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Diplomacy Behind Pakistan-Iran-Afghan Cooperation

Diplomacy Behind Pakistan-Iran-Afghan Cooperation
By Sajjad Shaukat

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US bases in Afghanistan and the Gulf will enhance its ability to gather intelligence on Iran. In December, 2011, Iranian authorities recovered a CIA surveillance drone that had been launched from Afghanistan. Currently a war-like situation exists between Iran and America over the Persian Gulf and the nuclear programme of Tehran. An American aircraft carrier on February 15, 2011 joinined another US battle group already positioned in the region. In response to this development, Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi already stated on February 14 that the US buildup and its military presence has “turned the Gulf into a weapons depot.” Russia, on January 18, 2012 rejected the tough US-led Western strategy of sanctions over Iran and Syria. Both Russia and China have asked the US to resolve the question of Iran’s nuclear programme peacefully.

In particular, Balochistan’s mineral resources and geo-strategic location with the Gwadar seaport, connecting the rest of the world with Central and South Asia, have further attracted the gaze of the US and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. However, it is due to multiple strategic designs that the US, which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to control Balochistan, contain China and subdue Iran.

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Photograph: Agence France-Presse

Diplomacy is employed for both positive and negative purposes. In the positive sense, it is used to resolve an issue peacefully, and in the negative sense, it is applied by states to gain selfish ends without caring about peace. Secret diplomacy always thwarts the aims of peace diplomacy. Let us analyse the new determination of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to pursue regional cooperation in the wake of the emerging geo-political scene in the region.

In the third trilateral summit at Islamabad, on February 17 this year, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai put their heads together to forge regional cooperation in multifaceted areas. They pledged to strengthen cooperation to eradicate terrorism and militancy from the region. The leaders of the three neighbouring countries declared that they would not allow any threat to emanate from their respective territories against each other.

Zardari vowed to fight external pressure on the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, saying that “external forces can not undermine bilateral relations.” Notably, recently Islamabad rejected demands under US duress to abandon this pipeline project. Pakistan also assured support to Tehran if the US launches a military attack on Iran. While hinting at the US, the Iranian president disclosed that the problem in the region did not local roots but it was imposed from external fronts.

In response to Afghanistan’s blame game against Islamabad regarding cross-border terrorism, Zardari clarified, “I deny this notion that any of our armed forces are directly or indirectly involved.” He revealed, without naming America, “Who was the owner and financer of the former chief of Tehreek-e-Talban Pakistan, Baitulllah Mahsood.”

Reports suggest that Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked for access to Taliban chief Mullah Omar during his visit to Islamabad. Islamabad denied that the Taliban leadership is based within its borders. On February 17, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar cautioned Kabul, indicating that her government was still uncertain on exactly what Afghanistan wanted and that it “has not been conveyed with clarity to us.”

As regards the Afghan peace process and regional cooperation, President Karzai called for action rather than mere words.

In fact, both Pakistan and Iran are quite sincere about regional cooperation among the three countries, including stability in Afghanistan, but Hamid Karzai has been forced to follow an ambivalent policy due to American secret diplomacy. Confused in his goals, President Karzai, in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, remarked that besides the US, the Afghan government was indeed involved in dialogue with Taliban in Qatar. On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban clarified that they never talked to “the puppet regime of Karzai.”

However, America will sabotage regional cooperation among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. In this respect, after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the US has decided to establish six military bases in Afghanistan, having eyes on the energy resources of Central Asia, with multiple strategic designs against Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.

Notably, on January 5, 2012, US President Obama unveiled a new defence strategy which calls for greater US military presence in Asia, after cutting troops from Europe — the strategy calls for the US military to “rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region…even as US troops continue to fight in Afghanistan, the tide of war is receding.” During his trip to Australia on November 17, 2011, Obama, while sending an unmistakable message to Beijing, said, “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” In this context, America has also troops in and security relationships with some Gulf countries.

Nevertheless, the US new defence strategy is part of an Indo-US hidden agenda in Afghanistan. First of all the US seeks to protect the puppet regime of Karzai and Indian influence in Afghanistan under the umbrella of its military presence because it knows that otherwise Taliban militants will topple the Karzai regime, also forcing India to withdraw its network from Afghanistan. India, which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a strategic partnership agreement with that country on on October 5, 2011 and wants to further fortify its grip there to gain strategic depth against Islamabad.

US bases in Afghanistan and the Gulf will enhance its ability to gather intelligence on Iran. In December, 2011, Iranian authorities recovered a CIA surveillance drone that had been launched from Afghanistan. Currently a war-like situation exists between Iran and America over the Persian Gulf and the nuclear programme of Tehran. An American aircraft carrier on February 15, 2011 joinined another US battle group already positioned in the region. In response to this development, Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi already stated on February 14 that the US buildup and its military presence has “turned the Gulf into a weapons depot.” Russia, on January 18, 2012 rejected the tough US-led Western strategy of sanctions over Iran and Syria. Both Russia and China have asked the US to resolve the question of Iran’s nuclear programme peacefully.

As part of its secret diplomacy, America in particular has been supporting cross-border infiltration in Pakistan with the assistance of American CIA, the Indian intelligence agency RAW and Israeli secret service agency Mossad which have well-established their tentacles in Afghanistan to ‘destabilise’ and ‘denuclearise’ Pakistan. For this purpose highly-trained militants equipped with sophisticated weapons are being sent to Pakistan’s various locales, who are regularly conducting suicide attacks, targeted killings, and ethnic and sectarian violence in Pakistan.

America and India are particularly assisting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and another separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers). Jundollah has kidnapped and murdered a number of Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. This insurgent group has not only been committing acts of sabotage in Pakistan, but also in the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

In particular, Balochistan’s mineral resources and geo-strategic location with the Gwadar seaport, connecting the rest of the world with Central and South Asia, have further attracted the gaze of the US and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. However, it is due to multiple strategic designs that the US, which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to control Balochistan, contain China and subdue Iran. Besides, America which has emerged as a potential military supplier to India, has lifted sanctions on New Delhi in regrads to importing nuclear technology. America also agreed to sell India the most expensive — the new F-35 – fighter jets and other latest equipment.

It is worth mentioning that on February 17, 2012 Dana Rohrabacher introduced a House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives calling upon Pakistan to “recognise the right to self-determination for Balochistan.” Recently he has also co-authored an article favouring an independent Balochistan. On the other side, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the foreign office spokesman and other political leaders have strongly condemned the US Congressional resolution, calling it, “provocative, “against Pakistan’s sovereignty” and “intervention in the country’s internal affairs.”

The US double game with Pakistan could be judged from the fact that at present Islamabad is redefining its relationship with Washington after the US-led NATO air attack on Pakistan Army border posts in Mohmand Agency.

While America has also requested Islamabad to play a key role in the peace talks with Afghan militants, recognising the fact that without Pakistan’s help stability will not be achieved in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014. On the other side, the US has again started drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas, which have killed several people in the past few weeks.

After assessing the emerging ground realties and sinister designs of America, a shift has already occurred in the foreign policy of Pakistan. In this respect, Islamabad, which has already strengthened its relationship with China and signed a number of agreements with Beijing in various sectors including the defence, has also cultivated its relations with the Russian Federation. During the trip of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to Russia on February 9 of this year, the latter stated that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was an exceptionally important forum in the region to counter regional challenges. Moscow and Islamabad also agreed to enhance bilateral relations in diverse fields. In the subsequent summits, the leaders of the SCO, especially China and Russia, have displayed strength against US dominance in the region and NATO’s military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of Central Asia.

Nonetheless, although Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan seek to promote regional cooperation for the development of their nations, yet US secret diplomacy is likely to sabotage their positive approach.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. rosemerry
    February 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    “the US, which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008,” Dubya illegally aiding another non-NPT state to extend its nukes, while 600million Indians remain in poverty and illiteracy.

    Rohrabacher is the one who told the Iraqis they needed to pay for the care given to them in the last decade or more by the USA! They chased him away. Now he wants to remove part of Pakistan. We could suggest disuniting the “USA”.

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