’Every Year We Dig Mass Graves’: The Slaughter of Pakistan’s Hazara

5/4/2021

’Every Year We Dig Mass Graves’: The Slaughter of Pakistan’s Hazara

By Shah Meer Baloch – The Guardian

Ahmed Shah had always dreamed of bigger things. Though just 17, the high school pupil had taken a job in the coalmines of Balochistan, Pakistan’s south-western province, one of the harshest, most dangerous working environments in the world. Shah was determined to earn enough to educate himself, so he could escape the tough life of the Hazara Shia community, the most persecuted minority in Pakistan.

But Shah never saw a brighter future. He was among 10 miners who were resting in their mud hut near the mines in the small Balochistan town of Mach when armed militants burst in. A gruesome video from the scene shows the young men blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their backs. A security official said their throats had been slit. Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] claimed responsibility for the massacre.

The prime minister, Imran Khan, called it an “inhumane act of terrorism”, but for the Hazara, minority Shia Muslims who have been targeted for three decades in Pakistan by extremists among the majority Sunni Muslims who view them as heretics, this was not enough.

Shah’s mother, Amina, was on her rounds as a healthcare worker in the nearby provincial capital of Quetta when she heard about the massacre.

“I wanted to see my son one last time, but I was told that I would not be able to bear that,” says Amina. “The killers were not humans. They killed them so brutally.”

The Hazara community, after decades of injustice and neglect by the state, were driven to act, and in a protest unlike anything seen before in Pakistan, the families of the 10 men brought the dead bodies out on to the streets, and sat beside them, in the freezing cold, to demand protection and justice.

For a full week, they did not move, stating they would not bury the bodies until the prime minister listened to their demands.

In response, Khan accused them of trying to “blackmail” him, and said he would not visit until the bodies were buried.

Ahmed Shah was one of four from his family to die in the Mach massacre. So too did his cousin Sadiq, the sole breadwinner for his wife, children and six sisters.

Sadiq, a father of two daughters, had had breakfast with his wife before dawn at his home in Quetta before leaving for Mach. One sister, Masooma Yaqoob Ali, saw the news of the Hazara miners on Facebook and stumbled upon the picture of her brother’s blindfolded body.

“These monsters have not only killed 10 people, they have killed 10 families,” she says. “It has been two decades that we are being mercilessly killed but no one has been arrested yet.”

The Hazara Shia have been targeted over many years by Sunni extremists, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and now Daesh. According to a 2019 report by Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights, an independent watchdog, at least 509 Hazara have been murdered for their faith since 2013. The non-profit Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that from 2009 to 2014, nearly 1,000 Hazaras died in sectarian violence. Thousands have been injured.

To curb attacks on the 600,000 Hazaras living in the towns of Mariabad and Hazara Town in Quetta, authorities have built military checkpoints, roadblocks and walls around the areas.

In 2014, the international organization Human Rights Watch published a 62-page report on the persecution of Hazara Shia in Balochistan entitled “We are the walking dead.”

“We are living in two prisons. Our men and young can’t go outside. If they go, they will be killed. Our graveyards are full of young men with barely any space left,” says Ali. “We are tired of carrying their coffins. Every year we dig mass graves. Yet Prime Minister Imran Khan says we are blackmailers. Khan is heartless.”

The majority of Hazara in Quetta originally came from Afghanistan and Iran to seek work in Pakistan, with many ending up in the mines of Balochistan.

For 15 years, Chaman Ali, another of the Mach victims, would travel from Afghanistan to Quetta every winter to work in the coalmines.

“I would be worried for his life when he was here and when he went to Afghanistan. I would think ‘what if he gets into the hands of the Taliban?’ I thought he was safe here, but this is where he got killed,” his sister Zara says.

Chaman Ali is survived by his wife and eight children, the youngest just three months old. Aziz and Nasim, from the Daykundi province of Afghanistan, came with Chaman Ali to work in the mines for the first time. They were also murdered.

Nasim, 22, started work to fund his education and had arrived in Pakistan just a week before he was killed. “Afghanistan is in a very bad situation and we think that something is better than nothing, which is why we come to Pakistan just to make a living,” says Abdul Rahim, Nasim’s father. Along with other members of his family, he could not get to his son’s funeral from Afghanistan, when the security forces closed routes out of the villages across Pakistan’s porous border.

Victims of the Mach massacre were all eventually buried in a mass grave at Hazara Town, on the outskirts of Quetta. The Hazara community is running out of space to bury their dead. The graveyard is full of photographs of Hazara Shia men, women and children, many of them murdered.

Having Mongolian ancestors, many Hazara are identifiable by their distinctive appearance, and it is along the single road that leads to Mari Abad and Hazara Town that thousands have been attacked by extremist groups.

“Our generation has grown up in a cage. We make houses on the mountain and are afraid of going out to see other parts of Quetta,” says Arif Hussain Nasry, 21, founder of the Future is Young campaign. “We are even afraid to gather with Hazara from other nations and communities. We have to live to survive in these two ghettoes.”

But for Naseem Javed, an author and political activist, the attacks on the Hazara are not just about sectarianism. “I don’t think Hazara are being targeted just because of their faith,” he says. “They also are being targeted to divert the attention from the Baloch separatist movement.”

Balochistan, the most impoverished province of Pakistan and wedged between Iran and Afghanistan, has a separatist movement that has been active in the province for the past 20 years. “The region also has become a hub for international proxies, including the Taliban,” Javed adds.

Javed shows the pistol he keeps close to him in his shop, where he sells prayer mats and prayer beads. “We live under shadows of weapons and fear. None of us has a normal life. We are being slaughtered. If the security establishment has no role in this genocide, why have they not arrested any attacker?”

For many Hazara people the solution is simply to leave. Amjad Ali, 21, has made three attempts to leave Balochistan for a new life in Europe. He was first deported from Turkey and handed over to Iran, from where he was sent back to Pakistan. The second time he was deported from Iran.

During his third attempt to reach Europe, with 25 other Hazara Shia, Ali was caught a few miles from the border by Jaish ul-Adl, another Sunni militant group that operates mainly in south-eastern Iran. Pretending to be Iranian security forces, the jihadist group took Ali and others to a mountain camp in Pakistan, close to the Iranian border.

“They were very well updated and informed. As soon as we reached their camp they shot four Hazaras with Kalashnikovs. Two of them used to work in the Pakistan army. Two, as Jaish ul-Adl claimed, were going to be part of the Zainebiyoun brigade, an Iranian-backed militant force [fighting in Syria],” Ali told the Guardian.

The rest were held and their families sent random demands. Ali spent 55 days in the camp before his family members managed to raise thousands of dollars in ransom money for his release.

“If I get a chance now to go to Europe, I will try again,” says Ali. “There is no life for Hazara Shia in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Pakistan’s Hazaras Wait for Imran Khan Amidst Coffins of Their Loved Ones

Pakistan’s Hazaras Wait for Imran Khan Amidst Coffins of Their Loved Ones

By Saad Hasan – TRT WORLD

The murder spree has gone on for years. People belonging to Pakistan’s ethnic Hazara minority have been attacked in their homes, in shops, in mosques, at the doctor’s clinic, inside a snooker club and picked out from among other passengers on busses, forced to line up and summarily executed.

A similar episode played out again on January 3 when 11 Hazara miners were killed in the troubled Balochistan province. Daesh [ISIS/ISIL] claimed responsibility for the grisly incident in which the hands of the victims were bound and then their throats slit. A video of the killing was later uploaded on the internet.

Hazaras, most of whom ascribe to the Shia Muslim faith, have been relentlessly targeted in the past two decades. More than 2,000 people have been killed in suicide bombings and drive-by shootings between 2004 and 2018.

“We want these killings to end. That’s all we want. We are tired of burying our loved ones. All we want now is Prime Minister Imran Khan to come and give us surety that this won’t happen again,” Syed Abbas Ali, a member of the Hazara community, told TRT World from Quetta, Balochistan’s capital.

Hundreds of people have joined a sit-in protest on a highway near Quetta. They have placed the coffins there and refused to bury the dead until Khan comes to meet the families.

“Several government officials have met us. But that doesn’t mean anything. Whenever something like this happens, they come and give us the same assurances. It has done little to stop the cycle of violence,” says Ali.

Khan has refused to go personally and meet the mourners at the time of writing, promising that he will do so later. His decision along with the statement of one of his advisors, which was widely seen as being insensitive, has angered many.

Protests against the killings have also erupted in other cities including Karachi.

Most of the Hazara population, generally recognizable for their distinctly Central Asian facial features, is centered around Quetta. The size of the community is estimated to be around 800,000.

For years, Pakistan’s security forces have battled separatist insurgents in Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan. Sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which openly call the Shia heretics is also behind a spate of terrorist attacks.

The miners were living in makeshift quarters near a coalfield, located some 60km from Quetta, leaving them particularly vulnerable to such an attack, Zafar Baloch, a local journalist, told TRT World over the phone.

“A number of terrorist attacks against the Hazara community have come down in the last few years. The situation was really bad up till 2013 when someone was being targeted every 4-5 days.”

The year 2013 was particularly devastating for Hazara community. More than 175 people were killed in back-to-back bombings in January and February. In one incident, a suicide bomber killed scores of young men at a snooker club. When rescue services began evacuating the injured, an ambulance laden with explosives exploded, killing more.

Islamabad has deployed around a thousand paramilitary troops and police for security. But that has limited the movement of many Hazara people who are confined to a few areas such as Hazara Town or Alamdar Road in Quetta city.

Security escorts are needed whenever pilgrims travel by road to Iran where several Shia shrines are located. Even vegetable vendors need armed protection when they travel to the wholesale market.

The fear of being shot dead has forced thousands of young men to make their way towards Southeast Asia and then take the dangerous sea journey on rickety boats to seek refuge in Australia. Many have sold their businesses and moved to other cities in Pakistan.

A sizable Hazara population also lives in neighboring Afghanistan where thousands of them have been killed by the Taliban.

According to some reports, there were some Afghans among the dead miners. Abbas Ali says making an issue of the nationality of the victims undermines the severity of the situation.

“Does it matter where they came from? The fact is they were brutally murdered and we should all be condemning it.”

Pakistan is steadfast… So far. باكستان صامدة… إلى الآن

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

باكستان صامدة… إلى الآن

باكستان صامدة... إلى الآن

الاخبار

الخميس 24 كانون الأول 2020

تتعرّض باكستان لضغوط شتّى يراد من ورائها جرّها بالقوّة إلى التطبيع مع إسرائيل والتموضع ضمن محور لا يزال في طور التشكُّل. محورٌ تشتغل السعودية، ومن ورائها الولايات المتحدة، على تعزيزه ورفده بدولٍ ترى في مهادنة إسرائيل مصلحةً لكفّ يد إيران عن المنطقة. لكن حسابات إسلام آباد لا تبدو متطابقة، على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور، مع رغبة حليفتها الحَرِدة في دفعها إلى حضن تل أبيب. وهو حردٌ نما وتمدّد في أعقاب انتقاد البلد الآسيوي نأيَ المملكة بنفسها عن قضية كشمير، وتلويحه بجمع قادة دول إسلامية خارج عباءة “منظمة التعاون الإسلامي” التي تهيمن عليها الرياض، لنصرة تلك القضية. وعلى رغم مساعي باكستان إلى تدارك الموقف، عن طريق إيفاد رئيس أركانها، قمر جاويد باجوا، منتصف آب/ أغسطس الماضي، إلى السعودية لاحتواء التوتّر، لم يفلح التودُّد في رأب الصدع.

وهكذا، كلّما اغتاظت الرياض وارتفع منسوب التوتّر بينها وبين إسلام آباد المكبّلة بالدين، عاجلتها بالدعوة إلى سداد القرض الميسّر. وكما حصل في أعقاب واقعة “التمرُّد” الباكستاني، حين اضطرّت إلى دفع مليار دولار قبل حلول موعد استحقاقها (هي جزء مِن حزمة إنقاذ أعلنت عنها السعودية في تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر عام 2018، بقيمة 6.2 مليارات دولار: 3 مليارات على شكل قروض، فضلاً عن تسهيلات ائتمانية نفطية بـ 3.2 مليارات دولار)، يبدو أن المملكة أرغمت باكستان، مرّة جديدة، على سداد المبلغ المتبقّي، بعدما أعلن رئيس وزرائها، عمران خان، الشهر الماضي، أن بلاده تتعرّض لضغوط مِن قبل الولايات المتحدة و”دول صديقة” لم يسمّها للاعتراف بإسرائيل، مؤكداً أنه لن يُقدِم على خطوة كتلك “ما لم تكن هناك تسوية تُرضي الفلسطينيين”. وإذ سارع وزير الخارجية الباكستاني، شاه محمود قرشي، إلى نفي صحّة التقارير التي تحدّثت عن سداد بلاده قرضاً بقيمة ملياري دولار للسعودية، والتشديد على “العلاقات المثالية” بين البلدين، أكّد مسؤولون باكستانيون لـ”رويترز” أن إسلام آباد أرجعت بالفعل مليار دولار ضمن الدفعة الثانية من القرض الميسّر، واتّجهت إلى طلب قرض تجاري من بكين، لمساعدتها على تخفيف ضغوط دفع مليار دولار أخرى إلى الرياض الشهر المقبل. وفي هذا الإطار، أكّد مسؤول في وزارة المالية أن المصرف المركزي الباكستاني يجري محادثات مع مصارف تجارية صينية، في حين أبلغ مسؤول في وزارة الخارجية، “رويترز”، أن الصين “هبّت لنجدتنا”. وعلى رغم فائض يبلغ 1.2 مليار دولار في ميزان المعاملات الجارية وتحويلات غير مسبوقة من الخارج بلغت 11.7 مليار دولار في الأشهر الخمسة الأخيرة ساعدت في دعم الاقتصاد الباكستاني، فإن مراقبين يرون أن ردّ الأموال السعودية ينطوي على انتكاسة يحتمل أن تواجه باكستان على إثرها أزمة في ميزان المدفوعات بعد الانتهاء من الدفعة السعودية التالية، ولا سيما وأن احتياطياتها الأجنبية لا تزال عند 13.3 مليار دولار.

لم تألُ الرياض جهداً لجرّ إسلام آباد نحو قاطرة التطبيع

بالعودة إلى التطبيع، لم تألُ الرياض جهداً لجرّ إسلام آباد نحو قاطرة التطبيع. وهو ما لفتت إليه مصادر دبلوماسية وعسكرية باكستانية تحدّثت، أخيراً، إلى صحيفة “هآرتس” العبرية، مؤكّدةً أن السعودية كثّفت ضغوطها، في الأشهر الأخيرة، على باكستان من أجل دفعها في هذا الاتجاه، ولكنها توقّعت أن يتوّلى الجيش الباكستاني هذه المهمّة طمعاً في صفقات دفاعية تسهّلها إسرائيل. ويريد وليّ العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان، بحسب الصحيفة، أن تمضي حليفته في هذا الطريق، قبل أن يتخّذ أيّ خطوة رسمية تجاه تل أبيب. ولفتت “هآرتس” إلى أن “باكستان ثاني أكبر دولة ذات غالبية مسلمة من حيث عدد السكان، وهي الدولة الإسلامية الوحيدة المسلّحة نووياً، وتطبيعها سيوفّر سبقاً جيّداً للسعودية”، معتبرةً أن الرياض تمتلك “بطاقة قوية لإسلام آباد، تتمثّل في توفير قرض بقيمة ملياري دولار لإنقاذ البلاد”. كذلك، أشارت إلى أن الجيش الباكستاني، وليس رئيس الوزراء، هو الذي يدير فعلياً الدبلوماسية الباكستانية، مُتوقّعةً أن يلجأ الأوّل إلى إضفاء طابع رسمي على العلاقات مع تل أبيب، على افتراض أن ذلك سيساعده في موازنة الصفقات الدفاعية الواسعة بين الهند وإسرائيل.

مقالات ذات صلة

Pakistan is steadfast… So far.

باكستان صامدة... إلى الآن

Al-Akhbar

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Pakistan is under various pressures to force it to normalize with Israel and to be positioned within an axis that is still in the process of being formed. Saudi Arabia, and the United States, is working to strengthen it and provide it with countries that see Israel’s truce as an interest in iron’s hand in the region. But Islamabad’s calculations do not seem to be identical, at least in the foreseeable future, with its fiery ally’s desire to push it into into Tel Aviv’s lap. He) Imran Khan) is a hard-working man who has grown and expanded in the wake of the Asian country’s criticism of the Saudi kingdom’s distancing itself from the Kashmir issue, and Imran waving of the gathering of leaders of Islamic countries outside Riyadh-dominated Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to support Kashmir cause. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to remedy the situation by sending its chief of staff, Qamar Javed Bajwa, in mid-August, to Saudi Arabia to contain the tension, and bridge the rift.

Thus, the more Riyadh is upset and the level of tension rises between Islamabad and Riyadh, which urgently calls for the repayment of the concessional loan, and forced Islamabad to pay $1 billion before its due date (part of a $6.2 billion bailout announced by Saudi Arabia in October 2018: $3 billion in loans, as well as $3.2 billion in oil credit facilities the kingdom have forced Pakistan, once again, to pay the remaining amount, after its Prime Minister, Imran Khan, announced last month that his country was under pressure from the United States and “friendly countries” he did not name to recognize In Israel, stressing that he would not take such a step “unless there is a settlement that satisfies the Palestinians.”

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi was quick to deny reports that his country had repaid a $2 billion loan to Saudi Arabia and the emphasis on “ideal relations” between the two countries, Pakistani officials confirmed to Reuters that Islamabad had already returned $1 billion in the second installment of the concessional loan and turned to requesting a commercial loan from Beijing, to help it ease the pressure of paying another billion dollars to Riyadh next month. A finance ministry official confirmed that the Central Bank of Pakistan was in talks with Chinese commercial banks, told Reuters that China had “come to our aid.” Despite a $1.2 billion surplus in the current balance of transactions and unprecedented remittances from abroad of $11.7 billion in the last five months that have helped support Pakistan’s economy, observers see the Saudi money back as a setback, with Pakistan likely to face a balance of payments crisis after the next Saudi push, especially as its foreign reserves remain at $13.3billion.

Riyadh spared no effort to drag Islamabad towards the locomotive of normalization

Back to normalization, Riyadh spared no effort to drag Islamabad towards the normalization. This was pointed out by Pakistani diplomatic and military sources who spoke to the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz, stressing that Saudi Arabia had intensified its pressure, in recent months, on Pakistan to push it in this direction, but it expected that the Pakistani army would take over this task in the hope of defensive deals. Facilitated by Israel. Between India and Israel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the newspaper, wants his ally to go down this path, before taking any official step toward Tel Aviv. “Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim country, the only nuclear-armed Islamic state, and its normalisation will provide a good precedent for Saudi Arabia,” Haaretz said, adding that Riyadh has “a strong card for Islamabad, which is to provide a $2 billion loan to save the country.” Haaretz also noted that it was the Pakistani army, not the Prime Minister, that effectively administered Pakistani diplomacy, expecting the former to formalise relations with Tel Aviv, assuming that it would help him balance the broad defence deals between India and Israel.

Pakistani PM firmly rejects Israeli ties as ‘baseless’, publicity campaign

Source

Saturday, 19 December 2020 10:31 AM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 19 December 2020 11:45 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan removes his facemask during a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on November 19, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has rejected as “baseless” reports of his government officials visiting Israel, insisting why would any of the ministers visit Tel Aviv when Islamabad does not recognize the occupying regime.

Khan made the remarks during an interview on Friday with the local Samaa TV emphasizing that the Israeli-based news story was part of “an entire campaign” targeting his administration.

The development came following a publicity campaign by Israeli regime’s news outlets alleging on Wednesday that a senior advisor to Khan had visited the occupied territories last month.

Israel stirs media hype as Pakistan comes under pressure to normalize ties
Israel stirs media hype as Pakistan comes under pressure to normalize ties
Israeli news outlets are spreading a rumor that a senior advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Israeli-occupied territories last month, despite Islamabad’s repeated rejections of speculation about ties with Tel Aviv.

Citing a source close to the Tel Aviv regime, Israel Hayom and other Israeli dailies published a report claiming that the Pakistani aide had met with Israeli officials during an alleged trip to Tel Aviv.

The apparent propaganda story also said the Pakistani official was carrying a message from Khan that reflected his “strategic decision” to open political and diplomatic talks with the regime. The Jerusalem Post also covered publicity item but later removed it from its website.

Pointing to recent efforts by a coalition of 11 opposition groups — led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and the now London-based former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted after being convicted and later jailed on official corruption charges – Khan said he was prepared to face everything the opposition alliance aims to throw at him.

“The PDM can do anything that it wants. I am ready,” said the premier, adding that PDM’s recent protest rally in Lahore had damaged the opposition’s alliance.

“I am a jalsa specialist and I am telling you that this was a flop show,” he said.

Khan’s administration had dismissed the Lahore rally as “more [of] a ploy” to distract from the corruption charges against Sharif.

Huge opposition rally in Lahore urges resignation of PM Khan
Huge opposition rally in Lahore urges resignation of PM Khan
Thousands of Pakistani opposition supporters stage a protest rally in Lahore to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Khan also touched upon the threat of mass resignations by opposition legislators, saying, “If they resign, it would be better for Pakistan.”

He went on to say he would even assist the opposition if they came to Islamabad, but noted, “They cannot even last a week [in Islamabad] even if I support them.”

The Pakistani leader defended the country’s top military commander General Qamar Javed Bajwa against the opposition’s persisting allegations against him and the army, saying that “anger” and “disappointment” prevailed among the ranks after Bajwawas was targeted by opposition leaders during public gatherings.

“Gen Bajwa believes in democracy. Had it been another general, he would have given a quick rebuttal,” Khan said, adding that the army chief was “angry” but he was “controlling it.”

He also emphasized that all institutions — including the army — stood beside him, saying, “There are excellent civil-military ties in the country.”

He said the army serves under him as he is the prime minister, and as the army is a government institution.

India’s scheme to discredit Pakistan

Referring to a recent report by the EU DisinfoLab, Khan said the NGO’s research had exposed India’s network that kept spreading misinformation about Pakistan.

The Brussels-based NGO, which works to combat disinformation against the European Union, unveiled earlier this month that a 15-year-old operation run by an Indian entity had used hundreds of fake media outlets and the identity of a dead professor to defame Pakistan.

The report – Indian Chronicles: deep dive into a 15-year operation targeting the EU and United Nations to serve Indian interests – described the effort as the “largest network” of disinformation they have exposed so far.

The report – released on December 9 – said the disinformation network run by the Srivastava Group, a New Delhi-based entity, was designed primarily to “discredit Pakistan internationally” and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Parliament, Al-Jazeera reported.

The report also revealed that in order to “undermine Pakistan internationally,” the network “resurrected dead NGOs” at the UN, impersonated the EU and laundered content produced by fake media to real media, and reached millions in South Asia and across the world.


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التطبيع مأزوم لاهتزاز تغطياته فإلى أين المفرّ؟

د.وفيق إبراهيم

كان متوقعاً ان يرتفع عديد الدول العربية والإسلامية الذاهبة الى التطبيع الكامل مع الكيان الإسرائيلي ليسجل ارقاماً كبيرة بعد مرحلة الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية مباشرة.

انتهت هذه الانتخابات الى غير المرتجى منها، لان القائد الأميركي للتطبيع الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب خسرها، محاولاً تفجير الداخل الاجتماعي الأميركي باستثارة العصبيات العرقية والدينية والجهوية والطبقيّة آملاً الدفع نحو فوضى شعبية داخلية، قد تبقيه حسب ما يعتقد رئيساً لمدة اضافية طويلة.

لم يكتف هذا السعار الترامبي بهذا القدر من التوتير، فكلَّف فريقاً من المحامين والقضاة والمتخصصين بدهاليز الانتخابات بتقديم اعتراضات للمحاكم متهماً فيها منافسه الفائز جو بايدن بتزويرها، بمشاركة حزبه الديموقراطية.

إلا أن حظوظ ترامب في هذا المسار باتت في قلب الإفلاس ولن يتأخر طويلاً عن هزيمته لا سيما أن هناك شبه اعتراف سياسي داخلي أميركي بفوز بايدن وإقرار عالمي بذلك.

المسألة إذاً لن تطول أكثر من كانون الثاني المقبل حيث يشهد العالم التسلم والتسليم بين رئيسين أحدهما مهزوم والآخر منتصر، لكنهما لا يختلفان على المشروع المنحصر بتأمين أكبر قدر ممكن من النفوذ الأميركي العالمي، بل يتباينان في الأساليب المعتمدة.

إن تداعيات هذه الأساليب ترمي عادة برذاذها على العالم بأسره، لما للأميركيين من نفوذ عميق، اقتصادي وعسكري وسياسي وثقافي يشمل كافة الدول، لكنه يُمسك بشكل أكثر فاعلية الدول الضعيفة سياسياً والقوية بإمكاناتها الاقتصادية.

واحدة من هذه المناطق هي الدول العربية التي تشكل منذ تأسيسها المصطنع في النصف الاول من القرن العشرين، مجرّد آليات، صنعها الاستعمار البريطاني والفرنسي، لإدارة مناطق تختزن نفطاً وغازاً ومواقع استراتيجية وقدرة على الاستهلاك لأنها لا تصنع شيئاً.

كانت الاستراتيجية الأميركية بالتعامل مع هذه المنطقة تقدم على دعم الأنظمة العربية في وجه شعوبها على اساس الإمساك بالتاريخ ضمن القرون الوسطى، اما على مستوى الخطر الخارجي، فهو غير موجود لأن هذه الأنظمة تشكل حتى اليوم جزءاً من الجيوبولتيك الأميركي الذي لم يتجرأ أحد على مهاجمته في أي من مناطق نفوذه. باستثناء إيران التي تدافع عن نفسها وتحالفاتها في الإقليم لمنع الأميركيين من إلحاقهم بالقرون الوسطى.

هذا الرئيس المهزوم ترامب ذهب بعيداً في أساليبه في المنطقة العربية، مرغماً الإمارات والبحرين والسودان على التطبيع مع «إسرائيل» في إطار خطبة تدريجيّة كانت تضم السعودية وباكستان والمغرب وجزر القمر وقطر وعمان.

هناك سببان يضعان خطة ترامب في حجر زمنيّ قابل للتدمير، الأول هو باكستان التي فاجأ رئيسها عمران خان الأميركيين والسعوديين معاً برفض أي تطبيع لبلاده مع الكيان الإسرائيلي، مؤكداً أن هذا الأمر لا يتحقق إلا بعد إنشاء دولة فلسطينية، وقبول الفلسطينيين بها.

ألا يشكل هذا الموقف صفعة لترامب شخصياً وسياسته المطبقة في الشرق الأوسط، موجّهاً في الوقت نفسه ركلة لكل عرب التطبيع في الإمارات والبحرين والسودان، ومسدداً في العمق ضرباً مبرحاً لأداة الضغط الأساسية في العالم الإسلامي وهي السعودية، التي توزع الرشى والتحشيد من اجل دفع العرب والدول الإسلامية نحو التطبيع.

عمران خان اذاً بطل في زمن محنة، ولأنه استثنائي فلم يُعِرْه الاعلام الغربي أي أهمية مكتفياً بعرض موقفه بشكل موجز وهذا يشمل أيضاً الاعلام العربي، وإعلام المقاومة!!

لجهة السبب الثاني فهو فشل ترامب في الانتخابات الرئاسية، وهذا يعني ظهور أساليب أميركيّة جديدة خاصة بالرئيس بايدن الفائز وحزبه الديموقراطي.

لماذا هذا التغيير في الأساليب الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط العربي أكثر من ضرورة؟

عندما بدأ ترامب رئاسته في 2016، كانت المنطقة العربية، ملتهبة بمئات آلاف الإرهابيين تضرب الدول في المدن والقرى وتحاصر الانظمة السياسية في عواصمها.

لقد ورث ترامب هذه المميزات عن السياسة الأميركية التي دعمت هذا الإرهاب منذ 1990، ووضعت في ذلك التاريخ مشروع الشرق الأوسط الكبير، لذلك استعمل هذه المميزات في خطة فرض التطبيع العربي مع «إسرائيل». لكن ما يجري اليوم أصبح مختلفاً لأن هذا المشروع الأميركي متراجع بشكل كبير، ويتسلم بايدن الحكم في ظل موازنات جديدة في إطار الصراع على القطبية العالمية. فالصين لا تنفك تصعد فيما تُمسك روسيا بمنزلة أقوى قوة عسكرية تقليدية ونووية، هذا بالاضافة إلى أن الاقتصاد الأميركي لا ينفكّ يسجل الخسائر المتصاعدة، بسبب المنافسات الدولية من جهة والكورونا من جهة ثانية، والتي تسببت بضمور كبير في التفاعلات الاقتصاديّة.

هذا يعني أن بايدن متّجه الى تبني أساليب بعيدة عن نهج ترامب القتالي غير المحترف والغوغائي.

فبايدن بحاجة الى التخفيف من الصراعات العسكرية والسياسية لمصلحة جذب عناصر اقتصادية من الخارج بوسعها ترميم اقتصاده الأميركي المتعثر وكبح الصعود الصيني ـ الروسي. بنظام تحالفات جديد يضيف على ما يسيطر عليه الأميركيون حالياً.

هذا يؤشر الى إمكانية أميركية لتعامل جديد مع ايران التي برهنت أنها قوة أساسية في الشرق الأوسط، وذلك لأنها تمسك بالموقع الاستراتيجي ومعظم موارد الثروة والنفوذ السياسي في الإقليم.

فهل هذا ممكن؟

هذا ممكن، إذا توقف الأميركيون عن مسلسل الضغط من أجل التطبيع مع الانسحاب من العراق وسورية وفك الحصار عن إيران.

انها العناوين المقبلة للحوار المفترض الأميركي ـ الإيراني الذي قد يؤدي الى أساليب أميركية جديدة تعمل ايضاً من اجل المصالح الأميركية، الأحادية انما من خلال اساليب مختلفة جذرياً من أساليب البائد ترامب التزاماً فقط بموازنات القوى الجديدة.

Qatar, Pakistan Rule out Possibility of Normalization with Israel

Source

2020-09-15 18:12:44

A high-ranking Qatari official says Doha will not follow in the footsteps of neighboring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to normalize relations with Israel, emphasizing that Doha will not take such a measure as long as the Palestinian issue is unresolved.

“We don’t think that normalization was the core of this conflict and hence it can’t be the answer,” Qatari Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah Rashid al-Khater, said in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg television news network on Monday.

She added, “The core of this conflict is about the drastic conditions that the Palestinians are living under” as “people without a country, living under occupation.”

Last week, Bahrain joined the UAE in striking an agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

In a joint statement, the United States, Bahrain and Israel said the agreement to establish ties was reached after US President Donald Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.

The deal came one month after the UAE and the Tel Aviv regime agreed to normalize ties under a US-brokered accord.

Bahrain will join Israel and the UAE for a signing ceremony at the White House hosted by Trump later on Tuesday. The ceremony will be attended by Netanyahu, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Elsewhere in her remarks, Khater pointed to the attempts, backed by Kuwait, to end the economic and diplomatic blockade Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies imposed on gas-rich Qatar in June 2017, noting that the efforts have not yet reached a tipping point.

“In the past couple of months, there have been messages and messengers going back and forth,” she said.

“It’s very early to talk about a real breakthrough,” but “the coming few weeks might reveal something new,” the top Qatari official pointed out.

“We’re beyond this point. The point we are at is engaging constructively in unconditional negotiations and discussions” that “do not necessarily need to include all parties at once,” Khater said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, after the quartet officially accused Doha of meddling in regional affairs and supporting terrorism.

The quartet later issued a 13-point list of demands in return for the reconciliation, which was rejected as an attack on Qatar’s sovereignty.

‘Pakistan won’t compromise on Palestine cause’

Meanwhile, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reacted to Bahrain’s normalization of ties with the Israeli regime following the UAE, saying, “Any recognition of Israel will face strong opposition from Palestinian people. We cannot made a decision which runs counter to the aspirations of the oppressed Palestinian nation. We will continue to support the fair resolution of the Palestinian issue.”

“If the whole world wants to recognize Israel, Islamabad would not do so and would never make a decision contrary to the wishes of the Palestinian people” Khan told Urdu-language 92 News television news network on Tuesday.

He underlined that the Pakistani government will never compromise on its fundamental principles of supporting Palestine and its liberation, as stated by the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

“Until a just solution to the Palestinian issue is produced, any recognition of the Zionist regime is ruled out. How can we accept to normalize with the Zionists when the main Palestinian parties do not accept it?” the Pakistani premier said.

Source: Press TV

PM Khan: Pakistan Can’t Recognize Israel Until Palestine Gets Its Rights, State

Source

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan says his country will never recognize Israel until the issue of Palestine is resolved days after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached a normalization deal with Israel.

In an interview with the private Dunya News television network on Tuesday, Khan said Islamabad will not follow suit in recognizing Israel, in a reference to Abu Dhabi, which has reached a highly controversial deal with Tel Aviv to establish full diplomatic ties.

 “Our stance is very clear from day one and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had said Pakistan can never accept Israel until the people of Palestine get rights and state,” Khan said.

The Pakistani prime minister further noted that recognition of Israel equals to abandoning Pakistan’s stance on the Muslim-majority Kashmir region.

“The case of Palestinians is similar to people of Kashmir and their [Palestinians] rights have been snatched and they have been suffering from Israeli atrocities. Both issues have a similar background,” Khan pointed out.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. The countries have fought three wars over the territory.

The Indian-administered part of the region, known as Jammu and Kashmir, enjoyed autonomy until August 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government revoked that status.

On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced the peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

The UAE claims the deal — which the Palestinians have rejected as backstabbing — was designed to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank.

Supporters of the Palestinian cause, however, reject that claim, saying normalization attempts have been in the offing for a long time.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also reaffirmed that the regime’s annexation has been delayed but is not off the table.

Anger is boiling in the Middle East and the entire Muslim world over the agreement.

In Pakistan, tens of thousands of people joined protests organized by political and religious activists in various cities on the weekend to condemn the UAE.

The protesters voiced strong support for Palestine and the liberation of Jerusalem al-Quds, stressing that compromise with the occupiers is a great betrayal of Palestine and the entire Islamic world.

Source: Press

BRI-LED REGIONALIZATION ROLLS ON AS GWADAR PORT OPENS AFGHAN TRADE TO THE WORLD

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

29 APRIL 2020

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated.

The speculative talk about the coronavirus supposedly signaling the impending end of globalization was thrown into doubt last week after Gwadar Port was opened to Afghanistan. That facility is the terminal point of the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will be used to facilitate trade with the South Asian state’s landlocked neighbor, according to the announcement by Abdul Razak Dawood, the adviser for commerce and investment to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He also said that “16,000 MT of diamonium phosphate and World Food Programme cargo of 500,000 MT of wheat for Afghanistan will arrive next month” and that “Ships from China will also offload at Gwadar.” This development is remarkable in more ways than one and thus deserves to be analyzed a bit more in depth in order for the reader to better understand its grand strategic significance in the context of contemporary geopolitics.

First off, it’s especially important that war-torn Afghanistan will receive much-needed aid through this port. Those supplies will help its people better survive the hardships that they’ve been experiencing for decades already, and they come at a crucial time when the country is struggling to counter COVID-19. Not only could Gwadar become a humanitarian lifeline for Afghanistan, but also an economic one too since it opens up its trade to the rest of the world and can therefore help it rebuild after the war finally ends.

The very fact that CPEC is expanding along the northern vector suggests that a branch corridor prospectively called N-CPEC+ could enter into fruition in the future if the project expands into the Central Asian Republics and even further afield to Russia, thus creating a new North-South connectivity corridor in the Eurasian Heartland. Even in the event that the aforementioned scenario doesn’t unfold right way, it’s still noteworthy that BRI’s flagship project is strengthening regionalization between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This objective observation powerfully refutes the rumors that globalization is destined to die due to the consequences of the world’s uncoordinated lockdowns in response to COVID-19. There will always be a need for countries to import whatever they can’t make at home and export the wares that they produce abroad, which in the Afghan context refers to agricultural imports and prospective mineral exports via CPEC. The present lockdowns will inevitably end, after which globalization will resume, bolstered by regionalization.

Regionalization and globalization are two sides of the same coin since they both involve international trade, albeit to differing geographic extents made obvious by their names. There’s some credence to the claims that regionalization will benefit more in the short term than globalization, though the success of regionalization would strengthen globalization through the creation of more consolidated economic spaces. In the present example, CPEC brings China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan closer together, thus boosting trade between all three.

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, as was earlier explained, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated. Both interconnected trends are pivotal to the world’s economic recovery, and seeing as how they’re being championed by China, it can be said that the People’s Republic is taking the leading role in helping humanity return back to normal.

With all of this in mind, while casual observers might have dismissed the opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan as an unimportant event compared to everything else going on in the world nowadays (if they were even aware of it in the first place, that is), it’s actually one of the most significant non-health-related developments of the year. China showed that its desire to create a Community of Common Destiny through BRI hasn’t slowed down as a result of the virus, which speaks to its commitment to carry through with this noble vision no matter what.

Pakistan PM Slams US Sanctions on Iran

Source

April 29, 2020

Imran Khan Rouhani

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan condemned the US sanctions and mounting pressures against Iran amid the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, saying he feels bound to support Tehran in the face of Washington’s illegal sanctions.

In a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Prime Minister of Pakistan called for efforts to resume trade exchanges between the two neighbors following a halt in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and discussed ways to enhance bilateral economic relations in defiance of the US sanctions, Tasnim news agency reported.

They also stressed the need to share the experiences, knowledge and technology in the fight against the novel coronavirus, and called for the resumption of cross-border trade, reopening of the border markets, and strengthening the trade ties in conformity with health regulations.

The Iranian president and the Pakistani prime minster further condemned any type of discrimination or imposition of pressures against Muslims, and expressed their support for Muslim communities.

Rouhani commended Pakistan for its opposition to the US’ illegal sanctions against Iran, and expressed hope that the two Muslim neighbors could further broaden the trade and economic relations.

He also noted that reopening of the border markets in full compliance with the health and medical instructions would contribute to the promotion of the trade and economic ties between the two countries.

“We are willing to continue the exchange of commodities and border trade with Pakistan in the same way that trading of commodities with a number of the neighboring countries is going on,” Rouhani added.

He also congratulated the Pakistani government and nation on the start of the holy month of Ramadan, and hoped that the joint agreements between Iran and Pakistan would be implemented to benefit the two nations.

For his part, Imran Khan highlighted the necessity of promoting and deepening relations with Iran, particularly the economic and trade ties, and welcomed plans on the resumption of trade activities at the common border and reopening of the border markets by observing the health instructions.

The resumption of commodities exchange between the two countries will greatly help Pakistan’s economy, which has encountered many problems due to the coronavirus, the Pakistani premier added.

Source: Iranian media

Pakistan’s Big Victory Against Terrorism

February 11, 2020

Source

by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan for The Saker Blog

The term “terroriste” in French, meaning “terrorist”, is first used in 1794 by the French philosopher François-Noël Babeuf, who denounces Maximilien Robespierre’s Jacobin regime as a dictatorship. Terrorism has many definitions but the well-recognized by the UN is “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”.

Although the terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.

Pakistan became the victim of Terrorism since the 1980s, the Afghan War. Traditionally, Pakistan was a very peaceful state and the people of Pakistan were known for its peace, hospitality, and tolerance. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Pakistan was heaven for foreign tourists, especially from the Western World. Pakistan is blessed with natural beauty, high mountains, Glaciers, Rivers, Beaches, Pilatus, Jungles, Deserts, Archaeological & historical places, and religious places. Pakistani society was famous for the acceptance of Foreigners with all different backgrounds, religions, cultures, and ethnicities. In history, Pakistan has absorbed various cultures, especially the National Language of Pakistan “Urdu” is a mixture of Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The typical Pakistani cultures have roots from Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Greek-Alexander the Great. During the one century-long British rule, has Westernized Pakistani Society and is a member of Commonwealth Country, English language and culture was dominating visibly. By nature, Pakistanis are peace-loving nature and a rather submissive society.

However, due to the former USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the US gathered Muslim youth from all over the world in Pakistan. Provided them training, weapons, and Dollars to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. This all was possible by radicalizing them. The US used religion to charge these youth for “Jihad”. The Muslim scholars were paid to promote “Jihad” and textbooks taught in educational schools were modified to promote “Jihad”. The US has funded such scholars’ generously who preach “Jihad”.

Cash and religion were used to exploit Muslim youths for “Jihad” (Holy War). And Taliban, involved in Jihad were treated as heroes. White House was open for them and President Reagan hosted banquets in honor of the Taliban. Some of President Regan’s remakes about the Taliban are denied recently, but it was acknowledged that the Taliban enjoyed the highest degree of respect and honor in the US during the Afghan War during the 1980s.

However, with the help of the Taliban, the US won the war in Afghanistan and the former USSR was to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in 1988-89, under an agreement. But unfortunately, the US also lost its interest in Afghanistan and left Pakistan alone to face the consequences of unstable Afghanistan.

Deliberately, Pakistani society was radicalized. Intolerance, extremism, religious divide, ethnicity, and factionists were promoted. The US-funded the individuals with an extremist ideology to promote a division in the society. Insurgency and separatist movements were supported and society was led toward chaos.

Furthermore, during the former USSR invasion of Afghanistan since 1979, Pakistan became the hub of international intelligence agencies. In the beginning, their operations were focused on Afghanistan only. But later on, it was spread and their scope also covers Pakistan is self too. It was not only the US, but many friendly countries also strengthen their Intelligence operation from Afghanistan. Later on, it was noticed that some of the unfriendly countries were also involved in similar operations. After the former USSR withdrawal, some of the international intelligence agencies were using Pakistan as a training ground and executing live operations, sometimes only for the experience.

The easiest way was to identify disgruntles or destitute Pakistanis, brainwash them, fund them and exploit them, was a routine matter. Still, we are facing such incidents, that Pakistanis were used by foreign agents in sabotage, subversion, insurgencies, separatism, and terrorism. This practice is still in exercise, but with a lot reduction in size.

Although the terrorism phenomenon was started since the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the intensity gained momentum from 200 to 2014, with a peak in 2009. Only in 2009, the worst of any year, 2,586 terrorist, insurgent, and sectarian-related incidents were reported that killed 3,021 people and injured 7,334, according to the “Pakistan Security Report 2009” published by PIPS. These casualties figure 48 percent higher as compared to 2008. On the other hand, the rate of suicide attacks surged by one third to 87 bombings that killed 1,300 people and injured 3,600.

Turning point

Since, the 16 December 2014 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, which killed 150, mainly children, claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan-TTP), was ostensibly a game-changer. A week later the government unveiled a new counter-terrorism strategy, the twenty-point National Action Plan (NAP), with Prime Minister and Army Chief, vowing to target all terror groups without distinction.

A massive military action was taken along with the judicial reforms with the involvement of civil society. The death penalty was restored, military courts were established, through media and civic society educational reforms were implemented. Military action was supported by the educational reforms and rehabilitation of effect was implemented. As a re4sult some of the terrorists were killed, some were run into Afghanistan and remaining were changed by education. People were educated toward tolerance, and acceptance of diversity in this society.

While fighting against terrorism, we encountered many tough challenges. The terrorists were well trained and well equipped. Sometimes, they were using many advance tactics and weapons, even better than the Pakistan Army. They were using Satellite phones and Hummer Jeeps, while the Pakistan Army was using rather old communication systems and vehicles. Terrorists were supported by foreign powers and getting logistics and supplies against Pakistan. The terrain was very tough and the region was mountainous and difficult to accessibility. Pakistan blames India and Afghanistan for supporting Terrorists officially. However, India kept on denying and Afghanistan has confirmed. In fact, there were many other foreign powers supporting these terrorists. We suspect many countries like the US, Russia, Israel, Iran, etc. But with no confirmed evidence.

Pakistan Army, Civilian Government, and General public was committed to rooting out the menace of terrorism, once for all. Devotion and firm commitment made us possible to overcome this serious issue. Pakistan is the only country with the highest success in its war against terrorism. Today the number of terrorist attacks has been reduced to around 200 from 2500 at the peak in 2009. Pakistan is still engaged in a war footing against terrorism.

The Irony is that Pakistan was radicalized by some of the friendly nations to achieve their goals. Once they achieved their goals, they left, Pakistan alone to suffer. In fact, those friends played a dirty role to isolate Pakistan and made propaganda against Pakistan as a hub of terrorism. While in fact, Pakistan was the victim of terrorism and suffered huge losses. Pakistan’s sacrifices were not acknowledged or recognized. Pakistan is not seeking any reward for its sacrifices but deserves compensation from those friends who caused this terrorism in Pakistan. Hilary Clinton has committed publically that the US has created the Taliban. It is obvious that Islamophobia is the root cause of terrorism. It is a moral obligation that those who are responsible for the creation of terrorism should assist Pakistan to overcome it. Pakistan expects from the international community to acknowledge and recognition of its sacrifices. I believe, it is the moral duty of the Western World to extend cooperation toward Pakistan to defeat terrorism.

However, Pakistan is a resilient nation and after a lot of effort has succeeded to eliminate terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistanis are genetically peace-loving people and very much accommodative. Our society is open and integrate all immigrants or foreigners in this country. Pakistan accommodated many immigrants from many different countries. These immigrants are well integrated into our society and face no discrimination. There were around 5 million Afghanis in Pakistan at the peak time of war and around 3 million are settled in Pakistan since the 1980s. Their third and fourth generations are living in Pakistan now. There also exists a huge number of Bengalis, Indians, Burmese, Iranian, Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, African, Chinese, etc., in Pakistan and enjoying a complete harmony.

Pakistan is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society and diversity is our strength. We won against terrorism by promoting tolerance, education, and traditional culture. I believe Pakistan’s soft power is our best tool to win against all challenges. Today, Pakistan has emerged as a Peace-Loving nation, a mature and responsible state. Prime Minister Imran Khan is a visionary leader and a messenger for Peace. He believes in Peace and wanted to resolve all regional and global issues through peaceful dialogue. He has demonstrated to avert a War with Indian in February 2019 and still insists on his stand of Peaceful resolution of all issues between India and Pakistan, as well as all international disputes.

The rest of the world may avail Pakistan’s experience to counter-terrorism and utilize Pakistan’s expertise in fighting against terrorism globally. We wish to eliminate the menace of terrorism completely.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

Expansion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Tehran Wants to Build “the Golden Ring”

Statement of Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research, February 07, 2020

Featured image is from OneWorld

BRI-led Eurasian integration processes are one of the defining characteristics of contemporary International Relations, and the Golden Ring could eventually become the centerpiece of these efforts if Ambassador Hosseini’s W-CPEC+ proposal succeeds, especially if it’s done in parallel with N-CPEC+.

The Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan shared his visionary plans for CPEC+, the neologism that’s becoming popular in Pakistan nowadays to refer to the expansion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor along different geographic axes such as the northern (N-CPEC+), western (W-CPEC+), and southern (S-CPEC+) ones. Turkey’s Anadolou Agency reported on Ambassador Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini’s lecture at the Islamabad Strategic Studies Institute (ISSI) earlier this week, which deserves to be analyzed more in depth.

According to Ambassador Hosseini,

“Establishment of rail network between Gwadar and Chabahar and its link up to Europe and Central Asia through Iran, will usher major economic development in the region. On the other hand, construction of Railway track on Pakistani territory to China, linking the two ports will lead towards economic development in this region.” In practice, this would fulfill what the author wrote about W-CPEC+ in his CGTN analysis last April titled “CPEC+ is the key to achieving regional integration goals“.

In that piece, he wrote that

“Pakistani Prime Minister Khan’s recent visit to Iran saw the two neighboring countries agreeing to deepen their cooperation with one another, which could foreseeably evolve to the point of a W-CPEC+ overland trade route eventually traveling through the Islamic Republic to Islamabad and Beijing’s partners in Turkey, which could be paired with a parallel maritime corridor connecting CPEC’s terminal point of Gwadar with the Gulf Kingdoms.”

That’s exactly what Ambassador Hosseini proposed during his lecture at ISSI (minus the part about the Gulf Kingdoms), which could revolutionize Iran’s geostrategic role in the emerging Multipolar World Order and consequently make it one of the most important countries of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) if successfully implemented with time. Not only could this have significant economic implications, but also significant political ones as well.

The Ambassador is also quoted by Anadolou Agency as saying that “Countries like Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and China have the potential to form a new alliance for better future of the region”. While China and Russia eschew the term “alliance” to describe their close relations with other countries, the intent of his words is clear enough in that he’s calling for a strengthened strategic partnership between all five of those countries. This becomes a realistic possibility between China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey if W-CPEC+ is completed.

As for Russia, it could be brought on board this ambitious connectivity proposal if W-CPEC+ is expanded to include it via Azerbaijan by following the path proposed by the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) that those two, Iran, and India are trying to build. Moreover, the pioneering of a Russia-Pakistan trade corridor via post-war Afghanistan and Central Asia (N-CPEC+) could greatly contribute to making Moscow a greater stakeholder in this CPEC-centric strategic quintet that some have called the “Golden Ring“.

BRI-led Eurasian integration processes are one of the defining characteristics of contemporary International Relations, and the Golden Ring could eventually become the centerpiece of these efforts if Ambassador Hosseini’s W-CPEC+ proposal succeeds, especially if it’s done in parallel with N-CPEC+. The five anchor states of this connectivity vision could be linked to one another and the states between them (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and the Central Asian Republics) through a multitude of rail and other transport corridors built by China.

Through these means, China would be functioning as the engine of Eurasian integration and tying all of the involved countries closer together in a Community of Shared Destiny. The complex interdependence that would emerge as a result of this vision would make each party greater stakeholders in one another’s success, with the construction of multilateral megaprojects giving their citizens unprecedented economic opportunities. The CPEC-centric Golden Ring would therefore strengthen stability in the geostrategic Heartland of Eurasia.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Pakistan: A “Sorry Dominion” and a “Resilient People”?

See Behind The Veil

In June 2019 BBC published M. Ilyas Khan’s story “Uncovering Pakistan’s secret human rights abuses” as part of the ongoing global endeavour to disseminate a narrative which has continuously served the strategic and political goals of the globalist deep state vis-à-vis Pakistan’s balkanization/annihilation.  At the time, like quite a few other events impactful enough to push me out of intellectual procrastination, I found myself compelled to pen an op-ed regarding the entire saga; and through the course, I landed on the writer’s twitter profile too. I must say despite the sense of lacking national honor and overwhelming sarcasm, peculiar to the section of Pakistani society to which the gentleman belongs i.e. pseudo intellectuals and self professed liberals to be brutally truthful, I was left with a question that I have mulled over frequently since:

Are we really an enduring people subjugated to the injustice of the sorry Pakistan’s military command…

View original post 1,816 more words

Imran Khan on ‘genocide’ in Kashmir and possible war with India

Pakistan’s prime minister discusses his government’s controversies as well as foreign and domestic policies.

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/2019/09/imran-khan-genocide-kashmir-war-india-190913134545416.html

It has been a year since the former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan became Pakistan’s prime minister.

Khan’s campaign slogan was “Naya Pakistan” or “New Pakistan“, a reflection of his promises to turn the country’s economy around and end corruption.

But the first year of his premiership has not gone as smoothly as he may have hoped or even expected, especially in terms of the economy. The Pakistani rupee has lost 35 percent of its value during his time in office.

Khan’s critics call him the prime minister of u-turns, as he has been forced to go back on many of his campaign pledges in an attempt to rescue the situation.

“I’m glad they say I’m a prime minister of u-turns. Only an idiot doesn’t do any u-turns,” Khan tells Al Jazeera. “Only a moron, when he’s on a course and he comes across a brick wall, only that stupid idiot keeps banging his head against a brick wall. An intelligent person immediately revises his strategy and goes around it.”

But have any of these “u-turns” had a positive impact on the country?

In terms of foreign affairs, Pakistan is closer than ever to its neighbour, China. But relations with its other neighbour, India, are at a new low.

Asked whether these two nuclear countries are at risk of another major conflict, or even war, Khan tells Al Jazeera he “absolutely” believes war with India could be a possibility.

“Eight million Muslims in Kashmir are under siege for almost now six weeks. And why this can become a flashpoint between India and Pakistan is because what we already know India is trying to do is divert attention from their illegal annexation and their impending genocide on Kashmir,” he says. “They are taking the attention away by blaming Pakistan for terrorism.”

“Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist, I am anti-war, I believe that wars do not solve any problems,” he says.

But, he adds: “When two nuclear-armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war. The unthinkable.”

“If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice: either you surrender or you fight ’til death for your freedom, I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom. So when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.”

“So that’s why we have approached the United Nations, we are approaching every international forum, that they must act right now because this is a potential disaster that would go way beyond the Indian subcontinent.”

Until recently, Pakistan had made attempts to open dialogue with India “to live as civilised neighbours, to resolve our difference [over Kashmir] …  through a political settlement”, but according to Khan, this is no longer the case.

“We discovered that while we were trying to have dialogue, they were trying to push us in the blacklist in FATF [Financial Action Task Force] … If Pakistan is pushed into the blacklist of FATF that means there will be sanctions on Pakistan. So they were trying to bankrupt us economically, so that’s when we pulled back. And that’s when we realised that this government is on an agenda … to push Pakistan to disaster,” says Khan.

“There is no question of talking to the Indian government right now after they revoked this article 370 of their own constitution and they annexed Kashmir illegally against the UN Security Council resolution which had guaranteed the people that they would be able to hold a referendum, a plebiscite, to decide their destiny.”

Khan has not only faced criticism about the country’s ailing economy and his u-turns. Civil rights acitivists and journalists are saying that the space for dissent and freedom of expression has shrunk and that there was a crackdown against the media since he took office.

“This is utter and utter nonsense,” Khan says. “Pakistan is one of the freest places in the world in media …. the freedom that journalists have in this country is unprecedented.”

Asked about his government’s achievements after its first year in office, Khan says: “We are already in a new Pakistan … This government has done things which no government has done before. But, as they say, Rome was not built in a day. When you start making these massive changes, reforms, it takes time. The time to judge a government is five years … The first year was the most difficult period, but from now onwards people will start seeing the difference … the direction of the country is now right.”

Source: Al-Jazeera

Imran Khan: The World Can’t Ignore Kashmir. We Are All in Danger.

By Imran Khan
Mr. Khan is the prime minister of Pakistan.

Source

If the world does nothing to stop the Indian assault on Kashmir and its people, two nuclear-armed states will get ever closer to a direct military confrontation.

 

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Credit Atul Loke for The New York Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — After I was elected prime minister of Pakistan last August, one of my foremost priorities was to work for lasting and just peace in South Asia. India and Pakistan, despite our difficult history, confront similar challenges of poverty, unemployment and climate change, especially the threat of melting glaciers and scarcity of water for hundreds of millions of our citizens.

I wanted to normalize relations with India through trade and by settling the Kashmir dispute, the foremost impediment to the normalization of relations between us.

On July 26, 2018, in my first televised address to Pakistan after winning the elections, I stated we wanted peace with India and if it took one step forward, we would take two steps. After that, a meeting between our two foreign ministers was arranged on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in September 2018, but India canceled the meeting. That September I also wrote my first of three letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for dialogue and peace.

Unfortunately, all my efforts to start a dialogue for peace were rebuffed by India. Initially, we assumed that Mr. Modi’s increasingly hard-line positions and his rhetoric against Pakistan were aimed to whip up a nationalist frenzy among the Indian voters with an eye on the Indian elections in May.

On Feb. 14, a few months before those elections, a young Kashmiri man carried out a suicide attack against Indian troops in Indian-occupied Kashmir. The Indian government promptly blamed Pakistan.

We asked for evidence, but Mr. Modi sent Indian Air Force fighter planes across the border to Pakistan. Our Air Force brought down an Indian plane and captured the pilot. We struck back to signal we could defend ourselves but chose not to strike a target that would cause loss of life. I made a conscious decision to show that Pakistan had no intent of aggravating the conflict between two nuclear-armed states. We returned the captured Indian pilot, with no preconditions.

On May 23, after Mr. Modi’s re-election, I congratulated him and hoped we could work for “peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.” In June, I sent another letter to Mr. Modi offering dialogue to work toward peace. Again, India chose not to respond. And we found out that while I was making peace overtures, India had been lobbying to get Pakistan placed on the “blacklist” at the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, which could lead to severe economic sanctions and push us toward bankruptcy.

Evidently Mr. Modi had mistaken our desire for peace in a nuclear neighborhood as appeasement. We were not simply up against a hostile government. We were up against a “New India,” which is governed by leaders and a party that are the products of the Hindu supremacist mother ship, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the R.S.S.

The Indian prime minister and several ministers of his government continue to be members of the R.S.S., whose founding fathers expressed their admiration for Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Mr. Modi has written with great love and reverence about M.S. Golwalkar, the second supreme leader of the R.S.S., and has referred to Mr. Golwakar as “Pujiniya Shri Guruji (Guru Worthy of Worship).”

Mr. Modi’s guru wrote admiringly about the Final Solution in “We, Our Nationhood Defined,” his 1939 book: “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races — the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan for us to learn and profit by.”

I had hoped that being elected prime minister might lead Mr. Modi to cast aside his old ways as the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, when he gained global notoriety for the 2002 pogrom against local Muslims on his watch and was denied a visa to travelto the United States under its International Religious Freedom Act — a list of visa denials that included associates of Slobodan Milosevic.

Mr. Modi’s first term as prime minister had been marked by lynching of Muslims, Christians and Dalits by extremist Hindu mobs. In Indian-occupied Kashmir, we have witnessed increased state violence against defiant Kashmiris. Pellet-firing shotguns were introduced and aimed at the eyes of young Kashmiri protesters, blinding hundreds.

On Aug. 5, in its most brazen and egregious move, Mr. Modi’s government altered the status of Indian-occupied Kashmir through the revocation of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution. The move is illegal under the Constitution of India, but more important, it is a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan.

And Mr. Modi’s “New India” chose to do this by imposing a military curfew in Kashmir, imprisoning its population in their homes and cutting off their phone, internet and television connections, rendering them without news of the world or their loved ones. The siege was followed by a purge: Thousands of Kashmiris have been arrested and thrown into prisons across India. A blood bath is feared in Kashmir when the curfew is lifted. Already, Kashmiris coming out in defiance of the curfew are being shot and killed.

If the world does nothing to stop the Indian assault on Kashmir and its people, there will be consequences for the whole world as two nuclear-armed states get ever closer to a direct military confrontation. India’s defense minister has issued a not-so-veiled nuclear threat to Pakistan by saying that the future of India’s “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons will “depend on circumstances.” Similar statements have been made by Indian leaders periodically. Pakistan has long viewed India’s “no first use” claims with skepticism.

With the nuclear shadow hovering over South Asia, we realize that Pakistan and India have to move out of a zero-sum mind-set to begin dialogue on Kashmir, various strategic matters and trade. On Kashmir, the dialogue must include all stakeholders, especially the Kashmiris. We have already prepared multiple options that can be worked on while honoring the right to self-determination the Kashmiris were promised by the Security Council resolutions and India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Through dialogue and negotiations, the stakeholders can arrive at a viable solution to end the decades of suffering of the Kashmiri people and move toward a stable and just peace in the region. But dialogue can start only when India reverses its illegal annexation of Kashmir, ends the curfew and lockdown, and withdraws its troops to the barracks.

It is imperative that the international community think beyond trade and business advantages. World War II happened because of appeasement at Munich. A similar threat looms over the world again, but this time under the nuclear shadow.

Hong Kong, Kashmir: a Tale of Two Occupations

August 09, 2019

Hong Kong, Kashmir: a Tale of Two Occupations

By Pepe Escobar : with permission and crossposted with Strategic Culture

Readers from myriad latitudes have been asking me about Hong Kong. They know it’s one of my previous homes. I developed a complex, multi-faceted relationship with Hong Kong ever since the 1997 handover, which I covered extensively. Right now, if you allow me, I’d rather cut to the chase.

Much to the distress of neocons and humanitarian imperialists, there won’t be a bloody mainland China crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong – a Tiananmen 2.0. Why? Because it’s not worth it.

Beijing has clearly identified the color revolution provocation inbuilt in the protests – with the NED excelling as CIA soft, facilitating the sprawl of fifth columnists even in the civil service.

There are other components, of course. The fact that Hong Kongers are right to be angry about what is a de facto Tycoon Club oligarchy controlling every nook and cranny of the economy. The local backlash against “the invasion of the mainlanders”. And the relentless cultural war of Cantonese vs. Beijing, north vs. south, province vs. political center.

What these protests have accelerated is Beijing’s conviction that Hong Kong is not worth its trust as a key node in China’s massive integration/development project. Beijing invested no less than $18.8 billion to build the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, as part of the Greater Bay Area, to integrate Hong Kong with the mainland, not to snub it.

Now a bunch of useful idiots at least has graphically proven they don’t deserve any sort of preferential treatment anymore.

The big story in Hong Kong is not even the savage, counter-productive protests (imagine if this was in France, where Macron’s army is actually maiming and even killing Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests). The big story is the rot consuming HSBC – which has all the makings of the new Deutsche Bank scandal.

HSBC holds $2.6 trillion in assets and an intergalactic horde of cockroaches in their basement – asking serious questions about money laundering and dodgy deals operated by global turbo-capitalist elites.

In the end, Hong Kong will be left to its own internally corroding devices – slowly degrading to its final tawdry status as a Chinese Disneyland with a Western veneer. Shanghai is already in the process of being boosted as China’s top financial center. And Shenzhen already is the top high-tech hub. Hong Kong will be just an afterthought.

Brace for blowback

While China identified “Occupy Hong Kong” as a mere Western-instilled and instrumentalized plot, India, for its part, decided to go for Full Occupy in Kashmir.

Curfew was imposed all across the Kashmir valley. Internet was cut off. All Kashmiri politicians were rounded up and arrested. In fact all Kashmiris – loyalists (to India), nationalists, secessionists, independentists, apolitical – were branded as The Enemy. Welcome to Indian “democracy” under the crypto-fascist Hindutva.

“Jammu and Kashmir”, as we know it, is no more. They are now two distinct entities. Geologically spectacular Ladakh will be administered directly by New Delhi. Blowback is guaranteed. Resistance committees are already springing up.

In Kashmir, blowback will be even bigger because there will be no elections anytime soon. New Delhi does not want that kind of nuisance – as in dealing with legitimate representatives. It wants full control, period.

Starting in the early 1990s, I’ve been to both sides of Kashmir a few times. The Pakistani side does feel like Azad (“Free”) Kashmir. The Indian side is unmistakably Occupied Kashmir. This analysis is as good as it gets portraying what it means to live in IOK (Indian-occupied Kashmir).

BJP minions in India scream that Pakistan “illegally” designated Gilgit-Baltistan – or the Northern Areas – as a federally administered area. There’s nothing illegal about it. I was reporting in Gilgit-Baltistan late last year, following the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Nobody was complaining about any “illegality”.

Pakistan officially said it “will exercise all possible options to counter [India’s] illegal steps” in Kashmir. That’s extremely diplomatic. Imran Khan does not want confrontation – even as he knows full well Modi is pandering to Hindutva fanatics, aiming to turn a Muslim-majority province into a Hindu-majority province. In the long run though, something inevitable is bound to emerge – fragmented, as a guerrilla war or as a united front.

Welcome to the Kashmiri Intifada.

Javed Rana: US Driven by “Might is Right” with Little Morality

Javed Rana: US Driven by “Might is Right” with Little Morality

TEHRAN (FNA)– Javed Rana, journalist and political analyst, says the US policy has been to conduct attacks on only the defenseless countries such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and even Afghanistan; but, it has avoided any military conflicts with nuclear armed states such as India or Pakistan.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FNA, Javed Rana said Washington always overstates its military capabilities and achievements, saying,

“The US along with 40 other countries invaded Afghanistan in November 2001 to eliminate over 400 fighters of Alqaeda. 18 years down the line, the US is now literally begging Taliban who control 70 percent of the territory to let Pentagon withdraw from Afghanistan with some grace.”

Javed Rana has over two decades of journalistic experience, including a long stint with Al-Jazeera. He was the witness to countless monumental developments taking place in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East. He focuses on non-state armed actors, legal, political and geostrategic issues.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: Pakistan and India both are armed with nuclear weapons. Why has the US never confronted India and Pakistan?

A: The US needed Pakistan of 210 million people badly in 1980s to fight its cold war against the then communist Soviet Union which had occupied Afghanistan. Washington was pumping money and providing all kind of political support to Pakistan to help it to recruit jihadists to fight against the Soviets. Islamabad discreetly used this opportunity to complete its nuclear program in mid 1980s amid US suspicion. However, the US could not have pressurized Pakistan to a tipping point to cap its nuclear program. After the dismemberment of the USSR, the US did not take much time to place Pakistan under economic sanctions and withheld military hardware given its secret nature of nuclear program in early 1990s. In August 1998 Pakistan conducted seven nuclear tests in retaliation to similar tests by India. Again Islamabad came under heavy US economic sanctions. So did it happen with India. The geo-strategic situation changed after 9/11 attacks in the US and Washington lifted its all previous sanctions on Pakistan to help it overthrow Taliban government in Afghanistan. In 2008 the US opted Pakistan’s arch rival India to be its long term geo-strategic partner and decided to retain its bilateral relations with Pakistan on tactical basis to help it end 18 years long war in neighboring Afghanistan given Islamabad’s alleged support for the Taliban.

Pakistan remains de facto nuclear state but the US is short of conceding to grant the dejure status to India as a nuclear state after Washington signed commercial deal to provide New Delhi nuclear technology and later used its diplomatic leverage on nuclear watch dog – International Atomic Energy Agency – to have this agreement approved amid objections from Pakistan who wanted to be treated equally. The US opted to provide virtual dejure support to India to counterbalance rising China which has close military and economic cooperation with Pakistan.

Q: The US claims to be the world’s police in dealing with nuclear proliferation. How do you see its conflicting approaches in dealing with different countries?

A: The ancient principal “the might is right” is still in place; but, it has transformed into different shapes. The global geo-strategic politics is largely driven by hard facts and less by the moral principles which mostly end up of being consumed to propagate the stances of powerful western capitals. The US is bombing the countries which did not have or could have potentially nuclear weapons. Pentagon bombed Libya, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan because they did not have nuclear weapons. Iran is next target simply because it doesn’t have nuclear warheads. The US opted not to bomb Pakistan only because it has the third large stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world with the ability to nuke all American strategic installations in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. So is the case with North Korea. In case of Iran, the US is trying to choke it economically to pressurize Tehran to renegotiate 2015 nuclear deal, The US suspects that Iranian nuclear program could be used for military purposes after 2025 when the sunset clause of 2015 nuclear deal expires which may potentially allow Iran to increase enrichment of uranium to weapon grade.

Q: Do you believe such US policies will make this region safer?

A: The US along with 40 other countries invaded Afghanistan in November 2001 to eliminate over 400 fighters of Alqaeda. 18 years down the line, the US is now literally begging Taliban who control 70 percent of the territory to let Pentagon withdraw from Afghanistan with some grace. And now there is mushroom growth of militant groups across the region from Afghanistan to Middle East. Similarly if the US bombs Iran, there would be more terrorism and unrest in the region. While the US would create conditions that in case of war, Iran attacks Saudi Arabia who would give it a religious color to seek support from other Muslim countries. This could potentially trigger a sectarian conflict where Sunni-Shia could target each other elsewhere in the world.

Modi’s Ship Hits the Kashmir Iceberg

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Melkulangara Bhadrakumar
July 26, 2019

A thoughtful feature of the post-cold war ‘adjustment’ in India’s foreign policies following the disbandment of the former Soviet Union was that Delhi should stick to the proverbial principle ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ when it comes to America.

The maxim of the three wise monkeys in the ancient Indian folklore stems from the elite’s ‘unipolar predicament’ — a notion that to be on the right side of history in the 21st century means India might as well jump on the US bandwagon.

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Delhi’s strategic patience under Prime Minister Modi’s rule has been somewhat stretched to the limits during the Donald Trump presidency. Modi tried everything in the Indian rope trick to pacify the mercurial American president. But with Trump, no one can be quite sure. Where golf-playing statesmen oozing charm — such as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — failed, India should have drawn conclusions.

Delhi instead chose to ignore the taunting — at times insulting — Trumpean tweets poking at Modi. Trump even cavalierly turned down the ultimate honour that Modi could bestow on him — an invite to be the chief guest at India’s National Day parade in Delhi.

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Then, on July 22, all hell broke loose with Trump disclosing to the media that Modi has asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir issue — India’s Achilles’ heel — and that he is rolling up the sleeves. And, rubbing salt into the Indian wound, Trump made this sensational disclosure in the presence of the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Doesn’t Trump know that India publicly disavows third party mediation on Kashmir? Without doubt, he knows. And that’s the whole point. Within hours, the Indian foreign ministry reacted evasively that ‘no such request has been made’ by Modi. The Indian spokesman rolled out the mantra regarding India’s ‘consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.’ Delhi added, ‘Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism’.

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In the present context, Pakistan’s help to end the Afghan war can mean a big foreign policy achievement for Trump that would have mileage for his campaign for the presidential election next year in the US. Therefore, the probability is that Trump was being boastful by ‘declassifying’ fully or partly what must have been a highly sensitive exchange between him and Modi in Osaka without any aides present.

Suffice to say, Trump’s mediatory offer on Kashmir and the salience of Imran Khan’s visit to the US hold serious implications for Indian policies.

First and foremost, the Modi government recoiled from the backlash of Indian public opinion regarding Trump’s mediatory offer. In reality, though, India has selectively accepted US mediation in the past, the best known example being the Kargil War in 1990. Therefore, even if Modi had sought Trump’s mediation, it would have been nothing extraordinary.

In fact, tactically, it would have been a clever ploy to pin down Trump to the neutral ground as regards India-Pakistan tensions even as Imran Khan was to shortly undertake a momentous visit to the US.

Indeed, Imran Khan’s visit will cause disquiet in the Indian mind insofar as Trump is promising to Pakistan a seamless alliance. This is happening at an awkward moment for India when the guns have fallen silent on the India-Pakistan border and the cross-border infiltration of militants to J&K has dried up lately.

The Modi government is just about to roll out a new strategy toward the J&K situation. The Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh publicly announced only last week that a final solution to the J&K situation is ‘imminent’.

A reasonable guess is that the Modi government plans to integrate J&K by divesting or eroding some of its so-called ‘special status’, taking advantage of the perceived Pakistani capitulation on cross-border terrorism. That plan may now have to be put on the back burner.

One of the basic assumptions behind that plan is that there isn’t going to be any international repercussions if Delhi robustly pushed the project forward, with coercion if need be, to integrate J&K. But Trump may have now shaken up the Indian confidence. Trump drew attention to the security situation in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, the longstanding character of the Kashmir problem and the singular inability of India and Pakistan to resolve the dispute bilaterally.

The way things are developing in the equations between Washington and Islamabad at the highest level of leaderships, Pakistan has succeeded in getting the US to accept a linkage between any Afghan settlement and a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Trump’s remarks in their totality implicitly seems to acknowledge such a linkage.

At any rate, for the big hand that Pakistan is holding out to Trump to help end the Afghan war and claim a foreign-policy trophy in 2020, it will expect far greater US sensitivity toward Pakistan’s legitimate interests in regional security and stability, where its longstanding demand is for ‘strategic balance’ in South Asia. In the Pakistani estimation, ‘strategic balance’ requires a rest of the US’ South Asia policy compass, which tilts in favour of India.

Trump’s remarks suggest that he accepts in principle that goodwill and cooperation makes a two-way street. Therefore, Trump’s explosive disclosure will also have resonance with the Kashmiri people who are already alienated from the Indian state. Trump may have unwittingly given hope to the Kashmiris.

J&K’s planned ‘integration’ now becomes an uphill task for the Modi government. Nonetheless, Delhi is not going to be deterred from integrating J&K on terms that Bharathiya Janata Party, India’s ruling party, has unwaveringly set as its goal. From Delhi’s mild reaction to Trump’s remarks, it seems Modi government hopes to continue to tackle POTUS by making concessions elsewhere — such as, more lucrative arms deals.

The Indian analysts often speak of foreign policy under Modi as one of ‘multi-alignment’. But in practice, Indian policies operate on the ground as if the world community is an animal farm where the US remains more equal than others. Simply put, the Indian elites desire it that way, the bureaucrats are au fait with it and the Diaspora in North America, which roots for Hindu nationalism, demands it.

This is where the fundamental contradiction lies. When Trump says he is raring to mediate on Kashmir and help normalise India-Pakistan relations, he has unceremoniously trespassed on India’s core interests. Hopefully, this will trigger an Indian rethink in a longer term perspective rather than as a storm in the tea cup, given the high probability that Trump will remain in power for a second term as well.

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Such poignant moments underscore that India’s strategic ambivalence in the contemporary world order, characterised by growing multipolarity, is becoming increasingly untenable. Modi’s forthcoming visit to Russia in September and the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in October will provide significant pointers to the Indian policies in the changing regional and international milieu.

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Destabilizing Pakistan: Bookending Washington’s China Policy

Global Research, July 26, 2019

Much is being said of US activities aimed at China. Recent protests in Hong Kong together with a US-led propaganda campaign aimed at Beijing’s attempts to quell a growing terrorist threat in Xinjiang are aimed at pressuring the nation to fall back into line within Washington’s enduring unipolar international order.

The latter of these two campaigns in particular – claims of Chinese authoritarianism as Beijing attempts to neutralize US-backed separatists and terrorists in Xinjiang – has also been spun as China “targeting Muslims.”

This ignores the fact that one of China’s closest and oldest allies in Eurasia is Pakistan – a Muslim-majority nation. It also ignores the fact that in Pakistan, the US is playing the same game aimed at cultivating violent extremism, separatism, violence, division, and even the dissolution of Pakistan’s current borders.

Balochistan – the other Xinjiang 

While all the focus has been directed by the Western media on Xinjiang and a supposed “anti-Muslim crackdown” in the region, Pakistan faces the same problem in its southwestern province of Balochistan. In Pakistan – attempts by the government to root out violent separatists surely is not “anti-Muslim.” 

In Balochistan, the US agencies involved in fanning the flames of separatism and violence instead portray Islamabad and the Pakistani military’s efforts to restore order as simply trampling “human rights.” 

US interference in Balochistan is just as extensive as it is in China’s Xinjiang.

Despite the recent move by Washington to list the armed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a terrorist organization – Islamabad has long accused Washington of funding and arming it along with segments of the Indian government aligned with US interests.

The fact that otherwise ignored activities by Balochistan separatists are covered by certain Indian newspapers even as recently as this year seems to give credence to these accusations. NDTV’s article, “Pro-Balochistan Slogans Raised During Imran Khan’s Address In US,” and India Today’s article, “16 EU Members of Parliament write letter to Trump to intervene in Balochistan,” are just two such examples.

US support is much easier to track down.

US-based Stanford University’s Mapping Militant Organizations project admits that the BLA receives much of its financial aid from the Balochi diaspora. The project’s profile on the Balochistan Liberation Army notes:

Due to high community support for autonomy and independence from people of the Balochistan, many analysts suspect that a large amount of the BLA’s income and weapons supply come from donations from the Balochi people. Balochi leaders have also claimed that financial contributions from the Balochi diaspora make it possible to procure arms and ammunition through the black market.

Thus, even if the US is not directly arming and funding the BLA, it is openly supporting pro-separatists among the Balochi diaspora who even Stanford University experts admit are – in turn – funding the BLA’s terrorism.

The US move to designate the BLA as a foreign terrorist organization holds little meaning. The BLA will find itself beside organizations like Jabhat Al Nusra in Syria which is all but openly funded and armed by the United States and a large cross-section of Washington’s closest European and Arab allies.

Arming militants is only half of the overall strategy seeking to destabilize Pakistan. Subverting national institutions and replacing them with those interlocking with US special interests is the other half.

US NED Working Hard in – and Against – Pakistan  

The US State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various subsidiaries are busy at work in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province as well as China’s Xinjiang.

NED has been directly funding and supporting the work of the “Balochistan Institute for Development” (BIFD) which claims to be:

“…the leading resource on democracy, development and human rights in Balochistan, Pakistan.”

In addition to organizing the annual NED-BFID “Workshop on Media, Democracy & Human Rights” BFID reports that USAID had provided funding for a “media-center” for the Baluchistan Assembly to “provide better facilities to reporters who cover the proceedings of the Balochistan Assembly.” It can be assumed that BFID meant reporters are “trained” at NED-BFID workshops and at its USAID-funded center.

There is also Voice of Balochistan whose every top-story is US-funded propaganda, including op-eds by US representatives promoting Balochi separatism, foundation-funded Reporters Without Borders, Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, and a direct message from the US State Department.

Like other US State Department funded propaganda outfits around the world – such as Thailand’s Prachatai – funding is generally obfuscated in order to main “credibility” even when the front’s constant torrent of obvious propaganda more than exposes the game.

The “Free Baluchistan” movement is a US and London-based organizations. The “Baloch Society of North America” serves as a useful aggregate and bellwether regarding US meddling in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The group’s founder, Dr. Wahid Baloch, openly admits he has met with US politicians in regards to Balochistan independence. This includes Neo-Conservative corporate-lobbyist and National Endowment for Democracy board member, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Dr. Wahid Baloch considers Balochistan province “occupied” by both the Iranian and Pakistani governments – he and his movement’s humanitarian hand-wringing gives Washington the perfect pretext to create an armed conflagration against either Iran or Pakistan, or both, as planned in detail by various US policy think-tanks.

There is also the Baloch Students Organisation-Azad, or BSO. While it maintains a presence in Pakistan, it has coordinators based in London. London-based BSO members include “information secretaries” that propagate their message via social media, just as US and British-funded youth organizations did during the West’s operations against other targeted nations during the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011.

And just as US-funded agitators in China’s Xinjiang region coordinate their activities with other US-backed groups across the rest of China – such as in Hong Kong and Tibet – other US NED-funded fronts in Pakistan also contribute to a wider campaign of dividing and undermining Pakistan.The US State Department funds Voice of America Deewa focused on Pakistan’s Pashtuns who inhabit Pakistan’s northwest region along its border with Afghanistan.

Despite VOA Deewa’s supposed area of focus, it is actually based in Washington DC. While many of the organizations it provides support for do not admit their US funding, organizations like “AdvoPak” are regularly promoted by VOA Deewa. US NED’s online publication, “Democracy Digest,” also promotes, interviews, and defends groups who appear to be funded by Washington and undoubtedly serve US interests in Pakistan.

This includes the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) which was featured by the Digest earlier this year in an article titled, “Pakistan’s military targets protest movement, stifles dissent.” While PTM doesn’t disclose its funding, it is regularly accused of receiving support from and working for both India and the US.The Democracy Digest article featured a video interview with a PTM member – Gulalai Ismail – who is in fact an NED Fellow. There is also NED’s “Tribute to Gulalai Ismail at the 2013 Democracy Award.”And all of this is just scratching the surface of US meddling in Pakistan’s internal politics and of organizations committed to creating synergies with US-backed separatists in Balochistan.

What Does Pakistan’s Balochistan and China’s Xinjiang Have in Common? 

Balochistan and Xinjiang both appear to be suffering from separatist movements, terrorism, and political destabilization. The common factor is clearly US backing behind both separatist movements – but what is the common denominator that has attracted US attention in the first place?Both Xinjiang and Balochistan are settings for massive Chinese-led infrastructure and trade initiatives. Western publications like the Business Insider note the importance Xinjiang holds in terms of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

Many of the routes that lead out of China, across Central Asia, and eventually into the Middle East and Western Europe pass through Xinjiang. US attempts to destabilize the region in turn directly impact the viability of Beijing’s OBOR initiative and the economic wealth and influence it stands to grant Beijing.

Likewise, a significant leg of the OBOR initiative extends from China and across Pakistan from north to south, through Balochistan until reaching Gwadar Port. Thus, by destabilizing Balochistan, this essential corridor’s full potential is inhibited.

This is a truth US special interests and the media interests they own will never admit to. This is why – instead – diverse tales of China’s “anti-Muslim” crackdown and Pakistan’s “distain for human rights” in Balochistan are used to sell two different US-backed conflicts fuelled for a singular agenda – impeding China’s rise and that of its allies – including Pakistan.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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How to kill 10 million Afghans and not win

July 24, 2019

by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission

Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast near the University of Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 19. At least 8 people were reported killed and 33 others injured. Two vehicles caught fire following the explosion. Photo: AFP / Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency
How to kill 10 million Afghans and not win

“We’re like policemen. We’re not fighting a war. If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. But I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped off the face of the Earth. I don’t want to go that route.”

Even considering the rolling annals of demented Trumpism, bolstered every single day by a torrent of outrageous tweets and quotes, what you’ve just read is simply astonishing. Here we have the President of the United States asserting that,

1) The US is not fighting a war in Afghanistan;

2) If the US wanted a war, the President would win it in a week;

3) He would kill 10 million people – although he doesn’t want it;

4) “Afghanistan” as a whole, for no meaningful reason, could be wiped off the face of the Earth.

Trump said all of the above while sitting alongside Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan – who, in a deft move, is trying to appease the White House even as he carefully positions Pakistan as a solid node of Eurasia integration alongside Russia, China and Iran.

When Trump says the US is not fighting a war in Afghanistan, he’s on to something, although it’s doubtful that Team Trump have told the boss that the real game in town, from the beginning, is the CIA heroin rat line.

It’s also doubtful Trump would ask for input from his hated predecessor Barack Obama. Obama may not have killed 10 million people, but the forces under his command did kill scores of Afghans, including countless civilians. And still Obama did not “win” – much less “in a week.”

Barack Obama did entertain the notion of “winning” the war in Afghanistan. After deliberating in solitary confinement for 11 hours, as legend goes, he “methodically” settled for a two-step surge, 21,000 troops plus 30,000. Obama believed the war on Afghanistan was a noble crusade and during his presidential campaign in 2008 always defined it as “the right war.”

Obama defended his surge on humanitarian imperialist grounds: “For the Afghan people, the return of Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people, especially women and girls.” The New York Times and the Washington Post applauded.

But, Kabul, we have a problem. Afghanistan, bombed and invaded under the Cheney regime, was never a “right” or “just” war. There was never any established Taliban connection to 9/11. Plotting and financing for 9/11 involved Saudis and cells in Germany, Pakistan and the UAE. Mullah Omar never dispatched any “terra-rists” on one-way tickets to America.

Nevertheless, the Taliban leadership in Kandahar did agree to a deal – brokered by Moscow – to surrender Osama bin Laden, who, without even the hint of an investigation, was proclaimed the evil 9/11 culprit only a few hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers. The Cheney regime rejected the Taliban offer, as well as a subsequent one, to hand over Osama to a Muslim nation for trial. The Cheney regime only wanted an extradition to the US.

The SCO steps in

With puppet Hamid Karzai barely reigning in Kabul, and the neocons already focused on their real target, Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan was handed over to NATO. This had already been decided even before 9/11, at the G8 in Genoa in July, when it became clear Washington had a plan to strike Afghanistan by October. The Cheney regime badly needed a beachhead in the intersection of Central Asia and South Asia not only to monitor Russia and China but also to coordinate a drive to take over Central Asia’s massive gas wealth.

Notoriously fickle history in the Hindu Kush ruled otherwise. Incrementally, the Taliban started to get their mojo back throughout the 2010s, to the point that now they control as much as half of the country.

Even that fountain of vanity General David Petraeus – who had crafted the (failed) Iraq surge – always knew the Afghan war was un-winnable. Disgraced General Stanley McChrystal at least was more surgical: “We’ve shot an amazing number of people and killed a number, and to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat.”

Still, certified fun and games were assured by stuff such as Lockheed Martin’s high mobility artillery rocket system laying waste to Pashtun villages and devastating wedding ceremonies. Pentagon propaganda about “low collateral damage” never disguised the absence of real, actionable intel on the ground.

Seymour Hersh argued that Obama’s version of the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 was an elaborate work of fiction – subsequently duly enshrined by Hollywood. One year later, Obama’s surge still had 88,000 soldiers in Afghanistan plus nearly 118,000 contractors. The surge then died a slow, ignominious death.

Anyone remotely familiar with the fractious geopolitics at the intersection of Central and South Asia knows that, for the US military-industrial-security complex, to withdraw from Afghanistan is anathema. Trump may be emitting some noise – but that’s just noise. Bagram air base is an invaluable asset in the Empire of Bases to monitor the evolving Russia-China strategic partnership.

The only feasible solution for Afghanistan is a pan-Eurasia mechanism being advanced by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with Russia and China at the helm, India and Pakistan as full members and Iran and Afghanistan as observers. Afghanistan will then be fully integrated as a node of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well as the Indian mini-Silk Road through Afghanistan towards Central Asia starting from the Iranian port of Chabahar.

This is what all major Eurasia players want. This is how you “win” a war. And this is how you don’t need to kill 10 million people.

Afghan Government Seeks Clarification of Trump’s ’Wiping Out Afghanistan’ Remarks

By Staff, Agencies

The Afghan government called on Tuesday for clarification of US President Donald Trump’s remarks that he could win the Afghan war in just 10 days by “wiping out Afghanistan from the face of the earth”, the presidential palace in Kabul said.

Trump’s remarks followed a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday.

He voiced optimism that Pakistan could help broker a political settlement to end the nearly 18-year-old war in Afghanistan.

“The Afghan nation has not and will never allow any foreign power to determine its fate,” Kabul presidential palace said in a statement.

Trump Says He “Could Win Afghanistan War in 10 Days”

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump is seeking help from Pakistan to extricate Washington from the war in Afghanistan, saying that he could “win” that war in a week if he wanted to kill millions and wipe off the country.

“I could win that war in a week,” Trump claimed on Monday, as he met with Pakistani PM Imran Khan at the White House. “Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth… literally in 10 days.”

“I don’t want to go that route,” Trump added. “I don’t want to kill 10 million people.”

Instead, Trump claimed that Pakistan will help “extricate” the US from the long war in Afghanistan the previous administrations have got entangled in.

“We’ve been there for 19 years, and we’ve acted as policemen, not soldiers,” Trump said, adding he has been withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan solution.”

“This is the closest we’ve been to a peace deal,” Khan added, hoping that in the coming weeks the Afghan government would agree to direct talks with the Taliban.

Meanwhile, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding talks with the Taliban for months, reaching an “agreement on principle” in January on withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, but with many issues still left unresolved.

“It’s clear all sides want to end the war,” Khalilzad said at the time.

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