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    Default India/Pakistan

    Thread for the discussion of India and Pakistan.

    Original thread found here - The India / Pakistan war thread

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    I guess it's a good thing this thread hasn't had any posts since I started it in 2005 but, here's some breaking news…

    India-Pakistan Crossfire Continues Along Kashmir Border
    Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded fire across the heavily armed Kashmir frontier for more than 12 hours overnight and into Tuesday in what the Indian army called the worst violation of a 2003 cease-fire agreement between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

    The night-long gunbattle came after one Indian soldier and four Pakistanis were killed Monday along the heavily armed frontier that divides Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, the Indian army said. Pakistan denied its soldiers were killed.

    No further casualties were reported Tuesday.

    India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir. However, the frontier has been largely quiet since a 2003 cease-fire agreement, which has formed the cornerstone of a peace process between the two countries.

    "This is the biggest violation of the cease-fire in the last five years," said Lt. Col. Anil Kumar Mathur, an army spokesman. "We've sought a meeting with the Pakistani army to protest the violation."

    By noon the gunfire had ended, Mathur said.

    The Indian army said the fighting Monday began when Pakistani troops crossed the frontier and opened fire.

    But Pakistani army officials denied this Tuesday and blamed the incident on Indian soldiers trying to build a post on Pakistan's side.

    Pakistan army's top spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, said the army has evidence of the Indian army crossing the Line of Control, the cease-fire line that serves as the de facto border.

    "This will not in any way any help the confidence-building measures that are being taken but it will deteriorate the situation," he said on Pakistan's Geo TV.

    Brig. Gopala Krishnan Murali, an Indian army officer, dismissed the Pakistani claims as "baseless allegations."

    Indian and Pakistani commanders of the area where the shooting occurred met Tuesday to discuss how to ease the tension, said officials from both sides.

    Indian officers proposed a joint inspection of the shooting site and are awaiting a response from their Pakistani counterparts, Murali said.

    While the border has been largely quiet in recent years there have been an increase of incidents in recent months.

    Both sides have blamed the other for violating the cease-fire and New Delhi has accused Islamabad of helping Islamic rebels sneak into its part of Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies.

    Nearly a dozen Islamic rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict.

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    Default India, Pakistan: The Dynamics of Conflict

    India, Pakistan: The Dynamics of Conflict

    December 3, 2008 | 1727 GMT

    TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images
    Indian soldiers standing along the Indian side of the Line of Control in Kashmir


    Summary
    Judging from the manner in which India is building a case for military action against Islamist militant facilities in Pakistan in response to the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai, it is likely that the Indians will exercise their option to use force. If and when that happens, it is likely to begin with artillery fire and airstrikes against militant camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Given that this is a red line for the Pakistanis, Islamabad is likely to respond, and the resulting situation could easily create a bigger security problem for India.

    Analysis
    Although a military confrontation between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Nov. 26 militant attacks in Mumbai is not a foregone conclusion, the domestic situation within India and Islamabad’s likely inability to placate Indian concerns make such a confrontation a possibility. Furthermore, U.S. strikes against Islamist militant facilities in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal badlands and the North-West Frontier Province provide a precedent of sorts for India to take similar action across its northwestern border with Pakistan.

    So what can be expected in the event of an outbreak of hostilities?

    New Delhi is not interested in any major escalation and would likely prefer to limit the strikes to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba are based. The United States has argued that Islamabad’s writ is almost nonexistent in the Federally Administered Tribal Area; India can make a similar claim about Pakistan’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). The Pakistanis consider the entire region of Kashmir disputed territory, while the Indians claim it as their own and consider AJK to be Pakistan-occupied.



    (Click image to enlarge)



    Even the border between the two countries in this region is referred to as the Line of Control (LoC) and is distinct from the international boundary between the two states that runs along the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh. But the problem is that any crossing of the LoC would likely trigger a Pakistani response that could escalate quickly into a full-blown war spreading beyond the LoC to the international boundary. While it can turn a blind eye to U.S. strikes in its northwestern Pashtun areas, Pakistan cannot afford to ignore similar moves on the part of India, which the Pakistanis view as the main threat to their security, especially considering the Pakistani state’s current significant weakness.

    Complicating matters further is the fact that India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers. Neither side has any interest in creating a nuclear conflict, of course. But should India push too deeply and too aggressively, Pakistan might begin to perceive an existential threat to the state — and that is a very dangerous line to cross. Currently, a nuclear exchange still seems like a stretch, but it is a dynamic that cannot be ignored.

    Though the last major war between the two countries was fought 37 years ago, India and Pakistan have engaged in limited combat in the Kashmir region more recently. In the 2001-2002 crisis, and much more significantly during the 1999 Kargil War, Indian and Pakistani forces traded fire along the LoC. However, Indian forces did not cross the LoC, even though Pakistani forces and a legion of irregular Kashmiri Islamist militant guerrillas had crossed into and occupied high-altitude positions in Indian territory during the Kargil War.

    But while airstrikes and artillery barrages are one thing, fighting in some of the highest mountains in the world is something else entirely. Both Pakistan and India maintain troops in Kashmir and train in mountain warfare, and the two countries have fought pitched battles in the disputed territory. But it is not yet clear that India intends to put boots on the ground in Pakistani territory. Furthermore, India has only blunt instruments at its disposal. While the United States has armed unmanned aerial vehicles capable of precision strikes, India would have to use a greater number of less-precise munitions to engage any potential targets, and manned fighter aircraft would mark a much more overt intrusion into Pakistani airspace. The potential for collateral damage and escalation would be high.

    Pakistan could respond with combat air patrols, artillery and airstrikes of its own — responses that could quickly escalate into a conventional ground war. Islamabad also has the option of unleashing Kashmiri and other irregulars that are still fully under its control, such as the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, which remains the mainstay of Kashmiri insurgents on both sides of the LoC. Because India’s interest in the use of force is related to satisfying domestic political concerns and trying to degrade the capabilities of the militant actors that pose a threat to its security, the threat of a counter-response is a major quandary.

    Ultimately, militant Islamist elements go much deeper into Pakistani territory and the Pakistani population than Kashmir, and thus India cannot achieve security through military strikes in Pakistan-administered Kashmir alone. Indeed, it cannot solve the problem through military force alone. In fact, the danger is that a broader war could create Afghanistan-like conditions in Pakistan, which is not in New Delhi’s interest.

    http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/200...amics_conflict


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    Default Re: India, Pakistan: The Dynamics of Conflict

    December 4, 2008 No. 2138

    Pakistani Nuclear Scientist: 'None Of India's Cities Can Remain Safe From Our Missiles'; 'Our Missile System… Can Be Fired in Only 10 Minutes – They Are On the Launchers'

    Amid growing tensions between India and Pakistan following the 11/26 Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Samar Mubarakmand spoke of the readiness of Pakistani missiles and of their capability to target Indian cities. Dr. Mubarakmand, who has steered the Pakistani nuclear program for the past several decades alongside disgraced nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, expressed his views during a talk show.

    Following are excerpts from the interview, as published in the Urdu-language Pakistani newspaper Roznama Express: (1)

    "Pakistan's nuclear assets are in safe hands.

    "Every Indian city is on the target of our missiles, and [Pakistan's] atomic technology is better than that of India. [We] can fire the missiles at only 10 minutes' notice...

    "I am very satisfied with the defense preparedness. As long as [we] didn't have nuclear weapons, India had a three and a half advantage [over Pakistan]. But this advantage was levelled when we conducted the nuclear testing.

    "Following the nuclear testing, we tested missiles like the Shaheen, the Ghaznavi, the Shaheen II, and the Ghauri. After this, India's tone and language [vis-à-vis Pakistan] changed...

    "The nuclear tests carried out by India were of eight to 10 tons, whereas our [atomic tests] were of 25 to 30 tons, and the one we conducted in Kharan [Desert, in Baluchistan] were of 10 to 12 tons. This is why our weapons are better [than India's]...

    "Our Shaheen missiles hit targets [during testing]; the world recognized their delivery system. None of India's cities can remain safe from our missiles... Pakistan's width is less than India's, which is 1,200 to 1,400 kilometers. Therefore, no corner of India is safe from the Shaheen II...

    "We have also developed cruise missiles. And Pakistan is the fourth country in the world to have cruise missiles...

    "We should talk to India strongly... Even while giving the message of friendship, we should make [Indians] realize that we are not weak...

    "Being a small nation, if we abandon the option... to launch a nuclear attack, then there won't be any use of the second option. This way you end one advantage...

    "Our missile system is ready, [and] can be fired in only 10 minutes – they are on the launchers..."

    http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD213808
    Last edited by vector7; December 4th, 2008 at 22:02. Reason: Removed a smilie generated from the orginal article

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    Default Re: India, Pakistan: The Dynamics of Conflict

    Maybe this should go in the other thread - the one about India and Pakistan fighting.....

    ?
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    Default Re: India, Pakistan: The Dynamics of Conflict

    Can you squeeze it in for me?

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    Default Re: India, Pakistan: The Dynamics of Conflict

    Pakistan: We're ready for war with India

    Pakistan warned it is ready for war with India if it is attacked following the strike by the Mumbai terrorists.

    Last Updated: 12:13PM GMT 09 Dec 2008



    A peace vigil in honour of those who died in the Mumbai attacks is held in the Indian city of Bhopal Photo: Reuters



    The remarks by Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who also insisted he would not hand over any suspects in the Mumbai attacks, come amid mounting tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

    India has said it is keeping all options open following last month's carnage by the Mumbai terrorists, who killed more than 170 people.

    "We do not want to impose war, but we are fully prepared in case war is imposed on us," said Mr Qureshi.

    "We are not oblivious to our responsibilities to defend our homeland. But it is our desire that there should be no war."

    Indian officials say the hardline Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group, which is based in Pakistan despite being banned by the government, is behind the bloodshed, and Indian media have suggested there could be Indian strikes on militant camps.

    Mr Qureshi said he was sending "a very clear message" that his country did not want conflict with India.

    "We want friendship, we want peace and we want stability - but our desire for peace should not be considered Pakistan's weakness."

    The minister also said that India's demands for the extradition of suspects in the Mumbai attacks were out of the question and that Pakistan, which has arrested 16 people since Saturday, would keep them on home soil.

    "The arrests are being made for our own investigations. Even if allegations are proved against any suspect, he will not be handed over to India,"

    Qureshi said. "We will proceed against those arrested under Pakistani laws."
    India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain and nearly came to a fourth in 2001 after an attack on the Indian parliament that was blamed on LeT.

    Under international pressure to act, Pakistan raided a camp run by a charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, that many believe has close links to LeT, and arrested 15 people.

    The authorities are questioning Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, who was among those arrested at the weekend.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ith-India.html

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Got the threads merged...

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Thanks!!!

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Armed forces are put on war alert
    Josy Joseph
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 04:02 IST



    NEW DELHI: In the sort of “high alert” last seen during Operation Parakram, launched after the December 13, 2001, attack on Parliament, the armed forces, especially the air force and the navy, have been kept in a state of war readiness. There has been no massive mobilisation of troops on the border, though.

    While Indian Air Force (IAF) fighters have been mounted with bombs and kept in a state of readiness to take off within minutes, almost the entire western naval fleet is aggressively patrolling the Arabian Sea.

    The military was moved into this state of heightened alert within 24 hours of the terror attack on Mumbai, which began on November 26. When it became clear that the terrorists were Pakistanis, the government ordered the mobilisation.

    According to a source, the IAF has recalled senior officers from leave, moved some of its missile formations forward, and armed its fighters with missiles. Pilots have been put on standby in operational rooms.

    To justify the state of war readiness, the government spoke of the possibility of a 911-style attack on India. At a meeting with the three service chiefs, defence minister AK Antony cautioned them to take measures to thwart such an attack. But a source said the alert was a cover to justify India’s exceptional military mobilisation.

    The forces have been put on high alert to back up India’s diplomatic efforts to get Pakistan to crack down on terrorists on its soil.

    The IAF says it is in state of “passive air defence (PAD)”, which means it is geared to take any measure to defend the country’s assets. Under PAD, all platforms, including fighters, are kept operationally ready, armed with missiles, and pilots are prepared to fly at a moment’s notice.

    During Operation Parakram, the air force was kept on “active air defence”, which means it was in a state of readiness to destroy enemy assets.

    The source said the IAF has reduced the number of personnel on leave to just 10% from the average 30% of its total strength and recalled several key officers from leave. In the western and southwestern air commands, which cover the Pakistani border, all leave has been cancelled. The state of high alert extends to air stations in the South.

    According to the source, besides fully arming fighters and placing pilots in operational rooms, the IAF has moved some missile units close to the Pakistan border. These are primarily surface-to-air missiles and other air-defence assets that can shoot down any incoming threat.

    Meanwhile, the navy’s western command based in Mumbai has also been put on a state of high alert, with nearly two dozen warships patrolling the Arabian Sea.

    A source said that drawing from the experience of Operation Parakram, it was decided not to carry out massive troop movements on the border. The mobilisation of ground forces, started after the 2001 attack, achieved little and was called off on October 16, 2002. This time the government has put in place a more “opaque” military mobilisation.

    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?n...12788&pageid=0

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Creating an "Arc of Crisis": The Destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia
    The Mumbai Attacks and the “Strategy of Tension”

    by Andrew G. Marshall

    Global Research, December 7, 2008

    Introduction

    The recent attacks in Mumbai, while largely blamed on Pakistan’s state-sponsored militant groups, represent the latest phase in a far more complex and long-term “strategy of tension” in the region; being employed by the Anglo-American-Israeli Axis to ultimately divide and conquer the Middle East and Central Asia. The aim is destabilization of the region, subversion and acquiescence of the region’s countries, and control of its economies, all in the name of preserving the West’s hegemony over the “Arc of Crisis.”

    The attacks in India are not an isolated event, unrelated to growing tensions in the region. They are part of a processof unfolding chaos that threatens to engulf an entire region, stretching from the Horn of Africa to India: the “Arc of Crisis,” as it has been known in the past.

    The motives and modus operandi of the attackers must be examined and questioned, and before quickly asserting blame to Pakistan, it is necessary to step back and review:

    Who benefits? Who had the means? Who had to motive? In whose interest is it to destabilize the region? Ultimately, the roles of the United States, Israel and Great Britain must be submitted to closer scrutiny.

    The Mumbai Attacks: 11/26/08

    On November 26, 2008, a number of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred across India’s main commercial city of Mumbai, which lasted until November 29. The attacks and three-day siege that ensued left hundreds dead, and roughly 295 others injured. Among the dead were a Briton, five Americans and six Israelis.[1]



    Asserting the Blame


    The 60-hour siege that engulfed Mumbai was reportedly undertaken by just ten, well-trained “commando killers.” Most blame has fallen on the heels of the group known as Lashkar-e-Taiba.[2]

    At first, a previously-unheard of organization, known as the Deccan Mujahideen, took responsibility for the terror attacks when it sent emails to several news outlets a mere six hours after the fighting began. However, much skepticism remained about whether the group actually even exists.[3]

    British intelligence then claimed that the attacks had the “hallmarks” of Al-Qaeda as it was undertaken in an effort to target westerners, similar to the 2002 Bali Bombings. British intelligence officials suggested the attacks were in “retaliation” for the recent US air attacks of suspected Al-Qaeda camps in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, and that India was chosen as the target because that is where Al-Qaeda has “sufficient resources to carry out an attack.”[4]

    On November 28, India’s foreign minister said the attackers were coordinated “outside the country,” in a veiled reference to Pakistan.[5] India’s Prime Minister also blamed the attacks on militant groups based in Pakistan, which are supported by the Pakistani government.[6]

    Then, the focus was put directly on the group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Pakistani-based organization responsible for past attacks in India. American intelligence early on pointed the finger at this group, as well as identifying the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) as its supporter.[7]

    The Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT)

    It is important to identify what the LeT is and how it has operated historically. The group operates out of the disputed territories between India and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir. It has close ties with the Pakistani ISI, and is largely known for its use of suicide attacks. However, aside from its links to the ISI, it is also closely allied with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The LeT is even referred to as the “most visible manifestation” of Al-Qaeda in India. It has branches across much of India, Pakistan, and in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, South East Asia, and the United Kingdom. It primarily gets its funding from Pakistani businessmen, the ISI and Saudi Arabia. The LeT also took part in the Bosnian campaign against the Serbs in the 1990s.[8]

    All the above-mentioned connections make the LeT the most desirable outfit to blame for the Mumbai attacks, as its Al-Qaeda connections, international presence and historical precedents of terror attacks set it up as the perfect target. Much like with Al-Qaeda, the LeT’s international scope could serve as a basis for taking a “war against LeT” to the steps of many countries, thus further serving the interests of the Anglo-American “War on Terror.”

    Militant Islam and Western Intelligence – The Case of Yugoslavia>>


    The LeT has not operated independently of Pakistani influence and finances. It’s close relationship with the ISI must be viewed in context: the ISI has a close relationship with Western intelligence agencies, primarily those of Great Britain and the United States. The ISI has effectively acted as a conduit for Anglo-American intelligence operations in the region since the late 1970s, when the Afghan Mujahedeen were created in collusion with the CIA. Out of this collusion, lasting throughout the 1980s until the end of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1989, Al-Qaeda was created, as well as a series of other militant Islamic organizations.

    It is often stated that the CIA then discontinued its relationship with the ISI, and in turn, that the militant Islamic organizations broke off from their Western intelligence sponsors to declare war against the West. However, the facts do not support this. The ties remained, but the strategy changed. What changed was that in the early 1990s, the Cold War ended, and Russia no longer was the “Evil Empire,” and thus the excuse for an exacerbated defence budget and imperialist foreign policy receded. As George H.W. Bush declared, it was during this time that we would see the formation of the “New World Order.” And with that, there was a need for a new, elusive enemy, not in the form of a nation, but a seemingly invisible enemy, international in scale, thus taking the war to an international arena.

    So in the early 1990s, Western intelligence maintained its ties to these Islamic terrorist groups. Yugoslavia is a very important case to analyze in relation to current events. The break-up of Yugoslavia was a process undertaken by Anglo-American covert interests with the aim of serving their imperial ambitions in the region. In the early 1980s, the IMF set the stage in Yugoslavia with its Structural Adjustment Programs, which had the effect of creating an economic crisis, which in turn created a political crisis. This exacerbated ethnic rivalries, and in 1991, the CIA supported the Croat move for independence.

    In 1992, with the start of the Bosnian War, Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists began operating with the ethnic Bosnian Muslim minority in fighting the Serbs. In turn, these Al-Qaeda affiliated groups were supported with training, arming, and finances by German, Turkish, Iranian and US intelligence agencies; with additional financial support from Saudi Arabia. In 1997, the Kosovo War began, in which the militant-terrorist-drug trafficking Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began fighting against Serbia, with training, arms and financial support from the US and other NATO countries. The CIA, German intelligence, the DIA, MI6 and British Special Forces (SAS) all provided training and support to the KLA.


    Yugoslavia - Before and After Balkanization

    The aim was in breaking up Yugoslavia, using ethnic rivalries as the trigger for regional conflict and ultimately war, leading to the dissolution of Yugoslavia into several countries, justifying a permanent US and NATO military presence in the region. [See: Breaking Yugoslavia, by Andrew G. Marshall, Geopolitical Monitor, July 21, 2008]

    The Lashkar-e Taiba’s participation in the Bosnian War against Serbia would have in turn been financed and supported by these various Western intelligence agencies, thus serving the interests of Western Imperialist states; primarily those of Great Britain and the United States.

    The LeT and Western Intelligence

    The LeT has a sordid history of involvement with Western intelligence agencies, primarily those of Great Britain.

    With the London 7/7 bombings [July 7, 2005] in which three underground stations and a double-decker bus had bombs explode on them; many of the suspected terrorists had interesting connections to Pakistan. For example, one of the suspects, Shehzad Tanweer, had apparently “attended a religious school run by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)” while in Pakistan. Due to the LeT’s ties with Al-Qaeda, this allowed for the conclusion to be drawn that Al-Qaeda may have played a part in the London bombings, which were initially blamed on the international terrorist organization. The LeT also has close ties with the Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI),[9] an Indonesian terrorist organization, which was blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, which also targeted tourists in Indonesia.

    The Bali Bombings

    Interesting to note, however, is that in the early 1990’s, when the Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI) was officially formed into a terrorist organization, it developed close ties with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Further, the organizations founders and leaders played a significant role in recruiting Muslims to join the Afghan Mujahideen in the war against the Soviets during the 1980’s, which was covertly directed and supported by US, British and various other Western intelligence agencies. The JI wouldn’t exist “without the CIA’s dirty operations in Afghanistan.” A former Indonesian President stated that one of JI’s key individuals was also a spy for the Indonesian intelligence agency, and that Indonesian intelligence played a more central role in the Bali bombings than the JI itself.


    Bali Bombings

    The JI itself, had reportedly been infiltrated by the CIA, Israeli Mossad, and that “the CIA and the Mossad, assisted by the Australian Special Action Police (SAP) and the M15 of England, are all working towards undermining Muslim organizations in an attempt to weaken the Muslims globally.” Further, one of JI’s key planners of the Bali bombings, Omar al-Faruq, was reportedly a CIA asset, and even senior Indonesian intelligence officials believed the CIA was behind the Bali bombings. The CIA subsequently “guided” Indonesia’s investigation into the bombings, which found the JI, and the JI alone, responsible for the attacks. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, The Bali Bombings. Geopolitical Monitor, November 15, 2008]

    London 7/7

    Much of the focus of the London bombings of July 7, 2005 (7/7), was focused on the “Pakistani connection.” The suspected bombers had all visited Pakistan, and apparently developed contacts with groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e Taiba. However, a less known and less publicized connection yields some very interesting information. The suspected mastermind of the London bombings, Haroon Rashid Aswat, had visited all the suspected bombers leading up to the attacks. Phone records revealed that there were “around 20 calls between him and the 7/7 gang, leading right up to those attacks.” Why is this significant? Because Haroon Rashid Aswat, apart from being an Al-Qaeda operative, also happened to be an MI6 agent, working for the British intelligence. Haroon also made his appearance on the scene of Islamic terrorism when he was in Kosovo in the 1990’s, where he “worked for British intelligence.”[10]



    The Liquid Bomb Plot


    Another event which brought to the forefront a “Pakistani connection” was the August 2006 London liquid bomb plot, in which terrorists supposedly were plotting to blow up nearly a dozen Atlantic airliners bound for major US cities.

    The Pakistani ISI apparently helped in “uncovering” the liquid bomb plot, aiding the British in their roundup of suspects, and “tipped-off MI5.” One of the Pakistani groups accused of some involvement in the liquid bomb plot was the Lashkar-e Taiba.[11]

    However, again, the suspected terrorists had been “infiltrated” and spied on by British intelligence for over a year. Further, the supposed ringleader of the bomb plot, Rashid Rauf, a dual British-Pakistani citizen, was pinpointed as the ringleader by both British and Pakistani intelligence, and was the link between the plot and Al-Qaeda. Rauf also has close ties with the ISI, and apparently had the plot approved by Al-Qaeda’s number two in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who formerly worked for the CIA during the Soviet-Afghan war. The ISI had arrested Rashid Rauf following the “exposure” of the liquid bomb plot, yet, in 2006, the charges against him were dropped, and in 2007, he amazingly escaped Pakistani custody, having “managed to open his handcuffs and evade two police guards.” [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Liquid Bomb Plot. Geopolitical Monitor: October 27, 2008]

    Clearly, if the LeT is discovered to be responsible for the Mumbai attacks, its connections to Western intelligence agencies should be more closely examined and subject to investigation. The ISI, throughout its history, has not been the key player in supporting various terrorist organizations, rather, it can be more accurately described as a conduit for Western intelligence agencies to covertly fund and support terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

    Terrorizing India

    We must examine the current attacks with a backdrop of reviewing recent terror attacks in India.

    1993 Bombay Bombings

    March 12, 1993, Bombay (today, Mumbai) experienced a coordinated attack of 13 explosions, which killed over 250 people. A man with close connections to Osama bin laden and Al-Qaeda, Dawood Ibrahim, was believed to have been the mastermind of the attacks. He has also financed several operations of the Lashkar-e Taiba, and was believed to be hiding out in Pakistan, and receiving protection and support from the Pakistani ISI, which in 2007, reportedly arrested him. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network. Global Research: September 17, 2008]

    Mumbai Bombings, July 11, 2006: 7/11

    Over 200 people were killed in Mumbai when seven bombs exploded within 11 minutes of one another on several trains. Blame for the attacks was placed with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), both of which have close ties with the ISI. The ISI was subsequently blamed for organizing the attacks, which were then carried out by the LeT and SIMI. The bombings led to the postponement of India-Pakistan peace talks, which were set to take place the next week. [Ibid]

    Indian Embassy Bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan: July 7, 2008

    On July 7, 2008, a bomb exploded at the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing over 50 people, and injuring over 100 others. The Afghan government and the Indian intelligence agency immediately blamed the ISI, in collaboration with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, of planning and executing the attack. Reports on the bombing suggested that the aim was to “increase the distrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan and undermine Pakistan's relations with India, despite recent signs that a peace process between Islamabad and New Delhi was making some headway.”


    Indian Embassy in Kabul

    In early August, American intelligence agencies supported the claim that members of the ISI helped plan the attack, which they based upon “intercepted communications,” and that, “American officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the C.I.A. emissary, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, even before the attack.” Interestingly, “a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan [in August] to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups.” However, the CIA knows of these connections, as it has actively supported and financed these covert ISI connections with terrorist organizations. So, what was the real purpose of this top CIA official’s visit to Pakistan?

    Days after the CIA released this information to the New York Times, the US accused Pakistan of undermining NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan by supporting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and further, “Mike Mc-Connell, the director of national intelligence, and [CIA director] Hayden asked Musharraf to allow the CIA greater freedom to operate in the tribal areas,” and was threatened with “retaliation” if he did not comply. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network. Global Research: September 17, 2008]

    The ISI and the CIA

    Again, if the ISI is to be blamed for the recent Mumbai attacks, as it has played a part in several attacks and support of terrorism throughout its history, it is important to identify its relationship with the CIA.

    The CIA developed close ties with the ISI in the late 1970s, as the CIA used the ISI as a “go-between” for CIA support of the Afghan Mujahideen. This relationship was also pivotal in supporting the Afghan narcotics trade, which again is rampant. The relationship between the two agencies continued throughout the 1990s, in areas such as Chechnya, Yugoslavia and India. [See: Michel Chossudovsky, Al Qaeda and the "War on Terrorism". Global Research: January 20, 2008]

    A week prior to the 9/11 attacks, the head of Pakistan’s ISI was on a visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with several key policy figures, such as Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage; Senator Joseph Biden, who is going to be Obama’s Vice President; and with his counterparts in the CIA and Pentagon, and several other officials. He was in Washington right up to and after the 9/11 attacks, and was engaged in several key consultations with US officials, pledging support for the US War on Terror instantly. However, the very same Chief of the ISI also happened to have previously approved of wiring $100,000 to the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, which was also confirmed by the FBI. Thus, the ISI suddenly became a financier of the 9/11 attacks. Yet, no action was taken against the ISI or Pakistan, apart from the ISI Chief being fired upon this revelation making it into the media.



    ISI Chief Lt.-General Mahmoud Ahmad

    Of significance is that this ISI Chief, Lt.-General Mahmoud Ahmad, was approved as head of the ISI by the US in 1999. From then, he was in close contact and liaison with top officials of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Pentagon. [See: Michel Chossudovsky, Cover-up or Complicity of the Bush Administration? Global Research: November 2, 2001]

    Collaboration between the ISI and CIA did not end with these disturbing revelations. In 2007, it was reported that the CIA was arming and funding a terrorist organization named Jundullah, based in Pakistan’s tribal areas, with the goal of “sowing chaos” in Iran. Jundullah not only is funded and armed by the CIA, but has extensive ties to Al-Qaeda, and the ISI, as the CIA’s financial support for the group is funneled through the ISI, so as to make it more difficult to establish a link between the CIA and the terrorist outfit. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia, op cit ]

    As Michel Chossudovsky pointed out in his article, India’s 9/11, “In September, Washington pressured Islamabad, using the "war on terrorism" as a pretext to fire the ISI chief Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj,” and Pakistani “President Asif Ali Zardari had meetings in New York in late September with CIA Director Michael Hayden.” Following these meetings, “a new US approved ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was appointed by the Chief of the Army, General Kayani, on behalf of Washington.”

    Anglo-American-Israeli Intelligence and India

    In mid-October, American intelligence agencies warned Indian intelligence warned India about an attack “from the sea against hotels and business centers in Mumbai.” Even the Taj Hotel, which became the key area of fighting, was listed as a specific target.[12] In late November, “India’s intelligence services had delivered at least three precise warnings that a major terrorist attack on Mumbai was imminent.”[13]

    Immediately following the attacks, it was reported that, “Unprecedented intelligence cooperation involving investigating agencies and spy outfits of India, United States, United Kingdom and Israel has got underway to crack the method and motive behind the Mumbai terrorist massacre, now widely blamed on Islamist radicals who appeared to have all four countries on their hit list when they arrived on the shores of India.” Specifically, “Investigators, forensic analysts, counter-terrorism experts and spymasters from agencies the four countries are converging in New Delhi and Mumbai to put their heads, resources, and skills together to understand the evolving nature of the beast.”

    Further, “Washington suggested sending US Special Forces for on-the-ground operations in Mumbai but New Delhi declined the offer, saying its own forces could take care of the situation.” This unprecedented intelligence cooperation was based upon the understanding that, “the manner in which the terrorists who attacked Mumbai are reported to have singled out Americans and Britons, besides pointedly occupying a Jewish center, has revealed that their agenda was wider than just domestic discontent or the Kashmir issue.”[14]

    Shortly after the attacks began, it was reported that FBI agents were quickly flown to Mumbai to help in investigating the Mumbai attacks.[15] Israel also offered to send in its “crack commandos to Mumbai to rescue Israeli hostages held in a Jewish centre,” which was refused by India, which led to Israeli media criticizing India’s response to the attacks as “slow, confused and inefficient.”[16]

    The Terrorists

    Hours after the attacks began on November 26, it was reported that two terrorists were killed and two others were arrested.[17] Later on, reports surfaced in which Indian police had killed four of the Mumbai terrorists and arrested nine of them.[18] The international media was full of this reported capture of nine terrorists.

    Interestingly, by November 29, the story had changed. All of a sudden, Mumbai cops had only “nabbed” one terrorist. This person has effectively become the nail-in-the-coffin for laying the blame at Pakistan’s door. As soon as this person was caught, he began to sing like a canary, and said that, “all [the] terrorists were trained in marine warfare along with the special course Daura-e-Shifa conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in what at once transforms the nature of the planning from a routine terror strike and into a specialized raid by commandos.” He also stated that the terrorists “were made to believe by their Lashkar bosses that they were not being sent on a suicide mission and that they would be coming back alive.” He also revealed the names of his fellow terrorists, all of them Pakistani citizens.[19]

    Along the same lines, another very interesting mystery of the Mumbai massacre is the early reports of British involvement. Shortly following the outbreak of violence, Indian authorities stated that, “Seven of the Mumbai terrorists were British Pakistanis,” and that, “two Brits had been arrested and another five suspects were from the UK.” Further, Blackberry phones found on the suspects contained “a lot of content” connecting them with the UK.[20] The Chief Minister of Mumbai had early on reported that, “two British-born Pakistanis were among eight gunmen seized by Indian commandos who stormed buildings to free hostages.”[21]

    On December 1, the Daily Mail reported that, “As many as seven of the terrorists may have British connections and some could be from Leeds and Bradford where London's July 7 bombers lived.” As a result of these revelations, Scotland Yard anti-terrorist detectives were sent to Mumbai “to assist in the investigation.” There was also speculation that one particular British Al-Qaeda suspect may have helped plan the assault, and just happened to be killed a week earlier in Pakistan by the CIA. That person was Rashid Rauf.[22] This is the same Rashid Rauf who was at first declared the mastermind of the London liquid bomb plot, who had close ties with the ISI and Al-Qaeda, who was subsequently arrested by the ISI, and then miraculously “escaped” from Pakistani custody. Barely a week before the Mumbai Massacre, Rauf was reportedly killed by a CIA drone attack on a militant Islamic base in Pakistan’s tribal region.

    Early on, there was an incident in which a taxicab was blown up in Mumbai, with the driver and passenger killed. The taxi started moving through a red light when the car bomb exploded, which ended up saving the lives of “hundreds,” as opposed to if the car had moved when the light was green and intersection was full. This ensured that the only ones who died were those in the taxi.[23] This sparked an investigation into whether the driver “was aware that his car was loaded with explosives.”[24]

    Why is this significant? Because this closely resembles tactics used in Iraq since the Anglo-American occupation of the country, employed by both US and British intelligence and special forces in an effort to sow chaos and create civil strife and war. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, State-Sponsored Terror: British and American Black Ops in Iraq. Global Research, June 25, 2008]

    Means, Modus Operandi and Motive

    Means
    While the possibility that Pakistan and the ISI (or Lashkar-e Taiba) are responsible for the Mumbai attacks should be taken into consideration, given precedence and means, we must allow ourselves to contemplate other possibilities.

    While India and the west are placing the blame for the attacks on Pakistan’s ISI and the Lashkar-e Taiba, the Pakistani press is reporting on another possibility.

    On November 29, the Pakistan Daily reported that, with a stiff side of anti-Israel rhetoric, that the Mumbai attack would be used “as justification for a US invasion of Pakistan.” It reported that the Israeli Mossad “has mobilized since 2000 in the Jammu and Kashmir areas of India, where the Indian government has been pursuing a ‘security’ issue with regard to the Kashmiri people.” It quoted a Times of India article that reported, “Israeli counter-terrorism experts are now touring Jammu and Kashmir and several other states in India at the invitation of Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani to make an assessment of New Delhi’s security needs. The Israeli team, headed by Eli Katzir of the Israel Counter-Terrorism Combat Unit, includes Israeli military intelligence officials and a senior police official.” There was also a reported agreement on “closer India-Israeli cooperation on all security matters.”[25]

    Modus Operandi
    Shortly after the start of the attacks in Mumbai, a Russia counter-terrorism presidential envoy stated that, “The terrorists in the Indian city of Mumbai, who killed more than 150 people and injured over 300, used the same tactics that Chechen field militants employed in the Northern Caucasus.” He elaborated, “These tactics were used during raids by militant Chechen field commanders Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduyev against the towns of Buddyonnovsk and Pervomaiskoye. For the first time in history the entire towns were terrorized, with homes and hospitals seized. The Mumbai terrorists have learned these tactics well.”[26]

    Shamil Basayev, one of the Chechen rebel leaders, as well as many of the other Chechen leaders, were trained by the CIA and ISI in Afghanistan, in CIA-run training camps during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s.[27]

    Motive
    On December 2, former ISI Chief Hameed Gul, said that the “Mumbai incident is an international based conspiracy to deprive Pakistan of its atomic power. Talking to a private TV channel on Friday, he said that to involve Pakistan in the incident reflected that some forces wanted to declare Pakistan a fail[ed] state as somehow it had become necessary to make Pakistan kneel down in order to snatch its atomic power away.” He elaborated that the method of attacks, and how the militants executed them, “seemed impossible without internal support.” He continued in stating that the “US wanted to see [the] Indian army in Afghanistan to disintegrate the country,” and referred to recent US maps showing a divided Pakistan in four parts, and that making Pakistan “kneel down” before the IMF was “part of a pre-planned trick.”[28]

    As astonishing and outlandish as these claims may seem, the US has a long history of turning on its allies when they seek to become self-sufficient and developed, such as with Saddam Hussein and Iraq in the early 1990s. Also, it is vital to note the role of the IMF and World Bank in creating economic crises, and thus, political-social-ethnic instability, which invariably has led to all out ethnic war, genocides and “international interventions,” in countries such as Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

    The International Financial Institutions (IFIs) often create the conditions for political instability, while covert Western intelligence support to disaffected and radical groups creates the means for rebellion; which then becomes the excuse for foreign military intervention; which then secures an imperial military presence in the region, thus gaining control over the particular region’s resources and strategic position. This is the age-old conquest of empire: divide and conquer.

    Interesting to note is that in 2008, “Pakistan was again seeking IMF help. On Nov. 25, it won final approval on a $7.6 billion loan package after foreign reserves shrank 74 percent to $3.5 billion in the 12 months ended on Nov. 8.”[29] This loan was approved a day before the Mumbai attacks began. On December 4, it was reported that, “Tough conditions of International Monetary Fund (IMF) have now started surfacing as IMF and the Government of Pakistan (GoP) agreed to discontinue oil import support, eliminate power subsidies and budgetary support of the government, public and private entities. IMF and GoP have agreed to phase out the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBPs) provision of foreign exchange for oil imports.” On top of this, “further steps will be taken during the remainder of the fiscal year to strengthen tax enforcement. Moreover, fuel prices will continue to be adjusted to pass through changes in international prices.” Further, “The programme envisages a significant tightening of monetary policy.”[30]



    The results of these conditionalities are predictable: Pakistan will lose all subsidies; fuel prices will drastically rise, as will food and other necessary commodity prices. At the same time, a tightening of monetary policy and World Bank/IMF control over Pakistan’s central bank will prevent Pakistan from taking measures to curb inflation, and the cost of living will skyrocket as the currency value plummets. All this is going on while taxes are increased and expanded greatly, and public jobs such as bureaucratic positions, education, etc., are downsized or altogether disbanded. Money will likely continue to flow to the ISI and Army, which will create discontent among Pakistan’s deprived and disillusioned. A military coup would be likely, followed by rebellion en masse, which would in turn pit the various ethnicities against one another. This could lead to either a war against India, ultimately ending with a consolidated national security state to act as a conduit for Anglo-American imperial ambitions, such as in Rwanda; or, it could result in ethnic conflict and wars, ultimately ending up in the break-up of Pakistan into smaller states divided among ethnic lines, such as in Yugoslavia. Or, it could end with a combination of the two, a divided, warring, region engulfed in crisis.

    The break up of Pakistan is not a far-fetched idea in terms of Anglo-American strategy. In fact, the plan for the destabilization and ultimately, balkanization of Pakistan has originated in Anglo-American-Israeli military strategic circles. As I previously documented in Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project [Global Research, July 10, 2008], the destabilization and balkanization of the near-entire Middle East and Central Asia has been a long-held strategy for the Anglo-America-Israeli Axis since the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    Divide and Conquer

    This concept evolved in strategic planning circles in the late 1970s in response to regional nationalist tendencies in the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as a perceived threat of growing Soviet influence in the region. The central aim of these strategic thinkers was to secure Middle Eastern oil and Central Asian gas reserves and pipeline routes under the control of the Anglo-Americans. Control over these vital energy reserves is a strategic as much as economic concern, as most of the world gets its energy from this area; so those who control the energy, control who gets it, and thus, control much of the world. The economic benefits of Anglo-Americans controlling the regions energy reserves cannot be analyzed separately from strategic interests, as they are one and the same. Anglo-American oil companies gain control of the oil and gas, while the British and American governments install puppet regimes to look after their interests; and to act as proxies in creating conflicts and wars with countries of the region who act in their own national interest, as opposed to acting under the guidance of and submission to the Anglo-Americans.

    Arc of Crisis

    After the 1973 oil shocks, which were, in fact, promoted and covertly orchestrated by Anglo-American banking and oil interests, the oil producing nations grew very wealthy, such as Iran. As well as this, countries like Afghanistan were becoming increasingly leftist and progressive. Fearing possible alliances developing between Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries with the Soviet Union, as well as the even greater threat of these countries becoming truly independent, taking control of their own resources for the good of their own people; Anglo-American strategists turned to what is called the “Arc of Crisis.”

    The “Arc of Crisis” describes the “nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.” Further, the “center of gravity of this arc is Iran.” In 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a speech in which he stated, “An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.”[36]

    Anglo-American strategy in the region thus developed and changed at this time, as “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets. It was a Brzezinski concept.”[37] Bilderberg member, Bernard Lewis, presented a British-American strategy to the Bilderberg Group during the 1979 meeting, which, “endorsed the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. Lewis argued that the West should encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites, Ethiopian Copts, Azerbaijani Turks, and so forth. The chaos would spread in what he termed an ‘Arc of Crisis,’ which would spill over into the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union.”[38] Since the Soviet Union was viewed as a secular and atheist regime, having oppressed religion within its sphere of influence, the rise of radical Islamic influence and governments in the Middle East and Central Asia would ensure that Soviet influence would not enter into the region, as radical Muslims would view the Soviets with more distrust than the Americans. The Anglo-Americans positioned themselves as the lesser of two evils.

    Bernard Lewis was a former British intelligence officer and historian who is infamous for explaining Arab discontent towards the West as not being rooted in a reaction toward imperialism, but rather that it is rooted in Islam; in that Islam is incompatible with the West, and that they are destined to clash, using the term, "Clash of Civilizations." For decades, "Lewis played a critical role as professor, mentor, and guru to two generations of Orientalists, academics, U.S. and British intelligence specialists, think tank denizens, and assorted neoconservatives." In the 1980s, Lewis "was hobnobbing with top Department of Defense officials."[39] Lewis wrote a 1992 article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, titled, "Rethinking the Middle East." In this article, Lewis raised the prospect of another policy towards the Middle East in the wake of the end of the Cold War and beginnings of the New World Order, "which could even be precipitated by fundamentalism, is what has of late become fashionable to call 'Lebanonization.' Most of the states of the Middle East - Egypt is an obvious exception - are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a proc ess. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the nation-state. The state then disintegrates - as happened in Lebanon - into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties."[40]


    Bernard Lewis' Redrawn Map of the "Arc of Crisis"

    A Foreign Affairs article of 1979, the journal put out by the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), discussed the Arc of Crisis: “The Middle East constitutes its central core. Its strategic position is unequalled: it is the last major region of the Free World directly adjacent to the Soviet Union, it holds in its subsoil about three-fourths of the proven and estimated world oil reserves, and it is the locus of one of the most intractable conflicts of the twentieth century: that of Zionism versus Arab nationalism.” It explained that US strategy in the region was focused with “containment” of the Soviet Union as well as access to the regions oil. [41]

    It was in this context that in 1979, as Zbigniew Brzezinski later admitted, “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” He claimed that, “We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” What a perfect example of what George Orwell would call “double-speak,” saying that the Americans “didn’t push the Russians to intervene” but rather, “increased the probability that they would.” In other words, they “pushed” them to intervene.[42]

    This is when the Mujahideen were created, and through this, Al-Qaeda, and a variety of other radical Islamic groups which have come to plague global geopolitics since this era. Terrorism cannot be viewed, as it often is, in such a simple manner as “non-state actors” reacting to geopolitics of nations and corporations. In fact, many terrorist groups, particularly the largest, most well organized, extremist and violent ones, are “proxy state actors,” receiving covert support – through arms and training – by various state intelligence agencies. They are not simply “reacting” to geopolitics, but are important players in the geopolitical chessboard. They represent the perfect excuse for foreign militaristic adventurism and war; domestic tyranny in the form of developing police states to control populations, stifle dissent and create a totalitarian base of control.

    As the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in September of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, “The map of terrorist sanctuaries and targets in the Middle East and Central Asia is also, to an extraordinary degree, a map of the world's principal energy sources in the 21st century. The defense of these energy resources -- rather than a simple confrontation between Islam and the West -- will be the primary flash point of global conflict for decades to come.” Further, it stated: “It is inevitable that the war against terrorism will be seen by many as a war on behalf of America's Chevron, ExxonMobil and Arco; France's TotalFinaElf; British Petroleum; Royal Dutch Shell and other multinational giants, which have hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the region.”[43] Indeed, where Al-Qaeda is present, the US military follows, and behind the military, the oil companies wait and push; and behind the oil companies, the banks cash in.

    Balkanizing the Middle East

    In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist wrote a report for a publication of the World Zionist Organization in which he advocated, “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon [which] is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.”

    In 1996, an Israeli think tank with many prominent American neo-conservatives, issued a report in which they advocated for Israel to “Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats,” among them, to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

    In 2000, the Project for the New American Century, an American neo-conservative think tank, published a report called Rebuilding America’s Defenses, in which they openly advocated for an American empire in the Middle East, focusing on removing the “threats” of Iraq and Iran.

    Shortly after the US invasion of Iraq, prominent members of the Council on Foreign Relations had begun advocating the break-up of Iraq into at least three smaller states, using Yugoslavia as an example of how to achieve this.

    In 2006, the Armed Force Journal published an article by retired Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, which called for the redrawing of the borders of the Middle East. He first advocated the breakup of Iraq, and that, “Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan,” and that, “Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan.”

    Describing Pakistan as “an unnatural state,” he said, “Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren,” and that it “would also lose its Baluch territory to Free Baluchistan. The remaining “natural” Pakistan would lie entirely east of the Indus, except for a westward spur near Karachi.” He even made up a helpful little list of “losers” and “winners” in this new great game: as in, who gains territory, and who loses territory. Among the losers are Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the West Bank and Pakistan. And Peters made the startling statement that redrawing borders is often only achieved through war and violence, and that “one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.”
    [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project. Global Research, July 10, 2008]



    Ralph Peters' Map of a Redrawn Middle East - Note similarity to Bernard Lewis' Map of a Redrawn Middle East


    Conclusion


    Ultimately, the aims of the Mumbai attacks are to target Pakistan for balkanization. The question of who is responsible – either the ISI, largely rogue of Pakistan’s civilian government and under the authority of Anglo-American intelligence; or separate Indian terrorists, likely supported by the same Anglo-American intelligence community – while important, is ultimately a secondary consideration in comparison to the question of Why?

    The Who, What, Where, and When is a show for public consumption; masked in confusion and half-truths, designed to confuse and ultimately frustrate the observer – creating a sense of unease and fear of the unknown. The WHY, on the other hand, is the most important question; once you discover the why, the who, where, what, and when begin to fall into place, and create a full picture.

    If the Mumbai attacks were designed to be blamed on Pakistan – as they likely were – and thus, to possibly start a war between Pakistan and India – which is now a growing reality – what is the ultimate significance of knowing if it was the ISI or Indian elements responsible? Albeit, this is important to know, however, when it comes to understanding the motives behind the attacks, it pales in comparison.

    Pakistan is a strategic lynch-point in the region. Pakistan borders Iran, Afghanistan, India and China. It lies directly below the Central Asian republics of the Former Soviet Union, which are rich in natural gas resources. With NATO’s war in Afghanistan, and the Anglo-Americans in Iraq, and American forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the occupation of Pakistan would position Western imperial militaries around Iran, the central Middle Eastern target. With the balkanization of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, destabilizing forces would cross the borders into Iran, ultimately creating the conditions for political and social collapse within the country.

    A conflict between Pakistan and India would not only have the effect of dismantling Pakistan, but would also greatly deter India’s rapid economic and social development as the world’s largest democracy, and would force it to come under the influence or “protection” of Western military might and International Financial Institutions. The same is likely for China, as destabilization would cross Pakistan’s borders into the most populated country on earth, exacerbating ethnic differences and social disparities.

    A large Anglo-American military presence in Pakistan, or, alternatively, a NATO or UN force, combined with the already present NATO force in Afghanistan, would be a massive military strategic position against advancement of China, Russia or India into the region. With China’s massively increasing influence in Africa threatening Anglo-American and European domination of the continent, a massive military presence on the border of China could act as a powerful warning.

    The Mumbai attacks do not aid India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or any nation within the region. The beneficiaries of the Mumbai Massacre are in London and New York, in the boardrooms and shareholders of the largest international banks; which seek total control of the world. Having dominated North America and Europe for much of recent history, these bankers, primarily Anglo-American, but also European, seek to exert their total control over the world’s resources, currencies, and populations. There are many concurrent strategies they are employing to achieve this end: among them, the global financial crisis, to reign in and control the world economy; and a “total war” in the Middle East, likely escalating into a World War with Russia and China, is the perfect tool to strike enough fear into the world population to accept an over-arching supranational governance structure – to ensure no future wars occur, to ensure stability of the global economy – a utopian vision of a single world order.

    The problem with utopias is that they are “ultimate ideals,” and if humanity has learned anything in its history on this planet; it is that perfection is impossible, be it in the form of an “ideal person” or an “ideal government;” humanity is plagued by imperfections and emotion. Accepting our imperfections as a species is what can make us great, and understanding that a utopian ideal is impossible to achieve is what can allow us to create the “best possible” society we can have. All utopias attempted throughout history have always turned into dystopias. We must learn from humanity’s history of sordid flaws; and only when we accept that we are not perfect, and cannot ever become perfect, in person or in politics, are we free to become humanity at it’s most advanced and at its most noble.

    Andrew G. Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
    Global Research Articles by Andrew G. Marshall
    For Notes: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.p...t=va&aid=11313

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    U.S. drone fire missiles into Pakistan, seven killed
    11 Dec 2008 18:11:55 GMT
    Source: Reuters



    ISLAMABAD, Dec 11 (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone fired a missile into South Waziristan on Thursday, a Pakistani region seen as a major sanctuary for al Qaeda militants, and killed seven militants, two intelligence officials said. One of intelligence officials said there may be foreigners among the dead but that he did not know their nationalities. (Writing by Zeeshan Haider)




    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ISL87429.htm

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Civil War Or Nuclear War?

    December 10, 2008: The capture of one of the ten Mumbai terrorists has been a disaster for Pakistan. The captured terrorist talked, and his information checked out, and made it clear that Pakistan was tolerating Islamic terrorist groups operating openly inside Pakistan. This is nothing new, but such dramatic proof is. The U.S., the UN and most other major countries put the pressure on Pakistan to do something about this, or risk being officially branded a pro-terrorist state. Pakistan responded to that pressure in the last week by arresting several senior terrorist leaders known to be operating in Pakistan. But Pakistan refused to allow India to take these terrorists. That's because if these guys began talking, they would confirm Pakistan's long term support of Islamic terrorist activities. These are admissions that Pakistan does not want to deal with. Nevertheless, Pakistan has long been known as a supporter of Islamic terrorists, even though some of these terrorist organizations are trying to kill Pakistani leaders. That is a rather recent development, which came about after September 11, 2001, when the Pakistani leadership were forced to decide between backing the war on terror, or siding with the terrorists. At that point, some Islamic terrorists began attacking Pakistani leaders. But others, like those responsible for the Mumbai attacks (Lashkar e Toiba) did not support the overthrow of the Pakistani government (at least not right away), and continued to be protected by the government.

    But Lashkar e Toiba continued to plan attacks inside India, which India has warned could lead to nuclear war. But Pakistan did not want to enrage another bunch of Islamic terrorists. Now they have no choice, or do they? India and the United States are watching closely exactly what Pakistan does to the "Kashmir (dedicated to taking Kashmir from Indian control) terrorists" like Lashkar e Toiba. Pakistan has made a few arrests, and everyone is waiting to see if, or when, Pakistan will do some real damage to these groups. So far, Pakistan has not. Groups like Lashkar e Toiba are very popular in Pakistan, because getting control of Kashmir is very popular. The government fears that going after the Kashmir terrorists would cause a civil war inside Pakistan. That has always been a risk, which even India acknowledged. But now the Indian government has a population enraged about the activities (like Mumbai, and similar attacks earlier) of the Pakistani Kashmir terror groups, and wants something done. Pakistan is being forced into a corner, where the choices come down to civil war with their Islamic conservatives and radicals (about a third of the population), or war with India, which could escalate into a nuclear conflict that Pakistan would lose. The civil war would be messy, but the government would almost certainly win it. Pakistani politicians, being risk averse, are looking for some way out of this mess. There doesn't seem to be one.

    Meanwhile, the battle against the Taliban continues on the Afghan border. The Taliban are now trying to threaten truck traffic into Afghanistan. As a landlocked country with no railroads, most imports travel into Afghanistan via truck, along only a few roads that cross the border. This trucking business is very lucrative for Pakistani transportation companies, and vital for the economy of Afghanistan. These attacks will force the Pakistanis to assign more troops and police to protecting the trucking operations. Not so much to protect U.S. and NATO supply lines, but to protect a major economic asset for political and economic big shots on both sides of the border. You do not want to be messing with the money in this part of the world.

    December 5, 2008: Two large bombs went off in Peshawar (the largest city in the Pakistani tribal territories along the Afghan border) killing 27 people.
    December 2, 2008: Ethnic clashes in Karachi, Pakistan continue, leaving four more dead. Pakistan is a patchwork of religious and ethnic groups, which tend to form militias for self-defense, or for going after real or imagined rivals. Bloodshed between these groups has been a constant in Pakistani life for over half a century, and for centuries before that.

    http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/indi.../20081210.aspx

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    Pakistan, China to boost military ties



    ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: Pakistan and China on Monday signed an agreement for military cooperation, pledging to take existing bilateral military ties to new heights.

    The signing of the agreement took place in Beijing between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Tariq Majid, and his Chinese counterpart at the end of the sixth round of Pakistan-China defence and security talks — a forum to spearhead strategic and defence relations between the two countries. Gen Tariq Majid, leading a high-powered delegation, was greeted on arrival at Ba’ yi Building (People’s Liberation Army headquarters) by Gen Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff, People’s Liberation Army.

    The talks covered a wide range of regional and international issues and a review of the military to military cooperation, including measures to bolster existing relations. There was unanimity on all issues.

    The two sides agreed to take forward their strategic partnership to new heights and to augment military to military

    cooperation.—APP

    http://www.dawn.com/2008/12/16/top7.htm

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    Pakistan, China agree to take military cooperation to new heights





    ISLAMABAD Dec 15 (APP): Pakistan and China on Monday signed an agreement for military cooperation as a landmark to take existing bilateral military ties to new heights.The signing of the agreement took place in Beijing between Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen.

    Tariq Majid and his Chinese counterpart at the conclusion of sixth Round of Pakistan‑China Defence and Security Talks ‑ a forum to spearhead the strategic and defence relations between the two friendly and brotherly countries.


    Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Tariq Majid along with a high powered delegation had earlier arrived in Beijing to hold talks, said an ISPR news release issued here. On arrival at Ba’ yi Building (Peoples Liberation Army Headquarters), CJCSC was received by General Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff, Peoples Liberation Army followed by a guard of honour.

    The 6th Round of Defence and Security Talks was held in a very cordial and friendly atmosphere between the high level defence officials from both sides headed by General Bingde and General Tariq.

    The dialogue covered a wide range of regional and international issues and a review of the ongoing military to military cooperation including measures to bolster the existing ties.

    There was complete unanimity of views on all issues. The two sides agreed to take forward their strategic partnership to new heights and agreed to augment the existing military to military cooperation.

    While reviewing the growth of China‑Pakistan relations over the past 57 years, two leaders expressed satisfaction that the friendship between China and Pakistan has withstood the test of time, notwithstanding changes in the international, regional and domestic environment and has matured into a comprehensive partnership.

    Both sides were opposed to all forms of terrorism, extremism and militancy and resolved to cooperate with each other to fight these forces. China conveyed its complete support to Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism and appreciated the sacrifices made by the Government and people of Pakistan in this regard.

    Beside the dialogue, CJCSC is scheduled to meet with high level civil and military leadership of Peoples Republic of China. He will also visit HuDong Shipyard in Shanghai to see the progress on construction of F û 22 P Frigates for Pakistan Navy and JF‑17 Thunder Aircraft project in Cheng Fei Company in Chengdu.

    The Defence and Security Talks were instituted during 2002 and have since been held regularly, alternatively, in Pakistan and China and have matured into an extremely useful bilateral forum. Under the framework of this forum, the relations between the two Armed Forces have now reached a strategic dimension. The dialogue now covers military to military cooperation, collaboration between the defence industries and global / strategic issues.

    Later in the evening, a banquet was hosted by General Bindge, CGS PLA in honour of the CJCSC, which was attended by senior Chinese officials.

    http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?...62088&Itemid=2

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    * OPINION
    * DECEMBER 16, 2008, 12:09 P.M. ET
    China's Pakistan Test
    Beijing can help itself by pressuring Pakistan.
    By PRATAP BHANU MEHTA | From today's Wall Street Journal Asia

    China's economic and military rise has generated a lot of speculation about whether it will become a responsible stakeholder in international politics. It can either cooperate with other powers, especially the United States, to solve common problems. Or it can work at cross-purposes to those other efforts. Pakistan is shaping up to be one of the first big tests of which way China will go.

    Pakistan has the distinction of being central to the global strategies of not one but two major powers, the U.S. and China. From Washington's perspective, Islamabad's support is important for the war in Afghanistan, and the war on terror. Pakistan is also home to radical Islamists who, if left unchecked, could destabilize the wider region -- as can be seen from the recent Mumbai attacks. This problem is especially pressing given Pakistan's status as a nuclear state.

    Beijing has its own interests in encouraging stability in Pakistan. China has cultivated the country as a counterweight to India, with which Beijing has ongoing border disputes. Pakistan can also serve as a "conduit" or stepping-stone from which Beijing could try to expand its influence in West and Central Asia.

    Because of such strategic considerations, both Washington and Beijing have too long turned a blind eye to the political situation within Pakistan. They have been willing to countenance corrupt or authoritarian governments in the name of short-term stability. They have failed to insist on the kinds of political and economic reforms that would make the country more stable over the long-run. Now, however, both sides should be able to see that this strategy hasn't worked. As a result, both Washington and Beijing are struggling with the question of how to continue to exercise leverage over Pakistan while also nudging Islamabad toward better behavior. Neither can do it alone.

    Washington's approach has been to press Islamabad to crack down on terror and cooperate more enthusiastically in Afghanistan. It has racked up some successes. Following the Mumbai attacks, America pushed Pakistan into shutting down some alleged terror camps and placing the leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group allegedly responsible for the attacks, under house arrest. But there is little evidence the U.S. has been able to dent the influence of core structures within Pakistan, such as the security services, that have long been willing to countenance terrorism for their own political aims.

    To make genuine progress, the U.S. will need to bring multilateral pressure to bear on Pakistan. This will defuse claims that only the U.S. cares about such issues and that elements in Islamabad can play various world powers against each other. It is hard to imagine that such pressure will bear fruit without the active cooperation of China. Beijing has considerable leverage given its history of support for Pakistan, with which it has an "all-weather relationship." It has invested heavily in infrastructure over the years, and just last year gave Pakistan $500 million in concessional loans to help with its balance of payments crisis. More significantly, China has transferred nuclear and missile technologies.

    But China is reluctant to put pressure on the Pakistani establishment to reform. Part of this reluctance has deep roots: China's calculations in the region, unlike America's, are not influenced by the fact that India is a democracy. Beijing is also extremely wary of humiliating an all-weather friend.

    So far China has justified its hands-off approach with three arguments. Beijing, like others, has worried that exerting too much pressure would strengthen the hands of hardliners. China also has seemed willing to buy into the idea that the root cause of the problem is Kashmir, meaning that international pressure would be largely irrelevant in resolving Pakistan's political turmoil until the Kashmir issue is solved. And more broadly, China has at times evinced a belief that Pakistan's problems stem from Western meddling in the region, so the West should be responsible for fixing it.

    All of these are rather short-sighted, but none more so than the last. China has as big a stake as anyone else in Pakistan's future. Regardless of how Pakistan's problems started, China can't afford to sit back and wait for a solution.

    Beijing has taken some steps recently to make itself part of the solution. China declined to extend a $6 billion bailout to cover Pakistan's deepening current-account balance problem; by not coming through with that aid, China pushed Islamabad into the arms of the International Monetary Fund and its policy strictures. While Beijing continues active nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, it has resisted offering a full-blown agreement of the kind India has negotiated with the U.S.

    Now it must expand on those efforts. A consistent message from China that Pakistan cannot count on its support in the U.N. Security Council will put great pressure on Islamabad. China has made a modest course reversal by not vetoing a resolution to ban the Jammat-ud-Dawa, widely believed to be front organization for Lashkar-e-Taiba. China can make military and economic cooperation conditional upon reform of the Pakistani state. It can also lend its support to a regional conference of all countries affected by instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    In the coming years, China will have to play a major role on issues vital to global security, whether it is Iran or Pakistan. The test of Beijing's commitment to being a responsible power is only beginning.

    Mr. Mehta is president of the Center for Policy Research in Delhi.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122944722843910903.html


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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    A lot will depend on India's creative strategy

    17 Dec 2008, 0452 hrs IST

    Ajay D Behera
    Associate Professor*,
    Jamia Millia Islamia


    Even though Pakistan is under intense pressure, the seriousness of Pakistan's political leaders to tackle terrorism is still not evident. While Pakistan is faced with difficult choices, the political will is clearly missing. There are fundamental reasons to believe that the cooperation is more likely to be posturing in the hope that the pressures will fizzle out over a period of time.

    Whatever action Pakistan has taken so far, it has also made it clear that this action is not due to the pressures from India. No government in Pakistan can be seen to be succumbing to its traditional rival. To what extent Pakistan is going to cooperate, will also be dependent on what the expectations of the international community are. If it is to clamp down on some terrorist groups, there can be the pretence of doing that. If it is to hand over a few terrorists and fugitives, they might also agree to that. But if it is to permanently dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has demanded, then it cannot be. For, unfortunately the Pakistani ruling elite, including the army, is in no position to do that.

    The foundations of the terrorist infrastructure are so deep-rooted that it would require years of political and social engineering to make a dent on it. A political culture of violence, spawned by an intolerant interpretation of Islam and a distorted view of history, lies at the foundation of this terrorist infrastructure. Opportunistic use of religion and politics by successive governments and political groups has created a state that is no longer in control of society. The "non-state actors", which the Pakistani establishment created to pursue its strategic objectives in Afghanistan and India, have gained their own dynamism and autonomy. It will be impossible to excise them without Pakistan itself undergoing serious destabilisation.

    But Pakistan is also vulnerable; it can be made to act under pressure. To make Pakistan cooperate in the fight against terrorism, whether through persuasion or coercion, is going to be a long haul. It has to be seen whether India has a creative strategy and the resilience to carry it through.

    (*Academy of Third World Studies)

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...ow/3848904.cms


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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Pakistan struck a $278m AWACS deal with China

    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    By Rauf Klasra









    ISLAMABAD: In an effort to help the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) boost its air defence capability, Islamabad has struck a $278 million deal with Beijing to purchase a modern Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), legislators were informed here on Wednesday.

    Pakistan is said to be the first country in the region to buy the Chinese AWACS system, which Beijing started developing in 2004 after the Americans stopped the Israeli government from selling the system worth $1billion to Beijing.

    Under mounting pressure from Washington, Tel Aviv scrapped the contract to the disappointment of the Chinese, who badly needed the system for possible use against Taiwan. The details of the contract between Pakistan and China were placed before the National Assembly on Wednesday by Minister for Defence Production Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi.

    The documents placed before the National Assembly reveal that under the multi-million dollar deal, China will provide the system to Pakistan in the next four years. The most important thing from Pakistan’s perspective is that China has agreed to supply the system on “deferred” payment. The contract has been awarded to MS CETC China.

    The story of China starting the development of its own airborne warning and control system is interesting. Until 2004, Beijing had not even thought of making its own AWACS system. Just like Pakistan, China was heavily dependent on foreign countries in improving the performance of its air force.

    Information gathered from various sources revealed China launched work on its own system after the US blocked its move to develop radar surveillance aircraft. Washington even vetoed the sale of such systems China wanted to deploy in the Taiwan Strait. Military specialists said the Chinese system used domestically-produced advanced radar mounted on a Russian-made Il-76 transport aircraft.

    Chinese military technicians have been struggling to acquire AWACS-type equipment ever since the United States coerced Israel in 2000 into backing out of a $1 billion agreement on selling to China four of its Phalcon phased-array radar systems.

    The systems would have used Il-76 aircraft as a platform, but the main US concern in blocking the sale was that China would gain a military advantage over Taiwan. Moreover, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the US government pledged to help Taiwan defend itself against a possible Chinese attack, meaning the US forces could become involved, should fighting erupt.

    For the same reason, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air force leaders were determined to acquire such planes. After the 2000 Israeli fiasco, the PLA made it a matter of pride to prove to the Americans they could not be denied AWACS.

    Initially, China turned to Russia, its traditional source of military equipment. Beijing concluded a deal to buy four Beriev A-50 Mainstay radar planes, which are roughly the Russian equivalent of the US Air Force’s E-3 Sentry AWACS. The purchase was believed to be the first phase of an agreement for eight Russian aircraft.

    At the same time, Chinese scientists were working on their own radar equipment. It is not known whether the Russian aircraft were ever delivered, which would have provided a look at the technology, or whether the technicians obtained help from Israeli or Russian counterparts.

    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story...l.asp?Id=19041

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Friday, December 19, 2008

    THE GREAT GAME IN CENTRAL ASIA

    The world needs energy and hence we have the term “energy security”. For the longest time, energy meant OIL. Well, that is changing now – to OIL & GAS, and then onto Renewable energy, Solar energy, Wind energy et al.

    Today we are the initial cusp, where we are moving from OIL based energy dependence to a Gas based energy dependence. A few countries have made the leap, but globally we are at the inflexion point.

    Why this shift ?

    Oil has a finite supply and that supply is on the verge of coming to an end. According to the Energy Bible : BP Statistical Review, at current levels of production, Oil reserves of -

    1. Saudi Arabia is projected to last only 66 years
    2. Iraq & Kuwait is projected to last 100 years
    3. India, Australia, Italy, Brazil is projected to last 21 years.




    In contrast to the dipping oil reserves, the gas reserves are growing as new findings are being made. Cars which are running on gasoline (petrol) and diesel will be run on Auto LPG, CNG etc and these are all gas derived. Subsequently these cars will run on hydrogen and even on Compressed Air (Our very own TATA NANO). Industry, home etc will make this shift as pipeline infrastructures are put in place.

    And most of this Gas is located in a place called Central Asia. The access to this by major global powers has been romantically called “THE GREAT GAME” - to get a toehold to the supply lines of Central Asia Gas.



    Currently the largest gas reserves are in Russia with 48 TCM, followed by Iran with 28 TCM. However, all this is changing and will continue to change. With the discovery of Yolotan Osman gas field in Turkmenistan in October 2008, the gas equation and dynamics have changed. Preliminary indications are the gas reserves in Turkmenistan is around 38.4 TCM – far more than Iran and just 20% lower than Russia. And this means immense geopolitical movements around this neighbourhood.

    It is to be understood, gas needs to be extracted and then moved over pipelines, some running over thousands of kilometres to reach its ultimate destination. Mostly the end destinations are ports – from where super tankers carry their cargoes around the world. Getting hold of gas fields in not enough. Hence, it is also a game of getting hold of “warm water ports”. The major players in Central Asia are Russia, USA and China.

    Let us look at the map of Central & South Asia.



    Turkmenistan is atop Afghanistan & Iran and this Yolotan Osman gas field is just near the Afghanistan – Turkmenistan border. Other than this, for other gas fields too, Afghanistan is of extreme importance – pipeline infrastructure to warm ports – hence USA will be embedded in Afghanistan for “generations".

    Central Asian nations were part of Soviet Union and the breakup of Soviet Union was the handiwork of USA where MICHAEL VICKERS played a sterling part in arming and training the Mujahideen from bases in Pakistan. The goal – Access to Central Asian gas reserves, maintaining its superpower status etc etc.


    The other major concern for USA is to keep both Russia and China out of the gas reserves of Central Asia. And also ensure that India and Russia do not join hands with Iran (USA remembers Northern Alliance).

    BTC PIPELINE:



    Azerbaijan was the true success story of US oil diplomacy. Clinton literally snatched it from Russian orbit in the 1990s by pushing through the Baku – Tbilsi – Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline against seemingly impossible odds. The pipeline meanders from Baku (capital of Azerbaian) to Tbilsi in Georgian and then onto the Turkish port of Ceyhan. From here gas is filled in super tankers and shipped to Europe for consumption.

    BTC completely bypasses Russia and this was the main purpose of this line.

    NABUCCO PIPELINE:


    The other important pipeline for the USA is the Nabucco pipeline. However, question marks have appeared regarding the future of the Nabucco gas pipeline, which, if constructed, would bypass Russian territory and bring Caspian gas from Azerbaijan via Georgia and Turkey to the European market. What if Azerbaijan accepts the Russian offer to buy gas at "European prices"? Has the Caucasus conflict fatally hurt Nabucco's prospects? It seems, for the present, it has.

    Europe has pinned its hopes on Nabucco, but it can only be implemented with Russian participation and also Iran. Nabucco is a serious threat to the Russian “South Stream pipelines” that feed Europe.



    BLACK SEA TO A NATO LAKE:

    USA was planning and plotting and came to the conclusion that it has to make BLACK SEA into a NATO LAKE. If you look at the map of Central Asia, notice that other than Russia the other 2 countries of ex-Soviet Union that skirt the Black Sea are Ukraine and Georgia. And guess, who have been offered NATO memberships – you guessed it right – Ukraine and Georgia.

    However, Russia remains vehemently against this NATO intrusion into its former republics and has made its opposition very clear. USA overplayed its hands in Georgia and gave Russia the chance to kill two birds with one stone.

    Georgia has two breakaway provinces – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It has majority Russian population. The Georgian maverick President Mikhail Shakashvili, under direction from his US experts, started bombing these two provinces to take them over by force.


    Russia just drove in and in deft military manoeuvres took control of these provinces. Russia annexed these two provinces, and thus took de-facto control of two major Black Sea ports of Sukhumi & Poti. This was a great tactical blow to USA, because with this single Russian manoeuvre, the US dream of making BLACK SEA into A NATO LAKE was LOST - probably FOREVER.

    There were reports that Israel wanted to use bases in Georgia to attack Iran and one of Russia’s aim was to pre-empt that. Interesting to note – Israel got wind of the Russian attack a week before the attacks and left Georgia with its advisers (note: USA stayed behind). The Israelis went to Russia and admitted that arming Georgia was a mistake and implored Russia NOT to arm Hezbollah and Iran with sophisticated armaments and missiles.

    Germany came running to Russia and told them that they will block Ukraine’s and Georgia’s entry into NATO and this is exactly what they did – together with France. Germany, scarred from WWII memories of Russia and currently dependant on gas sales from Russia is in no position to take on Russia, nor is there any inclination to anger the Russian bear.

    Condoleeza Rice came out defeated and admitted, “Georgia and Ukraine are not ready for (NATO) membership. That is very clear”. Russia won through coercive diplomacy.

    Russia also sent a message through this military move to all its former republics, to take cognizance of Russian interests while plotting their gas sales – which have all been duly noted.

    Central Asian republics all saw that USA is actually in NO position to militarily help them – Georgia was a case in point.

    Russia deftly followed this by meeting Syrian President Assad and getting the port of Tartus as a resting place for its Black Sea maintenance quarters.

    With a series of further moves, Russia has made USA nearly redundant in the Caspian region. Russia is flush with funds, and the economic might of USA has taken a serious beating in the economic crisis.

    Russia has re-negotiated to buy gas from Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan at prevailing “European prices” thus raising the bar.

    The four Russian oil majors had asked Putin for $ 80 billion package to pay off their foreign debts and finance strategic projects. Putin responded by saying that the government will disburse upto $ 50 billion.

    How many Western governments can match Russia providing such backing of sovereign wealth funds to its oil majors at the present time of global credit crunch?

    Moscow offered $4 billion loan to Ukraine for establishing two nuclear power plant in its western region. This is despite the pro-US stance of Ukranian Victor Yushchenko.


    Also, there is huge political symbolism when Iceland expresses “dissapointment” with the Western world and turns to Moscow for a 4 billion Euro ($ 5.5 billion) loan to salvage its economy from imminent bankruptcy.

    Such images make a lasting impression on the Central Asian steppes.

    Russia with its vast deposits of oil and gas is already an energy superpower. And unlike Iran and Venezuela, it does not subsidize its economy from the oil proceeds – hence with the oil price down, its economy is still strong unlike those that of Iran and Venezuela. The EU is heavily dependant on Russia for gas imports and this dependence is expected to increase further as a result of declining offshore production of North Sea.



    Azerbaijan is negotiating with Russia to increase the annual capacity of the Baku – Nvorossiisk pipeline. At the same time Azerbaijanis reducing its commitment to the US sponsored Baku – Supsa and BTC pipelines and this is a major breakthrough for the Russians. Azerbaijan understands the Russian resurgence in southern Caucasus and Baku’s new interest in the Russian pipeline stems from a desire to protect its relationship with Moscow.

    The implications are very serious for Washington. Any reduction in the Baku export through BTC could impact the viability of the pipeline which has been the cornerstone of US diplomacy in the region, pumping nearly 1 million barrels of oil / day from Azerbaijan to Turkey’s coast from where it is shipped to Europe. BTC, though secure now, has come under the watch of the Russians.


    In September 2008, Uzbekistan and Russia agreed to build a new pipeline with a capacity of 26 to 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually to pump Uzbek and Trukmen gas to Europe. Such a pipeline will again undermine the US efforts to pump trans-Caspian energy routes bypassing Russia.

    On top of this, neither Azerbaijan nor Kazakhstan appears interested in US entreaties to re-route energy exports bypassing Russia. Both hope to maintain good relations with USA but that cannot be done by picking a quarrel with Russia.

    It seems the US phrase – “either you are with us or against us” is not finding any takers in Central Asia. Central Asian countries would do business with both but not at the expense of Russia and this rankles the USA as it has clearly fallen from the high “horse” they thought it was in.

    CHINA:

    At the same time China is anxious to get its act together and bind its energy security in this region. It has formed SCO to cement its energy needs in this region which the US is vehemently trying to push out. China knows that it cannot match US power for at least the next 15 years and its naval forces are no match to the US fleet and even the Japanese fleet. Hence it is going out of its way to get to the Central Asian gas reserves through land routes, even though many of them look unviable at the present time.



    One of the better tieups will be to tag along the Russian ESPO pipeline. Russia is expected to complete this East Siberia to Pacific (ESPO) by 2012 for routing oil to Asian markets. Kazakhstan’s state oil pipeline operator KazTransOil is interested in transporting Kazakh oil through the ESPO. To note – Astana has shown no hurry to commit Kashagan oil to the US sponsored BTC pipeline but has committed to the Russian ESPO pipelines. US influence has truly reached its nadir in this region.



    Unlike the USA or Russians, the Chinese have their own method of doing business overseas. Being a mercantilist and free of moral and political constraints, it hopes that it will continue doing what it loves best – making money. Chinese hope to sell cheap DVD players and exotic Chinese prostitutes, built roads and docks and in the bargain – gobble up Central Asian energy.

    Washington is clearly nervous that Kazakhstan is showing alarming signs of shifting towards Moscow. All early investments by the USA in this region has come to naught. Astana supported Russian action in the Caucasus and cut down its investment in Georgia.

    Clearly the Russians and Chinese have outmanoeuvred the American in Central Asia stakes.

    TURKMENISTAN:

    We had touched earlier on the fact : Preliminary indications are the gas reserves in Turkmenistan is around 38.4 TCM – far more than Iran and just 20% lower than Russia (largest gas reserves in the world). The British consultancy company Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA) presented the first results of its audit of Turkmen gas reserves.

    The biggest gas field discovery was in October 2008 – called the Yoloten Osman deposits. It is located near the Afghan – Turkmenistan border.

    Turkmenistan has contracts to supply Russia with 50 bcm annually, China with 40 bcm and Iran with 8 bcm annually. The Russian energy giant GAZPROM requires this Turkmen gas to meet its export obligations in the European market, which accounts for 70% of the its total revenue. Gazprom sells 2/3 of Russia’s 550 bcm annual gas production in the rapidly growing domestic market. This compels it to secure Turkmen supplies to meet contracted European demands.

    Looks like Russia is all set to gobble up gas supplies from Turkmenistan – but look again. Gazprom’s agreement with Turkmengaz DOES NOT INVOLVE YOLOTEN – OSMAN reserves.

    Russia thought it held in its hand a chimera when it fancied that the July 25th Agreement put GAZPROM in charge of all of Turkmenistan’s exports. Surely, this is proving to be a misconception of Himalayan proportions.

    USA has deftly moved in to claim its stakes on the Yoloten-Osman gas reserves and for Russia the game starts again.

    Take a look at the map. USA is well places in Afghanistan and can easily draw pipelines from Yoloten-Osman gas reserves through Afghanistan. And after that, it needs a warm water port to load it on super tankers.

    The only viable ports are Karachi in Pakistan and also Gwadar port in Baluchistan area of Pakistan. Pakistan has built Gwadar with Chinese help to serve several purpose and one of them was access to Central Asian oil. USA is in no mood to see that this happens. Gwadar may well become the Chinese naval base in future and have eyeball to eyeball confrontation with the US naval fleet.

    The other port is Chabahar in Iran. This has been built by India. Look how close the ports of Gwadar and Chabahar are.



    We must not forget this part :

    When Afghanistan was under the control of Taliban, USA was willing to shake hands with the devil – just to get access to pipelines through Afghanistan. UNOCAL the US company in the thick of pipeline planning through Afghanistan, was acting as the unofficial lobby for the Taliban and they were regularly briefed by CIA and Pakistan’s ISI.

    The then US Assistant Secy of State for South Asian Affairs, ROBIN RAPHAEL went on to state – “The Taliban capture of Kabul is a POSITIVE STEP.”

    Another senior US Diplomat stated : “The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco, pipelines, an Emir, no parliament and lots of shari’a law. We can live with that
    .”

    We must not lose sight of these statements. These are not statements of two individuals - they represent the USA mindset.

    The USA will have tolerated Taliban and Shari’a just to get gas pipelines and this approach has not changed. USA tolerates the Saudi emirs. It may be a democracy itself, but in matters of business, it follows only one policy – “ANYTHING GOES” as long as its interests are met.

    USA is looking for any stable partner that will guarantee it “peace” to “do business” in Afghanistan. Hence, for India, this becomes very important – Who will guarantee this “Peaceful business environment in Afghanistan”?

    Will it again be Taliban + Pakistan or will it be Pushtuns + Balochis through independent countries created out of parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    If the USA game plan is the former – Taliban + Pakistan, we must ensure that this never comes into being. This will be disastrous for India. The latter, we can deal with and we will come to this part in the next article.



    The Central Asia as it will look in the future. Afghanistan will play a pivotal pipeline role.

    India too has legitimate energy concerns but USA will see to it that the Iranian – Indian gas pipeline or even the TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) does not come into being.





    The US with its dipping wealth and high levels of corruption is unable to stake claim of any sort in Central Asia. It is clutching at the straws with BTC and Nabucco pipelines. It will surely seek to leverage its presence in Afghanistan on the Yolotan-Osman gas fields to salvage pride and standing in the region.

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    My brain is numb with information, thanks vector 7.

    I had forgotten how many countries end in -stan. Must be the Arabic ending for land? Here in Missouristan we still feel that the United States would be allied more with India than Pakistan when the big one starts.

    The Pakistan/Afghanistan border has been described to me as the United States when we had Indian Territory. I still think one of the two countries should send in the cavalry. It may result in Custer like outcome in the begining, but he who makes the first move will eventually win the war.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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