Drums are beating on Muslim world --
Going by the string of sustained intelligence leaks and the (dis) information campaign spearheaded by some Washington-based think-tanks, it is more than obvious now that as long as George W Bush and his cohorts like Dick Cheney, Richard Armitage, and the army of conservatives, drawn from the vast intelligence network, there will not be any respite for major Muslim countries i.e. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Iran is an avowed enemy, but the Royal Kingdom and Pakistan are allies, publicly at least, just as Iraq was before its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
This three-fold campaign is officially dismissed as "non-representative". But according to Kenneth Adelman, a former aide to Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld, and a member of a Pentagon Advisory Board, the view that Saudi Arabia is an adversary of the United States is certainly a more prevalent view than it was a year ago (Washington Post August 6, 2002). A year down the lane, and after the elimination of the Saddam regime, these views are even stronger today.
Take the Iranian caseó as the pressure on Tehran mounts to force it into subjecting itself to complete scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)ó Pakistanís name is also being dragged as a possible supplier of enriched uranium, or related technology to Iran, without really taking into account the kind of unstable ties between the two countries.
And the best proof of it came on August 29, in Islamabad when the Iranian foreign minister Kemal Kharazi dismissed these allegations and said the acquisition of some components was made through private sources. While doing this he also delivered a blow to the much-hyped and repeated Pakistani claims of "friendly, historical bonds with Iran".
"Yes we have a very good relationship with India but I must also say that our relationship with Pakistan needs further strengthening," Kharazi said.
Besides differences over Islamabadís support to the Afghan Taliban, sectarian hostilities have been at the heart of a troubled relationship, which is defined by mutual mistrust that flows from Pakistanís closeness to, and dependence on, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Now, viewed against this backdrop, only a fool would believe that Pakistan ever provided nuclear-related materials to a country that has much deeper political and economic-oriented ties with its adversary India.
"Uranium enrichment technology is too precious to share with any country," said an official related with the countryís nuclear establishment, adding that the presence of "particles of enriched uranium at and around Iranian facilities could have been the trick of an under-cover US agent disguised as a UN inspector.
That apart, Kharaziís assertion on the "state of ties with Pakistan" never got a rebuke, not even a cosmetic rebuttal by, say, the ministry of foreign affairs. Silence and tolerance seem to be the current guiding principle as far as Pakistanís position on allegations of abetment in terrorism and nuclear cooperation with countries like Iran and North Korea.
Surprisingly, Pakistan has maintained a similar defensive posture vis-á-vis intermittent Afghan charges that "it is not doing enough to stop Taliban from moving across the border for subversion." Both president Hamid Karzai, and his foreign minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah have led a charade of insinuations against Pakistanís "inability to control radical Muslims".
Neither did the ministry of foreign affairs officially respond to this forcefully nor to what Christina Rocca, President George W Bushís point person for south Asia said during her latest New Delhi Yalta (visit), where she promised the Indian leadership to pressure Pakistan for stopping Kashmiri militants from crossing into Indian Kashmir.
As far Saudi Arabia, it has in recent days once again figured prominently; a daily Guardian report (Sept 20) quotes an American think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security as saying that the Saudi government is seriously considering a strategy paper that includes acquisition of nuclear weapons as one of the three goals in a region feared embroiled in ever increasing turmoil.
This "revelation" comes almost a year after Washington Post (August 6, 2002) had reported about a damning briefing given on July 10, 2002 to a top Pentagon advisory board.
The briefing described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that US officials give it an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States.
"The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader," stated the explosive briefing.
"Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies," said the briefing prepared by Laurent Murawiec, a Rand Corp analyst. A talking point attached to the last of 24 briefing slides went even further, describing Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East.
Other members of the board include former vice president Dan Quayle; former defence secretaries James Schlesinger and Harold Brown; former House speakers Newt Gingrich and Thomas Foley, and several retired senior military officers, including two former vice chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired admirals David Jeremiah and William Owens, Kenneth Adelman, a former aide to Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld.
The briefing, the paper had said, did not represent the views of the board or official government policy, but "it represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration ó especially on the staff of Vice President Cheney and in the Pentagonís civilian leadership, and neo-conservative writers and thinkers who had always believe that "a friendly regime in Baghdad would diminish US dependence on Saudi oil and so would permit the US government to confront the House of Saud for supporting terrorism.
"The drums are beginning to beat on Saudi Arabia," the paper had quoted Robert Oakley, a former US ambassador to Pakistan, as saying in the same report.
One year on, and Iraq under American occupation, complaints against Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are even louder.
And as far Pakistan, developments even next door must be alarming if not an eye-openeró Israeli prime ministerís Delhi Yaatra, joint Indo-US military exercise in Ladakh ( a disputed territory) and Indian attempt use the Kashmir card by urging Sharon and Rocca for greater help in combating cross-border terrorism are telling developments.
Have they all turned Pakistan into a cornered helpless hare whom the hounds from the east and west are sadistically staring in the face, with their master, despite being a friend, relishing the helplessness of the hare!!!
HiPakistan.com - 21 Sept 03