Understanding the region from the Indus River to the Syrian-Turkish border is not always easy. Convoluted by thousands of years of history, including boasting the world’s first great power – the Persian Empire – and running through Shia and Sunni regions in what was once partly Buddhist, partly Zoroastrian, influenced strongly by the Aryan Vedic cult, intersecting with the Jewish faith, and spanning the ancient Indus and Babylonian civilizations – this region is now massively messed up instead of being at the forefront of advancing civilization through its wealth of accumulated wisdom. To add to its strategic importance, the region has strong deposits of mineral oil that have the potential to upset the world economy, but which is accompanied by acerbic and fundamental versions of aggressive Islamists that make reconciliation with the people in this region quite difficult.
…a world without Pakistan will be a much more peaceful world, and it is high time that the USA hitched its wagon to India to fight terrorism, rather than feed terrorism by riding with Pakistan.
The Western powers know that if they leave this region to itself, it is likely to fall a victim to the strongest powers in the region – a possibly resurgent Russia and irredentist China seeking world hegemony. Indeed, China ever so slowly wants to reconnect to the Middle East through its new land and sea silk routes. Those who can control the Middle East can control the Suez Canal and the trade route through the Strait of Hormuz from where 30% of the world’s seaborne-traded oil flows.
That terrorism should touch this vital region for the present civilization is a matter of concern, although a destabilized middle east gives the western powers an excuse to intervene when they would not have an excuse otherwise. On the other hand, a quiet and peaceful middle east gives the bear and the dragon reason to invade and occupy the countries there. It should not be forgotten that the Mongols, who ruled from Inner Mongolia in what is now Northern China controlled the Middle East at one time; Russia got halted in its great game march southwards after the Panjdeh incident south of Amu Darya, which rang alarm bells in London and Calcutta, and made a militarily powerful Great Britain warn Russia of further consequences. Though Russia had a desire to invade Persia, it found it tough to do so at that time, even though Persia was weak, because the diplomatic overtones and warnings of Britain were too ominous for Russia. Great Britain remedied the various influences in the Middle East during World War I, especially those of an Ottoman empire that was only a seasonal friend of Britain in contrast to being a perennial friend, by using largely Indian troops in its Middle East campaigns. The Indian currency subsequently ran in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf, till 1955.
India’s Hobson’s Choice
However, the understanding we extract from all this is that a volatile Middle East gives meaning to the West to exert a presence there, and it is thus quite meaningful for them to ensure that the Middle East remains destabilized so as to exert an influence there, mainly because they can’t hope to do better for various reasons that include an ignorance of the culture and history of the people there. Without its own strong resources, India faces a Hobson’s choice in the Middle East: either tolerate control there and fight fundamentalist Sunni terrorists who vow to reconquer Hindustan in the name of Islam, or tolerate hegemony in the Middle East and Indian Ocean by communist Russia and/or communist China, or allow the West a presence in the Middle East to curb Islamic violence. For India, only the last option is meaningful, largely because the West and India share three very highly cherished values – democracy, freedom of religion, and the use of the English Common Law.
…the ISI has sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, Punjab, all across India, and continues to play a double-role with the USA vis-à-vis the Taliban is proof enough.
ISI and ISIS
But, it appears that the Sunni terrorists always find creative ways to assert their dominance. Thus the nexus between the Sunnis of ISIS and the Sunnis of Pakistan and the Taliban run very deep, indeed, in a pan-Islamic dominion from the Indus to Kobane on the Syria-Turkish border. The Taliban and ISI are a source of inspiration to the ISIS, not to mention a source of manpower support. The ISI of Pakistan has, in itself, been a terrorist organization, and the bill is still ready in Washington DC to pronounce the ISI as a terrorist organization. That bill can be taken up any day or at the opportune time – depending on the concessions the USA can get from the Pakistan government. As a pun on the acronyms of ISI and ISIS, the ISIS is simply the plural of ISI. When you have many ISIs together, you have ISIS! The fact that the ISI has sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, Punjab, all across India, and continues to play a double-role with the USA vis-à-vis the Taliban is proof enough. And, that the ISI is a government within a government in Pakistan speaks volumes to its secret influence. In fact, it is not inconceivable that the ISI foments its own blasts and explosions in Pakistan merely to allow the Pakistan military to gain an upper hand in the internal politics of Pakistan.
But, what’s worse, the incendiary rhetoric of Islamism that reverberates through the Middle East finds its root philosophy in the madrasas of Pakistan, supported by Wahhabi Islam and the ISI. Lately, the ISIS and ISI have come to a meeting of the minds that Hindostan needs to be taken over by Islam once again. A sleeping Hindu-dominant political machinery in India is slow to move against these problems for fear of appearing internally discriminatory. Thus, no country is on as shaky a ground as India, and no country in the world has as much to lose to Islamic terrorism than India, which already has a very strong Islamic base established in India.
The Road to ISIS Goes Through ISI
With ISI and ISIS having teamed up to create potential havoc in India, what with the thousands of sleeper cells, billions of dollars spent in madrasas, including for 1200 madrasas on the India-Bangladesh border, and many more billion dollars for preaching Wahhabi Islam to people of Indian origin and gaining converts, particularly from the backward castes, India is in a very precarious position. But, a strong supporter of ISIS is the ISI, which provides support in tactics and intelligence to them. Should the ISI fade away or collapse, ISIS will be minimized. Thus, it must be recognized that the road to combating ISIS runs through ISI. Correspondingly, the road to the elimination of ISIS runs through Pakistan. Further, if Pakistan is eliminated, all the terrorism in the world will be down to less than an estimated 10% its present level.
…if Pakistan is eliminated, all the terrorism in the world will be down to less than an estimated 10% its present level.
Funding Pakistan Means Playing with Fire
In this regard, Gen Raheel Sharif’s visit to the USA with the hope of attracting increased funding for Pakistan’s military operations against terrorism in Pakistan is an effort to throw more dust in the eyes of a partially blind USA. Any funding to combat terrorism in Pakistan will automatically go to a great extent to the ISI. Hence, what Gen Sharif doesn’t realize is that at least there are some in the world who can see through his game plan who realize that funding Pakistan to combat terrorism is really to fund terrorism. But, whether he can make a fool of the partly foolish, yet powerful USA is another story. He may succeed just as his predecessors have succeeded in making a fool of the USA time and time again. Recall how the ISI masterminded the attack on US military convoys in Baluchistan, blaming it on the Taliban, and then extracted concessions from the USA for its military program. It is high time that the USA realized that funding Pakistan at all is playing with fire. Perhaps, the USA can be made to re-evaluate its position, now that President Obama, who made a strategic mistake by withdrawing all US troops from Iraq, will attend India’s next Republic Day Parade.
Conclusion: A World Without Pakistan Will Be Peaceful
Should the USA wish to put out the fires in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Middle East, it should fund India, instead. Every penny it gives to Pakistan must be redirected to India four-fold to help its fight against terrorism. Money given to India to combat Islamic terrorism will be money well spent. Finally, efforts by USA to rid itself of Pakistan altogether will be efforts in the right direction. In other words, a world without Pakistan will be a much more peaceful world, and it is high time that the USA hitched its wagon to India to fight terrorism, rather than feed terrorism by riding with Pakistan. An India in control of Pakistan and the Northwest regions of Pakistan will be able to check the Taliban and the proliferating underground arms bazaars of Peshawar. Export of hashish – the financial power of the Taliban — can be checked closer to its source, and the connection between crime and terrorism throughout the world that has its origin in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan can be more closely monitored. The world has an opportunity to recover from the last two decades of extreme terrorism, but only by deciding and then taking action to ensure that Pakistan should cease to exist as a nation. This choice is not easy, but the alternatives are tougher.
First Published in September 2015.