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PASHTUNISTAN (or Oh Well, at Least They Won't Get the Nukes)

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In 1893 the British "drew" the Durand Line through the middle of the world's largest tribal people.  Now 15 million of them live in Afghanistan and 26 million of them live in Pakistan.  The Pashtun people refuse to see/recognize the imaginary, invisible line the British drew that "separates" them.  In 1947 some of the tribes agreed to "live in Pakistan" as long as their homelands remained autonomous and the Pakistani Army kept out of them.  The Pashtun Swat made the same agreement in 1969.

So as US troops pounded Pashtuns in Afghanistan, those in Pakistan came to their aid.  (Would New York rush to rescue New Jersey if it were invaded and occupied by foreign troops?  Let's hope so.)  And when "Pakistani" Pashtuns rushed to assist "Afghan" Pashtuns in their resistance to invasion and occupation, US Predator and Reaper drones began killing them, the "Pakistani" Pashtuns, on the Pakistan side of the invisible Durand Line.

Since early May, Washington has been granted its long-demanded wish, an offensive against the Pashtun in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NFWP), as the Obama Administration forced Islamabad to violate its own constitution by sending the Pakistani military into Pashtun tribal lands.  Washington did this by threatening to cancel $2 billion in annual cash payments, which would have bankrupted Pakistani political and military leadership.  In addition, Washington threatened to cut off $6.5 billion in future aid. 

So as Washington got its wish, a thousand Pashtuns got - dead, euphemistically referred to as "terrorists", or when that didn't fly any more, "collateral damage".  And in what amounts to the collective punishment of the entire Pashtun people, the worst refugee crisis since Rwanda got under way, with over two million people, the majority of Swat's population, forced to flee their homes from the US-financed and equipped Pakistani Army after a week of intense aerial bombardment by bombers, jet fighters and helicopter gunships.  Not to mention those  700 "Pakistani" Pashtun CIA drones had already killed.

So what the Obama Administration's bull-in-the-china-shop approach has set up is Pakistan's second worst doomsday scenario - that the 26 million Pashtun on its border with Afghanistan will secede to join the 15 million Pashtun in Afghanistan to form an independent nation.  This, in turn, would inspire Pakistan's Baluchi tribes to do the same.

This scenario would also likely tempt India to intervene, Pakistan's first worst doomsday scenario.  Both Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons.  India has 24 out of 33 of its military divisions sitting on the India-Pakistan border.  But at least the Pashtuns, all of whom Washington has de facto designated Taliban and/or "terrorists", won't be able to seize Pakistan's nukes from the control of Pakistan's army, the seventh largest and best-equipped on earth.  Yeah.  Like that's ever gonna happen.  Right.

But what this is likely to accomplish, before the sub-continental nuclear war, that is, is the gutting of Pakistan, just like Iraq, into three parts.  Can you say divide and conquer Pakistan by forcing its army into a proxy war "against the Pashtuns on behalf of America's energy-driven dominionist policies"?  (Chris Floyd)  Can you say Yugoslavia?  And it seems that the US is hoping to pit militant Muslims against those who favor a secular society by using the country's army against its own people, as we've done so successfully for so long with a string of unbroken "humanitarian interventions" in countries with democratic governments that wouldn't knuckle under, in order to prop up the regimes of US-supported dictators.  Think the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet in Chile.  Closer to home, look what we did to Haiti. 

On May 18, Obama pontificated "As commander-in-chief, I have to consider all options, but I think that Pakistan's sovereignty has to be respected."  Can you say cognitive dissonance?  How about oxymoron?  How about just plain moron?  The Imperator went on "...over the last several weeks we've seen a decided shift in the Pakistani Army's recognition that the threat from extremism in the north is a much more immediate and serious one than the threat from India that they've traditionally focused on."  Say what?!  Did I mention the blackmail and the 24 Indian Army divisions on Pakistan's southern border?  Is he serious?! 

Pervez Musharraf is serious.  In a 5/17 interview with Musharraf, Fareed "Zakaria stressed more than once that Pakistan's army did not understand the gravity of the existential threat posed by the Taliban in their country, and was thus expending effort and resources to what the US perceived as a minor threat posed by India.  This is when Musharraf changed color...'don't teach the army where the threat is coming from - please don't tell us where the threats are...India has 24 out of 33 military divisions on Pakistan's border.  So we need a balance.'" (Aimee Kligman) 

Do we remember faking pictures of three divisions of Saddam Hussein's troops on Saudi Arabia's border to get the Saudis to let us set up bases there from which to attack Iraq?  A few enemy divisions on one's border was certainly an existential threat when Dick Cheney and Colin Powell showed Saudi Prince Bandar their dirty doctored photos in August of 1990.  But now, hey, what's 24 out of 33 Indian Army divisions on your border?  The real existential threat to Pakistan is the Taliban and fleeing Pashtun tribes people.  Can you say the shoe is on the other foot?  How about hypocrisy? 

But fiddle dee dee, at least the Taliban won't get the nukes and tomorrow is another day.  Maybe not.   

 

Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).

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