Sunday, February 17, 2008

Destabilizing Pakistan

Two disturbing scenarios for the near-term destabilization of Pakistan under U.S. pressure have been laid out in a provocative essay by former professor Zeena Satti:

In Pakistan’s urban areas, religious lunacy is being orchestrated and celebrated while the administration watches helplessly. After the military operation of July 10, 2007 the “Red Mosque” in Islamabad was reopened for Friday prayers bearing all visible marks of the carnage that took place earlier. With blood stained walls and the belongings of killed men, women and children piled in public view, fiery sermons against the “infidels” and their paymasters were allowed to echo in the heart of Islamabad. Suicide bombings have targeted the high security garrisons of the military. No terrorist group has ever taken responsibility for these blasts. The
military rank and file does not know who it is they are supposed to fight. The
morale of the officers is steadily eroding. The judiciary is out on the streets.
Courts are a sham. Military “defections” in the North and South Wairistan are
being camouflaged as “abductions”. The disappearance of staple foods and
essential commodities from the market has instilled a deep seated despondency
amongst the people of Pakistan. High profile deportations of Pakistani notables
from Western capitals may be exercises in absurdity, but they do make Pakistani
society question the efficacy of their statehood. Washington’s “leaked” war
games dealing with the ubiquitous Pakistani nukes amount to Pakistan military’s
emasculation by its vital ally. Pentagon’s open declaration of its “discussions”
with the Pakistani generals regarding military collaboration in the tribal areas
only helps damage Pakistani troop’s as well as civil society’s moral....

Given Musharraf’s policies, spearheaded by the U.S, two plausible scenarios can emerge in Pakistan. Each will have a U.S hand in its making.

Scenario one may entail civil war in Pakistan that splits the military itself into two factions, one for the war against the Taliban and the other against it.
This split will be augmented by the U.S’s patronage of the pro-war faction against the anti-war one. Due to the Pakistan military’s historically punitive treatment of its civilian adversaries, which includes executions and forced exiles, Pakistan’s civilian alternatives are crippled. As the conflict escalates, an increasing number of civilian
Pakistanis will seek refuge within India, impacting its stability and providing
it with an excuse to intervene. The U.S will not thwart Indian intervention, and
will even encourage India to annex Pakistan.

Scenario two could plausibly entail heavy bombardment of Pakistani tribal areas by the U.S forces, causing a flood of internal migration, which will also mean the spread of militants into the Pakistani mainland.
This could provide the U.S with a reason to lead an international demand, possibly through the U.N Security Council, for Pakistan’s denuclearization. Under threat of extensive U.S bombardment of the country in case of non-compliance, the Pakistan military is likely to capitulate. Once the nukes are neutralized, the U.S will withdraw its support for the Pakistan
military. Given the absence of viable civilian alternatives, this could spell
the strategic end of the state. India has always maintained that stability in
Pakistan is essential for stability in India. Pakistani mayhem will thus
guarantee an Indian intervention.

No comments: