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14 November 2011

Islamabad’s Lurch Away from Washington

The war in Afghanistan might be the latest round in America’s global fight against terrorism. Now a perfect terrorist storm might be brewing in Pakistan. When asked to choose the nation that is most likely to become the next al Qaeda stronghold, more experts chose Pakistan than any other country. These developments in that country could not be more worrisome; and on top of it all, experts said that Pakistan is the country most likely to transfer nuclear technology to terrorists in the next three to five years. 
But where did world terrorism begin? Iraq was a dangerous part of the equation, Afghanistan is even more dangerous, and then there’s Africa; but even killing bin Laden was not the head of the terrorist snake, as we have often pointed out.
We must go back in history to see terrorism’s deadly roots and then deal with the cause of the problem. It’s not enough to destroy the branches of a vast network of world terrorism. We must pull up the terrorist tree by its roots. It’s the only way to win this war.
The root could be Iran, state-sponsored terrorism in the 90s came out of that country and currenty they are providing weapons to the enemies of Israel. If one looks at Iran’s history, overthrowing the Shah was one of the biggest mistakes of history, and could prove to be the biggest foreign-policy disaster of the 20th Century.
With that history in mind, let’s ask the question: Could this nightmarish scenario be happening all over again?
In terms of population, Pakistan is the second-largest Muslim nation in the world, behind Indonesia. It has a population larger than Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea combined. Pakistan also has the nuclear bomb and taken over by radical Islam, with plenty of help from Iran, becoming a proxy of the Iranian mullahs, would be the worst possible disaster. The developments of the country could not be more worrisome (I know, I’m repeating myself).
The current Pakistani attacks on coalition troops takes its place atop a great mound of evidence of the deterioration of the US-Pakistan relationship. Is Pakistan ramping up its use of Afghan proxies to undertake terror operations designed to deplete the patience of NATO? Do Pakistan’s military leaders think they can weather the blowback from Washington, since the US has need of Pakistan’s logistical supply lines that stretch from Kabul to Karachi? Is the US downplaying the rapidly deteriorating relations between the two former strategic allies?
The killing of bin Laden on Pakistani soil without first alerting officials in Islamabad has not helped (deeply embarrassing the Pakistani government) and made plain that the US does not trust Pakistan. On top of that, this summer JIEDDO reported that over 80% of IEDs planted by insurgents in Afghanistan used calcium ammonium nitrate fertiliser made in Pakistan.
As Pakistan parts with the US, it is gearing up to replace the billions of dollars of aid it has been receiving from Washington by courting China and seeking help from Saudi Arabia. With much of the Muslim world blazing with uprisings, the time may be ripe for a coup that could ally nuclear Pakistan with another emerging bloc. I do not really need to address the danger of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal falling under the control of radical Islamism and/or Iran. Despite its Muslim majority, Pakistan could also eventually be allied with China, contributing its strategic seaport and its soldiers to a pan-Asian military.
Islamabad’s lurch away from Washington takes on great importance in light of the $18 billion the US has pumped into Pakistan over the last decade, the degree to which American forces rely on Pakistan’s logistical supply lines, and, most importantly, the question of where Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will end up.
Whether Pakistan succumbs to the coaxing of Iran, or joins forces with the rising Chinese dragon, it is becoming clearer all the time that America’s frayed alliance with Pakistan is almost over.

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