Wednesday 11 May 2011

Osama execution kills the Pakistan myth (Gateway House)

By M.D. Nalapat
At 11:30pm on Sunday, May 1, U.S. President Obama announced that U.S Special Forces had killed Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden was in a walled compound of a mansion in Abbotabad, in the heart of Pakistani military’s main training school.
The irony of Bin Laden’s hideout was not lost to the world – especially to those of us in India. The western media keeps the Pakistan question at bay; but everyone knows now the connection between Bin Laden and his protectors, the Pakistani military, and especially with its Chief of Army Staff, Pervez Ashfaq Kayani.
Kayani comes from a family dominated by a Wahabbi view of the world, something apparent in the dress and demeanour of his close relatives. From the 1980s, Kayani has been close to the Taliban leadership, and those who do not fall prey to the fallacy of separating this Wahabbi outfit from Al Qaeda understand that he is committed to the jihadist dream of a world united under the religion founded three centuries ago, and which since then has sought -with regrettable success - to replace one of the noblest of faiths, Islam.

The Wahabbis came in handy to the British Empire more than a century ago, when they succeeded in convincing several Bedouin from the Arabian Peninsula that the Sufi variant of Islam favoured by the Turkish Caliph was a perversion of that faith. It subsequently enabled access to oil for the West, which built oil empires and infrastructure from Saudi Arabia.
 Again from the 1950s to the 1970s, Wahabbism was used against Arab nationalism of the sort represented by Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria. During the 1980s it was used against an already moribund USSR in the (then) insignificant theatre of Afghanistan. When the Brezezinski-Casey strategy of giving deadly weapons and training to the militarised core of the Wahabbi faith fused with the Al Saud determination to enable this new faith to replace Islam across the globe, what followed was a tragedy for the world. Although he despised the US and the Al Sauds, Osama bin Laden was himself their creation.

Pakistan, again a creation of British strategists led by Winston Churchill, also became a key player in this game.
Since the days of General Zia-ul-Haq, the Al Sauds have had a close relationship with the Pakistan army - which even today provides the security services to the Al Sauds and which in turn has umbilical links to the Taliban. Given this, it is incomprehensible why Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney so endangered the security of both their country as well as the rest of the world by appointing the arsonist - Pakistan - as the Deputy Sheriff in the race to capture Wahabbi terrorists.
The tragedy of Afghanistan has flowed from that single decision, the malefic effects of which were accentuated by NATO's irrational zeal in removing the Northern Alliance from the ruling structures in Afghanistan, and replacing them with Pashtuns vetted by the Pakistan army. Several of these - including Hamid Karzai - turned hostile to Islamabad once it became clear that the intention of the Pakistan army was to reduce their country to the status of an East Pakistan. Such disillusioned Pashtuns earned the hostility of NATO, which persisted in seeing the Pakistan army as their best partner in the region's War on Terror.

It ought not to be forgotten that it was during Bill Clinton’s watch that "Al Qaeda" morphed into a formidable force, or that he several times refused permission to the CIA to take out Osama bin Laden. He was, of course, not the only US policymaker to have got his policy prescriptions wrong. Who can forget that Robert Gates, as deputy to the CIA Director, consistently regarded Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev as a Leonid Brezhnev with PR skills? Both Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to constrain President Obama in his appreciation that the Pakistan army was unlikely to be of any help in the war against terrorism. Had it not been for the cautionary notes injected by Gates and Clinton, (both of whom, incidentally, have scuppered the possibility of a military alliance with India by placing this country in the same bracket as Belize as far as conditionalities for defense purchases are concerned), it is likely that Obama would have waged a far more vigorous drone campaign than he has so far.
The circumstances involved in the execution of Osama bin Laden make clear the connections between the Pakistan military and the Taliban-Al Qaeda. Hopefully, this will convince new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Clinton to cease their descent down the Bush-Cheney Wahabbi-friendly trail.
The army in Pakistan has to be isolated and the Taliban eliminated. Else a new Osama will rise from the death of the Yemeni mastermind.

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