Looks like policy of ISI of strategic depth in Afghanistan received a serious blow with Haqqani Network’s attack on US Embassy in Kabul. We have reports that Americans were giving the cold shoulder to Haqqani Network after the talks between Americans and Taliban broke down. These talks were held with the help of Saudi Arabia that used her Wahabi influence over Taliban to bring them to negotiation table. But what went wrong? Americans had a wrong perception that they broke the backbone of Taliban in Afghanistan. This is relatively absurd as Taliban were comprised of fighters from Pakistan’s North West and Arab countries. Afghans were just low-level or medium level activists and fighters of Taliban. Americans under estimated ISI. There were many voices emerging from American Congressional committees about the possible extra involvement of ISI with a section of Haqqani Network of Taliban based in North Waziristan.
It is said that the negotiations were based on a predisposition that Taliban are weak enough to accept the surrender. This was not so. Taliban not only demanded hefty ransom from Americans but also pressed them vehemently to release all jailed fighters. Americans might had settled the issue of release of those leaders on the guarantee of Saudi Arabia but this was not only the issue. Haqqani Network told Americans plainly told that they don’t accept the Afghan Government as legitimate and demanded that Taliban Theocratic state and Taliban Shariah should be accepted as the legitimate Law of Afghanistan and of the areas that will come under Taliban regime other than Afghanistan. Well, as desperate as Americans are but both Democrats and Republicans are not ready to put their reputation at stake over the War Against Terrorism.
The point of attacking Afghanistan was to get rid of Taliban government and to promote human rights and freedom in Afghanistan. Freedom is a big crowd mover in American public. Human Rights, Freedom of Expression and religion are somethings that American pubic really cherish. So how it would look if Americans would not only leave Afghanistan with hefty loses but also accept the Taliban government there? Well, this was the turning point. Obama who is looking for the next term as President cannot place his reputation (that is already declining) at stake! He would be hated if he would accept the Taliban government as legitimate and Extremism and terrorism as state policy. Americans stepped out from the negotiations quietly and then it was too late. To cover up the fall of negotiations, Americans invented a theory of diminish and shake. They tried to diminish the impact of Taliban over the policy matters and Afghan endgame and left the job of thwarting Taliban threat to late Burhanuddin Rabbani and Karzai – both were weak enough and just puppets without power.
When negotiations fell down, our policy makers here in Pakistan (might independently) figured that Haqqani Network should be brought into limelight so that their power shouldn’t be underestimated. Let’s assume for the best that this plan was not brought into the knowledge of Top Brass of Army but the mission was just to bring Haqqani Network into limelight. Haqqanis came with a plan to bomb American Embassy in Kabul so that Americans realize that it is not good and right to ignore Haqqanis and Taliban. ISI might have not provided human or intelligence support for this operation but just moral support. The plan went bad as Americans took this raid very seriously and dubbed it as an attack on their sovereignty and then it was investigated before fingers were pointed towards ISI.
Of course, Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya. It has strong military and a running Ballistic missle program and nuclear arsenal. So Americans know that Pakistan cannot be attacked just with a resolution of Security Council because of many reasons. Even India will not approve unrest in its Western Neighborhood. Then what options does Americans have when it comes to taming Pakistan? Pakistan has a falling economy with no real GDP. National Exchequer and even the monthly salaries of the government employees go to doldrums without the American and Western Aid. With that Pakistan is facing huge financial and humanitarian crisis in Sindh and Punjab. This is other than the terrorism and IDP crisis in Khyber Pakhtoonkhuwa and sectarian unrest in Balochistan. We explaned unrest in Balochistan as another failed policy of ISI that will harm it in the future.
Please read “Dirty Game in Balochistan: Facts just Facts!”
With the secession of foreign aid Pakistan cannot run its huge military and bureaucratic enterprise. Pakistan cannot afford the secession of foreign aid at all. There is very huge chance that China will veto the resolution calling to curtail all direct foreign aid to Pakistan so Americans will stop or take down their direct aid to Pakistan and will use their influence over the European Union and other Western Countries to do so. This policy is very likely to succeed and Pakistan will be left with very few options. Pakistan relies heavily over two countries: Saudi Arabia and China. So what will Pakistan do? Does Saudi Arabia and China will help Pakistan?
Let’s analyze! Saudi Arabia is respected in Islamic World due to the presence of Two Holiest Mosques of Islam in her territory and Saudi Royal Family enjoys very warm and cordial relationship with Americans. Saudis make their regional policy while keeping the American regional policy inline. For example, Saudi Arabia showed least enthusiasm in Palestinian statehood bid in UN. She also harbors very strong reservations against Iran and Shia uprising in the Middle East. Saudis think that presence of a powerful Jewish State in Middle East is vital for the hegemony of Saudi Royal Family and other dynastic empires in the region. We can see that Saudis managed well to curtail the American criticism of the uprising in Bahrain and Yemen. So isn’t it simple enough to see that Saudi Arabia will never ever do something that would disrupt the hegemony of Saudi Royals in the region? Americans have many cards yet to play in Middle East. Americans have the trump card of Shia Northern Provinces of Saudi Arabia, Shia uprising in Bahrain and rotting Law and Order in Yemen and its impacts on neighboring Oman. With Iranians desperate to come to terms with West, Saudis cannot afford to loose an importantinternationall allay along with blind eye of Europe on many issues.
With that Saudi Princes and Royal Family’s huge business empire is not ready for any set back in profits. Americans have the steering of Saudi Arabia so it is naive to think that Saudi Arabia will go out of way to support Pakistan against the wishes of Americans. It will be stupid to rely on Saudi Arabia and confront Americans. They will never ever do anything that is contrary to the wishes of Americans because of heavy reliance of Saudi Royal Family over Americans.
Pakistan is trying its level best to bring Chinese and Saudi Arabians closer. Today it was reported that Saudi Intelligence Officials would meet with the Chinese Intelligence officials today in Islamabad. The news was intentionally leaked to media by Pakistani Intelligence officials to give an impact that Pakistan is not left behind. Well, as rosy as it looks, we need to see who is meeting who? The officials that came from Riyadh were just low ranking officials of the Saudi Intelligence having no practical authority over the policy making. Their presence in Pakistan should not be taken seriously in light of the facts written and explained above.
Well, Pakistani economy cannot rely solely on Saudi Arabia for the money to run the huge military and bureaucratic empire. We have seen that how much Saudi Arabians contributed in financing the relief work in Pakistan. Before going to IMF, Pakistan tried its level best to get the monetary support from Saudi Arabia. Well, frankly, Saudi Arabians shooed Pakistan away!
Let’s see how long can China go supporting Pakistan. Chinese Vice Prime Minister came to Pakistan and it is dubbed as visible support of China for Pakistan. It is very probable that China will veto and oppose any military action on Pakistan. But we need to realize one thing. China too thinks that Pakistani Tribal area and North Western Frontiers are dangerous and militants of East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) have heavy presence in Pakistani Tribal Area especially North Waziristan. So are these militants are different than Taliban or Haqqani Network? The answer is NO. Pakistani militant enterprise is comprised of terrorists from all over the world. It will be lame to assume that ETIM doesn’t enjoy any support from Pakistani Taliban (TTP), Al-Qaeda and Haqqani Network. So can China risk her whole province for Pakistan? Can China risk the communist socialist setup? The answer is clear NO. China knows very well that if Americans would step out then it would become the duty of China to cleanup the mess created by Pakistan. It is a declared policy of China will not clean the mess. So if Americans step out and Taliban come power in Afghanistan, it will be disaster for China as well that Chinese will not afford at all.
Let’s see what options are left with China! First of all, China will never disturb the huge market of cheap Class C Chinese products in Pakistan so it doesn’t want any anarchy in Pakistan. China is aware of the growing Indian power in the region and huge potential of Chinese products in Indian Market. We have seen that Chinese and Indians held trade talks and have managed to move on from the border disputes towards a more sustainable relationship and regional cooperation. In this scenario, China will not afford to risk its regional role of peace-lover and economic power for Pakistan. It is very likely that China will produce a showcase support to Pakistan but will persuade Pakistan to take decisive action against the spectrum of militants based in its tribal areas. This takes Pakistan into more difficult waters as China is a communist country. Bureaucratic and military empire cannot afford bar of any type on the luxuries currently enjoyed by it. It is very less probable that China would become a substitute to Americans and military aid to Pakistan.
China also enjoys cordial – if not good – relations with Russia. Russia is already very weary of Pakistan and ISI. Russians still harbor grudges for ISI for later’s role in the breakup of USSR. China will not risk any confrontation with Russia for Pakistan. Protecting militants supported by ISI (such as Haqqanis and Quetta Shura) means supporting Chechnya rebellion and terrorism in this state of Russia. This will be not acceptable for Russia and Europe. China’s economy is based on American and European economies. China is a consumer based economy and country earns huge profits from the sale of products in American and European markets. India, of course, is eyeing this share along with Brazil. India has ambitions to capture huge garment, cotton and product market of Europe and America that will be a big blow for Chinese economy so it is childish to think that China will support the ISI tendency of harboring militants and protecting the scores of militants belonging to Haqqani network that is providing the protection to all kinds of terrorists including Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan or TTP.
Pakistanis played China card just to keep the artificial national dignity. In reality Core Commanders and Establishment called upon Gen Kiyani to take steps to defuse the tension. Well, Pakistan has little options left. China might help Pakistan to avoid any attack from America that would result in coup d’etat. But it is very likely that China will press Pakistan strongly to take decisive action against militants based in North Waziristan. Americans too are not looking forward to attack Pakistan like Iraq or Libya as Pakistan has running democracy and due to Pakistani influence in the region and fear of India and China about the anarchy in South Asia and Central Asia. So it looks like Pakistan’s policy of strategic depth will fail miserably like Defense of East lies in West. Obviously, China will opt for the breakup of Pakistan in case Pakistanis fail to protect its regional interests (including integrity of China) and this is what America is looking forward precisely.
Let’s talk about why Americans didn’t take any notice of the visit of the Chinese Vice PM to Pakistan. The answer is that Americans know that Pakistan is in difficult situation and no country in the world would risk keeping the cancer of Talibanization and Extremism breeding in Pakistan. Americans and Europe has this one card of Chinese economy that is Trump Card when it comes to China as money is everything for China. Americans have this card of promoting trade with India that China cannot afford.
So where will Pakistan go? The reality is that Pakistan is left with artificial national integrity and fanatical and lunatic Moral Brigade that is calling upon Pakistan to attack USA. Military knows that it was just the plan that went wrong… Military just wanted to divert the Taliban back to Afghanistan but Taliban including Haqqanis have one agenda that is occupation of both Afghanistan and Pakistan and implementation of Taliban Shariah in the region. So Pakistan has no way but to do a serious effort to weed out terrorism and sanctuaries from Pakistan… If Pakistan will stick to artifical ghairat then there will be no Pakistan in next 2 years (God Forbid!)…
Please read “Pakistan loosing War: Is country going to disintegrate?” for in depth analysis and actions that Pakistani Establishment should take in order to save Pakistan. Otherwise the future is shown below…