International

Neo-Imperialism’s ugly designs against Pakistan and Iran

The official Iranian news agency (IRNA) reported on December 4 that Iran’s air defences had shot down an un-manned U.S. drone that had intruded into the Iranian territory from the east. The exact provenance of the spy aircraft wasn’t given but the hint of its coming from the east clearly suggested it’d intruded into Iran from Pakistan.

While the Iranians should have ample reason to feel elated on this feat-achieved at a time when the Americans have been trying to close in on Iran through aggressive anti-Iranian diplomacy aimed at isolating it-the people of Pakistan, next door, wish they could’ve meted out this ‘treatment’ to persistent American piracy from the air against their territory.

Nothing has enraged the Pakistanis more than the regular ‘visitations’ by American drones against Pakistan’s tribal areas, supposedly in hunt of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban ‘terrorists.’ However, a predominant number of victims of these deadly stealth raids have been civilians-men, women and children. In fact, children, in particular, seem to be paying an inordinately high price for America’s blind rage against supposed terrorists. The intensity of drone attacks has been raised, exponentially, under Obama in the White House.

An exact figure of the horrendous toll that Pakistani citizens have paid, to date, for America’s besotted imperialist thrust is hard to come by. However, it’s conservatively estimated that in the past 4 to 5 years, at least 5,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed in drone attacks; the number of actual terrorists killed is only a fraction of it. The people of Pakistan have been up in arms against these illegal bombing raids-and have regularly voiced their anger against this blatant violation of international law-but to no avail. Their own government’s apathy in the matter and its dismal failure to hold U.S. accountable for its arrogance has only added to the angst of the Pakistanis.

The hubris and lust of U.S. dictating its imperialist agenda in the region around Pakistan hit a new low last November 26 when a Pakistani military post in the Mohmand area of the tribal belt running parallel to the border with Afghanistan was raided by U.S. and NATO aircraft, in the dead of night, without provocation. 24 Pakistani soldiers and officers were killed in the raid.

So provocative and heinous in nature was this crime that even a supine Pakistani government-otherwise seemingly impervious to pleas from its people to stand up to the American raiders-decided to call a spade a spade.

But once the die was cast to hold U.S. and their NATO appendage to account for this outrageous murder of Pakistan’s defence personnel the riposte was swift and decisive. Going beyond mere verbal protestations over gross violations of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Pakistan took immediate and concrete steps to show action where its mouth was.

Pakistan bared its knuckles by putting an immediate and complete halt to the movement through its territory of American and NATO trucks carrying essential supplies and stores for the occupation forces in Afghanistan. The move is bound to seriously hurt the western military juggernaut in Afghanistan because Pakistan is the key conduit to bring in defence supplies as well as logistics needed to keep U.S. and NATO forces well-equipped. Washington may have been putting on a brave face over the Pakistani freeze but the Americans are keenly aware of how seriously it could affect, if not cripple, their imperialist presence on the Afghan soil.

Secondly, Pakistan decided to boycott the Bonn conference, which opened in Germany on December 5 to decide the contours of post-2014 Afghanistan. Dubbed as Bonn-2 (alluding to the first Bonn conference held in 2002, on the heels of the U.S. military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, that had spawned Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan’s puppet ruler) with 90 countries of the world attending. Pakistan is a key player, if not the pivot, in the Afghan context, and its absence from the conference would bite into its agenda a great deal. However, the Pakistan government refused to reconsider its boycott of the conference despite fervent pleas from Washington and other western capitals. To the delight of the people of Pakistan, their government, after so much dithering and foot-dragging has succeeded in showing some back-bone, after all.

The third decision, asking the Americans to pack up their bags and get out of the Shamsi Air Base in Pakistan’s heartland, within 15 days is not only apocalyptic in its symbolism but is going to stifle the Americans most in real terms, too.

The Shamsi base, located not too far from Pakistan’s border with Iran, has been used by the Americans with impunity to launch its drone strikes within Pakistan, to the utter dismay of the Pakistanis. But it has also been used, quite regularly, too, to send out reconnaissance sorties against Iran. It’s a centuries-old ploy of imperialists to seek to kill as many birds with one stone as possible.

There’s every reason to believe that the U.S. drone the Iranians brought down over their land had the Shamsi base as its provenance. The Americans, desperate to make the best use of the time left to them before they’re forced to vacate the base in Pakistan, may have thought it quite opportune to unleash a few last salvos against targets in Iran.

Otherwise, too, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of western-particularly Anglo-American-imperialism for quite some time; since the Islamic revolution of Iran, to be precise.

In the latest provocation from old and new imperialists, Iran is being threatened with ever-more stringent and biting sanctions by the western powers, led, of course, by U.S. and its side-kick, U.K.

The ostensible reason behind this latest flare-up in the already tense relations between Iran and the western cabal of nations largely taking their cue from a neo-imperialist U.S. is the same old allegation: that Iran is poised to go nuclear. This cleverly constructed ploy doesn’t take, or want to, into account Iran’s insistence that its nuclear programme is peaceful and that it hasn’t done anything in violation of its adherence to N.P.T, of which it is a signatory.

The trigger to ignite this latest round of confrontation has come from the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that doesn’t categorically accuse Iran of violating its NPT obligations but is still larded with innuendoes and loaded suggestions that it may, yet, be engaged in diverting enriched uranium for military purposes.

Like some of its previous reports dropping knife-edge hints and nuanced suggestions about Iran trying to go nuclear, the latest IAEA report, too, is based, overwhelmingly, on material culled from a lap-top of uncertain provenance. The Americans and the Israelis, for whom even a tiny scrap of suspicious news about Iran’s fabled nuclear ambitions are like Manna from Heaven, have seized on this scrap of flimsy evidence-allegedly picked up from the lap-top of an Iranian nuclear scientist-to drumbeat a Tsunami of suspicions against Iran’s putative and ‘dangerous’ designs.

U.S., in this case, is obviously back, with vengeance, to its old game of running with the hare and hunting with the hound. It’s a game it has perfected against targeted states in the Muslim world, not since 9/11, as some naively believe, but since the First Gulf War of 1990-91. Then, as now, it had used a UN agency to build up a case-entirely fabricated and concocted with unabashed duplicity to suit its agenda of aggression.

Against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, U.S. had shamelessly manipulated and hijacked the then active UN-appointed UNSCOM to spin an intriguing tale of Saddam determined to build dooms-day weapons of mass destruction, allegedly behind the back of UN. That, eventually, turned out to be a ruse. Nevertheless, the excuse of Saddam’s weapons-of-mass-destruction was blatantly deployed to unleash a war of American terror against Iraq, in 2003, which has killed, at the very least, about one million Iraqis.

U.S. is now using IAEA to similar purpose. The UN nuclear watch-dog was first purged of the presence of Mohammad El Baradei, the upright Egyptian at the head of IAEA, because he was ‘inconvenient’ for U.S. agenda. His vacant shoes were filled by a little-known flunky from Japan who has, since, been doing American bidding without demur. That’s what Washington wanted and that’s what it has gained from a pliable IAEA chief.

Sanctions were used to devastating effect against Iraq under Saddam. Bill Clinton’s then national security chief, Sandy Berger, unabashedly hailed those inhuman sanctions as history’s most stringent and biting; they took a toll of at least 1.5 million Iraqis, one-third of them children.

The imperialists, old and new, are eager to administer the same punishment to the Iranians because they have concocted a scary scenario of an Iran on the rampage and threatening the security of Israel. Faithful western allies-misleadingly referred to as the ‘international community’ in order to add more zest and spice to their fabrication-have been lining up behind Washington to turn the screws ever more tightly on Iran. Their goal is to make a horrible example of Iran for its temerity to stand up to the western world’s bullies and not giving in to their ludicrous arm-twisting to accept Israel as the only power in the region sanctified to have any number of lethal nuclear weapons.

Provocations from the west, which seems to be blindly toeing an imperialist agenda, has already unleashed a sickening season of sanctions against Iran., The west is apparently ganging up on Iran; the design is none other than crippling the Iranian economy and forcing its people to demand a regime-change, just the way the west has structured in Libya, or earlier in Iraq.

Britain, the old and seasoned imperialist, is in the lead to force Iran to blink. The decision to blacklist the Iranian Central Bank is a brain-child of Britain, which had earlier-two decades ago, to be precise, used the same tactics against Pakistan’s privately-owned but rapidly fledgling Bank of Credit and Commerce International, or BCCI. Britain’s blatant bluff was quickly called by Tehran when protesters in Tehran stormed the British Embassy, just as they had the American, twenty years ago.

The rupture of diplomatic ties between Tehran and London is not a sign to cheer up peace-loving people in the region. The pointers are serious, if not alarming.

Israel, the principal U.S. surrogate in the region, has long been baying for Iran’s blood and deploying every trick of its vicious trade to convince Washington that it’s time to unleash the same kind of terror that vanquished Saddam’s Iraq against Iran, too. Obama hardly needs any convincing; his record of picking up Muslim states in military confrontation is no better than George W. Bush’s. But Obama is stymied by two concerns: the U.S. economic fortunes have already hit a rock-bottom, largely because of the two wars, of Iraq and Afghanistan; and a military adventure against Iran may drag not just U.S. but the whole western world into a tsunami of economic upheavals.

But the track record of U.S. since WWII is hopelessly marred by total disregard of economic fallout of imperialistic military adventures. Obama himself hasn’t pulled back from digging U.S. ever deeper into the quagmire of Afghanistan despite a wobbling U.S. economy in doldrums. So, one shouldn’t bank too much on Obama’s discretion being the better part of his valour. He could just be biding his time in anticipation of an opportune time to bite the bullet and team up with Israel and other minions in Europe to venture against Iran. The election year, next year, may just be the most opportune time slot for him to bare his knuckles.

The people of Pakistan, well versed in the history of U.S. stabbing Pakistan in the back, repeatedly, have, for this reason, never been victims of naivete of the kind that has perennially afflicted their leaders. Poll after poll in Pakistan-done by both indigenous and external survey groups and agencies-have found the people of Pakistan declaring U.S. as their mortal enemy and the biggest threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The common man’s fear that U.S. is after Pakistan’s nuclear assets and is trying to tighten the noose against this target has hit the ceiling of alarm following some recent violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty, including the raid against Osama bin Laden’s hideout on May 2 and the latest massacre of Pakistani soldiers, on November 26. The people of Iran as well as those of Pakistan have a nexus of fear meeting at one and the same source.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2011 on page no. 26

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