Little Boxes of thoughts seperated and put in prospective

Little Boxes of thoughts seperated
and put in prospective

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The War in Yemen

O Lord send some peace in the region.

Who needed another war? Who planned it? And what for? Answer is clear and ..Well Iran should have thought before jumping into another war. Have they not caused enough destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq through their rag tag Shia militias and whatever tool they saw fit to use.

It amazes me how they can wear the white hat of righteous Islamic state while use "everything is fair in love and war" theory. Its time someone puts Iranians and Saudis in a room and sort out the issues. Syria.. Iraq.. Afghanistan.. Let them be independent nation states free of Iranian or Saudi influence. And quite frankly what Iran did in Iraq was their own fault, no one asked them or compelled them to do it. In Syria one might or might not blame Saudis or Americans but in Iraq Iran was complicit in removing Saddam, disbanding their military and loot and plunder by pro Iranian Government and Militias that followed.

They just needed their piece of pie, if that led to rise of ISIS apparently that's not a problem. Same thing in Afghanistan, when Soviets withdrawal and eventually the regime they installed collapsed Iran quickly jumped in to support Masood's faction starting a civil war in 1992 which continues to date. Iran happily collaborated with US in Afghanistan for sectarian reason and expansionist policies while happily calling it "the great devil".

This hypocrisy must end now. And I say that as a well wisher or Iran and Saudi Arabia. What Iran has done over the years would come to haunt them. Saudis have supported Wahabi brand of Islam. However they did not use minority sects as a collateral for their own benefits. Allegations of Racism on Iranian regime have already started.

Here are the possible outcomes

1.Iran backs out Houthis sign a peace deal Gov in Yemen is restored(doesn't seem likely).
2.Saudi Arabia and Iran make peace and a peace is negotiated on Syria and Yemen(not likely either)
3.Arabs and Iranians fight till one of them is left
4.A regime change in Iran.(possible in a few years) And by Regime I mean the whole structure that supports the revolution.
5.Arabs create a forces consisting of many countries, they need it for situations like Libya anyway. They either reinstall Government in Yemen either swiftly or in a bloody battle. Iran sits at home considering their houthi allies collateral and material for future propaganda.

Things are a mess. Serious leadership is needed. US is sitting back and is glad to watch anything that happens see and make a policy after the dust settles. So is the UN. The fact is Iran can not support the rag tag militias in Yemen and some forces loyal to them which are light infantry at best. And badly paid and self trained thugs at worst. Why Iran did what it did is another topic and my next blog post would probably be about it. It was a gross miscalculation on their part in any case.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Yemen issue and Pakistani Politicians

Is everything about petty politics now? Pakistani politicians sound like they are in some role play game of some sort, without a thought process of their own. The "ratta" or repeating what they hear or read is really amusing at times.

Ideally, Pakistan should mediate between Arabs and Iranians. However the leaders have are no where near Liaquat Ali Khan or Sir Zafrullah.

Closest thing we have to a leader is Imran Khan. He has resemblance to a person who can become a national leader. However I have serious doubts about his vision and understanding of foreign affairs and geopolitical realities. He has let down the nation once again.

Imran Khan has went against joining the coalition out rightly. This is simply outrageous. In the world we live in we can not be neutral. Ideally Pakistan should play the role of an aggressive peacemaker. Our foreign minister flying between Al Riyadh Tehran and wherever Yemeni rebels prefer. Why has the UN been already bypassed? An expected Russian Veto can be bypassed, there is precedence. However at least it should have been discussed in Security Council.

Then there is OIC. Yes it exists, it can be given a role. However all that is not happening and there is no possibility of thing changing hence the discussion itself might be futile. The world is a different place now, then it was a hundred years back. Arab Governments as someone rightly put it are not as strong as they once were(before Arab spring). Naturally jumping into what might become a full blown sectarian war is not good for Pakistan. However we have to see things objectively and in the long run.

Religion and sects aside. Who is winning? What are the goals of both parties? In my opinion Iran is on the wrong side of history. They are the main culprit behind post soviet Afghan Civil war.

They have portrayed themselves as messiahs of shias all over the world(which they are not). In reality they have cause massive suffering to shia community for the interest of their nation state. What business they had of supporting rebels in Yemen to topple the Government. How would an ungoverned state of Yemen not lead to rise of ISIS like groups controlling pockets or regions?

What about necessary services? What about people there? What about the human cost? Self righteousness is easy, facts are hard.

The question is what can and should Pakistan do? In my opinion joining the alliance is the right thing to do, however it should be strictly conditional. There is precedence for Military presence in Saudi Arabia for strictly defencive purpose it territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia is threatened or an outside force attacks the country. That is our best option and i Do think in the end Pakistan would take this option. We have extensive knowledge of low intensity conflicts and our military experts can help Saudis in advisory capacity.

Who are our friends in middle east who never back stabbed us? We all know that(issues with Wahabi militancy apart)? Turkey has already made their position crystal clear. They support Saudis. Probably after a hundred years. They can see ISIS is being replaced with equally brutal Shia militants.

Government in Yemen must be restored. If God Forbid Saudi Arabia is destabilised Pakistan is next on Iran's hit list considering their track record. They have collaborated with India to create unrest in Baluchistan in the past and supported shia militancy, not to mention attempted encirclement of Islamabad in the 1980s. Iran would end up being the loser when the dust settles. Its amusing to see how pro Iran clerics in Pakistan are propagating about peace with Afghanistan. US would NEVER side with Iran in the conflict in the long run and the white house has already made it clear.

Iran is a great country with great people and amazing history, their government needs a conciliatory approach then being passive aggressive and supporting militancy in other countries. Al Assad for example has lost, Syrians suffer(Wahabis to be blamed equally) and its time to negotiate for a new Government which Iran refuses. They are happy with Al Assad controlling a few urban centres and an official President.

What are our options? Should we reverse our policy altogether and stand with Iran who refuses to support us on Kashmir openly and remains a strategic partner of India(time for bitter truth). Then India with its scavenging foreign policy would move to Saudi Arabia. What Iran has to offer us anyway? They refused to give ue oil during Zardari era on deferred payments and we have to go to IMF(Neither did Saudis but thats a different issue, Zardari was pro Iranian). Would India then not rush to Saudi Arabia and try to fill the void?

Neutrality is not an option for us now, we must help Saudi Arabia restore peace in Yemen. However Pakistan should assure Iran it is strictly a defencive measure and any mischief from Iranian intelligence would be met with a similar response or worse. We are friends of Iran, if they that changed it means they had planned it all along. Iran has never been weaker militarily diplomatically or economically. We don't want to destabilise them further and we have always offered a secure border and it should remain this way.

That being said, the nation..  no matter what the views or sect should support the policy of Federal Government no matter what course they take.

Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet is simply incompetent, it should be a decision for the military.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Should Pakistan Join the coalition with Saudi Arabia to reinstate Government in Yemen?

A Pakistani Retired General once said

Fear Is No Policy Surrender Is No Option

Saudi diplomats have said in the past that they are not mere spectators in Pakistan’s affairs but active participant. This is also true for Pakistanis. Pakistan can not be mere spectators as things

in Saudi Arabia or Arab peninsula go haywire.

Militarily speaking, Pakistan is over stretched,  yes. That has a lot to do with economy; However, we have a strategy which is fairly working for now. Can we see our allies in Arab world dip in abyss of Chaos? Should we fear the nuisance value of Iran too much to forget our allies who have despite all their short coming and negative roles have helped us at times when we needed serious strategic help? 1971 and sanctions after nuclear tests are on example.

Can we stand and watch the Baghdad new capital of Iranian empire mentality? For 
Pakistan Is Pacifism an option anymore, or it 
ever was? Should we be afraid of Iranian sponsored terrorism
 and see a Muslim country not very far from us become
 stateless when we can help? We have fought the worst 
terrorist group which existed, the Khwarij are worst terrorist 
mankind has seen and we have and we are
 taking them head on. And winning too, of course at great
 human and economic cost.

We should try to be a bright between Iran and Arabs and help
 them solve the dispute on negotiation table. However this 
option is fast fading it at all it exists anymore. Should we wait
for our brotherly Muslim country in the South West to target 
us next? Why not send Muslim peacekeepers to restore order
 in Yemen? 
If Iran blackmails us with sponsoring terrorism through their 
assets in Pakistan or collaborating with India we should
treat Iran as an enemy state and deal with the threat accordingly
That would be really foolish of Iran to start a feud with Pakistan.
In any case Iranian regime is on its weakest, both in military
diplomatic and economic terms.Our foreign policy should be free
of fear. As JFK once said "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

Our possible alliance is not against the state of Iran but to restore peace in Yemen.

Of Course we should make serious demands in return, 
Wahabi support for extremists in Pakistan must end 
straightaway and they should help us with the
 economic cost of war on terror(which was thurst upon us)
 and they should take a serious approach on Kashmir.
 No Flirting with India!!
It is unfortunate Saudi Arabia whom recently surpassed India
 as world's biggest arms
exporter needs Pakistan help. Budget of Saudi Military is some 
150 billion Dollars
compare to some 6 billion Dollar budget of Pakistan Army!!!

Certain condition withstanding it is our duty to intervene to 
avert a humanitarian disaster. Politically,
Well.. Iran must be stopped from exporting their revolution. 
By making Yemen
 stateless almost single handedly they have crossed a red line.
 And there is no
 turning back.

If we don't help restore order in Yemen Saudi Arabia is next. 
After that would be fighting them in Pakistan. Better stop them now.
And we should remember that Iranian supported Militias are as 
bad as ISIS in Iraq and ruling elite in Iran has little regards for
 Human Life(Shia or Sunni). Check this news item for one thing:

Shiaism is not a threat and people of the Shia sect/school of though should be respected but Iranian regime is certainly a threat to middle east(even greater middle east) and a small nuisance to Israel at worst. Sponsoring people who have made Yemen stateless is simply unacceptable.

The operation to restore Government in Yemen however must be swift and independence of Yemen is not negotiable, collateral damage should minimised. Revenge killings in even of a victory must be suppressed at all costs(by force if necessary). Other then that there is little to debate. Message to Saudi Arabia is simple, you have money which can buy half the world. Use it wisely and in a way history remembers you kindly and when you stand before almighty on the day of judgment you are not ashamed.

War in Yemen would end swiftly. Blockade Yemen using Navy(no aid for rebels) and send Muslim peacekeepers, para troopers and special forces which would help the now ousted government.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Yemen:Devil and the deep blue sea

We live in times when events unfold rapidly. Especially for those who bury their heads in sands like ostrich. It was probably year 1998 or 99. Yahoo! Clubs were the “in” thing back then. I remember this group where members and admins used to hangout and talk. I think the word admin was not used at the time, it was either founder or co founder(of the club). There were people, interesting people, good people with great intellect. LebaneseEgyptian, perhaps Libyan Iraqis Pakistanis Indians .. All kind of people, all kind of nationalities. At the time the very fact was thrilling that we could all interact.

I am guessing many of you can figure Conspiracy Theories were discussed a lot. However there was a clear understanding at the time that.. A Pan Islamic Organisation with goals to overthrow incompetent governments is on the cards. No one had heard of Al Qaeda, OBL was just a nobody. Some Militant hiding in some Godforsaken cave like structure(or actual cave). Rarely discussed except when US carried out an unsuccessful missile strike on him. Taliban were primitive but peace in Afghanistan was a God sent and everyone expected them to "moderate" with the passage of time. And there was clear understanding at the time that (what now is called) reshaping of Middle East is on the cards. Maybe it is difficult to believe now. But he ground was ripe. 

When I look at past now, the first hint of how things can go haywire was when Israel carried out an air strike in Lebanon blowing up their main power plant which provided some 70-80% of electricity for the country. It was some sort of joint punishment from Israel to Hizbullah(Or Hamas, don't really remember). I immediately emailed my net friend in Lebanon who replied almost promptly and after a small chat or email saying he is online but he has to go due to power shortage in the country. Email? Yahoo messenger, could be. It some 16-17 years, I don't recall exactly.

Lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and discussing the last 17 years is.. well I might very well write a book. 

Lets jump to 2015, Syria gone, recently TIME estimated using satellite imagery that 83% of lights in Syria have gone dark. Iraq, well there is nothing much to say on that. Libya...Same story. Afghanistan, well.. No words there.. Sudan divided and things have indeed gone (further) haywire there. Not to mention stateless Somalia. 

In my Opinion the new world order is evolving, nature is taking its course(it always does) and no one exactly has a grip on it. Powerful people do interfere, normally they make things worse. 

What to do with middle east? what is the core issue of Middle East Now? With all the due respect to Wahabi School of Thought and Iranian Revolutionaries(or Shia Clerics ruling Iran) this cold war must end. That being said no end is in sight in immediate future.

We have to ask ourselves, what went wrong with the US plan? Why did they attack Afghanistan and Iraq at the first place? In my opinion wise men implemented their knowledge of diplomacy and war from European theatre to middle east. It is true the world is a different place now and perhaps its no use talking of how Alexander or British performed in Afghanistan. That's another debate for another time. 

There is always a point of talking about how we are where we are. However that's a very long debate. Jumping to today, what is Iran doing? What is Saudi Arabia doing? 

Iran has not attacked another country for nearly 200 years. However they are guilty of using shia minorities to create unrest in different countries. Apparently the non Irani Shias are acceptable collateral damage for Irani regime. It is very difficult to understand Iran, during the 1980s they have accepted American help through Israel(through Pakistan) to maintain a stalemate in Iran Iraq war. They have in all probability co operated with Israel for Operation Opera(attack on Iraqi Nuclear installation). Then they are a major trading partner with India. Yet they use Shia minorities to create unrest in Pakistan and even India. However they have collaborated with India in the past to create unrest in Pakistan. Their mindset is very complicated and perhaps the feeling of Racial superiority is the best explanation. Right or wrong? I don't know, that at least makes some sense. 

If their hearts bleeds for oppressed Muslims, how many times they have sided with Pakistan on Kashmir? What was their role during the Bosnian crisis? And now in their misguided wisdom they have mistaken a cold peace with US as some sort of silent understanding. They are meddling in Bahrain and now the militias they backed have almost taken over Yemen. ISIS is probably the worst terrorist group that existed, but what Iranians did after US invasion of Iraq played its part. Mehdi militia I read was no better then ISIS and apparently they have no problem using ISIS like tactics their proxies (militias) fighting with Iraqi army uses. And don't even get me started about their role in Afghanistan, they are one of the main forces behind the Afghan Civil war(after Soviet withdrawalalong with India and Russia. And now, at least on the surface they are quite satisfied with destruction of Syria until Iranian backed Bashar has some sort of control in a few cities.

Lets come to Saudis and GCC. They have skeletons in the closet, no question there. However post 9/11 they have adapted to situation and their major blunder was abandoning Pakistan and supporting Wahabi school of though(funding it) in Pakistan. Many of which have waged war against Pakistan killing more then a hundred thousand. Dynamics of Pakistan are different and Pakistanis have adsorbed heavy cost of human casualty and suffering and is standing strong. However Pakistan was(is) a friend they should NEVER have abandoned. During the Zardari era(2008-2012) they basically turned their policy around and starting building ties with India. For Pakistan it was blasphemy. Forget the debate that if it was cosmetic of not. It was a blunder and Saudis have and might pay dearly for it. 

Now we have a situation where Iran has in their miscalculation have crossed a red line in Yemen they should not have. They have basically made Yemen stateless, mainly controlled by Militias backed by them who have (in all probability) serious internal rifts.

What are Saudi options? What should they do? What can they do at this point? Iranian nuclear program is a ruse and frankly it barely exists in some primitive form in my opinion. One one side Saudis have ISIS who have no regard for human life religion or sect. Then they have a shia minority in Dhahran Iran probably plans to use.

What option Iran has? What can they do? And what SHOULD they do?

Pakistan is a force multiplies and involvement of Pakistan on the side of Saudi Arabia would be a major game changer, however Pakistan is overstretched and goodwill for Saudi Arabia is at an all time low.  Pakistan is fighting a very difficult existential war and tide has recently started to turn in their favor. They don't want another conflict with Iran. The war I'm Pakistan can take anywhere from 6 months to two years to end. At the movement there is no public opinion in favor of another full blown conflict.

Iranian options are limited, they are in over their heads. US has already got them by their weakest point, sanctions have really hit Iran hard. However the ruling junta is at least for now unaffected. 
The squander the soldiers attitude of their generals worked against Saddam,like their second generation aircrafts and scuds. Many historians have pointed out that the post shah setup was more of an accident and they used the anger built in people over the years. That's another debate again.

US is no friend of Iran for several reasons
There is no holy book  which says there can not be a coup,soft coup in Iran. Iran has gone either too far or far enough. They need to back down. What they did in Yemen I beyond some bargaining chip. 

Saudis look surrounded but they have serious military hardware and allies. If there is an actual war with Yemen, by the time first shots would be fired Overwhelming public opinion in Pakistan would be pro Saudi and Pakistani troops fighting side by side Saudis would be a reality. we have some 7 hundred thousand reserves, expedited soldier training can produce a great soldier in six months. Squander the soldier mentality would not work with highly trained soldiers with one of the best military hardware in the world. Forget Pakistanis, Egyptians are well trained and battle hardened. Republicans are likely to come in power in US and Jeb Bush is expected to side with Saudis. Not that Obama is not playing Iranians but Republicans are especially known for their hawkish attitude against Iran. 

Iran has enjoyed almost no interference from Pakistani or Afghan border. On the contrary they have been exporting their revolution(to put it in very soft words). To put it bluntly they have been sponsoring proxies for their benefits.

IF, now there is a big IF. Deals are struck, the border with Pakistan becomes insecure, the border with Afghanistan becomes insecure. Well Fourth Generation war.. even fifth would be upon Iran. And it is really really difficult to fight. Iran's neighbours have not troubled Iran. It has always been the other way around. Their Economy is shrinking and if their nuclear deal fails the status quo itself would mean trouble. With sanctions on Iran, Saudis can simply wait it out, not Iranians. Their GDP has dropped from 528.2 Billion$s in 2011 a year to 368.9 billion$s in 2013. With Iran spending so much on their proxies. A regime change may very well be on cards.

Now the Trillion dollar question.. What should Iran do? Desperate times..Desperate measures, over the years the role of Iran has been extremely negative in Afghanistan and Pakistan especially after the war on terror started. Its time to make some policy changes. They don't have nuke, simple as that. They are not a major threat to Israel, at the moment they are only getting Palestinians killed. Its time to stop exporting revolution, forget India shake hands with Pakistan. Empower Sunni tribes, make a trust and reconciliation commission or something and be the part of solution in Iraq.. not the problem. Same in Syria, Bashar has lost, Iran should help the transition into some stable government instead of providing oxygen to Bashar(that too barely). They should forget Afghanistan altogether, they have already caused a lot of trouble there. And Yemen, ask their proxies to make peace. 

I can only hope sense would prevail. As we say in Urdu

"Dekhain Uunt Kis Karwat Beth ta hey"

Everything apart..Baksh do bhai!! No one needs another stateless region