Showing posts with label PAKISTAN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PAKISTAN. Show all posts

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pakistan’s Long History of Duplicity(R)


   Pakistan’s Long History of Duplicity


                             Ted Poe 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Backing terrorists while proclaiming U.S. friendship is not the act of an ally

The United States has many complex foreign relationships. Being the world’s only superpower requires dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly of nation-states. The good are obvious. They are America’s allies and partners who we share common interests and values. The bad are America’s adversaries, who often sponsor terrorism, undermine our goals, and flaunt their disdain for the United States. Then there are the ugly. The Benedict Arnold of states that say they are our friends, take billions in U.S. aid, then back the very terrorists that are killing Americans. The ugliest of the bunch is Pakistan.
Pakistan has a long duplicitous relationship with the U.S. Throughout most of the Cold War, America and Pakistan worked closely to contain Soviet advances in South Asia. This working relationship peaked in the 1980s when the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, partnered to bleed the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by providing covert assistance to the Afghan anti-communist rebels. But even as the U.S. bolstered Pakistans own defenses, Islamabad was covertly developing a nuclear weapons program that it would later use to proliferate nuclear technology to Libya, North Korea and Iran — the who’s who of bad actors.
After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan continued to back militants in the country, giving rise to the Taliban. By 1996, after receiving extensive support from the ISI, the Taliban managed to seize much of the country and institute a strict and repressive form of Islamic law. In this jihadi paradise cultivated by Pakistan, al Qaeda was able to take shape and plan its war on the United States. Pakistan didn’t just turn a blind eye to al Qaeda’s ambitions — it assisted by providing ISI advisers. Some of these ISI agents were killed in 1998 when American cruise missiles struck an al Qaeda training camp in response to the terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa. Yet, Pakistancondemned the strikes and may have even tipped off Osama bin Laden beforehand, allowing his escape. If Pakistan was a true ally, it would have assisted the U.S. to kill bin Laden after the embassy attacks and Sept. 11 may have never had happened. Instead, Islamabad sided with the terrorists.
After the September 111 attacks, as the U.S. rained justice on bin Laden, his al Qaeda thugs and the Taliban in Afghanistan, Pakistan provided the escape route. Despite pledges of support, Islamabad opened the door to thousands of terrorists fleeing American forces, including bin Laden himself. According to former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, the ISI’s support was critical to the survival and revival of the Taliban after 2001. Sixteen years later, the Taliban along with its al Qaeda allies are retaking parts of Afghanistan as the Pentagon prepares to send thousands of U.S. troops to beat them back. Pakistan is at fault.
The U.S. has been reluctant to cut ties or meaningfully confront Pakistan over its treachery because the supply line that keeps the coalition fed and equipped in Afghanistan runs through Pakistan. However, this key link does not come free and has even been severed by Pakistan on multiple occasions after violent incidents between their forces and our own. The Government Accountability Office found in 2008 that of the $2 billion the U.S. had given Pakistan to run that key supply line, more than a third could not be accounted for, possibly because of fraud. Moreover, the Pentagon decided last August it would not pay Pakistan $300 million in reimbursement because it could not verify Islamabad was taking steps to combat the Haqqani network — another terrorist organization with ongoing ties to the ISI that is actively targeting Americans in Afghanistan.
When the U.S. finally tracked Osama bin Laden to Abbottabad in May 2011, it was clear Pakistan had been playing us for fools. For a decade, Pakistani officials denied his presence in their country, while the al Qaeda leader lived comfortably directing his network of terror. By this point, however, the U.S. military and intelligence community knew Pakistan could not be trusted. To prevent bin Laden from being tipped off by his hosts, the U.S. excluded the Pakistanis from the raid and ordered the use of secret stealth helicopters to evade Pakistani radars. It worked, and the world’s most wanted terrorist finally met American justice. When Pakistan learned what was happening, it immediately dispatched F-16 fighters we had generously given them to shoot down our Navy SEALs as they flew back to Afghanistan. Fortunately, they were too late.
In the aftermath of the raid, Pakistan struck back. They invited their Chinese allies to collect samples of our crashed stealth helicopter, poisoned the CIA station chief in-country, and jailed the Pakistani doctor who assisted U.S. efforts to locate bin Laden.
Despite all these cases of bad behavior, we still give Pakistan hundreds of millions of dollars every year in aid. We don’t need to pay Pakistan to betray us — they will do it for free. That is why I have introduced two bills that would put pressure on Pakistan. H.R. 1499, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act, would require the State Department to assess Islamabad’s long history of cooperating with terrorists and determine whether or not Pakistanis a state sponsor of terrorism. H.R. 3000 would revoke Pakistan’s Major Non-NATO Ally status, an exclusive and preferential designation that Pakistan definitively does not deserve. We must hold Pakistan accountable for the American blood on its hands.
• Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade.

Sunday, March 6, 2016



               A Brief History of Balochistan

A Brief History of Balochistan
Image Credit: Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons




The arid region of Balochistan, situated at the eastern end of the Iranian plateau, is split almost evenly between Pakistan’s Balochistan province and Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province (a small portion of the southern parts of Afghanistan’s Nimruz, Helmand, and Kandahar provinces are also part of Baluchistan). Balochistan is today at the forefront of major geopolitical events. Pakistan has faced almost constant turmoil in Balochistan since its independence, even as it struggles to secure and develop the region with Chinese help.

The port access offered by Gwadar in Balochistan is an important component in China’s emerging transportation network across Asia. Right across the border in Iran, India is struggling to complete Chabahar, its attempt to answer Gwadar and link to Afghanistan by going around Pakistan. Iranian Balochistan is Iran’s soft underbelly, a restless Sunni region in a mostly Shia country, a place where Saudi Arabia can make mischief using groups like the radical Sunni Jundallah.

But what about Balochistan itself?

 How did it come to be divided and ruled by other peoples?

Surprisingly, very little has been written about Balochistan. It has always been uncomfortably sandwiched between the great Persian and Indian empires to its west and east. And unlike their Afghan neighbors to the north, who also felt the constant tug of war between Persia and India, the people of Balochistan had no mountains to protect them. It is a region at once neglected, exploited, and ignored.

Balochistan takes its names from the Baloch who inhabit it, a mostly Sunni Muslim people who speak an Iranian language, Balochi, that is oddly classified neither as an eastern Iranian language like Pashto to its north or a southwestern Iranian language like Persian to its west. Rather, Balochi is a northwestern Iranian language, most closely related to Kurdish. It is thus a matter of some conjecture as to when and how the Baloch actually got to Balochistan.

In ancient times, the region was a part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and then various Persian and Indian empires and local kingdoms and was presumably inhabited by some mix of Iranian and Indian peoples. People in Baluchistan followed Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. The region acquired a notorious reputation due to Alexander the Great disastrously marching back to Babylon after his Indian campaign through its deserts, leading to the deaths of thousands of soldiers.

By the time of the rise of Islam in the 600s, Balochistan was loosely controlled by the Sassanid Persian empire, but as that empire faced the onslaught of the Arabs, Balochistan, then known as Makran (after the name of its coastal region), passed to the control of the Rai Dynasty of Sindh. The Arabs defeated this dynasty in 644 at the Battle of Rasil and conquered Makran, which converted to Islam but continued to remain a lightly populated, peripheral region.

In the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks invaded Persia. This is thought to have stimulated the eastward migration of the nomadic tribes (ancestors of today’s Baloch) of central Iran and the area south of the Caspian sea into Balochistan. As these tribes were used to living marginally in arid territory, the move to the even more arid Balochistan was not a catastrophe and was indeed a path of less resistance than fighting the invaders, who competed for the same pasture space in Iran. Around the same time, Balochistan’s largest minority group, the Brahui (who speak a Dravidian language like other South Indian languages) migrated to Balochistan from central India and formed a symbiotic relationship with the Baloch. Many Baloch become sedentary during this period, farming oases. They formed many kingdoms and tribal confederations, sometimes independent, sometimes under the suzerainty of external empires.

In the 1500s, Balochistan, like Afghanistan to its north, became divided into zones of control between the Safavid Persian Empire to its west and the Mughal Empire to its east. This approximately reflects the Iran-Pakistan border today. Because Persia’s Sistan province is a frontier province, it was loosely controlled and its people had leverage over its central government (they could swear allegiance to the Mughals if they wished). As a result, unlike most of the rest of Iran, it managed to escape the central government’s policy of implementing Shia Islam. As for the Mughals, while initially they ruled Balochistan directly from Multan in the Punjab (in today’s Pakistan), it was never a place of much importance. Control was delegated to a local vassal who organized the Khanate of Kalat in 1666 (located in central Balochistan). On behalf of the Mughals, Kalat ruled over the vassals of the states of Las Bela, Kharan, and Makran, which make up most of Pakistani Balochistan. In 1783, the Khan of Kalat granted suzerainty to the port of Gwadar to a man who later became the Sultan of Oman and who decided to keep it as part of his domains. Pakistan had to buy it back from Oman in 1958.

The division of Balochistan into western and eastern halves temporary lapsed during the 18th century as first the Safavid and then the Mughal Empire, and finally the brief empire of Nader Shah collapsed. Balochistan reverted to a collection of principalities, some of which then fell under the control of Afghanistan, but most remained independent. The most important of these independent principalities was Kalat. Within a century, though, the Qajar dynasty established itself in Persia, and the British in India, squeezing the Baloch again. The British attacked Kalat in 1839 as part of their related invasion of Afghanistan, installing a friendly ruler. In 1854, Kalat became an associated state of the British, and in 1877 the British established the Baluchistan Agency to deal with the Baluch princely states in its Indian Empire and directly rule of the northern half of Balochistan, including Quetta.

In the meanwhile, Persia re-conquered western Balochistan, which has remained part of Iran ever since except for a brief period in the 1920s when it acquired its own “king.” The British and Persians demarcated the boundary between their territories in 1871-1872, with some changes made in 1895-1896. Pakistan, which absorbed the princely state of Kalat in 1955 (allegedly Kalat had tried to find a way to join India instead), reconfirmed this boundary with Iran with some very minor changes during a demarcation in 1958-1959.

These agreements basically established the modern frontier between Iran and Pakistani Balochistan, but it is not an arbitrary division that suddenly severed the Baloch nation in two. The control of the western part of Balochistan from Iran and the eastern from the subcontinent has been a fact more or less for over five centuries, and its current division, based on the Anglo-Persian division represented zones of existing control on the ground rather than an unenforceable, random line. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that ethnic Baloch on both sides of the frontier are getting the short end of the stick, because their needs are subordinated to the needs of their states, but unlike the Pashtun and Kurds, they have neither the numbers nor the firepower to seriously contest this and negotiate further rights.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

PAKISTAN ARMED FORCES PRO: How Pakistan Beguiles the Americans: A Guide for Foreign Officials


How Pakistan Beguiles the Americans: A Guide for Foreign Officials

        How Pakistan Beguiles the Americans:

           A Guide for Foreign Officials