Here are a few facts about Pakistan's role in the "war on terror" since Sept 11, 2001:

First, none of the terrorists who carried out the 911 attacks on the United States were from Pakistan.

Second, the former Pakistani President Musharraf condemned the 911 attacks and quickly allied his country with the United States in the coalition to fight the US-led "global war on terror".

Third, Pakistanis continue to pay the heaviest price among the US coalition partners ten years after 911.

Would Pakistanis have been better off if President Musharraf had kept his country neutral after President George W. Bush delivered the following ultimatum to the entire world: "You are either with us, or against us?" Before answering this key question, let us examine the heavy toll the "war on terror" has taken on Pakistan:

1. Before 9/11, Pakistan had suffered just one suicide bombing — a 1995 attack on the Egyptian Embassy in the capital, Islamabad, that killed 15 people. In the last decade, suicide bombers have struck Pakistani targets more than 290 times, killing at least 4,600 people and injuring 10,000, according to data reported by the Los Angeles Times.

2. Pakistan averaged nearly six terrorist attacks of various kinds each day in 2010, according to a report by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

3. As of April 25, 2011, the Pakistani military has confirmed that since 2004, 2,795 of its soldiers have been killed in the war and another 8,671 have been wounded. There have also been 21,672 civilian casualties (at least 7,598 of these were killed) since September 11, 2001, up to February 18, 2010, according to the military.

4. Pakistan's current leadership says that the alliance with the U.S. against Islamic militants has destroyed the country's investment climate, caused widespread unemployment and ravaged productivity. The government estimates the alliance has cost it $67 billion in direct losses over the last 10 years.

5. There have been incalculable indirect costs of massive war-related societal divisions and disruptions caused by acceleration of internal displacements and migration and proliferation of guns, drugs and violence in major urban centers of Pakistan since 911, the most striking being the increasingly destabilizing violence in Karachi.

Now let's turn to the "what-if" analysis of the road not taken by Pakistan after 911 and ponder the following:

1. Would Pakistanis have been better off by snubbing the world's sole superpower which Musharraf described as a "wounded bear" after 911 attacks?

2. Would Pakistan not have been isolated as a pariah state by the United States with support from the international community by slapping the most stringent international sanctions imaginable?

3. Would Pakistan not have faced the combined military might of the US and India if it had not allowed American troops on its territory to fight Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11 terror attacks?

4. Would parts of Pakistan not have been heavily bombed into "stone age" with some parts of the country occupied by US military to facilitate NATO supply lines into Afghanistan?

As mightily as Pakistan has suffered at the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates since 911, I do believe that Pakistanis would have been much worse off if Musharraf had not sided with the United States when asked after the worst terror attacks on US mainland.

As the only nation in the history of the world to have used nuclear weapons against civilian targets, I have to agree with Stratfor's George Friedman's characterization of America as "barbaric", particularly when it feels threatened by any external force. I believe the United States would not have hesitated one bit in using all of its political, economic and military might against nuclear-armed Pakistan had Musharraf's decision been any different.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Jihadis Growing in Tenth Year of Afghan War

Daily Carnage in Pakistan

The Next 100 Years

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

Musharraf's Legacy

Views: 260

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 22, 2015 at 5:04pm

Pakistan has been building out its surveillance capabilities, according to a new report from the UK-based watchdog group Privacy International. The plan includes outlines for collecting broadband internet traffic, phone records, and cellular data transmissions en masse. They're along the lines of programs already run by the NSA and GCHQ, but they could end up even more invasive when combined with Pakistan's existing registration systems. The country requires universal SIM card registration by fingerprint, and maintains a national biometric ID program.

Much of the detail in the report is drawn from a series of contractor requests Pakistan made in 2013. "What the ISI wanted to build," the report says, "was a complete surveillance system that would capture mobile communications data, including Wi-Fi, all broadband internet traffic, and any data transmitted over 3G." It's still unclear how much of that capability Pakistan was able to achieve, but it's clear the country's intelligence agency had ambitions to equal Western surveillance agencies.

More controversially, they often ended up working with Western companies to fulfill those ambitions. To enable "lawful intercept" capability in the phone system, the country turned to familiar telecommunications companies like Ericsson, Alcatel, and Huawei. Records also indicate Pakistan monitored its citizens' web traffic with software from a US company called Narus, and also had working relationships with intrusion software vendors like FinFisher and Hacking Team. While much of that software is already export-controlled, the country seems to have had no problem meeting customs requirements for much of the US and Europe. Germany alone authorized nearly 4 million euro in export licenses to Pakistan specifically for the purpose of "monitoring technology and spyware software."

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 23, 2015 at 8:32am

“We are under pressure from the Treasury to justify our budget, and commercial espionage is one way of making a direct contribution to the nation’s balance of payments”

-Sir Colin McColl, former MI6 Chief

For years public figures have condemned cyber espionage committed against the United States by intruders launching their attacks out of China. These same officials then turn around and justify America’s far-reaching surveillance apparatus in terms of preventing terrorist attacks. Yet classified documents published by WikiLeaks reveal just how empty these talking points are. Specifically, top-secret intercepts prove that economic spying by the United States is pervasive, that not even allies are safe, and that it’s wielded to benefit powerful corporate interests.

At a recent campaign event in New Hampshire Hillary Clinton accused China of “trying to hack into everything that doesn’t move in America.” Clinton’s hyperbole is redolent of similar claims from the American Deep State. For example, who could forget the statement made by former NSA director Keith Alexander that Chinese cyber espionage represents the greatest transfer of wealth in history? Alexander has obviously never heard of quantitative easing (QE) or the self-perpetuating “global war on terror” which has likewise eaten through trillions of dollars. Losses due to cyber espionage are a rounding error compared to the tidal wave of money channeled through QE and the war on terror.

When discussing the NSA’s surveillance programs Keith Alexander boldly asserted that they played a vital role with regard to preventing dozens of terrorist attacks, an argument that fell apart rapidly under scrutiny. Likewise, in the days preceding the passage of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 President Obama advised that bulk phone metadata collection was essential “to keep the American people safe and secure.” Never mind that decision makers have failed to provide any evidence that bulk collection of telephone records has prevented terrorist attacks.

If American political leaders insist on naming and shaming other countries with regard to cyber espionage perhaps it would help if they didn’t sponsor so much of it themselves. And make no mistake, thanks to WikiLeaks the entire world knows that U.S. spies are up to their eyeballs in economic espionage. Against NATO partners like France and Germany, no less. And also against developing countries like Brazil and news outlets like Der Spiegel.

These disclosures confirm what Ed Snowden said in an open letter to Brazil: terrorism is primarily a mechanism to bolster public acquiescence for runaway data collection. The actual focus of intelligence programs center around “economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation.” Who benefits from this sort of activity? The same large multinational corporate interests that have spent billions of dollars to achieve state capture.

Why is the threat posed by China inflated so heavily? The following excerpt from an intelligence briefing might offer some insight. In a conversation with a colleague during the summer of 2011 the EU’s chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Hiddo Houben, described the treaty as an attempt by the United State to antagonize China:

“Houben insisted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a U.S. initiative, appears to be designed to force future negotiations with China. Washington, he pointed out, is negotiating with every nation that borders China, asking for commitments that exceed those countries’ administrative capacities, so as to ‘confront’ Beijing. If, however, the TPP agreement takes 10 years to negotiate, the world–and China–will have changed so much that that country likely will have become disinterested in the process, according to Houben. When that happens, the U.S. will have no alternative but to return to the WTO.”


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