Is Pakistan the next neocon target?

Category: Asia, World Affairs Topics: Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf Views: 4692
4692

Back home in the subcontinent, they say you should always stay away from the cops: Their friendship as well as adversity is bad for one's health. I am reminded of the advice as the world's chief cop bombs its allies and friends in Pakistan. With friends like these, do you really need enemies?

When Pervez Musharraf had enthusiastically recruited Pakistan in the US war after that call from Colin Powell, he had assured his people that it was the only option available to Pakistan. Else, the general reasoned, the US would have bombed Pakistan back to the Stone Age. Fortunately or unfortunately for Pakistan, Musharraf is not around. Otherwise we could have asked the good general why the Coalition of the Willing has turned on its own.

Or is Pakistan no longer part of Bush's divine mission to promote democracy and freedom in the Muslim world now that Musharraf is not in power? Or have Pakistan's new leaders relinquished the total control of the Islamic republic to Uncle Sam?

Last week as new President Asif Ali Zardari joined "Brother Hamid Karzai" in a duet celebrating democracy and the glorious war of terror, the US forces were going about taking out "the terrorists" in the Northwest - "terrorists" who were women and children. I have nothing against Karzai. But he is not exactly the poster boy of democracy in the Muslim world. Most Pakistanis love to hate him. Musharraf might have committed a thousand blunders but he knew how to deal with the likes of Karzai.

But how do Pakistan's new leaders propose to deal with the increasingly demanding Americans? Pakistan's army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani won the instant gratitude and admiration of his worried people by standing up to the US. The general was lionized by the Americans as "our man" when he took over from Musharraf as the army chief. There was much talk of his "enlightened moderation" and his positive outlook on the West.

Which was why the Pakistanis were elated to see the general lash out at the Americans vowing "retaliation" if they continued to violate Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Whether the Pak Army will really take on America, the leading member of the fabled trinity, is still a hypothetical question. However, by asserting himself Kayani articulated the sentiments of the nation of 170 million people - at the receiving end for some time. More importantly, the general has provided the much-needed leadership and sense of direction to his disillusioned people at one of the most difficult points in the nation's history.

But where are those who are supposed to lead the nation at all times? Where are the champions of democracy and freedom when they are under threat by the friends who are not so friendly?

While the rejuvenated Pak media is constantly debating the growing US attacks protesting against mounting civilian casualties, silence of the politicians is deafening. Zardari evaded all questions about the US incursions at his first press conference. It's understandable if Benazir Bhutto's widower finds himself indebted to Uncle Sam. After all, the US did play not an insignificant role in the turnaround of his fortune. It was the US pressure that persuaded Musharraf to bring in the National Reconciliation Ordinance paving the way for the return of Benazir and Zardari. It was the US again that pushed Musharraf to shed his uniform and hold elections. So even though it was the pro-democracy movement pioneered by the lawyers and the media that eventually brought Musharraf down, the man who spent 11 years in the prison on his way to the presidency views Washington as his real benefactor.

Which is why it's doubtful when and if the neocons in their last desperate bid to make the most out of the Bush presidency hit Pakistan, they'll face much resistance from the politicians.

Having totally wrecked Iraq and Afghanistan over the past seven years, the neocons are looking for fresh targets, new enemies and new territory to sustain the interest of the bored American voters. After the disastrous eight years of the Bush presidency, you would think the Republicans would be too embarrassed to ask for another shot at power. But if you can get Bush re-elected after what he unleashed on the Americans and the world in his first term, you can surely get another dummy elected all over again - even if he is too old to run and is promising to persist with the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan and open new fronts in Pakistan and Iran. Right now, the neocons are dangerously desperate. They could do anything to keep Barack Hussein Obama out of the White House. And for them, attacking Pakistan is the surest and only way to laugh all the way to the vote bank. 

But who will tell the Bushies that if they hit Pakistan, the things could really come to a boil? The world's first Muslim nuclear state might have been much abused by the men in khaki and the civvies over the past half a century. However, it's not the defanged and neutered Iraq of Saddam Hussein. This is a country that has fought three major wars with the giant called India. The US may be the world's greatest military power. But if it attacks Pakistan, all hell will break loose. It will end up turning the whole of Muslim world, from Morocco to Malaysia, into a large battlefield. So much so, Saddam's Iraq would look like a long picnic.

Aijaz Zaka Syed is a Dubai-based commentator.


  Category: Asia, World Affairs
  Topics: Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf
Views: 4692

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Older Comments:
BBFP FROM USA said:
First tell the Biblical christians to stop molesting children! Also, stop worshipping FOX news, CNN and other skewed views. You just take up what the media feeds you. You don't use your brain for critical thinking. How can one be just with that? You are going to get a rude awakening when you find out everything you believed in was false!
2008-09-22

ROMESH CHANDER FROM USA said:
In the war on terror, Pakistan has been dealt all the best cards; but it won't play them because the elite cannot live with US aid. All the war materials to Afghanistan must go through Karachi and then travel by rail & road to Peshawar and then to Afghanistan. If Pakistan decided to close Karachi to US war material movement, the war will be over in one minute (US losing). But Pakistani elite and military leadership and political leadership (does Pakistan has political leadership?) do not have the courage to do so.

So, keep crying. Nobody is going to listen to your cries. God helps those who help themselves (oops, I am an athiest). Pakistanis won't help themselves; they just like to cry. Don't expect anybody to come to your help, especially when you have been dealt all the Aces.
2008-09-21

ADIL IMTIAZ FROM USA said:
To James Monroe:

Dear James, it is because of biblical Christians in the US that we are in this horrific mess! Your statement is an oxymoron. Mr.Bush is a born again who thinks he's on a mission from God. Right-wing Christians are the ones have supported the terrorist state of Israel in hopes t usher in Armageddon. The Biblical Christians and their crazy neo-con friends are the ones who need to be contained and silenced first. They are the ones who destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan. This was their plan even before 9/11. The lust for world dominance and global hegemony. Sarah Palin is the newest fundamentalist and radical. So please shed your holier than thou attitude and point the finger at yourself for a change. Thanks!!!
2008-09-21

BBFP FROM USA said:
Pakistani's are just that- Pakistani's. They just follow a flag and an anthem. With music and western fashion and love of Bollywood, they are disillusioned. Where is the PAK SAR ZAMEEN? Where is ISLAM. Men and women dance together in parties. Drinking alcohol is not uncommon. I didn't know they celebrated Saint Valentines Day. So if they forgot Allah swt. They lose the mercy and protection of Allah swt. I don't care who the leader is. There is no unity under islam. There is jahalat everywhere. Few if any are truly educated and practice the sunnah the way we were told. People rock back and forth memorizing the quran, but can't tell you what it means. I don't care if you live in defense and have a billion dollars. That same money will be a poisonous snake around their neck in hell. Pakistan is not a new country. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll remain a country in and of itself. It's ready for Bollywood-land to take over, care of uncle Sam. May Allah swt bring us all back to the way HE wants so we can save ourselves from ALLAH swt's wrath (Uncle Sam is nothing).-Ameen
2008-09-21

JAMES MONROE FROM USA said:
The attack on a Marriott hotel in Pakistan shows why Biblical Christianity is needed in the world to counter those in Islam that want impose their views on others, those who help the first group, and those that try to have it both ways.
2008-09-20

RINKON FROM INDIA said:
This article reflects my thought which came out of news publish
in BBC few months back. In the BBC article, a pictorial
presentation of NATO force showed that all US force bases are
near the border of Pakistan as if all Afghan (read Taliban) people
are living in a narrow strip of 80km area near the border. Long
time ago one our Bengali daily, Bartaman, published that Israel
and US want to take all the nuclear materials out of Pakistan. I
have sited this because long time ago then the Indian Prime
Minister was Indira Gandhi, who decided to bomb the Pakistan
nuclear reactor with the help of Israel. But it did not happen and
was diffuse by the intervention of Saudi and US. This very
Newspaper had leaked that plan as a result editor, Barun
Sengupta, had to face many difficulties (this story was re-
published around may 2006). So in the present situation war on
terror can be predicted inside the Pakistan.
2008-09-20

JOHN LAWRENCE FROM USA said:
Biblical Christians In the US and around the world will be ready to stand in the gap against any muslim that wishes the west and the world ill or want to attack it. BRING IT ON.
2008-09-20