Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A US-NATO War In Pakistan? – An Anatomy of the Current Crisis

by Alan Nasser

On Saturday evening, the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, one of the city’s two most luxurious hotels, located near the presidential office, the parliament building, and a host of foreign embassies, was devastated by a bomb blast that left fifty three dead, including the Czech ambassador and two U.S. Defense Department officials.

The recent background to this latest in a series of increasingly sophisticated and bold insurgent strikes is revealing: since September 3, the U.S. has launched ground incursions and six missile attacks in Pakistan’s border regions. The U.S.-NATO aim is to cripple supporters along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border supportive of the anti-occupation resistance in Afghanistan.

The destruction of the Marriott was the latest response to Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari’s complicity with Washington in the military assaults on the perceived center of insurgent support in Pakistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), including the North-West Frontier Provinces (NWFP). Just hours before the Marriott blast Zardari told the country’s parliament that he is determined to free Pakistan from “the shackles of terrorism.”

This pledge confirmed Zardari’s determination to continue to order the Pakistani military, an institution harboring more than a few sympathers with the insurgents, to launch assaults on suspected insurgent -”terrorist”- strongholds. It is common knowledge that this policy is a response to pressure from Washington.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Germany, Shahid Kamal, expressed not only his own but the majority resentment against Zardari’s subservience to Washington’s demands on Pakistan when he told The New York Times “This [the Marriott bombing] is a reaction to what is going on in FATA. We have been implementing a reckless and careless policy…. What’s happening in FATA is that Pakistanis are killing Pakistanis.”

Here we see reflected both the popular indignation at the new Pakistani president’s political apeing of his predecessor, the Washington puppet and military dictator Pervez Musharraf, and the deep divisions within Pakistan’s state apparatus regarding Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S.-NATO, which the majority of Pakistanis see as waging a Western-Christian attack on global Islam.

An overview of the backgound to Washington’s stepped-up aggression in Pakistan is in order.

The Bush Doctrine Is Extended to Pakistan
On September 9 George W. Bush announced that Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan were “all theatres in the same overall struggle.” This declaration was intended to justify Bush’s July approval of ground assaults by U.S. Special Operations forces inside Pakistan, without Islamabad’s approval.

Thus, the Iraq-Afghanistan disasters are to be sustained and widened to include the sixth most populous country in the world, with 20 million Muslims, the overwhelming majority of whom are known to be increasingly infuriated with the recent succession of air and ground attacks inside Pakistan, and whose government possesses a nuclear arsenal.

Continued . . .

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