Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our analysis of the day: Zaid Zaman Hamid

Our analysis of the day:
The game changing and decisive events are unfolding at almost breathtaking pace in Pakistan. Pakistan army and the nation have stood up to defy and shock the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Within the country, the corrupt head of the PPP regime Zardari flees to Dubai for “treatment” after a “heart attack”.

Pakistan army is in charge of the country’s national security issues with the PPP government totally in panic and confusion. Pak army has taken most firm and hostile stand against the US calling the attacks “deliberate”, “part of a plot” and to support the TTP insurgents. These are the most damning allegations from the Pakistan army yet against the US forces in last 10 years of “alliance”.

So, it is not just the blockade of NATO supplies that is hurting US tremendously. They have been forced to vacate the Shamsi airbase also which they had been using under a farcical diplomatic arrangement between UAE and Pakistan. This base was not just for the operations within Pakistan but was also being used against Iran and for spying on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities through their newest “stealth” drone which could not be easily detected by Pakistani radars. While the new contract for supplies is being debated, this is an irrevocable damage done already to the entire US war plans against Pakistan and Iran. Iranians are extremely pleased indeed. Iranians suspect that the drone which they had shot down recently was most probably flown out of Shamsi. Ejection from Shamsi is a major setback indeed for the CIA.

The NATO supplies are now choking Pakistan ports and roads with thousands of containers, military vehicles and arms enough to raise many divisions of army vulnerable to attacks from the militants. This is the ultimate nightmare for the NATO. The more these supplies are on the road; the more chances are that they will end up in smoke. Attacks have already begun.

There is another fear which is now eating up the US and NATO planners. In the 90’s, Pakistan had purchased the F-16’s from the US but they were seized under the new laws which prohibited sale of these equipment to Pakistan. Despite the fact that Pakistan has already paid the price in full, these jets were not handed over to Pakistan and Pakistan was even charged for the parking fee into millions of dollars while these jets remained parked on military bases of the US. Now there are thousands of US military vehicles and equipment which is lying all across Pakistan waiting to cross into Pakistan. US have also not paid billions of dollars of Coalition Support Fund which they were supposed to pay to Pakistan for using Pakistan’s roads, ports and infrastructure. Now, Pakistan can actually seize all this military hardware and goods as payment for the arrears or if the relations hit new low, these can be seized as hostile enemy property as well. There is a real possibility that this equipment, if it survives the attacks from the militants, may actually end up in the new formations of the Pakistan army.

US is threatening to cut Pakistan aid. But US are again playing with fire here as well. Pak army can simply move in to help themselves with brand new state of the art NATO military hardware worth billions of dollars.

US know that if Pakistan army gets hostile, it would be the end of the US in Afghanistan. Their entire military and economic strategy for the 21st century now faces the risk of going up in smoke just because Pakistan army has had enough of non-sense frm the US and NATO. US and their lawmakers are now desperate to find ways and means to bring back Pakistan. Pakistan had also boycotted the Bonn conference. That had magnified the US embarrassment and had insult to the injury. There are many US lawmakers demanding aid cut. But the more pragmatic ones realize that they must remain engaged with Pakistan.

It is actually incredible that Pakistan’s just one NO has stunned the US and NATO in so many theatres. The problems and crisis for NATO does not end with Pakistan’s blockade of their supplies. The economy of NATO states is collapsing at home! Euro zone is now dismantling and it will become impossible for NATO states of justify their overseas military operations which remain open ended and without any mission objective.

So, what are the options open to US now? It is a desperate situation no doubt for the Washington and the Pentagon. US had planned a contingency strategy for such an eventuality which envisaged a massive air strike on Pakistan’s command and control systems and the elimination of the military leadership. This exact plan was known to Hussain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to US who is now facing the treason charges in Pakistan and the blowing up of this very scandal has forced Zardari to flee as well under the pretext of health.

But if US do go through with such a sinister and high risk plan, how will it bring troops on ground to secure a nuclear armed state? US cannot control Afghanistan, let alone a Muslim martial nation of 170 million which has around 7 million armed men within tribals and local militias to support the Pakistan army, which is also nuclear armed and allied with China and Iran. US plan was to bomb Pakistan and then land its forces on Gawader to try to cut a land route to Afghanistan. If US want its own terms, it will have to embark on this most dangerous adventure which has all the possibility of getting out of hand into a regional war.

That is where the Indian Cold start military doctrine comes in. The US Af-Pak doctrine was designed to work in tandem with Indian Cold Start strategy. The air blitz was to come from US/NATO. Ground forces would move in from India to “secure” Pakistan while the US would land and cut a corridor to Afghanistan from Gawader.

But the entire strength of this sinister high risk plan was the secrecy. Now the cover is blown, Pakistan army is ready, deployed and armed. Strategic assets deployed and directed towards US and Indian assets. The entire US/India plan of surprise and secrecy is now up in flames.

So, now, either US succumb to demands of Pakistan and find an exit strategy and leave Afghanistan while they still can. Else, they risk a massive regional war which can even go nuclear and would surely also eliminate the entire US/NATO force in Afghanistan and the region, also drawing in Iran, India and China into the conflict.

These are the most difficult times for Obama and his administration. He had come to bring victory to the US in Afghanistan. Now he faces a humiliating defeat as in Vietnam. The US administration can hope to find a slave government in Islamabad but this is not happening now. In the absence of a docile, corrupt and incompetent regime, US is now forced to deal with a tough Pakistan army which is raging with sense if revenge after having lost tens of thousands of finest of officers and men in a war of terrorism and insurgency which was orchestrated by the CIA. The Pakistan’s military leadership is now firm and is determined to undo the mistakes of the past. Even if the military leadership in Pakistan tries to give some concessions to the US at this stage, they cannot due to sheer rage and anger in the armed forces and the nation. The entire nation now stands united behind the army and the PPP regime and the US/NATO can only watch in helplessness and the wretched Indian wait in the desert for the signal from the Pentagon which is not forthcoming.

The future of the world now depends upon “Yes” and “No” from Pakistan, literally! No one is more nervous than Obama these days, apart from Zardari of course, who is meeting the CIA in dubai trying to find out how to save his regime.

If Zardari and CIA cannot find away to “neutralize” the Pakistan army, then Zardari is not coming back to Pakistan. He has been caught along with Hussain Haqqani in the memo scandal and now this is costing him his seat.

Meanwhile, the “rumors” of a coup are red hot in Islamabad. There is no doubt that even the army is fed up of this regime. It is criminal, treacherous and has abandoned the nation in these most difficult times. Army is hoping that Supreme Court will deal will deal with them legally and the army will not have to step in. But if the SC does not deliver, army may just step in as the US/NATO war threats loom. InshAllah great khair for Pak Sarzameen.

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