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From Baghdad to Kabul

19 December, 2006

By Anwar Mahmood


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There is now talk of de-escalation and slowly wrapping up US military operations in Baghdad as more and more of body bags keep on coming from Baghdad. The situation in Iraq has reached no win and no loss impasse with enough strain to call for guarded yet slow way out of non-conclusive war.

 

There has been talk of moving the US troops from Iraq to Afghanistan with the assumption that it may be easier and safer for America to stay in Afghanistan and the US casualties may not be as big in Afghanistan as they are in Iraq. An other reason may be that Nato may be bolstered and there will be about a quarter million troops next door to Pakistan in Afghanistan..

For America, the presence in the region becomes more imperative as the main politico-military developments and energy related tug of wars are going to take place around Pakistan. America may want to keep eye on Shanghai accord as Russia and China appear to be pressing challenge to US super power status first time since the end of cold war. They have successfully taken out Iran related bites and are signing mega energy related contracts with Iran and between Russia and China.

Iran is going to be pivotal to China for its reason to be future super power and its strategic functioning for preventing further tearing apart of whatever is left of Soviet Union. But Russia has bounced back somewhat and its vast gas and oil reserves and income from its energy sales has brought much revenues to prompt America say that Russia is a transitional power before China becomes super power.

The situation is going to become extremely dangerous for Pakistan, as it will be the only logical geography and geo strategic location to move military and equipment for US and Nato troops. It will be very tough doing balancing between America and Shanghai accord, where China is long time ally. Pakistan has been forced or may have been coerced to make 180 degree turn in its Kashmir policy. 

The new solution looks similar to the one that Nehru had proposed in 1962 and Ayub Khan had rejected it outright even though the two leaders amicably signed Indus Basin Treaty. The thoughts of US bases in very autonomous Kashmir of future cannot be ruled out. Today there has been fast and expedited passage of bill about civilian nuclear technology from US to India. 

With Chinese nuclear technology not as mature as that of the west even if it were given to Pakistan to do some kind of balancing acts, India would take a leap frog lead in military might over Pakistan. Pakistan role will be confined to terror in disguise that will be in fact a real role to facilitate US, Nato and India in a major geopolitical game of the century between US and Shanghai accord. There may already be Saudi pressure on Pakistan to be part of the grand game plan to accommodate US, Nato and possibly India together in this political game of this century.

The big military presence in Afghanistan will really mean cutting off Iran from Shanghai accord. Sure, there will be counter moves from Shanghai accord to strain Pakistan. Pakistan may be made to help US/Nato in the name of terror for something which is really the grandest politico-military design of all times.

Containing Iran is the centerpiece of US foreign policy as Iran, not India has better chance of joining the super power club along with US, China and Russia by 2040 or soon after. India has every chance to falter due to its hopelessly weak energy resources and positioning and available cash to buy enough of them. India could afford to buy a small fraction of what will be available to US, Russia, China and Iran. 

Iran already possesses the world’s largest hydrocarbon resources of gas and oil together plus world class and may be the largest in the world Uranium resources. Iran’s population will be over 200 million people by 2040 or little later. All the ingredients are there in making Iran a super power and much analysis made by Russia’s Pravda confirm that. India is only entrenched in cheap and small software and back office business that is only 300 billion dollars a year worldwide. 

Energy is 10 trillion dollars worth of business and the whole world is obsessed and haunted by the compulsion to attain energy security. In the region east of Pakistan and south of China, India could impress or even dominate or even dictate its terms with America’s help. The passage of civilian nuclear technology by US today clearly opens the path for India in that direction.

Pakistan’s military has already been intoxicated to toe US/Nato line. Whether it will be good or bad will be told by future. Pakistan’s Kashmir stand and washing its hands off from what was considered as Pakistan’s reason to be living during the past sixty or so years may be a safe bet now while the nation will be sleeping with India and US and Nato.

Whether we can balance this new marriage being imposed on us by US/Nato with our relations with Shanghai accord and Iran will depend much on how our military will handle it. I don’t think that Pakistan’s civilians, whether in rule or otherwise, will ever have power to challenge or even question the military, which is now so deeply intoxicated to point of no return to carry out a certain global agenda.  

Let us hope that we have lines of peace for us instead of lines of fire as sleeping with tiger, bear, dragon and elephant will be extremely dangerous. All this game is about energy and making of super powers.

Ends

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