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

Advertisements

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.

 

29Khan-Print-superJumbo.jpg
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

Related image

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.

Related image

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.

Related image

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’.

Image result for Modi’s Ship Hits the Kashmir Iceberg

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.

Image result for Chinese President Xi Jinping to India

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.

Related Videos

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.

*

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.

Featured image is from NEO

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.

%d bloggers like this: