Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pakistan to Support Iran if Israel Attacks

Islamabad has sent Washington a crystal clear warning that continuing to move in lockstep with Likudniks toward war on Iran could lead to an Iranian-Pakistan defensive alliance.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan gave an interview to The Sun, a British newspaper, on 2/7/12 in which he both announced that Pakistan would support Iran if it were attacked by the West and warned against continuing Western drone attacks on Pakistan. Ignore this implicit linkage at your peril.

A Pakistani-Iranian military alliance against U.S. influence in Central Asia would constitute a major strategic defeat for the American Superpower, consolidating a geographic continuous region of 250 million people with nuclear arms, perceived common grievances against the U.S., and compatible economic interests (Pakistan needs Iranian gas). Both Iraq and Afghanistan would most likely "lean to the Pakistani-Iranian side," resulting in a population equal to that of the U.S. In the aftermath of an attack on Iran, an angry Turkey might not be far behind, and the impact on Pakistan's Saudi ally would be hard to predict. Intentionally provoking such a scenario would, for U.S. decision-makers, rival the late Roman Empire's decision to attempt the conquest of Germany. This defeat would be far more serious than the collapsed occupation of Iraq, the rise of Hezbollah to power in Lebanon, the alienation of Egypt, and the looming defeat in Afghanistan combined. Beijing and Moscow would have trouble hiding their derisive laughter. Now this possibility is no longer just the vision of Pakistani academics; now it is official: Islamabad has warned us. And Washington is risking this huge strategic defeat to mollify an extremist faction in Israel that cannot  obtain the support or even the public silence of its own national security officials.

High Commissioner Hasan warned that “patience is definitely reaching exhaustion levels,” called drone attacks “war crimes,” and noted that Pakistan has the ability to “take punitive actions” to stop the drone attacks, which Pakistan estimates has killed over 500 civilians, including 60 children.

The Commissioner also warned that:

Pakistan would be left with no option but to support Iran if Israel attacks it. We would not like Israel to attack any country, irrespective of whether it's Iran or any nuclear country. We wouldn't like to be seen as part of Israel's campaign against any country. If Israel attacks Iran, it will have an impact on Pakistan as well. We will have to safeguard our own interests. We also have a Shia population in Pakistan who will not take it lying down.

Given the extreme vulnerability of Pakistan to U.S. pressure, Washington should take the blunt warning of a Pakistani shift from an alliance with the U.S. to Pakistani support for Iran if attacked by Israel or the U.S. very seriously.

More to the point even than the individual points made by the Pakistani envoy to Great Britain were the combination of these points in a single interview because they show how Pakistan sees itself in the same light as Iran: under Western attack. For a Pakistani official to make such a connection officially in English to a Western media outlet puts Washington clearly on notice that if Washington is “in lockstep,” to use Obama’s astoundingly irresponsible and unpatriotic word for the degree to which he intends to kowtow, with the Israeli war party, then the price will be to put nuclear Pakistan on the side of Iran. The more hostile Washington’s attitude toward either Iran or Pakistan, the more likely will be a defensive Iranian-Pakistani alliance. Now the real threat to U.S. national security being posed by Washington’s blind coddling of the Israeli war party begins to show itself.

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