Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bleeding Wars by I. A. Passohta

A senior fellow at Brooking institute and Advisor to three consecutive US Presidents since 9/11 Mr. Bruce Riedel, who also authored one of the most sought after book “the Search for al Qaeda:
its leadership, ideology and future’ while giving an interview to Trudy Rubin termed Pakistan as the `Most Dangerous Country in the World’ today. The contents of answers are full of skeptics that Pakistani Jihadis’ ultimate goal is to drive the US out of the Muslim world, to force US to withdraw all of its military forces and diplomats. In his opinion, the immediate goal is to bleed the United States and its allies in what Taliban call “bleeding Wars” There is an adage, “the riches are supposed to do what they want and poor will continue to suffer which they must”. This preposition fully fits around the neck of Pakistanis. His statement is actually a curious mix of many charges which are inter-linked. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, out of our necessity of survival to safeguard our sovereignty against lurking Indian expansionism threat. But charges against Pakistan for proliferating the nuclear technology to others by a group of scientists is a different story that goes beyond saying, with many ifs and buts. What if some one reminds Mr. Riedel to justify the role of those Americans who were involved in the espionage of technical know how from the USA to former USSR. There are many nuclear countries in the world now but why they all have not been mentioned as dangerous as Pakistan is? The fact that one will have to acknowledge that in every country, people of shady characters or men of excellence, who play their negative or positive role, at one stage or the other. To single out Pakistan for this purpose at this stage, by ignoring others, who betrayed their countries, amounts to pulling the strings, against this most allied ally. Pakistan is dangerous in his opinion because this country has fought four wars - Yes it did, but the US had fought over one hundred wars. Will the Americans like, if they are regarded as dangerous. If his rational is accepted as true that Pakistan is hosting terrorist and providing them safe haven. Pakistan could be blamed if it had proofs, or any other country provided any leads or actionable intelligence but it did not act. It is matter of common sense that no one likes to keep the thieves or such trouble mongers in his house. Why should a country that had track history of being so peaceful, would allow criminals to enjoy hospitality in Pakistan. If they come and go or hide somewhere, it may be inability of concerned quarters and if the US can help tracking them with its state of the art technology, the genie of terrorism would have been harnessed years back. Such people of ill-fame or repute bring a bad name and pose risk to the life and property. They are like the lethal weapons and nuke, whose custody or monitoring is both expensive and risky. They are the one who may push the country to the point of no return and expedite a fall from the high estate. At the same time, a miscalculated or speculative conclusion, that Pakistan does such things, by displaying double standards. It has become a fashion now to link Pakistan with terrorism. The hearsays goes on, and no one bothers to know the root cause of the problem. Say it Pakistan’s dilemma after having displayed such a high degree of allegiance, maintained in its relations with US and European allies in the past. How come, the people or leaders of Pakistan could have become so improvident and imprudent of brewing troubles for the US or its allies, when they have no political vendetta or any divergence on any key issue? May be a few Taliban sympathizers in a country of more or less 180 millions people extended their cooperation, on multiple accounts by providing shelter or safe haven by design or out of their criminal ignorance. But such black-sheep are found in every corner of the world. Had Pakistan ever ignored any information to act, then Pakistan can be blamed. But if no such thing was ever noticed, then trumpeting up such charges, time and again, is sheer injustice. In fact, the Agencies, collecting and processing intelligence should share the blame for their inability to track or locate such elements. With the multitude of such domestic problems, the state is bound to experience so many administrative shortcomings. Mr. Riedel’s statement that country is awash in narcotics and drugs, in the backdrop of our all out cooperation and joint anti - Narcotics operations with the cooperation and assistance of European experts to eliminate this menace has yielded fair degree of success. It may be significant to note that a country like India with world’s largest poppy cultivation has not been discussed in the same context, as Pakistan has been. His assertion that the country was on the brink of nuclear war during a couple of years, cannot be denied - but it was not Pakistan’s fault and whatever we did was out of our earnest desire to defend this state against any foreign aggression. His rhetoric that they (Jihadis) want to US military forces or diplomats to leave their country. But Pakistan is not a state or country for such a tiny/fractional number of opinion If an impartial opinion-survey is conducted, the results would fully demonstrate real credentials of the people of this country. Even most of the Americans, currently living in Pakistan will not approve any such mindset of Pakistanis. Taliban or their affiliates they have no authority to dictate or decide the fate of 180 million people of Pakistan. To far the impression that these Taliban or extremists would take the control of major part of the country, in the presence of more than six hundred thousand motivated and armed forces, how a scattered, un-trained and tiny number of militants can take the reigns of power into their hand? His rational that about coup attempts in Pakistan if replied to amounts to opening a Pandora’s Box. Similarly, his logic for making an attempt with the top notches of army and intelligence to comply with the orders of democratically elected civilian establishment is riddled with multiple layers of “marriage of convenience” best-known to ruling elites of both the countries. Besides, his assessment about `Is ISI on our side or the other side’ - is an issue that cannot be discussed due to the sensitivity and lack of access to the information. But suffice to say, that working relationship, as seen through various media reports between the counterpart of the US and Pakistan’s Agency officials and Military commands, reflects fairly good if not excellent. A sizeable number of intelligentsia, however, feels embarrassed when American partners, talk in circles without being specific to solve the problem. After rendering so many sacrifices and committing near one hundred thousand troops along the border, out of its meager financial resources, if Islamabad, fails to convince the US administration, on whose side the ISI is, then Pakistan should pay due attention to find an alternate and amicable solution of the problem to seek mutual consensus to avoid any ambiguity. His assertion “if you look at the itch that Pakistan has been scratching for the last 30 years that has produced this Jihadist culture” has many strands or riddles for the historians and political analysts to look into the problem. How did Jihadi culture proliferate? How did Pakistan remain a hub of such unwanted activities? How international interests did fuel this crisis and why US supported military regime of Pakistan failed to toe the US line, are some of the important questions Mr. Riedel may be knowing more, than anybody else. Similarly, his reference to the compensation or the aid provided to Pakistan “We have provided somewhere in excess of $11 billion in aid to Pakistan since 9/11. That is more aid than we have provided in the previous fifty years to Pakistan” has already been discussed and details of the expenditure have been provided by the concerned quarters. Again, some of the salient features of interview like poor infrastructure of roads airports and educational system with proposed Biden Bill to help Pakistan rebuild its public education is really right step in the right direction, provided tides of public wraths generated by the drone attacks are not stirred to wipe away the rewards of generosity. Mr. Riedel should play his role to help Pakistan to translate Biden vision into reality to turn Pakistan a region of peace than a din of terrorist ghosts. The threat, which he echoed in his statement “I fear that within two to four years al-Qaeda could be in the streets of Islamabad” demands careful analysis and warrants vigilance. Pakistan can achieve any amount of success, provided, it is provided all moral and material support. In the recent past, the recipe of applying both stick and carrot created more fog of confusion, than steering our efforts in the right direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment