Tiff continues: India Gets Nowhere

With Iran on Afghanistan or anything else; India makes no headway!

By Moin Ansari

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Strategy and long term policy matters are discussed at the Presidential, and Prime Minister’s level. They are never discussed at the Deputy Foreign Minister level. The Bharati press is portraying Deputy Foreign Minister level talks as policy or strategy talks. The minister’s statements suggest that despite India’s attempts, Iran is a long way from supporting India. The LNG project put on ice by Tehran after the Indo-Israeli deals has not been resurrected.

Even these low level Indo-Iran talks failed. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Fathollahi drove the final nail in the coffin, when he tersely informed his hosts that the Afghan Constitution would be the “basis and pillar for any action,”. In other words be emphasized the unity of Afghanistan and what the Afghan Jirga has already proposed–and “Pan Afghan solution” based upon talks with the Afghan National Resistance (aka Taliban Haqqanirs, Hikmatyar etc.). As if this wasn’t enough Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister clearly told the Bharatis that “in our regional strategy we believe in cooperation with Pakistan.”

This is what the Times of India says. Even as Fathollahi claimed that India and Iran had “close viewpoints” on Afghanistan, he said enough to suggest that the two nations may not be on the same page over the issue. “We are suspicious about the motive behind what has been revealed by Wikileaks because the issues raised are not new ones. We believe there are special objectives behind this leakage which has come at a time when things in Afghanistan are moving towards more stability and more constructive role for the Afghan government,” Fathollahi said.

To confirm our reporting, The Indian Daily Telegraph reports:

“But Iran does not share India’s concern that the Pakistani army and ISI might foist themselves on Afghanistan once the international security forces leave the region by 2014. Unlike New Delhi, Tehran wants the forces to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.

However, the Iranian foreign minister said his government considered Pakistan an integral constituent of any regional strategy, including on Afghanistan, and has always believed in co-operating with Islamabad.”

The minister was asked specifically about ISI links with Taliban as brought out by the Wikileaks documents. When asked about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, the minister said only Pakistan could talk about that and “Iran always believes in cooperation with Pakistan”.

The minister’s remarks, coupled with Iran’s constant demand for immediate withdrawal of international troops from the region, are a complete antithesis of India’s stand on Afghanistan. One of the reasons for India stepping up engagement with Iran in the recent past has been the fact that, like India, Tehran too has shunned the idea of good Taliban.

“The heavy presence of military can’t be a solution to the problem. The Afghanistan government should be trusted and we must believe in its capabilities,” Fathollahi said. Times of India.

There has been much speculation about Chahbahar and Bharati desires to build a land link to Afghanistan via Iran. Mr. Fathollahi seemed to have have poured water on the Bharati wishes by stating in clear terms that this not possible under the present circumstances and this remains only a possibility—”In future there will be fundamental developments regarding the position of Chabar,” .

The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister also threw cold water on resurrecting the Northern Alliance or dividing Afghanistan–”Northern Alliance is not separated from other parts of Afghanistan”. Read more of this post

Leaders they better would have not

But isn’t it expecting too much from an Islamabad hierarchy that has demonstrated itself such a spineless pack of self-styled leaders who the nation would better have not and would certainly be much better off without.

A hubristically arrogant British Prime Minister David Cameron chimes cheekily that Pakistan is exporting terrorism and then picks up thunderous cheers from his Indian audience and a purchase order for dozens of trainer jets worth over whopping $one billion from the Indian government. A disputed Afghan President Hamid Karzai whose authority has stayed confined throughout his nine-year rule to his presidential palace’s outer gate and his government’s writ to Kabul municipality leaps up to the Wikileaks’ leaks of US military files and screams for taking out Afghan Taliban’s “sanctuaries” in Pakistan. And what is the response of a cringing and servile hierarchy of Islamabad to these audacious outpourings of Cameron and Karzai? That this would impact negatively the “war on terror”, bleats the whole ruling clan of Islamabad sheepishly. President Zardari mumbles it; so does prime minister Gilani; foreign minister Qureshi too. And so do all the rest.

But who will tell these ignoramuses the street gives a damn if this war is affected or not or even if it goes all haywire when it has become such a sore wound on our body politic? It has cost the nation dearly in blood and treasure, without drawing it any honest gratitude from anywhere and getting it only pillory and abuse from everywhere. For this war, over 3,000 of our soldiers have sacrificed their precious lives. In this war, thousands of our civilian compatriots, including children and women, have been slaughtered in US drone attacks and terrorist strikes of thugs bred, nurtured, funded and armed by the CIA-led evil axis of Indian RAW and Afghan NDS intelligence agencies. For this war, our economy is tottering cripplingly with losses amounting to some $40 billion or more it has inflicted on it. For the insecurity that proxies and agents of this evil axis of alien agencies has spawned with their thuggery in the country, domestic investments are fleeing out and foreign investment dread coming in. For this war, our sovereignty stands rubbished and our national solidarity in tatters.

Given this, one thought reaction to Cameron’s and Karzai’s audacities would be severe, strong and manly in Islamabad . It is not, appallingly. The response is effeminate, befitting a woman and decidedly not a man. It appears Islamabad’s hierarchs are not even aware how the street is boiling with anger over impudence of Cameron as also of Karzai, a staunchly loyalist CIA asset who did its bidding so blindly slavishly, even to anoint Indians as his own senior advisors and his governors’, themselves CIA appointees. People had hoped President Zardari would at least postpone, if not cancel, his London visit to register his nation’s outrage at Cameron’s filthy inanity. He has not.

Perhaps, to him coronation of a prince regent, who he is touting up as the nation’s upcoming ruler, counts for more than does his people’s popular sentiment. Yet if he is so loath to crown his prince at home among the people he intends foisting on to rule, he could have done the coronation ceremony in France , which too he is visiting at the Pakistani taxpayer’s expense. But if he so resolved staging this regal coronation in London under the shadows of tall palaces of kings and queens at any rate, he may have this pleasure.

But in his meeting with Cameron will he pluck up the guts and ask a few relevant questions? Will he ask Cameron that Britain had taken upon it the responsibility of freeing occupied Afghanistan from drugs? Instead, it has become the world’s biggest drugs producer and supplier. Why? Will he ask him that the occupiers had pledged pacifying the post-Taliban Afghanistan , yet British troops stayed put for years in their secured bases in Kabul and Bagram. Why? Will he tell him that when finally the British troops ventured moving out, in 2006, to Helmand , the then British defence secretary squawked they would wrest it from Taliban without firing a shot? Yet four years on, they failed to capture even a mentionable portion of it, and the American marines in thousands had to be deployed, although they too have spectacularly failed in the task. Will he ask Cameron why American soldiers ridicule British troops’ fighting mettle playfully, calling them derisively chickens? And why even British troops’ command has been taken away from the British commander and given to American officers, amid report that the British contingent had been bribing local Taliban not to attack it.

But isn’t it expecting too much from an Islamabad hierarchy that has demonstrated itself such a spineless pack of self-styled leaders who the nation would better have not and would certainly be much better off without. They are worse than dictator Pervez Musharraf who danced like a red-light area dancing girl before his American patrons and threw this poor nation in such a demeaning condition.

– The Frontier Post

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American double game

Leaks Destroy The American Case Against ISI

> US tries to hide American war crimes & shift focus to Pakistan
> 90,000 documents on US military & CIA failures, only 180 on ISI
> How safe are US nuclear, chemical and biological secrets
> Most of the American propaganda on Pakistan is “Rumors, bullshit and second-hand information”

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Since late 2006, United States government, military, intelligence and media have been orchestrating regular attacks against Pakistan, creating a false alarm about its nuclear capability and portraying its premier spy agency, the ISI, as a threat to world peace.

The weak and apologetic reactions by Pakistan’s political and military officials encouraged this American double game.

But here comes the smoking gun, more than 90,000 leaked US intelligence documents, which prove how the Washington establishment has been running a vilification campaign against Pakistan both under Bush and Obama administrations, without any evidence except malicious intent.

Here is a chance for Pakistan to use these documents to argue its own case more confidently.

As soon as the classified documents were leaked over the weekend, US government sprung into action to minimize damage by shifting the focus toward Pakistan.

US government and military officials succeeded in making Pakistan and ISI the main story and hide the massive and spectacular US failures in Afghanistan, including evidence on war crimes and civilian carnage. It’s an exercise that bears the hallmarks of a CIA-style public diplomacy [a la Iraq invasion].

Instead of brooding over the American failures and war crimes that have been neatly hidden from the world for eight years, the mainstream US media chose once again to indulge in anti-Pakistanism which is rampant and endemic within the US media and among think-tank types. A British journalist, Declan Walsh, couldn’t help but notice this anti-Pakistan streak in how the Obama administration handled the leaks.

“In issuing such a strongly worded statement with implicit criticism of the ISI,” Mr. Walsh wrote in The Guardian, “the White House may be trying to keep ahead of a tide of US opinion that is hostile towards Pakistan.”

A TASTE OF AMERICAN DECEIT

Here’s a quick look at how ISI and Pakistan are a small part of the story blown out of proportion:

  • Out of more than 90,000 classified US documents, only about 180 mention ISI, and only about 30 or so charge the legendary Pakistani spy service of wrongdoing in Afghanistan
  • The whole case built by US against Pakistan and ISI is based not on evidence but on information sourced to ‘informants’, ‘sources’, initials [like A.E.], and sources linked to either the new US-created Afghan intelligence or the Indians. Both Karzai’s spies and the Indians have been telling anyone who’d listen that they are the preeminent source for any credible information on Pakistan
  • Many of these classified US documents carry a disclaimer added by the authors or their handlers in the US military and intelligence. The disclaimer emphasizes that information in these reports can’t be trusted, is unverified, is sourced to people working for monetary gain or are linked to biased parties such as the Indians and Karzai’s intelligence
  • Most importantly, many of these documents carry a warning that US policymakers should not rely on information in the reports to formulate policy
  • According to the Guardian, most of the American propaganda on Pakistan is “Rumours, bullshit and second-hand information”

THE REAL STORY

The real story, the one hidden in the bulk of the 90,000 leaked documents, is this:

  • How the US government, military and CIA have hidden a US military disaster in Afghanistan from the American public and the world
  • How the mainstream US media is complicit in misleading the American public and the world
  • How the United States is involved in war crimes in Afghanistan, especially in mass murder of innocent Afghan civilians
  • How the US and its allies within the Pakistani government and military are most probably hiding similar tales of mass murder of Pakistani citizens in Pakistan’s tribal belt who fell victim to CIA-run drones

Read more of this post

Will “PakMil” recognise the real foe?

By Dr Shireen M Mazari

It is ISI bashing time again and this comes easy for the Western and Indian media especially, but also for the media at home since the ISI has figured as a larger than life organisation since the US-led war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. And undoubtedly the ISI has at times been highly controversial in the activities it has undertaken especially domestically. Both during period of civilian democracy and military rule, the ISI has been used by those in power and even today the ruling party is not devoid of this temptation, unfortunately.

Of course, like all intelligence agencies with an external agenda, such as CIA and RAW, the ISI has its own external agenda. But it needs to also be understood that the ISI is not an independent entity and the decision-making hierarchy of the organisation comes on routine postings from the military, primarily the army. So its external activities reflect the policies of the government, but especially the military. Be that as it may, post-9/11, the ISI has had to pay for its past sins in seeing itself demonised by the US and India – even though the former is supposed to be an ally of this country. Every time the chips are down for the US in Afghanistan, somehow or the other the ISI is lambasted by “leaks” to the Western, especially the compliant US media. It would appear that the CIA’s failures, as well as the US and NATO military failures, are all a result solely of the ISI! Now if only the ISI was really so effective, efficient and powerful, India’s occupation of Kashmir would have ended and Afghanistan’s future would have been moulded according to its desires! Unfortunately, that is not the case and the ISI is as riddled with inefficiencies as any large bureaucratic organisation is, but undoubtedly, it has better ground intelligence in this region than the US and its CIA since the latter has a blunderbuss approach to human intelligence gathering and has no sensitivity to nuances of any kind.

Be that as it may, the latest round of ISI bashing rather obviously sponsored by the CIA to hide its own failures in Afghanistan, once again, has come with the WikiLeaks’ story. Apart from The Guardian newspaper which showed some healthy scepticism about the leaked information, for the biased US media like The New York Times this was a journalistic feast – enough to feed the deep-seated anti-Muslim and especially anti-Pakistan bias that now dominates the American media. But let us get some facts straightened first and one has to concede that WikiLeaks itself is credible anti-war site. But what the media has done in terms of factual distortions of even these unverifiable leaks is dangerous and cannot simply be ignored by Pakistan because we are once again the targets. First of all, the leaked documents are based entirely on field reports filed by a variety of operatives in Afghanistan, allegedly primarily belonging to the Northern Alliance. Second, out of the 92,000 leaked documents, only 180 contain ISI references and of these only 30 mention the ISI in negative terms regarding Taliban-supporting activities. Third, of these 180 documents with references to the ISI, most of these reports have a disclaimer by the author at the end where the source was referred to simply as an “informant” and it was stated that this source was either not reliable or working only for monetary gains for either the Afghan intelligence, Indians or Afghan warlords! Or else the source was referred to simply by initials! Interestingly where the ISI is mentioned, it also states in the disclaimer that the information cannot be verified and therefore cannot be “used to make policies” (all this is on the website). So where does that leave the actual content of these leaked reports?

Officials in Pakistan are convinced that the CIA, when it found out about the leaks, sought to divert the expansive details of its own failures in Afghanistan by shifting the focus on to the ISI – a favourite bete noir of the Western media. According to WikiLeaks the source for the leaked documents sought to prevent the publication of some of them for fear of sensitive information! There is also a feeling in some quarters that the CIA has deliberately chosen to once again target the ISI because of the rising anti-war tide within the US. Most observers in the know now recognise that the US and NATO have lost the war militarily in Afghanistan and bad intelligence is certainly one of the causes. So what better way to escape blame than to put everything on the ISI. The timing of the “leaks” is not without purpose.

Be that as it may, the fact is that it is time for Pakistan to sever its links and cooperation with the US. How can we have information and intelligence sharing with a country that has systematically done and continues to do a hatchet job on our premier intelligence agency, as well as the Pakistan military in general? From our nuclear programme to the ISI, there is a continuous ongoing war being waged on us by the US. It may not be a military war but it has economic, political, diplomatic and psychological components. What is simply absurd is why the “PakMil” – a term Mullen has coined to show his intimacy with General Kayani and is used only by him when he meets the COAS apparently – is not seeing the ground realities? Instead of the ISPR issuing press releases now suddenly condemning the drone attacks in an attempt to fool the Pakistani nation, when they know only too well that these are being carried out with the support of the Pakistan civil and military leadership, the military should take a long hard look at what the US is doing to Pakistan on all fronts. If the Pakistani government, including the military, sees the drones as doing more harm than good, why do they remain complicit in this policy? Should they not send a clear message to the US by downing one of these drones? Read more of this post

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