-against-terror was a vehicle for GWB to get elected for a second term and a pathetic attempt at leaving behind a legacy. Pakistan, by virtue of its geographical location, jumped on to it and is milking the US for aid dollars which will directly fuel "jehad" or whatever nonsense. The idea being, if Pakistan does not "cooperate" with the US, they will face setbacks in their Pak-Afghan border operations against the Taleban. The irony is that Taleban controls Swat valley - a short missile ride from Islamabad. The US has now decided to increase aid (military and civil) to Pakistan.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-03-26-pakistan_N.htm

One thing is clear: India better watch out.