Chossudovsky: The Destabilization of Pakistan

2008-01-06

Richard Moore

Original source URL:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7705

The Destabilization of Pakistan

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, December 30, 2007

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to 
the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.

The process of US sponsored "regime change", which normally consists in the 
re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. 
Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf 
cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake 
elections supported by the "international community" scheduled for January 2008,
even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, 
thereby creating a political impasse.

There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated 
by US officials:

"It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies
have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving 
the way for the expansion and deepening of the ³war on terrorism² across the 
region.

Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and 
analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan's military...

The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even 
reports of ³chatter² among US officials about the possible assassinations of 
either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took 
place. (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)

Political Impasse

"Regime change" with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no 
longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf 
cannot prevail. Washington's foreign policy course is to actively promote the 
political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.

A new political leadership is anticipated but in all likelihood it will take on 
a very different shape, in relation to previous US sponsored regimes. One can 
expect that Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no 
commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial 
interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of 
"decentralization", to the weakening of the central government and the fracture 
of Pakistan's fragile federal structure.

The political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy
agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistani 
State. Indirect rule by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus is to 
be replaced by more direct forms of US interference, including an expanded US 
military presence inside Pakistan.

This expanded military presence is also dictated by the Middle East-Central Asia
geopolitical situation and Washington's ongoing plans to extend the Middle East 
war to a much broader area.

The US has several military bases in Pakistan. It controls the country's air 
space. According to a recent report: "U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly
expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support 
indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units" 
(William Arkin, Washington Post, December 2007).

The official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in 
Pakistan is to extend the "war on terrorism". Concurrently, to justify its 
counterrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the 
"terrorists."

The Balkanization of Pakistan

Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA 
forecast a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan "in a decade with the country riven
by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in 
Balochistan." (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA,  
Pakistan is slated to become a "failed state" by 2015, "as it would be affected 
by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear 
weapons". (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul 
Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):

"Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition
from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. In a climate of 
continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government's control probably will be 
reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi," the former 
diplomat quoted the NIC-CIA report as saying.

Expressing apprehension, Hasan asked, "are our military rulers working on a 
similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various 
assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint 
collaboration with CIA?" (Ibid)

Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and 
intelligence has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.

According to the NIC-CIA scenario, which Washington intends to carry out: 
"Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic 
mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction," 
(Ibid) .

The US course consists in  fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and 
political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This 
course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both 
Afghanistan and Iran.

This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader 
Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence 
operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and 
financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the 
central government.

The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of 
Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Oil and Gas reserves

Pakistan's extensive oil and gas reserves, largely located in Balochistan 
province, as well as its pipeline corridors are considered strategic by the 
Anglo-American alliance, requiring the concurrent militarization of Pakistani 
territory.

Balochistan comprises more than 40 percent of Pakistan's land mass, possesses 
important reserves of oil and natural gas as well as extensive mineral 
resources.

The Iran-India pipeline corridor is slated to transit through Balochistan. 
Balochistan also possesses a deap sea port largely financed by China located at 
Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the Straits of Hormuz where 30 % of the
world's daily oil supply moves by ship or pipeline. (Asia News.it, 29 December 
2007)

Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves 
of which 19 trillion are located in Balochistan. Among foreign oil and gas 
contractors in Balochistan are BP, Italy's ENI, Austria's OMV, and Australia's 
BHP. It is worth noting that Pakistan's State oil and gas companies, including 
PPL which has the largest stake in the Sui oil fields of Balochistan are up for 
privatization under IMF-World Bank supervision.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 
300 million barrels, most of which are located in Balochistan. Other estimates 
place Balochistan oil reserves at an estimated six trillion barrels of oil 
reserves both on-shore and off-shore (Environment News Service, 27 October 2006)
.

Covert Support to Balochistan Separatists

Balochistan's strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda.
Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency 
is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.

The Balochi national resistance movement dates back to the late 1940s, when 
Balochistan was invaded by Pakistan. In the current geopolitical context, the 
separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers.

British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan 
separatists (which from the outset have been repressed by Pakistan's military). 
In June 2006, Pakistan's Senate Committee on Defence accused British 
intelligence of "abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran" 
[Balochistan]..(Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). Ten British MPs were 
involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committe on  Defence regarding 
the alleged support of Britain's Secret Service to Balcoh separatists  (Ibid).

It would appear that Britain and the US are supporting both sides. The US is 
providing American F-16 jets to Pakistan, which are being used to bomb Baloch 
villages in Balochistan. Meanwhile, British alleged covert support (according to
the Pakistani by Senate Committee) contributes to weakening the central 
government.

The stated purpose of US counter-terrorism is to provide covert support as well 
as as training to "Liberation Armies" ultimately with a view to destabilizing 
sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army 
(KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military 
Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon.

The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo's KLA, which was financed by the 
drug trade and supported by the CIA and Germany's Bundes Nachrichten Dienst 
(BND).

The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. It has no tangible links 
to the Baloch resistance movement, which developed since the late 1940s. An aura
of mystery surrounds the leadership of the BLA.

Baloch population in Pink: In Iran, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan

Washington favors the creation of a "Greater Balochistan" which would integrate 
the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of
Afghanistan (See Map above), thereby leading to a process of political 
fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.

"The US is using Balochi nationalism for staging an insurgency inside Iran's 
Sistan-Balochistan province. The 'war on terror' in Afghanistan gives a useful 
political backdrop for the ascendancy of Balochi militancy" (See Global 
Research, 6 March 2007).

Military scholar Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters writing in the June 2006 issue 
of The Armed Forces Journal, suggests, in no uncertain terms that Pakistan 
should be broken up, leading to the formation of  a separate country: "Greater 
Balochistan" or "Free Balochistan" (see Map below). The latter would incorporate
the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch  provinces into a single political entity.

In turn, according to Peters, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) 
should be incorporated into Afghanistan "because of its linguistic and ethnic 
affinity".

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used
in a training program at NATO's Defense College for senior military officers. 
This map, as well as other similar maps, have  most probably been used at the 
National War Academy as well as in military planning circles. (See Mahdi D. 
Nazemroaya, Global Research, 18 November 2006)

"Lieutenant-Colonel Peters was last posted, before he retired to the Office of 
the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defence Department, 
and has been one of the Pentagon¹s foremost authors with numerous essays on 
strategy for military journals and U.S. foreign policy." (Ibid)


Map: click to enlarge


It is worth noting that secessionist tendencies are not limited to Balochistan. 
There are separatist groups in Sindh province, which are largely based on 
opposition to the Punjabi-dominated military regime of General Pervez Musharraf 
(For Further details see Selig Harrisson, Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006)

"Strong Economic Medicine": Weakening Pakistan's Central Government

Pakistan has a federal structure based on federal provincial transfers. Under a 
federal fiscal structure, the central government transfers financial resources 
to the provinces, with a view to supporting provincial based programs. When 
these transfers are frozen as occurred in Yugoslavia in January 1990, on orders 
of the IMF, the federal fiscal structure collapses:

"State revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the republics [of 
the Yugoslav federation] went instead to service Belgrade's debt ... . The 
republics were largely left to their own devices. ... The budget cuts requiring 
the redirection of federal revenues towards debt servicing, were conducive to 
the suspension of transfer payments by Belgrade to the governments of the 
Republics and Autonomous Provinces.

In one fell swoop, the reformers had engineered the final collapse of 
Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure and mortally wounded its federal political
institutions. By cutting the financial arteries between Belgrade and the 
republics, the reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic 
factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession 
of the republics. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New
World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 17.)

It is by no means accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council- CIA 
report had predicted a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan pointing to the impacts
of "economic mismanagement" as one of the causes of political break-up and 
balkanization.

"Economic mismanagement" is a term used by the Washington based international 
financial institutions to describe the chaos which results from not fully 
abiding by the IMF's Structural Adjustment Program. In actual fact, the 
"economic mismanagement" and chaos is the outcome of IMF-World Bank 
prescriptions, which invariably trigger hyperinflation and precipitate indebted 
countries into extreme poverty.

Pakistan has been subjected to the same deadly IMF "economic medicine" as 
Yugoslavia: In 1999, in the immediate wake of the coup d'Etat which brought 
General Pervez Musharaf to the helm of the military government, an IMF economic 
package, which included currency devaluation and drastic austerity measures, was
imposed on Pakistan. Pakistan's external debt is of the order of US$40 billion. 
The IMF's  "debt reduction" under the package was conditional upon the sell-off 
to foreign capital of the most profitable State owned enterprises (including the
oil and gas facilities in Balochistan) at rockbottom prices .

Musharaf's Finance Minister was chosen by Wall Street, which is not an unusual 
practice. The military rulers appointed at Wall Street's behest, a 
vice-president of Citigroup, Shaukat Aziz, who at the time was head of 
CitiGroup's Global Private Banking. (See WSWS.org, 30 October 1999). CitiGroup 
is among the largest commercial foreign banking institutions in Pakistan.

There are obvious similarities in the nature of US covert intelligence 
operations applied in country after country in different parts of the so-called 
"developing World".  These covert operation, including the organisation of 
military coups, are often synchronized with the imposition of IMF-World Bank 
macro-economic reforms. In this regard, Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure 
collapsed in 1990 leading to mass poverty and heightened ethnic and social 
divisions. The US and NATO sponsored "civil war" launched in mid-1991 consisted 
in coveting Islamic groups as well as channeling covert support to separatist 
paramilitary armies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

A similar "civil war" scenario has been envisaged for Pakistan by the National 
Intelligence Council and the CIA:  From the point of view of US intelligence, 
which has a longstanding experience in abetting separatist "liberation armies", 
"Greater Albania" is to Kosovo what "Greater Balochistan" is to Pakistan's 
Southeastern Balochistan province. Similarly, the KLA is Washington's chosen 
model, to be replicated in Balochistan province.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, no ordinary city. Rawalpindi is a
military city host to the headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces and 
Military Intelligence (ISI). Ironically Bhutto was assassinated in an urban area
tightly controlled and guarded by the military police and the country's elite 
forces. Rawalpindi  is swarming with ISI intelligence officials, which 
invariably infiltrate political rallies. Her assassination was not a haphazard 
event.

Without evidence, quoting Pakistan government sources, the Western media in 
chorus has highlighted the role of Al-Qaeda, while also focusing on the the 
possible involvement of the ISI.

What these interpretations do not mention is that the ISI continues to play a 
key role in overseeing Al Qaeda on behalf of US intelligence. The press reports 
fail to mention two important and well documented facts:

1) the ISI maintains close ties to the CIA. The ISI  is virtually an appendage 
of the CIA.

2) Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The ISI provides covert support to Al 
Qaeda, acting on behalf of US intelligence.

The involvement of either Al Qaeda and/or the ISI would suggest that US 
intelligence was cognizant and/or implicated in the assassination plot.

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© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2007

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