By Press TV
By Shiraz Paracha
As the theatre of the US-initiated war moves to Pakistan, the Pakistani military feels cornered and its commanders are looking for internal unity and reaching out to new and old foreign friends.
Interestingly, perhaps for the first time, Pakistani commanders are more worried about the US plans than the Indian threat. Also breaking from the past traditions, Pakistani generals are seeking the support of the Pakistan’s civilian government.
Pakistan’s political and military leadership has sensed that the hidden agendas of the United States and NATO in Afghanistan could be harmful for their country. Suspicions are growing about the US plans for the region and critics say that stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan may not be a goal for the United States unless Washington ensures that the US has full control over energy flow from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea ports.
The ongoing economic growth of India and China requires steady, reliable and cheap energy supplies. Pakistan is also an energy hungry state. Peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan would mean faster and easier access to Eurasian energy resources by the South Asian countries.
It would be more profitable for Russia that Central Asian States and Iran would export energy to China and South Asia. Mutual trade could also lead to peace and prosperity in the entire region. Such an eventuality, however, would be the West’s nightmare as stable energy supply will further fuel the Asian economic growth at the cost of Western economies.
Therefore it is in the interest of the United States and its allies to impede any eastward flow of the Eurasian energy without involving the Western governments or companies. NATO countries would like to use Afghanistan to export the Central Asian energy to the West via the Arabian Sea ports.
The hidden energy war could be a reason for the growing violence and instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. One of the aims of the ‘war on terror’ could be to obstruct energy supplies to the Asian economic giants and discourage any efforts for cooperation and integration in Asia.
The so-called war on terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere is a war of deception in which the intelligence operatives of several countries peruse their own agendas through violent means.
Ironically, terrorism has become a war tool in the shadowy ‘war on terror’ where all sides could be sponsoring terrorist groups to fight proxy wars on their behalf. Dozens of real and fake Taliban have already been emerged; some are supported by the United States and NATO.
The strategic location of Pakistan has made this country a battlefield of the 21st century energy war. The Pakistani military command understands the stakes but cannot afford a direct conflict with the US and NATO.
However, a nuclear armed Pakistan is home to 180 million people. Pakistanis are among the most politically sensitive people in world. They are divided and they disagree on many issues but almost all of them are opposed to the imperialist US policies and designs.
Any US-led direct military adventurism against Pakistan will unite Pakistanis to stand behind their half a million strong professional military, which can easily mobilize another half a million organized fighters. Moreover the 32-year-long conflict in Afghanistan that has also been extended to Pakistan has increased the resilience of the Pakistani and Afghan people.
Rather than entering into a direct conflict with Pakistan, the US would also prefer to use proxy groups to engage Pakistanis in small scale and low intensity conflicts. Terrorists groups who are targeting Pakistani people and forces could be linked to the US intelligence networks, aiming to weaken moral among the Pakistani forces. Terrorist acts and sabotage activities are part of the psychological warfare strategies, techniques mainly applied by the US military in wars. The Pentagon also uses black and grey propaganda techniques to demoralize target forces and populations that support their forces.
Since its creation, Pakistan has been in the US camp and still is dependent on Western economic support but the trust between Pakistan and the West is broken and Pakistani leadership is trying to realign its foreign policy.
During the last three years, the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has been proactive on the foreign policy front and has made a few breakthroughs on the diplomatic front. Opening the communication lines with Russia and Central Asian states as well as rejuvenating the Pakistan relations with Iran and Afghanistan are among these important developments.
The Pakistan-China multidimensional relationship is likely to grow and both countries are expected to remain partners. But Russia can also offer a lot to Pakistan-from military hardware to science and technology. The Russian technology is cheaper and more durable and Pakistan can also benefit from the Russian expertise.
Similarly, the import of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and other petroleum products from Central Asia and Russia via Afghanistan will reduce the energy crisis in Pakistan. Iran can also provide Pakistan with oil and gas, whereas Pakistan can assist in refining Iranian crude.
The big question is will Pakistan, which is almost totally dependent on Saudi and the US aid, be able to shun its dependence on the US, British and Saudi troika? It is a hard choice but it is time for Pakistan to make hard choices.
Shiraz Paracha is a journalist and analyst. He can be reached at: [email protected]