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5 Minutes Over Islamabad

By A.H Amin

26 September, 2007

There appears to be a strong evolving consensus in the USA as well as its NATO allies that Pakistan is the centre of gravity of the Islamists in the ongoing so called war on terror.This idea gained currency in various high US policy making circles as well as think tanks around 1987-89 and then assumed a solid shape in the decade 1990-2000.After 2001 it was adopted as a policy and concrete albeit top secret planning was started to deal with Pakistan which at the ulterior level was seen as part of the problem rather than a solution.

When the Spaniards landed in Mexico their main collaborators were indigenous Mexicans themselves ! In Pakistan thus the USA made use of indigenous collaborators ! Generals whose sons had a US passport ! Bankers who were US nationals but also dual Pakistani citizens ! Thus these leaders justified collaboration with the USA after 9/11 on the grounds that what they did was the only guarantee for the survival of Pakistan !

The Pakistani military junta in 2001 was isolated internationally so it was very easy for the USA to overawe it with one telephone call ! The typical career army officers life consists of aiming to get a good annual report from his boss ! Pakistan's military leadership grasped this opportunity to get a good pat from their geopolitical strategic boss the US president and with open hands provided airbases and all logistic support to the USA ! This was a short term measure so that Pakistani military junta's survival in power was ensured ! It had no connection with survival of Pakistan as a state ! Compare how Iran is surviving as a state despite defying the USA since 1979 ! Later on a fiction that USA threatened Pakistan with bombing it to the stone age was invented ! Thus irresolution was rationalized as supreme strategic brilliance ! Ironically some so called media men who are also running private businesses were in the forefront in praising this strategic timidity as strategic brilliance !

What happened in " Real Strategic Terms" was that with Pakistani military junta's active collaboration i.e logistic support and air bases the USA was able to occupy Afghanistan very cheaply and with minimum casualties ! This was no mean strategic achievement as it placed the USA right below the soft underbelly of China as well as Russia ! More significantly it reduced the flying as well as striking time to the Pakistani nuclear as well as missile installation.Close proximity to Pakistan also enabled the USA to conduct intelligence operations inside Pakistan in a far more optimum manner than ever before.

It was theorized in secret sessions of the highest level US decision making circles that although the Islamists fighting the USA had no fixed centre of gravity which could be attacked and eliminated, Pakistan with its sympathetic pro Islamist populace and nuclear and missile assets was at least a provisional centre of gravity of the Islamists.Note that US feared , not the ISI , not the tinpot Pakistani military junta , but the sentiments of the vast bulk of the Pakistani populace and its arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles !

Thus Afghanistan was seen as a potential US base to carry out a 5 minutes over Islamabad or Kahuta just like the Israelis with US cooperation destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 5 minutes over Baghdad in 1981.

In 1945 the USA had bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki not for any direct military purpose but to overawe the USSR that no one could match US military might.The USSR had faced the challenge and developed a fine nuclear arsenal to counter US aspirations to control the world.Later China also emerged as another challenger of USA ! Thanks to USSR help many South Asian countries as well as African countries fought and won wars of liberation ! The Arabs were able to confront Israel only because of Soviet aid till the collaborator Sadaat sold his soul to the USA and Israel !

The USA was all set to reduce Pakistan to size in 1977 when it financed the anti Bhutto agitation in 1977 ! This plan was delayed because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan from 1979 till 1989 when the USA had but no option other than using Pakistan as a base for assisting the anti Soviet War in Afghanistan.

Change of posture came very quickly when after 1990 the USA started talking that Pakistan is a terrorist state or was on the brink of being a terrorist state.This was basically a war of nerves the decisive point of which was one telephone call which made Pakistan's tinpot military junta take the so called " brilliant strategic decision" of collaborating with the USA !

After the disintegration of the USSR , strategically speaking the US military targets were the littoral states of the Indian Ocean .Thus the Iraq War of 1990 , the Invasion and capture of Iraq of 2003 and the invasion of capture of Afghanistan in 2001.

Interestingly Iraq and Afghanistan were not ultimate objectives of US onslaught but merely initial bridgeheads.This was only Phase One ! Phase Two may include Pakistan and Phase Three may include Iran ! Phase Four being Chinese Singkiang and/or Central Asian Republics ! Somewhere the Americans call it Orange Revolution whose first good example was the anti Bhutto agitation that they financed in 1977 in Pakistan ! Sometimes they call it a war on terror or war against weapons of mass destruction !

History has proved that generals fail as statesmen ! In 1936 all of Hitlers generals opposed his decision to march into Rhineland ! This is so because generals think only in tangible terms ! They do not appreciate the value of intangible factors like resolution etc ! Thus after 9/11 when Pakistan's tinpot junta wargamed being invaded by USA it only thought in military terms ! It failed to appreciate that the USA was humbled in Vietnam and in Iran in 1979 ! In the process they allowed and facilitated the USA to occupy Afghanistan in very cheap military terms ! Pakistan shall pay a heavy price for this ! Whether Armitage said it or not , the USA will bomb some parts of Pakistan to the stone age in order to denuclearize Pakistan.

Pakistan is in a strange strategic situation ! It is led by a military dictator whose sole aim is to stay in power ! Its number two the so called prime minister is a US citizen and in case he dies naturally or unnaturally his successor i.e the Chairman Senate is also a US citizen ! So politically the USA is dominant in Pakistan ! But this does not make the Americans happy ! Their aim is denuclearization and complete submission of Pakistan !

Imagine the following scenario ! Pakistan's military dictator is killed in a mysterious air crash or assassinated by a common soldier on duty like Indita Gandhi ! The USA immediately issues an ultimatum that it fears that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal may fall in the hands of extremists ! A surgical nuclear strike is launched on Kahuta and Islamabad !Another general takes over power in Pakistan and capitulates to all US demands dismantling the Pakistani nuclear arsenal and its missiles ! Rationalising this on the ground that if he did not do so the USA would bomb Pakistan to stone age ! In next ten years Pakistan is Balkanised with an independent US supported Baluchistan and an independent puppet Pashtun state in NWFP and Northern Pashtun majority districts of Baluchistan ! An independent Sindh in the South , an independent Kashmir and Northern Areas with US bases for future operations against Singkiang on the Deosai Plateau and only Punjab left as Pakistan ! No nukes , no missiles , no resolve ! Just like the Christians reduced the Muslims to Granada in Spain and finally eliminated even Granada in 1492.

This is not a pessimistic view of things but a hard strategic reality ! The writing is clear on the wall ! The war which USA is fighting is not against the Pashtun tribes of Waziristan but against all Muslims ! Bagram , Khost,Jalalabad and Kandahar airfields are being developed not against the Taliban or against the Al Qaeda but for 5 minutes over Islamabad !

In strategy everything moves very slowly and it is the greatness of a statesman and military commander to assess what will happen in next 5 or ten years ! Here in Pakistan we have a situation where our military leaders are overawed by just one phone call ! From leaders of such a caliber little resolution or strategic insight can be expected !

From 1979 to 1988 Pakistan's military junta after seizing power through the backdoor , provided the USA with an active base to destabilize and destroy Afghanistan's defacto government . All infrastructure of Afghanistan was destroyed as well as all its institutions between 1979 and 1992 .Now if the Afghan state allows the USA to do so it should not be a surprise ! And why did Pakistan's military junta of 1977-88 support the so called Afghan Jihad ! So that General Zia stays in power ! The characters were different in 1979 and 2001 , but the motivation was the same !

Someone may skeptically view the above presented scenario ! The following arguments support the presented scenario ! If Saddam was destroyed on the mere suspicion that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction why is Pakistan not a perfectly legitimate target for USA , because it is a Muslim country and posseses WMD without any doubt ! Saddam was more secular than any Muslim leader in modern history yet his country and he himself were targeted and destroyed ! What is the aim of this so called enlightened Islam espoused by Musharraf ! To act as anesthesia for USA and destroy all resistance power of the Pakistani nation ! If not strategic brilliance at least we have good anesthetists at the top ! In war surprise is the key so the USA will not politely announce its intentions before it reduces Pakistan to size ! Musharraf , Benazir and any other general that may emerge are merely pawns in the game which can be removed by air crashes or assassinations ! Waziristan , Al Qaeda and terrorism are merely hollow slogans ! The Pakistan Army is being forced into Waziristan by the USA not to attack the Al Qaeda but to create an internal divide in Pakistan ! There have been many cases of desertion of soldiers in units in Waziristan as well as cases of refusal of officers for carrying out duties seen as against their conscience ! What kind of liberalism does Musharraf want us to practice when the enemy is at the gates and even inside the Pakistani citadel of power ! What can be expected from leaders whose sons are US citizens or who consider USA safer for their families to live than Pakistan ! What can be expected from US citizens now enjoying high political office in Pakistan after having a good time in Bank of America or CITI Bank ! What respect will the army jawans have for leaders more distinguished for deciding not to fight a battle after one telephone call or more interested in privatizing the PSO , PTCL or the Steel Mill !

5 Minutes over Islamabad is a distinct possibility ! This is the irony of a nation who supplied many pilots who were blood brothers of Syrian,Iraqis and Jordanians in downing many Israeli aircrafts over Golan , Amman and Iraq ! Today the Pakistani leaders are practicing sycophancy with Israel to gain a good pat from USA !

The conclusion is that Pakistan is led by collaborators who will go to any extent to survive while its nuclear and military assets would be destroyed with partial or active cooperation of its own leaders ! Fear made men believe in the worst but here in Pakistan we have a scenario in which Pakistan's leaders are trying to sell the idea that timid strategic collaboration is strategic brilliance ! A secret clause of Vision 2030 propaganda of Pakistani sitting leadership is that by 2030 Pakistan would be a Balkanised state with no nuclear and missile assets and kicked by all its neighbours ! Good luck to vision 2030 !


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