Home »Weekend Magazine » Inventing and slaying enemies!

Who is ardently following Machiavelli's famous advice in The Prince, that "a wise ruler invents enemies and then slays them in order to control his own subjects"? The answer is obvious-though everybody wants to avoid pronouncing it under the prevailing circumstances.

The United States and its allies desiring continuation of their military presence in certain areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan opportunely invented "enemies" here in the aftermath of 9/11. The purpose was not only to control the governments of both the States but also create apparition for powerful neighbouring democratic India and socialist China. The slaying of "invented enemies" is now being done with a sinister purpose-keeping alive 'Islamic threat' within Pakistan and forbidding the country to come out of the contrived orbit of 'war on terror'.

The long series of counterproductive drone attacks, indiscriminate bombings, arrests, torture, kidnappings and disappearances (sanitised as 'Extraordinary Rendition') carried out by US forces while the CIA covertly funded, armed and supported "Islamists", according to Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan, a Visiting Research Scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of International Studies, are intended not to eliminate the 'Islamic threat' but to contain it within manageable limits and to spawn the next generation of 'terrorists'. Inventing new enemies and eliminating the older ones-as part of the New Great Game-is understandable.

Elimination of "Islamic threat" through political moves-tried initially by Musharraf and later on by Kayani-irked the forces imposing New World Order. Any such move could, certainly, diminish "Washington's leverage to intervene in Pakistan to distance Islamabad from Beijing and exploit energy resources abundantly found in Balochistan and, in the long run, perhaps derail US administration's well-laid plans to bring Afghanistan to heel and to dominate Central Asia and its oil-rich Caspian Sea Basin", observed Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan.

The Indian scholar in his paper, 'The Great Game Continues,' has blamed Pakistani intelligentsia (sic) of being "agonisingly unaware of the labyrinthine geo-politics and economic imperatives underlying the New Cold War.

He says, "They are blissfully going along with the collaborationist leaders who are bartering away the country's future for the proverbial pieces of silver". This statement needs attention and analysis-most of speakers and anchors at talk shows of our "bright" and "independent" electronic media prove the point raised by Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan.

The deadly trap for Pakistan started in 2006 with cacophony of the United States CIA and British intelligence services engineering panic about the security of Pakistan's nuclear assets. It was part of a cunning strategy of creating a huge threat of "Islamist militants"-using the prefix of "Islamist" with a "militant" shows the real motive. It was, in fact, duplication of hysteria they created over non-existent weapons of mass destruction that Saddam allegedly possessed!

A carefully worded article, co-authored by former State Department officials Richard L. Armitage and Kara L. Bue, after acknowledging (sic) Pervez Musharraf's many achievements (sic), noted: "much remains to be accomplished, particularly in terms of democratisation. Pakistan must...eliminate the home-grown jihadists...And...it must prove itself a reliable partner on technology transfer and nuclear non-proliferation".

The typical US-style denouement was: 'We believe General Musharraf...deserves our attention and support, no matter how frustrated we become at the pace of political change and the failure to eliminate Taliban fighters on the Afghan border.'

The same year, a Carnegie Endowment report faulted western governments that 'contribute to regional instability by allowing Pakistan to trade democratisation for its co-operation on terrorism'.

Senior US State Department officials repeatedly accused Musharraf of 'not doing enough' to combat Islamists within Pakistan and prevent their infiltration across the Durand Line into southern Afghanistan. The underlined message was Musharraf to go!

According to Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan, the US decided to woo Pakistan Peoples Party, led by Benazir Bhutto at that time, "to serve and be fully responsive to America's Late Neo-colonialism". Benazir summoned senior party members to Dubai on 9 June 2007 for a 'briefing' by a team from the US Democratic Party's National Democratic Institute (NDI), ostensibly on the subject of elections in Pakistan.

The ruling Republican Party's International Republican Institute (IRI) had conducted the previous four 'briefings' in June and September 2006 and March and April 2007. Benazir leaned towards the Democratic Party in the last one, no doubt, as a hedge against the party's possible victory at the forthcoming US Presidential Election.

Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan argues that even a cursory knowledge of US Imperialism's standard operating procedure was sufficient to surmise that at least some among the IRI and NDI officers were covert intelligence operatives; and that their 'briefings' went beyond 'tutelage of natives'. Rather they have been grooming the PPP as America's satrap.


-- George W Bush enabled Benazir's return from exile by arm-twisting Musharraf to promulgate the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). The NRO of 5th October granted amnesty to politicians active in Pakistan between 1988 and 1999 and effectively wiped the slate clean of corruption charges for both Benazir and Asif Zardari.

-- Three weeks later then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it appear as if the Bush Administration wished to bring together 'moderate' forces, implying a scenario in which Musharraf and Benazir would join forces as President and Prime Minister respectively. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte corroborated Rice: 'Our message', he intoned, 'is that we want to work with the government and people of Pakistan'

-- Musharraf saw through the US Administration's transparent ploy to lull him into believing it would not remove him and install Benazir in his place. So, he swiftly invited Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), back from exile in Saudi Arabia to counter Benazir. But even then he could not consolidate his position, especially because he mishandled the judiciary, and was compelled to resign on 18 August 2008.

It is tragic for Pakistani history what happened in the aftermath of assassination of Benazir Bhutto and fulfilment of the agenda of Late Neo-Colonialists-borrowing the term from Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan. It is aptly analysed by Dr Sachithanandam that the reason for 'Washington's renewed interest' in Benazir was Musharraf's firm opposition to US Late Neo-colonialism, to its manoeuvres to occupy, pacify and ravage Pakistan. In the 19th century, British colonialism waged the 'war on piracy' on the high seas ostensibly to bring 'the light of Christian civilisation'.

But the British were the most successful pirates, as Spanish and Portuguese historians would gladly confirm. The 'war on piracy' was the duplicitous justification trotted out to dominate lucrative maritime trade routes that were in the hands of Chinese, Arab and Tamil maritime empires and to invade kingdoms and/or countries essential to control trade and plunder resources. During most of the 20th century heroic anti-colonial movements and anti-imperialist wars rolled back much of colonial rule, which in some instances however morphed into neo-colonialism. Indonesia after Sukarno, Iran after Mosaddeq and Chile after Allende are well known examples.

One must not forget that the 'war on terror' (sic) and 'promoting democracy' (sic) are the 21st century equivalents of the 19th century British gobbledygook. Dr Sachithanandam says "American Late Neo-colonialism purveys them as moral justification and uses as political cover for intervening and, where necessary, invading resource-rich and strategic countries to overthrow nationalist leaders, install puppet regimes and savage the countries' wealth. And of course the US is by far the most powerful terrorist force".

In this background, politicians, intellectuals, members of human rights and civil liberties organisations, journalists, analysts, lawyers-in fact every citizen of Pakistan-should try comprehending the geo-strategic context in which Late Neo-Colonialists are imposing a deadly war on us. Washington, of course, will never be happy with anyone who is determined to steer the ship of Pakistan through the choppy waters of the unfolding New Great Game, in which the West - led by the US - is manoeuvring to contain growing Russian and Chinese influences in Central and West Asia. Obama, like Bush, is irked with our insistence to build the Iran-Pakistan-China gas pipeline.

The US successfully managed to force India to betray its earlier commitment for this project. Washington is always alarmed by any leader's preference for deepening Pakistan-China bilateral relations and forging nuclear co-operation; and more so when Beijing is offered naval facilities at the Gwadar port on Balochistan's Arabian Sea coast overlooking the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint through which approximately 30 per cent of world's energy supplies pass.

Lessons in history are very clear: Those who are playing in the hands of US must remember the end of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Zia-ul-Haq-Imperialist forces not only invent and slay enemies but also "create" friends and dump them. Washington always wants a "yes-man" whether in the form of Musharraf, Benazir or Nawaz. Its aim is to have nothing less than a firm political foothold in Pakistan and a Pakistani foreign policy that complements its strategic objectives in Central Asia.

It has always dumped the leaders (sic) who refused to "obey" (literally). Washington would have gone along with Musharraf had he focussed on military operations to curb Islamists, but he ventured to defeat them ideologically through moderation and enlightenment. This was not acceptable to Washington. Military action alone cannot defeat guerrillas; but it can kill many of them and in turn induce new recruits - well known points reiterated by William R Polk in Violent Politics (2007) - so that the so-called 'war on terror' would not end any time soon-this is the real agenda of Late Neo-Colonialists.

Those working for this agenda with US, overtly or covertly, must never forget lessons from our own history-utter military humiliations and dismemberment of a geographical entity. The solution lies in defeating forces of destruction with the support of masses and not becoming part of anti-people agenda of Late Neo-Colonialist.

(The writers, historians and authors of numerous books, are visiting professors at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2009

the author