The US Devious Tactics of Changing Goal Posts

Posted by on Dec 11th, 2011 and filed under FEATURED, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


US Vulture on Pakistan's sky

GEN MUSHARRAF had been declared a pariah after his illegal coup against a popularly elected government of Nawaz Sharif in October 1999. This became evident when the then President Bill Clinton came on a five-hour visit to Islamabad in March 2000 and met him coldly. One year and six months later when the US under George W Bush offered him a hand of friendship he was transported with joy. Unable to control his ecstasy, he spontaneously ceded to all the seven demands made by Collin Powel on phone on 13 September 2011. Not only that, he obsequiously kept agreeing to additional demands made by overbearing USA without taking VCOAS, his corps commanders and PSOs in GHQ in confidence. He had already carried out big changes in top appointments soon after he had taken over as COAS in October 2008 by appointing Lt Gen Mehmood as commander 10 Corps, Lt Gen Aziz Khan as CGS, Lt Gen Khalid Maqbool as commander 4 Corps and Lt Gen Usmani as commander 5 Corps. He had got rid of outspoken Lt Gen Tariq Pervez who had a tiff with him on the issue of Kargil.

In the Corps Commanders conferences he didn’t divulge the whole truth but conveyed only that much which was digestible. His 3-4 most loyal Lt Gens supported him vociferously. The very few who differed with his policies or had reservations were gradually retired or given less important portfolios. He didn’t deem it necessary to reduce any of the secret agreements on paper. Wishes of Washington were received on phone or conveyed by visiting US officials and dutifully obeyed. The US took full advantage of the unwritten commitments and often asked for much more than what was initially agreed upon.

Musharraf at his own gave total freedom of action to CIA and FBI inside Pakistan and ordered own law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies to extend fullest cooperation. Permission to The US air force to use four airbases of Jacobabad, Pasni, Dalbandin and Shamsi was again the sole initiative of Musharraf. Even the VCOAS and CGS Lt Gen Shahid Aziz learnt about their usage by USA at a later date when those were already in use. This has now been disclosed by Gen Shahid. Sending regular troops to FATA for the first time in the history of Pakistan at the behest of USA was again Musharraf’s initiative.

All the legal and illegal demands of Washington were promptly met by Musharraf led military team including ISI and MI. They merrily kept dancing to the tunes of the US since the US and western officials kept showering praises that Pakistan was dong a wonderful job in fighting global terrorism. Pleased with its dedication and obedience, the US awarded it with a symbolic title of non-NATO ally which in practical terms had no value. Each time he ceded ground; he eroded the sovereignty of Pakistan and paved the way for Washington to micromanage Pakistan. Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Rumsfeld, Boucher and Negroponte took control of foreign and domestic policies. Their wishes became commands which had to be fulfilled at all cost.

When Musharraf sent regular troops to Waziris dominated South Waziristan (SW) around Wana in late 2002 on orders from Washington and launched a military operation in 2004 against foreign militants, the US then shifted the goalpost to Mehsud dominated SW in 2005, and next to North Waziristan (NW) in 2006. Towards the end of that year the goalpost shifted to Bajaur, and in 2007 Mohmand Agency came into sharp focus of USA. By the end of 2007, TTP under Baitullah Mehsud suddenly emerged with commanders in all seven tribal agencies. Swat and surrounding regions also became turbulent where three operations were launched. By the time the third operation was launched in Malakand and Swat in April 2009 to free it from the clutches of Fazlullah led militants, elected government had taken over in March 2008. Musharraf had left the country in August and Zardari replaced him. The new regime made no change in Musharraf’s policies. Rather, it went two steps ahead to please USA.

The US then reaffixed the goalpost at SW and forced Pakistan to launch a bloody operation where no outsider had ever defeated the local tribesmen. Maulvi Nazir leading Ahmadzai Wazirs helped the Army by way of remaining neutral and providing his area as base of operation. No sooner it was cleared of the presence of militants by end 2009, the US had moved the goalpost to NW once again. By that time not only 147000 regular troops and paramilitary forces had got outstretched and fatigued; the Army had suffered 3500 fatal casualties and injuries to thousands and was also feeling the pinch of resource constraint since the US had withheld payment of funds and counter terror equipment. Captured areas had not been fully stabilized and thousands of displaced persons were still in camps in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan. Besides these factors, other compelling factor which went against the wisdom of opening another front in NW was that Hafiz Gul Bahadur was sticking to peace deal which he had inked in July 2008. As such, the Army started resisting the US pressure, which kept building throughout 2010 and reached its peak in 2011.

To start with, the US leaders alleged that top leadership of al-Qaeda including Bin Laden was based in NW and until their sanctuaries were destroyed, it would be difficult for the ISAF to launch an operation in Kandahar. After the murder of OBL on 2 May 2011, emphasis was shifted from al-Qaeda to Haqqani network (HN), which was demonized. The goalpost presently fixed at NW will move forward to new location like South Punjab, or Quetta region, or some old location after NW is cleared since the real motive is not to defeat terrorism but to take the steam out of Pak Army. The US has employed the Army as a mercenary army, but even mercenaries are not deceptively used to trap them for eventual destruction by the paying master. Do more mantra was conceived to destroy Pak Army and the ISI. Idea was never to get satisfied and to keep complaining like a constipated mother-in-law.

The Army on orders from its supreme commander and executive head would have continued to do more blindly had certain Pakistan-shaking events not taken place in 2011. Resistance to the demand of operation in NW was the first welcome change which helped in standing up to the US bullying tactics. Arrest of Raymond Davis was the first major shake up which opened the eyes of Gen Kayani and Lt Gen Pasha. It transpired that the US pretending to be an ally had been secretly knitting a web around Pakistan and had trapped it in a strategic ambush. Whatever doubts they had were washed away after the 2 May and 22 May incidents. Desperate and emergent corrective steps taken to rescue the country from the laid out trap offended USA and it started fuming with anger.

The pent up rage exploded on 22 September when the military led by Admiral Mullen and the US civilian leadership, think tanks, print and electronic media started bashing Pakistan viciously. They huffed and puffed and directly accused ISI of its linkage with the dreaded HN and threatened to attack Pakistan. The reason why they went mad was they couldn’t reconcile with Pakistan daring to defy their dictates and trying to undo their progress achieved in enfeebling Pakistan. They felt frustrated that their decade long hard labor to reach up to the coveted prize of nuclear arsenal was being demolished. When Pak military didn’t relent and continued with its efforts to constrict the space for CIA network and also refused to jump into the cauldron of NW, the US could no longer control its fury and ruthlessly targeted Pakistan’s security border post at Salala on 26 November killing 24 soldiers including two officers. It was cold blooded premeditated murder of 24 soldiers.

Although the imperious US leaders have extended sympathies and condolences and termed the incident a tragedy, they have neither offered an official apology nor are they accepting their fault. Rather they are trying to obfuscate facts by protecting the offenders and blaming the defenders. They are maintaining their usual imperious stance because they know they will get away with this crime as well. Going by their track record of crimes against humanity, this kill for them is insignificant. They are wondering as to why Pakistan is taking it so seriously and are very sure that soon things would get back to business as usual and they would again recommence their old tactics of changing goalposts to rebuild the half-broken trap.

"One day life of a lion is far better than thousand year’s life of a jackal"- Tipu Sultan

Safety and dignity of Pakistan lays in its principled defiance and not on meek and apologetic stance. We haven’t forgotten great Tipu Sultan’s saying when he faced sure death. He said ‘One day life of a lion is far better than thousand year’s life of a jackal’. He died fighting but entered his name in golden words in the annals of history. Adversaries of Pakistan must not misjudge Pakistan’s potential by judging the capacity of its timid and servile civilian leadership, but should take into account the resilience of its 170 million people and its proud armed forces which are second to none. This nation prefers death over dishonor.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst.

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