Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 05, 2008

Pakistan Machinations

by Debs is dead
lifted from a comment

So the amerikan chickens are coming home to roost for Musharraf. The sadly named International Crisis Group has just put out a press release to Reuters urging the amerikan government to pressure the Pakistan Army's new boss General Ashfaq Kayani to, in the interests of democracy, of course, flick Musharraf in that old Pakistani democratic tradition where the army picks the prez!

Why would the Pakistan Army listen to amerika? Well military aid of course; since silly George's dumb dogs drove OBL into Waziristan, military aid to Pakistan is up to $11 billion and counting. That old amerikan democratic tradition of money talks, bullshit walks means they feel the $11 billion gives them the right to pick Pakistan's prez.

Who the hell is the International Crisis Group anyway and if they are European why is the call coming from amerika?

The Reuters article tells us: "The ICG, which has been highly critical of Musharraf and has influence within the U.S. Congress .."

Sooooo they have pull in Congress, that must mean they are a democrat think tank doesn't it? Their obviously self penned wikipedia entry tells us amongst other blather "The International Crisis Group is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts through high-level advocacy." meaningless babble which drops a few allegedly left of centre non-amerikan political names.

So Spinwatch should help lets see:

... "ICG is also supported by various foundations (covering 43%) - Rockefeller, Ford, MacArthur, US Institute for Peace (established by Ronald Reagan), Carnegie, Sarlo Jewish Community Endowment Fund, Hewlett, etc. and private sector donors (16%).

Spinwatch continues:

In short, major mainstream American policy-oriented foundations, none of which are known for spending just a fraction of their millions of dollars on grants that could result in building a knowledge base about, say, peace by peaceful means, non-violence and reconciliation. Neither have they promoted studies of why violent conflict-management and so-called humanitarian interventions - e.g. Kosovo - have failed so miserably since the end of the Cold War - let alone promoted criticism of the only superpower's reckless militarist, unilateralist policies these years.

But let's imagine the ideal world in which, year by year, more and more government funds would come with no strings attached whatsoever. Are non-governmental people leading ICG?

No, they are not. Among its board members we find Gareth Evans President & CEO, Former Foreign Minister of Australia and Lord Patten of Barnes, former European Commissioner for External Relations, Co-Chairman. Two pro-Kosovo-Albanian Americans, Morton Abramowitz, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Stephen Solarz, former U.S. Congressman. And George Soros. Among other names that catch the "independent, non-governmental" eye you find: ambassador Kenneth Adelman (US), Wesley Clark (former NATO-commander who lead the destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999) (US), Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor to the President, Ruth Dreifuss, former President, Switzerland, Leslie H. Gelb, former President of Council on Foreign Relations, U.S.

Among other former-governmentals: [...]

In all fairness, there are also some business people, a novelist and a professor. But one can't help being struck by a) the overwhelming presence of (former) politicians and diplomats, b) the virtual absence of people from academia with professional training in field conflict and peace work, and c) the degree of overlap between the governments that support the ICG and the governments these board member once served. . . ."

Soooo Stephen Solarz, Zbigniew Brzezinski and the inimitable George Soros, is that dem enough?

Not to mention big mobs of other claiming to be left of centre asshole self promoters fallen upon hard times eg Gareth never got to be Oz PM Evans, the scum who advocate the deaths of millions and call it progress.

So if this mob, trying to appear to be a non-governmental think tank, or policy wonk-out, or whatever, is calling for Mush's ouster, does that mean they have also come to the conclusion that it was the General(Rtd.) who got B.B.?

Hard to say but they must have their suspicions cause otherwise they would be sticking with what they know in Pakistan. Sure they've lined up the ever lubed asshole of Mohammadmian Soomro to fill in. The whole thing reeks of amerikan intervention, by picking the normally irrelevant Pakistani Senate prez to make it sound soothing to amerikan voters, "Hey Mabel, that's just like we do things back home!" because of course Mabel and Bob need to be thinking healthcare and "the economy stupid", not empire when they go into the polling booth at the end of the year.

Former Sindh state governor Mohammadmian Soomro must think all his Ramadans have come at once, even if the current Sindh governor has pulled Soomro's pix from the official site leaving only his own and Mushie's on the extremely brief Soomro bio page. Soomro grabbed a short stint as prez during the delay when Mush was organising a supreme court full of justices prepared to bend the constitution back in November.

The fact he's a Sindh means that the Bhutto's probably found him acceptable then, though I wonder if they do now? New PPP co-chair Mr Ten Percent, aka Asif Ali Zardari is unlikely to see this attempt to blindside his machinations in a positive light. As a main-chancer from way back who was always kept at arms length even before the corruption charges "He's not quite top drawer, don'tcha know", Zadari will recognise the danger in allowing Soomro another bite of the prez cherry. It wouldn't matter if Soomro won the job in a bar raffle, after two cracks of the whip, he's go to begin to believe the job is his, and, that he's the best man for it.

The fact that neither amerika nor Mush have a problem with Soomro also tends to suggest that everyone has a piece of his ass and he may not be content to keep the seat warm for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the younger, for just long enough to lose the peach fuzz.

The wheels within wheels, the machinations become that much more complicated as soon as an outsider such as amerika becomes involved.

What should be a straight last man standing contest between Musharraf, Zadari, Nawaz Sharif and hopefully for Pakistan, Imran Khan, just turns into a complicated and unsatisfying shadow dance where no one will accrue enough power to make a difference and see Pakistan through the crisis generated by Musharraf and amerika.

Most importantly when Pakistan becomes an abstract problem, a plaything for assholes such as the board of the International Crisis Group, all humanity is lost.

Fatima Bhutto daughter of Murtaza Bhutto, who was B.B.'s younger brother and who was likely assassinated on Benazir's orders, reminds us of that humanity when she remembers her aunt here with a page titled: "Farewell to Wadi Bua - Our family has lost enough".

Gary Leup also makes some important points about the danger and cruelty of foreign interference in Pakistan with this CounterPunch article Madness Compounding Madness Calls for Intervention in Pakistan

Leupp makes some good points although he makes the same assumptions as virtually all of the pieces written by Pakistani ex-pats, in that he sees the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism as something which needs to be countered.

We tend to overlook the simple truth that the majority of those Pakistanis getting their opinions published come from one or both categories of either middle class secular intellectuals or established Pakistani political entities. The secularists loathe the idea of religion making a comeback while the politicians oppose any new political force they aren't a part of.

Yet when I speak to ordinary Pakistani shit-kickers, the halal slaughtermen, small shopkeepers and self employed tradesmen who make up NZ's ex-pat Pakistani population many of them see something quite different.

They are non-violent, ie they don't want Pakistan's political impasse to be resolved through war or revolution or so-called terrorism, but they do see the national religion Islam, as being an essential common thread which holds all Pakistanis together. - Sindh, Pashtun, Punjabi, Baluch and Wazir to name a few of the more than 200 ethnicities of Pakistan who came together because of religion. Whether the force they joined together to overcome was political greed, or rejection by the Indian majority fired up after a couple of hundred years of British divide and rule is irrelevant in 2007.

The state may be artificially created, and relatively new (50 years old) but it does have an identity internally and externally - a 'brand' if you will, and the bulk of the population are committed to that brand, those who aren't presumably make up the 137 million Muslims currently residing in India. We tend to forget that with a population of 164 million souls the vast majority of whom follow Islam, Pakistan is indeed the second most populous Muslim nation on the planet - after Indonesia (pop 234,693,997), but India is the third largest population of Muslims.
Pakistan cannot possibly succeed if religion is discounted. Why else would the original inhabitants accept the post partition arrivals were it not for religion? After all India's Muslim people still live a life of oppression and fear in India.

Despite the tough times the Sindh middle class is having at the moment from Reuters:

KARACHI - Pakistani businessmen are veterans of political crises, but this time they say it's different.

From self-employed truck drivers to wealthy factory owners, no one can recall anything like the violence that shook Pakistan after last week's murder of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

"This is the worst situation we've ever faced," said Barkat Ali, surveying the charred remains of a petrol station and restaurant that he and his brother-in-law set up in Karachi four years ago.

"Right now, the security is present," Ali added, peering over his spectacles at a few soldiers patrolling across the road in an industrial area of the country's largest city. "But if they leave the area, the fear is there. It's never happened before."

It is unlikely many would swap their charred ruins for life in India. An old friend (a Hindu) from Gujarat State in India (Gujarat borders Pakistan) used to tell me stories of the desperate state of life being a Muslim in Gujarat. Whenever some disaster occurred for example in 2002 a train fire in Godhra, local Hindu political street bosses divert attention from the real cause by blaming Muslims.

The result was the Gujarat riots. Absolute chaos throughout Gujarat and south to Mumbai (Bombay) as huge gangs of Hindu thugs dragged Muslims from their homes and burned houses down, destroyed businesses and factories, raped and murdered Muslims. The toll from the train fire (58) can be found anywhere on the Inter-web, but the Gujarat riot death toll is much harder to ascertain. I finally found an interim figure in a BBC article which gives a toll of "790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 more people reported missing and another 2,500 injured."

Of course many Hindu's in India are appalled by the anti-Muslim pogroms, it was one of the primary reasons my friend left India, yet the oppression and religious division continues largely unabated. The most annoying thing about this is that Pakistan is always cast in a bad light as the cause of the problems between India and Pakistan, but the Pakistani government doesn't stand by while enforcers from the ruling political Party murder relatives of Indian citizens.

It was the Indian Army which oppressed the people of Kashmir and enforced unjust eviction orders on Kasmiri Muslim landowners so that Hindus from outside Kashmir could dominate the once burgeoning tourism industry, but still charlatans like William Dalrymple in the NYT seek to blame Pakistan's leaders for everything short of murdering Jesus. In this case Benazir Bhutto for being the cause of regional tension and disputes.

Why doesn't Dalrymple just say what he means, which is Bhutto was a Pakistani and all Pakistanis are Muslims, therefore no matter how far a Pakistani such as Bhutto crawls up the ass of amerikan corporate capitalists she will always be an evil Islamic blasphemer. Indians with their 'quaint' animism are currently seen as much less of a threat. Nobody talks of the war between Judeo/xtianity and Kali.

I betcha that will change in less that 50 years. Think about it, both India and China have national philosophies which have changed almost zero from their pantheist past. Both India and China are about to dominate the world's trade and although India is seen as the 'nice' one by the west, in other words the Indian administrative infrastructure is seen as too corrupt and bumbling to pose a 'real threat'.

That is now, as India leaps ahead economically it will regain the self confidence it needs to assert it's own administrative methodology rather than rely on an imperfectly transplanted USuk one.

Then the elites of 'the West' are going to feel far more threatened by India than Pakistan's current rather tenuous threat, (most oil resources are controlled by Islamic cultures, Pakistan is an Islamic culture therefore Pakistan is in cahoots with those who control oil resources who are 'with us' so they must be against us).

That's the time when Pakistan will be promoted by the western capitalist media as the best thing since sliced bread as "they confront the Indo/Chinese menace".

Of course the other alternative would be that the populations of 'western capitalist' nations confront their elites and say "we're not gonna fall for the old foreigners are evil trick anymore. Sort yourselves out up there in the boardroom! (dream on).

Posted by b on January 5, 2008 at 11:07 UTC | Permalink


Thanks Debs!

That's the time when Pakistan will be promoted by the western capitalist media as the best thing since sliced bread as "they confront the Indo/Chinese menace".

That is a possibility. Another one is that plans to break Pakistan into smaller, easier to control parts, are behind the machinations.

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan

Military scholar Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal, suggests, in no uncertain terms that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: "Greater Balochistan" or "Free Balochistan" (see Map below). The latter would incorporate the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch provinces into a single political entity.

In turn, according to Peters, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) should be incorporated into Afghanistan "because of its linguistic and ethnic affinity". This proposed fragmentation, which broadly reflects US foreign policy, would reduce Pakistani territory to approximately 50 percent of its present land area. (See map). Pakistan would also loose a large part of its coastline on the Arabian Sea.

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO's Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, have most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles.

In April 2005 I predicted such USuk plans for a Free Baluchistan.
But the strategic interest of the U.S. does differ from Pakistan's. A completely U.S. controlled Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Baluchistan pipeline would be nice. To advert an Iran-Baluchistan-India pipeline would help U.S. interests against Iran and to deny China access to the Arabian sea checks the upcoming competitor. (As does keeping a hand on Unacol)

For about a year now Baluchistan is heating up again. There have been protests, bombs exploding and pipeline attacks. A low level guerrilla war has started even while the Pakistan government is pushing money into the region and develops the water infrastructure.

One wonders who or what might feed this guerrilla war. Who could have an interest in an independent, small, sparse inhabited Baluchistan?

Posted by: b | Jan 5 2008 11:20 utc | 1

Good Post Debs. Some very interesting issues presented. I was not aware of the extent of Muslim hatred in India as you detailed. An interesting mix of religious, cultural and economic forces operating in Pakistan and India. B's following comment also adds an interesting touch.
Perhaps things are changing faster than you realize though. Some statements of yours are a little curious: “I betcha that will change in less that 50 years. Think about it, both India and China have national philosophies which have changed almost zero from their pantheist past.”
Pretty safe bet. Most would say these countries are radically transformed already. ”…Both India and China are about to dominate the world's trade…” Again, what do you mean, “about to”? – My guess is that they already do. In this respect, in the long term, secular interests will probably outweigh sectarian and religious conflicts whether intranational or international if not assisted or indirectly fueled by elites.

Also, I don’t understand the reasoning in your closing paragraphs: ”That is now, as India leaps ahead economically it will regain the self confidence it needs to assert it's own administrative methodology rather than rely on an imperfectly transplanted USuk one. Then the elites of 'the West' are going to feel far more threatened by India than Pakistan's current rather tenuous threat..” Again, I believe these changes have already happened, the India/China economic threat already exists; though my point is that trade with strong partners isn’t necessarily a threat. Racial/religious threats from violent acts are a separate issue yet I doubt anyone in the West will feel threatened by far eastern religions or culture in the foreseeable future. As an illustration, there are more Christians than Communists in China at this moment in time.
Of course, competition will always fuel a certain caution, perhaps even mistrust, among elites, especially in a state/corporate-dominated world. All of this is regardless of, often in spite of, what the populations believe, desire or demand. Dream on indeed.

Posted by: Rick | Jan 5 2008 14:44 utc | 2

A couple of things about this post, though I agree with a lot of what's said.

Forced evictions: It's not only muslims but also Kashmiri pandits(by whom?). And I personally find it hard to believe Muslims were evicted from the tourism business. Even now, the majority of tourism trade in Kashmir is muslim owned.

but the Pakistani government doesn't stand by while enforcers from the ruling political Party murder relatives of Indian citizens.

I'd suggest you look up forced conversions of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and the destruction of temples there. Of course, compared to being dead as a door nail in India, its way better.

Nobody talks of the war between Judeo/xtianity and Kali.

I guess, you didn't see the Xmas special celebrations in Orissa when the BJP guys went on their rampage in 2007.

Here's one thing which you'd find hard pressed to explain. Every goddamned ethnic group in India, whether major or minor by population size, feels oppressed. And the nationalistic philosophy you talk of, I don't know what it is.

Is it the idea of Bharatam? United India? India inclusive of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma as the BJP thinks it should be? (hah)

Or is it that feeling that India should be the number one country in its sphere of influence?

A mistake that people make with respect to this country, that there is an agenda. There's none, never will be, in a country of 900+ languages and dialects.

Here's one last food for thought. For the last 5 years, we have been swinging the USA way, including the Armed forces. But ask any 50+ year old Army people, the USA is public enemy no 1(hint 1971 war). Not that they like the Russians any better. Why? Ever since the first BJP win, with the bulk of the NRIs being in the USA, you see the BJP political leadership nodding to the USA side. we'd happily flip as long as the money train is headed in the same direction.

You can have muslim hatred, china containment and a thousand other theories but it boils down to the fact, some BJP cabinet minister has got relatives somewhere there in th USA.

Now with the congress in power, it should have righted to a more neutral stance. It didn't, we have bids out for helos and planes from Boeing instead of the usual russian suspects.

Which is how foreign policy should be run, my third cousin from my mother's side is a dishwasher in Macdonalds. Perfectly reasonable and sane. :-)


Posted by: | Jan 5 2008 18:01 utc | 3

not to undermine any of the arguments or sidetrack the conversation - just for reference

debs - "We tend to forget that with a population of 164 million souls the vast majority of whom follow Islam, Pakistan is indeed the second most populous Muslim nation on the planet - after Indonesia (pop 234,693,997), but India is the third largest population of Muslims."

the figures i pull out of the atlas of religion (2007) are

  • The 2000 Indonesian Census classifies 88.2% of the population as Muslims. This includes a wide range of movements, from the Shafi school of Sunni Islam to syncretistic traditions, which blend Islam with other Indonesian religions and traditions. Indonesia's 196.5 million Muslims represents the largest national population in the world.

  • India's Muslim population numbers 154.8 million. Although it is the second largest in the world, it represents only 13.4% of India's total population.

  • Pakistan has the third largest Muslim population in the world, at 151.8 million - 96% of its total population.
  • other notables that i found interesting, of the 1.34 billion muslims worldwide, china has 20 million, the usa 5.2 million, and 1.6 million in the uk.

    and, the atlas breaks down the major organized believers as:

    christianity - 2.1 billion
    islam - 1.34 billion
    hinduism - 950 million
    buddhism - approx 400 million
    indigenous belief systems - 250 million
    sikhism - 24 million
    judaism - 13 million

    Posted by: b real | Jan 5 2008 19:08 utc | 4


    Some many years ago, David Frost or Dick Cavett can't recall, had some aid diplomat
    from Africa on his show, a little feel-good tripe piece, but the guy, this diplomat,
    stunned the audience by describing how an organic, vibrant African village had slowly
    deteriorated under the withering and insatiable gnawing of rat-and-vampire outsiders
    and their mercenary soldiers, key leaders hauled off into the bush and slaughtered,
    young boys rounded up and recruited into the "resistance", fields laid waste, farm
    animals slaughtered, until old people lay in the street, begging for food or water,
    but the passing children, orphans themselves, only stole the old peoples' clothes.

    Frost/Cavett made some sober wrap-up cut to commercial, then back to Kuralt-style
    soft-politics-soft-pop ... I've never forgotten that African plague year epiphany.

    So today the XO Foundation, those $100 laptops meant to bring 3W's into the Neo-Fold,
    announced that Intel has backed out of the program, not only backed out, but stabbed
    them in the back with a cheaper version of their own, sold below cost. Ahh, vampires. Then this:

    Published reports say Ade Oyegbola, founder and CEO of Nigerian-based Lagos Analysis
    Corp. has filed a lawsuit against the foundation in Nigeria for allegedly ripping off
    his multilingual keyboard design. The multilingual keyboard, called the Konyin keyboard, encompasses punctuation used in many Nigerian languages. More vampires.

    Have a friend who long ago started trading with the Russians, right after the Soviet
    was collapsed by Soros and the financial mob, promises of foreign aid to Gorbie all
    but forgotten, (ala XO Foundation), then the republics all went out of their own.

    Today my friend tells me that whatever you think or feel about Russia and the Soviet,
    it's become a gangster strong-man economy, entire resource bases razed, slaughtered,
    strip-mined, dismantled, scrapped and cut into pieces. A cut for the magistrate, a
    cut for the major, a cut for the minister and a cut for Moscow.

    So back to B's Pakistan, Beebee assassinated and a US taxpayer-funded ICG packed with
    ex-pol's and money men in her place, then recalling that African village, once filled
    with children's laughter and smiling faces of friendly neighbors sharing an abundant
    harvest commonwealth ... now barren outland gone back to bush.

    What else did you expect, B, in this, Time of the Dustbowl Vampiroyals?

    Posted by: Giddy Yup | Jan 5 2008 19:16 utc | 5

    The threat posed by pakistan is not tenuous, it is strong and very real. It is not about Islam or the Arab linkages. "Its about China stupid".

    This whole thing started to unravel around the end of 2006. When in nov (if i remember correctly) mr hu visited pakistan. A week or so prior to that there was a whole flurry of western diplomats (of all tribes) visiting islamabad. Which was quite usual for this peripheral capital. Prior to his visit there was a press hum of major announcements to be made. But nothing concrete was announced at that time. (probably because of the sudden western pressure).

    Before this it was china helping pakistan in gwadar or the saindak copper mines or other commercial ventures. But nothing grand or big enough to be of stretegic value. It was the mega-strategic project called the NTC (or the national trade corridor, a multi-modal all-weather transport corridor of highway, railway and pipeline connecting western china to the arabian sea warm water ports of karachi and gwadar), that had caught the west's attention. And they are putting all their weight down for stopping it. Behind china the ruskies were also coming, something they only dreamed of during their stay in afghanistan. And, irony of ironies, this time it is the pakistani military that was asking them to come. Long live SCO!

    why did Mush and his army took such a u-turn? It was the start of the US negotiations with india on the nuclear pact that finally pissed them off big time. after all they had delivered in the "war of terror". with Mush and his army taking direct suicide hits etc etc. And they were getting back-stabbed once again (from their point of view) by their old friend umreeka. nothing doing. "from now on we do not have permanent friends or enemies, it is only our interests that are permanent" or something to that effect is what he said. And throughout 2007 you must have noticed them trying to twist Mush's arm, trying to make him look uglier, trying to push
    him out. But he is a real die hard soldier. And it is seeming more likely that he will have the last smile.

    A number of other regional developments took place in the meanwhile. saudi king made a historic visit to china (the first in history), this was made possible by pakistani diplomacy which enjoys special relations with both countries. saudia signed an oil contract with china. lo and behold, this oil will be shipped to gwadar, refined (refinery to be established by the chinese, and arab petro-bucks), and shipped to china via the pipeline. karachi getting a deep water port of 18m drought suitable for super-mother vessels. pakistan's meager economy does not need such huge ships. this is meant to be for the chinese trade to the middle east and africa. the list goes on. it will all essentially be financed by china (with also friendly arab money coming in). or in other words A Chinese Marshal Plan for Pakistan. and Mush and his army are rolling over backwards for this. There are giga-bucks to be made in this. and nothing that the west can promise can make them look the other way. form the point of view of the pakistani people, it will be a god send for the impoverished people. Gwadar can also be upgraded to 18m.

    Sending in BB, was another way for them. Get Mush to stop, or get her to stop him. This was a win-win ploy. and even her death has delivered. with the pakistani fabric shaken badly and the govt. on the defensive. but Mush's resolve is unshaken. All throughout the 2007 crises, whenever he got the time he convened meetings and put in place mechanisms to to get this project to move. even during the "emergency" times there were important decisions taken.

    If he survives the elections and the aftermath, expect mr hu to come calling again, and this time the project will be announced. And in 3-4 years time china will be knocking on the arabian sea and the persian gulf (and the ruskies following shortly thereafter). hence expect more "fireworks" in pakistan between now and election time. then once the project is announced, i dont know what shape the pressure will take. they cannot go for all out war (only intrigues), as pakistan is too big to occupy physically. and if pakistan stops their oil supply, they will die a horrible death in afghanistan. hence they have to tread very gently. at the same time they cannot allow china to gain access to the straits of Hormuz. this will totally f**k up their plan for the middle east, and the reason for being in afghanistan and iraq.

    expect this region to get even more interesting.

    Posted by: hakeem.umer | Jan 5 2008 20:46 utc | 6

    thank you hakeem for a very interesting view. I do hope you stick around.

    in a struggle between chinese and us interests, it would seem to me that the chinese will be better positioned in that area. same continent, similar experiences with european colonists, need to grow economy, and etc should have a better chance than an overt threat of military force which has not worked at all wrt to Iran.

    what I guess I do not yet understand is what this really means. If the US loses control of the middle east, what will it mean for me? (us citizen) will my life be less? what will be better and what will be worse? would that mean that the chinese will then be the overlords?

    Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 5 2008 21:19 utc | 7

    This is a majorly informative thread. Welcome to the new commenters, and much thanks to all!

    Posted by: Alamet | Jan 5 2008 21:20 utc | 8

    the global energy conservation & rationing system (GENECOR)

    tentative launch date -- Jan 1, 2018

    Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 5 2008 22:46 utc | 9

    @Rick although many of the things I describe may have pretty much happened the consciousness of that hasn't got much past the elites, and therefore resentment hasn't been fanned into a fear of India in the same way that many in the developed world fear China. That will change. Successful Indian corporations have been buying into manufacturing corporations in a rather different model than the one used by China eg Mittel Steel but eventually the result will be the same that is a a feeling of displacement by ordinary people which will be fanned by those wanting to control people, into genuine fear and resentment.

    That reaction will bring China and India closer as both will suffer the same petty hassles from the west getting their goods to market.

    When that happens it will be seen as a plus for the USuk imperialists that there is a viable and discrete state large enough to be regarded as an obstacle for casual military action sitting between the two megaliths. Of course that was what the brits had in mind as they played Jinnah off against Nehru to split Congress and force the creation of Pakistan in the first place.

    The point I was trying to make was that when that occurs we won't be fed anti-Pakistan bullshit in the west we are currently getting. In the same way that amerikans are being persuaded of the easy relationship they can have with India, purely because that is seen as strategically advantageous to keep India and China separated. Yet when the inevitable happens and China and India discover they have more in common than apart Pakistan will become vital to the West in a way that transcends any global war on terror bullshit.

    India is a large disparate nation but it has a social cohesion despite that. The longer India remains a nation state with national institutions eg the Indian Army, the more cohesive and like a single entity it becomes. Yes there are still a number of fights between central government and provinces/ethnicities to come but the momentum is towards integration not dissolution and as long as the corporate capitalist agenda delivers for those in key positions the consolidation will continue.

    The BJP doesn't have to be in power to keep India on the neo-lib path since it's efforts to gain acceptance of neo-lib ideas amongst the elites of Congress are pretty much the same as the way that the ruling elites, usually second or third generation pseudo-leftists, of the various Labour parties in english speaking countries or social democrats in in european nations, have jumped at the opportunity to cash in and join the bosses.

    Who can pick where it will be that the humans who are most oppressed by this corporate selfishness will first say they're not gonna take it any more? Maybe it will be in India but somehow I doubt it since the diversity of India has always given rulers an ideal tool to distract their opposition. That is India's paradox and where Pakistan which although also very diverse has one advantage. Islam.
    So the efforts of the west and Pakistan's business class to discount Islam in favour of a more secular worldview are likely to fail, since in doing so they threaten the integrity of the whole and daren't go too far.

    Sure if Pakistan could get past the obvious failure of it's political infrastructure and develop economically for a wide enough range of Pakistanis in key roles that may change, but that is a chicken and egg thing. How can that happen without a cohesive state and currently Islam is the only glue.

    Similarly dividing up pieces of Pakistan in the way that Bernard suggested is not without danger since a situation like the one which has Turkey, Iraq, and amerika dancing around each other on tippy-toe trying to make advantage in Kurdistan would develop. Waziristan and Baluchistan have been divided for good reason (if you're an Indian or a Sindh or a Persian anyway).

    The short term advantage gained by some from regional insecurities that we see playing out with Kurdistan would become totally subsumed by the reality of another player with considerable muscle joining the party if larger Kurdistan became a reality. So the Kurds, Balochs, Wazirs et al will be kept on a promise that is unlikely to ever be fulfilled.

    The population thing, well maybe the world atlas of religions has it right, but I took India's population at last census 1,027,015,247 and 13.4% of that is 137.6 mill. I have researched further and found Wikipedia has a table of Islam by country which puts Pakistan at second with 158,152,247 - 159,799,666 Muslims (they discounted the approx 4% non Muslims which I confess I failed to do) and India third with 135,583,938 - 151,402,065 Muslims.

    Obviously counting the number of Muslims in India is an inexact science, but I would suggest that while it matters a good deal to the individuals which religion they follow the 'league tables of who has the most muslims' is really just one of those minor diversions elites use to keep Indian and Pakistani Muslims separated.

    The arguments over who does what to whom in Kashmir will continue. For me, an outsider neither Indian nor Pakistani, Hindu nor Muslim, the issue of Kashmir bears a great resemblance to the oppression of the people on the West Bank of Palestine.

    Although the population of Kasmir/Jammu was overwhelmingly Muslim (around 77% in 1947) machinations on the part of India left Pakistan with a thinly populated uneconomic portion and India in control of the most populous region, whose demography has been changing with the incursion of non-Muslims. Violence is the inevitable result of such shortsightedly stupid nationalism, which appears to be based on the ancient history of when Kashmir was Hindu in pre-Islamic times. (Kosovo anyone?)

    The people of Kashmir converted to Islam centuries ago (just as the Palestinians did) and the Hindus of India need to get over it. Very few conversions were forced although some may have been due to perceived economic advantage I doubt it is possible to pick who did what for which reason generations later.

    It would have been much better if Mountbatten and India hadn't gotten involved with the whole process, destabilising the region with the Instrument of Accession. Mountbatten's collusion suggests that this was the endgame of some complex trade-off with Nehru elsewhere. At no time was the long term welfare of the population a consideration. The solution must be a free and fair decision made by the people of Kashmir over whether to remain with India, join Pakistan or become a separate entity.

    Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 5 2008 23:19 utc | 10

    thanks for that table, debs. matches the %'s i had; looks like the total population figures used accounts for the difference.

    Posted by: b real | Jan 6 2008 3:28 utc | 11

    The Beginning of the End of Mohammedanism

    The US:UK's are in Afghanistan as spoilers, not as reconstructionists.
    Their goal is to seize supply where they can, and diminish it to below demand.
    This "Global War of Monopoly Against Mohammedanism" is just round 8 .. of 1879. Hard to believe, isn't it? 128 years of same-same.

    That China hopes to build a railroad from Kabul to Karachi shows just why the
    US:UK's spoilers are aligned down AF's highway corridor from Kabul to Kandahar,
    and why since CH's announcement, and the Turkmenistan gas pipeline, Pakistan is
    become part of this Neo-Raj, monopolists and royalists, not just for the tithes,
    not for royalties, but cold steel winner take all, and devil take the hindmost.

    A salt tax on both their houses.

    Posted by: Giddy Yup | Jan 6 2008 6:00 utc | 12

    NYT: U.S. Considers New Covert Push Within Pakistan

    President Bush’s senior national security advisers are debating whether to expand the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
    Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a number of President Bush’s top national security advisers met Friday at the White House to discuss the proposal, ..
    Several of the participants in the meeting argued that the threat to the government of President Pervez Musharraf was now so grave that both Mr. Musharraf and Pakistan’s new military leadership were likely to give the United States more latitude, officials said. But no decisions were made, said the officials, who declined to speak for attribution because of the highly delicate nature of the discussions.
    Well, I find that very unlikely ...
    The legal status would not change if the administration decided to act more aggressively. However, if the C.I.A. were given broader authority, it could call for help from the military or deputize some forces of the Special Operations Command to act under the authority of the agency.

    The United States now has about 50 soldiers in Pakistan. Any expanded operations using C.I.A. operatives or Special Operations forces, like the Navy Seals, would be small and tailored to specific missions, military officials said.

    Doing so would of course create an even bigger mess ...
    In the past, the administration has largely stayed out of the tribal areas, in part for fear that exposure of any American-led operations there would so embarrass the Musharraf government that it could further empower his critics, who have declared he was too close to Washington.

    Even now, officials say, some American diplomats and military officials, as well as outside experts, argue that American-led military operations on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan could result in a tremendous backlash and ultimately do more harm than good.
    Critics said more direct American military action would be ineffective, anger the Pakistani Army and increase support for the militants. “I’m not arguing that you leave Al Qaeda and the Taliban unmolested, but I’d be very, very cautious about approaches that could play into hands of enemies and be counterproductive,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. Some American diplomats and military officials have also issued strong warnings against expanded direct American action, officials said.

    Hasan Askari Rizvi, a leading Pakistani military and political analyst, said raids by American troops would prompt a powerful popular backlash against Mr. Musharraf and the United States.

    These experts are right. Musharrafs problem is not too little US intervention but too much. Now if the US discusses more intervention is their real aim to finish off Musharraf?
    “At the moment when Musharraf is extremely unpopular, he will face more crisis,” Mr. Rizvi said. “This will weaken Musharraf in a Pakistani context.” He said such raids would be seen as an overall vote of no confidence in the Pakistani military, including General Kayani.
    In early December, Adm. Eric T. Olson, the new leader of the Special Operations Command, paid his second visit to Pakistan in three months to meet with senior Pakistani officers, including Lt. Gen. Muhammad Masood Aslam, commander of the military and paramilitary troops in northwest Pakistan. Admiral Olson also visited the headquarters of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force of about 85,000 members recruited from border tribes that the United States is planning to help train and equip.More meddling, increasing the mess. To me this points to a partitioning strategy for Pakistan.

    Question is: willfully or out of incompetence?

    Posted by: b | Jan 6 2008 10:42 utc | 13

    Question is: willfully or out of incompetence?

    This is the quantum paradox. I think it is both willfully as well as out of incompetance at the same time.

    umreeka's middle east policy is in a total mess. both iraq and afghanistan are out of control. while their disastrous military presence is annoying the local sheikhs (there are other factors here too) and it is getting harder to make them toe the line. notice for example that the saudis have recently signed a deal to buy russian tanks (something quite unthinkable ten years ago). it seems that they are no longer that much afraid of umreeka, and looking towards other powers to balance umreeka out in the region. so if under these circumstance china gets a foothold at the mouth of the hurmuz, the sheikhs are going to run amok. and all umreekan strategic planning is going to come apart at the seams.

    but the problem is what can they do? their situation in afghanistan is hopeless, and 100% dependent on the fuel supply via pakistan. they cannot put direct pressure or annoy Mush and his army to the extent that they carry out this threat. do something foolhardy in the pakistani tribal belt in order to make Mush weaker can again have dangerous and unpredictable consequences. remember that the shrewdest and the most organized political party in pakistan is the army. thanks to umreeka.

    i would venture out to the extent to say that plan C for BB (which she was never told) was that she would be used as a suicide bomber working for umreeka. but even that has not delivered, Mush was shaken, but is defiant and not complying. dismemberment of the country? talk is cheap. for this they will have walk over the dead body of the nuclear armed pakistan army. not a simple task even for the umreekan behemoth.

    so my friend this is all going out to prove that bush and his cohorts never got good grades in college. they are proving out to be a bunch of duffers when it comes to stretegic games (and wars of course). and incompetence, only rarely, makes you the president, most of the time you end up being the total looser. :-)

    Posted by: hakeem.umer | Jan 6 2008 20:29 utc | 14

    As I expected: Pakistan Says Won't Let Foreign Troops on Its Soil

    Pakistan will not allow any country to conduct military operations on its territory, officials said on Monday, rejecting a report that said the United States was considering authorizing its forces to act in Pakistan.

    The New York Times said on Sunday the U.S. government was considering expanding the authority of the CIA and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in Pakistan.

    The U.S. officials considering the move were concerned over intelligence reports that al Qaeda and the Taliban were more intent on destabilizing Pakistan, the newspaper said.

    Pakistani government and military officials dismissed the report and said Pakistan would not permit any such action.

    "Pakistan's position in the war on terror has been very clear -- that any action on Pakistani soil will be taken only by Pakistani forces and Pakistani security agencies," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq.

    "No other country will be allowed to carry out operations in Pakistan. This has been conveyed at the highest level," he said.

    Military spokesman Major-General Waheed Arshad rejected the report as baseless, saying no U.S. military operations, overt of covert, were allowed.

    Posted by: b | Jan 7 2008 6:46 utc | 15

    NH Debate: Lets Invade Pakistan, America Will Get Nuked Soon

    If you thought the Republican debate was hawkish...

    Right off the bat, this was the Democrat debate:

    pt 1

    pt 2

    Pretty much it was:

    "America will get hit by a nuclear terror attack in an American city in the near future by Islamic terrorists. Islamic terror is the biggest threat to America, so respond what you will do when the Jihadists nuke a US city?"

    Not an exact quote, but I was like "whoah nelly...what is going on here? Does Charlie Gibson know something we dont?"

    The other message right off the bat before the debate began was
    "Osama is planning to nuke us, hes training his jihadists in Warzaristan Pakistan to carry out nuclear jihad on America. Osama's growing influence in Pakistan means...Osama could take over Pakistan's nukes!"

    Barack Obama starts off by saying he wants to invade Pakistan, regardless if they have Pakistan's permission. Hello Hawkish!

    While amongst politics, we KNOW a strong element of the nwo controlled al Qaeda comes from the corrupt government and ISI who was involved in 9/11...but this doesnt meant the US needs to "invade". The US is in cahoots with Pakistan. Not only does the media no longer acknowledge ISI role in 9/11 or al Qaeda (nor do politicians talk about it) but very few media have the courage to say the truth: the Taliban resurgence against coalition forces comes from some of the 10.59 billion the US has given Pakistan(visa vi the ISI)
    ISI and Pakistan pretty much gave al Qaeda/Taliban their own nation in Western Pakistan.

    Obama says its indisputable that the US should strike Pakistan asap.
    Charlie Gibson then goes on to say that "America will be nuked by terrorists, its not a question".

    Whats funny about this the elite staging the setting for an Obama vs Osama showdown in the public mind?

    The fact he is the only candidate talking about going toe to toe against Osama in Warzaristan is interesting: "Only Obama can take out Osama" will be the mantra in this war? Or of this debate?

    b may be right, Im starting to think Pakistan, not Iran, is going to be where the next situation will be.

    Whats funny is John Edwards and others parrot the "Osama is the mastermind of 9/11"...yet the 9/11 commission said Osama's role was minimal, and it was KSM and Atta. Who can get their story straight?

    Edwards says AQ Khan who developed nukes for Pakistan has given the technology know how to terrorists.

    Bill Richardson then comes off as way more anti war and diplomatic, he says he wants the peace route through diplomacy.
    He then says naively he would ask Musharaf "to step aside"(LOL)

    Richardson says that we're "paying" for having backed the Shah of Iran(I think he means installing him after overthrowing their government for England)

    He then comes so close to saying where that 10.59 billion the US gave Pakistan since 9/11 has gone. He says its gone to the Pakistani covert ops against India, stolen by criminal elements...ah, but he doesnt mention the ISI uses it to fund Taliban and al Qaeda

    Overall the message of the debate

    "Move the war from Afghanistan to Pakistan" and "America is going to be nuked soon, so lets face the facts"


    And they are talking shit about Bush doctrine?

    Why do liberals talk high and mighty like their saints, calling Bush and neocons warmongers, while then turning around and saying the US needs to invade Pakistan and all these other countries to "get Osama" and "really fight the war on terror". It feels like they are saying "we can out war on terror the neocons!"

    Of course we know they can and will.

    Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 7 2008 8:27 utc | 16

    To divide Pakistan the meme of "tribal" and "ethnic" partition needs to be planted in the US public mind.

    To do so WaPo's lead foreign story today is: Strains Intensify in Pakistan's Ethnic Patchwork

    In Pakistan -- a federation of four provinces, each associated with a different ethnic group -- the issue of ethnic identity has long been troublesome, imperiling the unity of the state.
    Not that such is a real issue in Pakistan - the army stands against that - but it certainly helps the neocon argument.

    Posted by: b | Jan 7 2008 10:38 utc | 17

    b, what is your assessment of why this is happening? is the china theory plausible or is there some other explaination?

    as far as political/social situation is pakistan is concerned here is a very accurate and unbiased report. pakistan is a big country of 165m, and you cant change it by merely planting stories. question is how would you be able to deliver on it? iran was a similar story a short while ago, all you are doing is going around in circles and changing bogeyman. how long is that going to continue?

    as far as obama is concerned. he does not know jack shit. he is a good orator, and all he is doing is duping the voters while at the same time pandering to the imperialists so that they do not put in hurdles. question is how will they use him later. we have had a good share of these types in the third world and they have always proved to be dangerous and disastrous.

    Posted by: hakeem | Jan 7 2008 13:49 utc | 18

    b, what is your assessment of why this is happening? is the china theory plausible or is there some other explaination?

    You mean the partitioning strategy?
    I: Resources in Baluchistan and the pipeline from Turkemenistan to the arabian see.
    II: Long term strategy against China and its foothold in the harbour of Gwadar.
    III: Challenging Iran (Baluch)

    as far as political/social situation is pakistan is concerned here is a very accurate and unbiased report. pakistan is a big country of 165m, and you cant change it by merely planting stories. question is how would you be able to deliver on it?

    I. Forment further ethnic strife (see how it was done in Iraq with sunni-shia).
    II. Split the army into US loyal vs. islam influenced forces.

    iran was a similar story a short while ago, all you are doing is going around in circles and changing bogeyman. how long is that going to continue?

    As long as it is assumed to be profitable.

    as far as obama is concerned. he does not know jack shit. he is a good orator, and all he is doing is duping the voters while at the same time pandering to the imperialists so that they do not put in hurdles. question is how will they use him later. we have had a good share of these types in the third world and they have always proved to be dangerous and disastrous.

    I agree.

    Posted by: b | Jan 7 2008 15:10 utc | 19

    good post Debs...

    What should be a straight last man standing contest between Musharraf, Zadari, Nawaz Sharif and hopefully for Pakistan, Imran Khan..

    Mush can’t stand for anything as he is President, sorta ‘by decree.’ Sharif can’t either as he is a convicted felon. (I suppose Mush could pardon him? I didn’t understand how that worked for BB..) Zadari says he is too young and has just flown back to Oxford. That leaves the cricket player. He sure has islamic spiritual values, and is against alliance with the US to some degree, for the rest, I wouldn’t presume to judge him. One person is not a large Pakistan there is no representative scheme at all levels - eg. opponents to all the above don’t have any voice as far as I can see? (And hakeem is right about the importance of China.)

    A recent poll confirms what I had gathered from personal contacts, Pakistanis are democrats and muslims, well that is a no brainer. Of course the article linked (and the poll itself) are biased, focus on some issues in the present unhappy state of affairs, and the responses are very ‘reactionary’ and the comments cherry picking.

    "It shows there is no major Western-oriented secular sub-group in Pakistan. People want more Islam. They don't think Pakistan is pious enough or that Islamic values are adequately expressed in daily life," said Steven Kull, director of, a non-profit group affiliated with the University of Maryland that conducted the poll for USIP.”>reuters

    to uncle Scam at 16, maybe Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, (ISI, very tight with he US, reportedly sent money to Atta a few days prior to 9/11 (1) and was in Washington on the day, meeting with Porter Goss, etc) was the one who organized the BB murder? He was fired some very short time after 9/11, obviously by Mush (who else could have done it?) but never accused of anything. BB blamed Ahmad for the first failed attack on her, in October, I have read. (?) Ahmad of course helped to install Mush, which is how he, Ahmad, became head of ISI.

    1. The ‘truther’ folklore is that Ahmad wired moolah to M. Atta juste before 9/11. No. The evidence (insofar as the media can be trusted and interpreted...) is that the call that ordered Sheikh to wire money to Atta came from a cell that was in Ahmad’s name. Omar Sheikh, Sheik, Omar Saeed .., (for google) is the alleged killer of Daniel Pearl. Khalid Sheik Mohammed has confessed to the murder as well. (Neither of them did it.)

    Omar’s diaries, via the Indian Express, an interesting read...> link

    Posted by: Tangerine | Jan 7 2008 17:47 utc | 20

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