Well, I thought it was about time to write my first thread for ATS and want to start by looking at the Abbottabad raid of May 2011, in which Osama Bin
Laden was allegedly shot and killed. Most of the people on ATS were unconvinced by the official story of the
which still has many holes and inconsistencies, but lacked the
geopolitical knowledge to ascertain what the official story might be covering. With that in mind, lets start with some analysis of Pakistan,
Afghanistan and the main antagonist of recent events in that part of the world, General(r) Pervaiz
(some of you were expecting Bin Laden to be the main antagonist of this story, but he is more of a boogeyman than an important
political player). So this is going to be quite a long thread, spread over more than one post.
We start, then, in the late 1990's when Nawaz Sharif
was prime minister of Pakistan. Sharif was
a classic oligarch, an industrial tycoon educated as a lawyer, but was constrained to follow nationalistic policies by the politically strong
pakistani military (Sharif was preceded and succeded by military rule, and fended off at least one other military coup, led by Ghulam Ishaq Khan). The
pakistani military follow much more nationalistic (and Islamic) policies, and viewing even native oligarchs as puppets of the west remove them from
time to time on the grounds of corruption and selling out national interests.
Such was the case with Musharraf, previously strategic commander for the Kargil Infiltration to derail peace talks between India and Pakistan. This
involved placing Islamic militants in the Kargil area of Kashmir. When india found out and attacked, PM Sharif withdrew support for militants. This
was a humiliation for pakistan, as the broader population tend to prefer the Islamic/nationalist policies of the military. Musharraf blamed Sharif,
and began to talk of a coup.
Musharraf also supported the Taliban in Afghanistan, who he correctly viewed as Islamic Nationalists (please do not confuse the Taliban with Al Qaeda,
which is a totally different animal and someone else's puppet). As did the Arab gulf states, who leased
prior to the USAF taking over (Officially the base was leased for wealthy
sheikhs to go game hunting, but was in actuality the conduit for Arab influence in Afghanistan). At this point the US foreign policy think tanks still
backed the Northern Alliance as potential clients or puppets, hubris possibly preventing them from seeing the Islamic Nationalist policies taking
shape in the region.
Musharraf sent 28,000 pakistani troops to fight on the side of the Taliban (8000 irregulars recruited from Pakistani Madrasses. The estimated taliban
force of 25,00 therefore containd 8,000 paki nationals, almost 1/3rd. another 3,000 were arabs) This seems to have come as a surprise to US
This U.S. Intelligence Information Report concludes that the ISI is much more involved with the Taliban than Pakistani officials have been telling
U.S. diplomats. U.S. intelligence indicates that the ISI "is supplying the Taliban forces with munitions, fuel, and food."
The Northern Alliance sent intel to Nawaz Sharif about pakistanis fighting in afghanistan, complaining they were disguised as pashtun tribesmen. They
pashtun tribesmen who do not recognise the Afghan/Pakistan border that seperates their lands. Sharif tried to intervene and stop
the military, but Musharraf wouldn't let him. After the national humiliation of Kashmir, Musharraf was determined to maintain a strong foreign
policy, which now included backing a pashtun dominated Islamic Nationalist goverment in Afghanistan. Backed by a strong military, and no doubt
emboldened by pakistan becoming a nuclear power following the nuclear tests in 1998
, Musharraf took
charge and ousted Sharif.
Now, if you read the all the above, you might be thinking 'so what?' If you understood
all of the above, then you realise that Pakistan under
Musharraf was following a policy of a strong, independent, nuclear armed pakistan, following a nationalist islamic agenda that sought to spread
pakistani influence in it's near abroad, Kashmir and Afghanistan, by backing (sometimes creating) Islamic militant movements. These are exaclty the
'undesirable' traits we hear about Iran or Syria during the 'war on terror', except pakistan already has nuclear weapons and trains far more
Islamic militants. And whereas Iran is considered problematic because of it's large population, difficult terrain (for invading) and possible support
by China/Russia, Pakistan has an even larger population (approx 170 million and millions more ethnic pashtuns in Afghanistan), even more difficult
terrain and a proven and developing
relationship with China and Russia. If Ahmedinejad of Iran can be considered to trigger a 'warning light'
in foreign policy circles, Musharraf would have triggered something akin to a 'red alert' with flashing lights and wooping siren.
Both he, and the Taliban in Afghanistan, had to go. We all know what happened next for the Taliban.
Musharraf was threatened into acting against the Taliban he had helped put into power.
"The intelligence director told me that Mr Armitage said, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age'," he said. The
US envoy also insisted that Pakistan suppress domestic expression of support for attacks on the United States, he said. "If somebody's expressing
views, we cannot curb the expression of views," Gen Musharraf said..
This was not an idle threat. Western powers would have destroyed pakistan in order to contain it. Musharraf complied with US requests, even evicting
his arab guests from Shamsi airbase, and NATO got to work removing the pashtuns from power, curtailing the political reach of pakistan. (the huge
increases in opium addiction among the pashtun tribes that formerly supplied the taliban with their manpower , while NATO are in control of the poppy
fields, is a huge conspiracy in itself, but must remain a digression for this thread).
Unable to remove the nuclear-armed general from power militarily without destroying the country, western powers turned to the oligarchs of pakistan,
with whom they had enjoyed previous success. Eventually securing his replacement by a civilian administration more receptive to US demands. One such
demand was that US could use drone strikes on both sides of the border to degrade the infrastructure used by Islamic Nationalist movements, much of
which was set up by the military to enable pakistan's more assertive regional policies.
The new administration, and the alliance with NATO was an affront to Pakistani nationalism and many Pakistanis wished for the return of Musharraf and
But could the general return in another coup? or would the US stop him? cont......