Shireen Mazari Launches A Workshop To Explain New Threats To Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy

January 27, 2011

There is a strange silence in the Pakistani capital on new US-mounted nuclear pressures, but Pakistani diplomats and nuclear experts are speaking up where the Pakistani state is silent.

GULPARI NAZISH MEHSUD
WWW.PAKNATIONALISTS.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan-There are new pressures on Pakistan to limit its ability to maintain a credible nuclear deterrence. These pressures are coming from the Conference on Disarmament, or CD as it is known, that opens today in Geneva. The United States is working on two tracks. One is to induct India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and end the last barrier that stops India from procuring nuclear technology and material in the open market. And two, use international treaties to force Pakistan to freeze Pakistani nukes at their current size and potential.

While US officials use public diplomacy to send messages through Radio Pakistan and other arms of the pro-US government in Islamabad claiming Washington has no interest in targeting the Pakistani nuclear program, US actions speak louder about the actual US policy toward Pakistan’s strategic capabilities.

The Pakistani government is maintaining a strange silence on the new pressures on its nuclear capabilities. Other departments of the government that shape Pakistan’s nuclear policy, like the Nuclear Command Authority, are also silent apparently in deference to the incumbent government.

To break this silence, a Pakistani nuclear expert Dr. Shireen Mazari took the initiative to sensitize the Pakistani media about the new developments in Geneva. She organized a one-day closed-door briefing for senior Pakistani journalists. Over eight hours, participants were briefed about the new pressures on Pakistani diplomacy on the country’s nuclear program. The workshop covered Pakistan’s position on a new treaty, called FMCT, that would stop Islamabad from developing material needed to build nuclear weapons, a treaty that Islamabad is resisting for the time being. Participants also went through the evidence-based record of India in nuclear proliferation which belies Washington’s claims that India has a clean proliferation record.

But Dr. Mazari is not alone. Ambassador Zamir Akram has told CD that Pakistan does not accept the US-led tilt in favor of India on nuclear technology. In Islamabad, an eminent former top diplomat of Pakistan, former foreign minister Mr. Inam-ul-Haq, joined in conducting the workshop. Strategic Technology Resource, which organized the workshop and is headed by Dr. Mazari, plans to offer Pakistani legislators similar exposure to position them to understand government policy.

The diplomatic correspondent of The News Mariana Baabar wrote an excellent report on the workshop and on Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts in Geneva. The report is reproduced below:

Pakistan Not Interested In Disarmament Conference

By Mariana Baabar

As the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the world’s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, holds the first public plenary of its 2011 session on Tuesday (January 25) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, how well informed is the civilian government, political parties, parliamentarians and the civil society in Pakistan?

Traditionally, it is the National Command Authority (NCA), a military dominated and controlled organisation set up by Pervez Musharraf, which is responsible for ‘policy formulation and the exercise of employment and development control over all strategic nuclear forces and strategic organisations’.

There is neither any interest nor debate on strategic matters in our nuclear state. The last time loud public voices were heard in support to test a nuclear device, completely drowning out those who were against the nuclear test.

Normally, mere statements are issued by the ISPR, NCA and the Foreign Office, while some experts do respond to queries of journalists. Worse, this highly complex and specialised field remains in the domain of the military, though heading it is the prime minister and a clutch of federal ministers, who are quite satisfied with their symbolic presence and have never opted to inform the parliament on Pakistan’s position.

To change this mindset and allow transparency and space for debate, the Strategic Technology Resource (STR), a recently set up organisation, held a one day workshop, ‘Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Beyond’, to familiarise journalists on co-related issues like CTBT, FMCT and other issues.

It’s CEO Dr Shireen Mazari and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Inamul Haq who explained why 2011 would be a difficult year for Pakistan when pressure will be increased specially wtih regard to FMCT.

The speakers underlined fears that like in the past, the United States could take the FMCT out of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the United Nations, as it became frustrated with its present slow pace.

The NCA’s stand on FMCT is that ‘Pakistan’s position will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia. Selective and discriminatory measures that perpetuate regional instability, in any form and manner, derogate from the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and; therefore, cannot be accepted or endorsed. Pakistan will not support any approach or measure that is prejudicial to its legitimate national security interests’.

Mazari called for the policymakers to take a consistent stand on issues unlike in the past. She also said today’s environment called for Pakistan’s specific thinking on strategic issues and not necessarily linked to India as had been the norm.

“I will like our media to be aware and knowledgeable enough to respond to the debate in the international media on these issues, specially when it pertains to Pakistan, instead of dutifully publishing western reports,” she added.

A media kit was distributed which contained interesting facts and figures. Included were authentic reports on India’s proliferation record, Japan’s nuclear doublespeak, a letter written by Pakistan’s permanent representative in Vienna to member states of IAEA and copies of statements delivered by Ambassador Zamir Akram at a past Conference on Disarmament.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will address the conference on Wednesday. According to the UN, like in previous years, the items on the agenda of the conference in 2011 will be cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms race in outer space; effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, radiological weapons; comprehensive programme of disarmament; transparency in armaments; and consideration and adoption of the annual report and any other report, as appropriate, to the General Assembly of the United Nations.


Facing multiple threats

February 23, 2010

AT a time when India continues with its aggressive military posturing and the US policy in the region becomes more threatening to Pakistan’s stability, it was comforting to hear the Chief of Air Staff, PAF, state that the PAF had acquired the ability to respond to contingencies in a short span of time and was now in a state of readiness for “precise and effects-based” responses. Clearly the coordinated exercises with the Pakistan army have created a force multiplier for the Pakistan military, especially in terms of dealing with unconventional threats and counter terrorism.

Accompanying this new dimension of threat, Pakistan cannot afford to ignore the traditional source of threat that is India. India has been seeking strategies of fighting a war with Pakistan within a nuclear environment – ranging from limited war to Cold Start. However, as Dr A Q Khan has reiterated, Pakistan has the capability to inflict unacceptable damage to India in nuclear terms. This is a reaffirmation of the viability and credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence, despite efforts to undermine it through nuclear and military deals external powers like the US have made with India.

Yet, the country cannot afford to take this credibility for granted. Too much has been sacrificed by this nation to acquire its nuclear deterrence and maintain its credibility, for any Pakistani leadership to take it for granted, or to attempt to compromise it deliberately or unwittingly. Even now, the US is desperately seeking to control the Pakistani nuclear assets. Despite its sophisticated surveillance abilities, it has not been able to ascertain clearly where these assets are placed and in what state of readiness. So they have been floating different trial balloons including a rumour that they had been given a virtual location of these assets.

v Clearly, Pakistan needs to continuously bolster its nuclear assets to keep its deterrence credible at a minimum level – the latter also shifting in response to developments by India. It is as important to simply stop issuing statements on this nuclear capability or explanations. We need to do whatever is necessary quietly, professionally with no political point scoring on this count.

Equally, in order to meet the new multidimensional threats Pakistan needs to sustain a credible conventional capability, especially in terms of fighting unconventional threats. In this context, air power becomes a critical strategic force, not merely a tactical support for the army. The indigenisation taking place in terms of weapons systems both in relation to the PAF and the army has been a crucial factor in keeping our deterrence credible and our conventional forces up to meeting the new challenges coming their way. Now if only we can bolster our democratic political environment, we need fear no neo-imperial intrusions.


Indian involvement in Balochistan to figure in talks

February 17, 2010

Pakistan Daily

Though no conditions have been set for the dialogue with India , a number of issues including Kashmir dispute, water, terrorism and bilateral trade would come under discussion during the upcoming meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries.

Talking to media on Monday, the FO spokesman Abdul Basit said Indian involvement in FATA and Balochistan would also be discussed.

He said it was still not clear what India wanted. He said India has wasted one year by discontinuing talks with Pakistan.

There were no chances of a meeting between Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers in near future, he added.Foreign Office spokesman said the Indian proposal for resuming secretary-level talks was appreciable in the current situation. He said Pakistan was not hesitant in discussing terror related issues as proposed by India. However, Kashmir dispute would have to be resolved for absolute peace in the region. To another question he termed the statement of Indian Minister Krishna a positive step for composite dialogue and said terrorism was a global and regional phenomena and also a big challenge for world. For resolution of this issue we needed cooperation of all regional countries.To a question, he said a major change had been observed in the US policy for Pakistan . The American people also wanted an end to drone strikes.


Turnaround on Taliban

January 27, 2010

THE contrariness of US policy towards the Taliban continues to heighten. While Pakistan is still being subjected to the “do more” in terms of expansion of military operations in FATA against the Taliban, the US itself is moving closer to dialoguing with certain groups of Taliban. General McChrystal, in an interview with Britain’s Financial Times has stated very categorically that they are looking towards a negotiated peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is merely a reflection of US Defence Secretary’s admission last week that the Taliban were part of Afghanistan’s “political fabric”. Of course McChrystal thinks that with the troop surge, the US can create an arc of secure territory that will allow the US to negotiate from a position of strength with the Taliban – but regardless, one can expect some dialogue to begin with the Afghan Taliban. Interestingly, Britain’s Miliband has made it clear that his country has reverted to its old colonial policy of “divide and rule” and has made it a part of their strategy to divide the Afghan Taliban – presumably to talk to the so-called “good” Taliban! Whatever the strategy, both the US and Britain have come to a clear conclusion that without a dialogue with the Taliban, there can be no peace in Afghanistan. Given how Britain eventually even negotiated with the IRA, despite its massive terrorist attacks that extended to England and also killed a member of the Royal Family, Lord Mountbatten; negotiating with the Taliban is something that should not pose a problem for them.

So why is it then that the US and UK are so opposed to Pakistan talking to its own militants in order to separate them from the foreign militants and the diehard terrorists? After all, the Army’s dialogue with the Mehsud tribesmen has resulted in their agreeing to hand over members of the TTP, including Hakimullah Mehsud if they caught him. So, clearly the US/UK intent vis a vis Pakistan is at the very least questionable when Pakistan is told to “do more, purely in terms of a military offensive, and the US increases drone strikes, killing more Pakistani civilians than militants. This is a recipe for expanding the destabilisation, militancy and extremism within the country – as we are already seeing. That is why the time has come for Pakistan to delink itself from the US ‘war on terror’ and evolve its own indigenous and holistic strategies for combating the menace of extremism and violence. While the US and UK are evolving strategies to talk to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the top UN Envoy in Afghanistan has urged Afghan officials to seek removal of senior Taliban leaders from the UN terror list; and the US to review the detention of 750 Bagram prisoners – a major grievance of the Taliban. So is the ground being prepared for a US-Taliban dialogue and will Pakistan once again be left with the destructive remains of a failed US policy?


Haiti needs water, not occupation

January 22, 2010

The US has never wanted Haitian self-rule, and its focus on ‘security concerns’ has hampered the earthquake aid response

Mark Weisbrot

On Monday, six days after the earthquake in Haiti, the US Southern Command finally began to drop bottled water and food from an air force C-17. US defence secretary Robert Gates had previously rejected such a method because of “security concerns”.

If people do not get clean water, there could be epidemics of water-borne diseases that could greatly increase the death toll. But the US is now sending 10,000 troops and seems to be prioritising “security” over much more urgent, life-and-death needs. This in addition to the increase of 3,500 UN troops scheduled to arrive.

On Sunday morning the world-renowned humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders complained that a plane carrying its portable hospital unit was re-routed by the US military through the Dominican Republic. This would cost a crucial 48 hours and an unknown number of lives.

On Sunday, Jarry Emmanuel, air logistics officer for the UN’s World Food Programme, said: “There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti … But most flights are for the US military.”

Yet Lieutenant General PK Keen, deputy commander of the US Southern Command, reports that there is less violence in Haiti now than there was before the earthquake hit. Dr Evan Lyon, of Partners in Health, a medical aid group famous for its heroic efforts in Haiti, referred to “misinformation and rumours … and racism” concerning security issues.

We’ve been circulating throughout the city until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning every night, evacuating patients, moving materials. There’s no UN guards. There’s no US military presence. There’s no Haitian police presence. And there’s also no violence. There is no insecurity.

To understand the US government’s obsession with “security concerns,” we must look at the recent history of Washington’s involvement there.

Long before the earthquake, Haiti’s plight has been comparable to that of many homeless people on city streets in the US: too poor and too black to have the same effective constitutional and legal rights as other citizens. In 2002, when a US-backed military coup temporarily toppled the elected government of Venezuela, most governments in the hemisphere responded quickly and helped force the return of democratic rule. But two years later, when Haiti’s democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped by the US and flown to exile in Africa, the response was muted.

Unlike the two centuries of looting and pillage of Haiti since its founding by a slave revolt in 1804, the brutal occupation by US marines from 1915 to 1934, the countless atrocities under dictatorships aided and abetted by Washington, the 2004 coup cannot be dismissed as “ancient history.” It was just six years ago, and it is directly relevant to what is happening there now.

The US, together with Canada and France, conspired openly for four years to topple Haiti’s elected government, cutting off almost all international aid in order to destroy the economy and make the country ungovernable. They succeeded. For those who wonder why there are no Haitian government institutions to help with the earthquake relief efforts, this is a big reason. Or why there are 3 million people crowded into the area where the earthquake hit. US policy over the years also helped destroy Haitian agriculture, for example, by forcing the import of subsidised US rice and wiping out thousands of Haitian rice farmers.

Aristide, the country’s first democratically elected president, was overthrown after just seven months in 1991, by military officers and death squads later discovered to be in the pay of the CIA. Now Aristide wants to return to his country, something that the majority of Haitians have demanded since his overthrow. But the US does not want him there. And the René Préval government, which is completely beholden to Washington, has decided that Aristide’s party – the largest in Haiti – will not be allowed to compete in the next elections (originally scheduled for next month).

Washington’s fear of democracy in Haiti may explain why the US is now sending 10,000 troops and prioritising “security” over other needs.

This military occupation by US troops will raise other concerns in the hemisphere, depending on how long they stay – just as the recent expansion of the US military presence in Colombia has been met with considerable discontent and distrust in the region. And non-governmental organisations have raised other issues about the proposed reconstruction: understandably they want Haiti’s remaining debt cancelled, and grants rather than loans (the IMF has proposed a $100m dollar loan). Reconstruction needs will be in the billions of dollars: will Washington encourage the establishment of a functioning government? Or will it prevent that, channelling aid through NGOs and taking over various functions itself, because it of its long-standing opposition to Haitian self-rule?

But most urgently, there is a need for rapid delivery of water. The US air force has the capability to deliver enough water for everyone who needs it in Haiti, until ground supply chains can be established. The more water is available, the less likely there is to be fighting or rioting over this scarce resource. Food and medical supplies could also be supplied through air drops. These operations should be ramped up, immediately. There is no time to lose.


THE AMERICAN DECEPTION IN AFGHANISTAN

December 14, 2009

PACKED UP AND TOOK THEIR SHOW “ON THE ROAD”

“AL QAEDA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING”

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Our intelligence estimates that Al Qaeda is no longer a threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are gone. There are no terrorists for the Taliban to protect, no threat to America from the region and no reason for us to be fighting. It is all a lie, we know it is a lie and we admit it is a lie. Tuesday, Secretary of State Clinton told Congress how money the US pays the Taliban to protect our supply lines is one of their major sources of funding:

“You know, when we are so dependent upon long supply lines … where everything has to be imported … much of the corruption is fueled by the money that has poured into that country over the last eight years. You offload a ship in Karachi, muffins for our soldiers’ breakfast or anti-IED equipment — gets to where we’re headed, it goes through a lot of hands….one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money.”

The “surge” and the massive supply increase to support it can only make this worse, give more funding to the Taliban, help it grow, recruit and spread. More than that, we were never in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, we were there to stop Al Qaeda and to play “Where’s Waldo” with Osama bin Laden.

Former CIA and Defense analyst, Dr. Philip Giraldi sums up the situation best:

“Monday’s revelation from Defense Secretary Robert Gates that “I think it has been years” since the US government has had any solid information about Osama bin Laden. Many analysts both inside and outside of the government have become convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead and has been so for quite some time.

They base this perception on the same non-evidence that Gates cites, i.e. that there has been no solid information on bin Laden or his whereabouts since late 2001. It is widely believed that videos and recordings featuring his image and voice could well be clever composites.

Even the redoubtable General Stanley McChrystal, relying on the paucity of al-Qaeda sightings and the intelligence void, has estimated that there are likely fewer than 100 al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Pakistani intelligence sources, who are almost certainly better informed than their American counterparts, believe that there is only a tiny al-Qaeda presence inside their own country

If bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is shadow of what it once was then the whole justification for maintaining 100,000 soldiers and a nearly equal number of contractors in Afghanistan at ruinous expense becomes a fiction.

Most intelligence analysts who follow terrorism issues seriously would admit that the terrorism issue has been consistently overhyped and that it is also receding due to concerted action by a number of governments since 2001 combined with diminishing appeal among young Muslims.

So Secretary Gates has inadvertently let the cat out of the bag even though the mainstream media apparently has not yet figured it out. He has revealed that the war on terror is dead, or at least it should be. But rather than breathe a sigh of relief, rest assured that the word “terrorism” will be trotted out periodically to scare the public and keep the long war going.”

If this analysis, not only by the CIA and Department of Defense, but Pakistani Intelligence is correct, and the observations by Secretary of State Clinton as reported to Congress are also correct, then every aspect of US policy is not only irrational but destructive and even delusional.

screenhunter_04_dec._10_16.51

With the only possible scenario resulting from the “surge” to be strengthening the Taliban and simultaneously creating a 20 year war, as stated by President Karzai, with an 18 month “exit timetable” as stated by President Obama, it is obvious that an agenda neither tied to regional stabilization or defeat of terrorist forces is at the heart of US policymaking.

An analysis of our “nation building” projects under the USAID has proven efforts to have been, not only flawed and self defeating but, in fact, hopeless. An article in the Washington Post states:

In hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clinton said that there has been a 10-month investigation of what USAID was doing on the ground in Afghanistan, and that “we didn’t particularly come away impressed.” Many of the 300 civilians there were on six-month rotations and did not have well-defined missions, and many spent time out of the country, she said. More important, Clinton added, “most of our civilian aid going into Afghanistan had been contracted out without adequate oversight or accountability.”

With bin Laden long dead, Al Qaeda no longer in the region and the Taliban dependent on the US presence for recruiting and US funding for operations and funds earmarked for “nation building” being misused and falling into the hands of, not only corrupt officials but the Taliban itself, the rationale for, not only our proposed “surge” but our continued presence in the region is in question.

Nearly all terrorism experts agree that any effort to stem the growth of current threats requires a refocus on North Africa, not Afghanistan or Pakistan. Our failure to adequately address real threats based on slavish adherence to failed policy, misinformation and a possible agenda involving a long term plan to support regional destabilization of, not only Iran but Pakistan as well, is believed by many to be more at the root of American interests in the region.

Baluchistan, a separatist region of Pakistan, now heavily involved in the Afghan insurgency along with attacks into Iran lies directly in the path of America’s proposed military operations.

This region, rich in natural gas, coal, copper, uranium and believed to contain massive oil reserves, was originally intended to receive its independence in 1947. Since that time, numerous separatist groups, aided by the CIA, MI-6, the RAW (India’s “CIA”) and, perhaps even the Mossad, have been active there.

Pakistani military analyst, General Asif Haroon Raja believes the US is planning cross border incursions intended to put this region of Pakistan located along the Iranian border under American domination

.

General Raja has indicated that many of the Predator drone attacks launched by US forces operating from airfields in this region are intended to inflame increased insurgency and are not targeted at either Taliban or terrorist groups.

“Areas in Waziristan which are presently quiet and neutral are being provoked through drone attacks to make them restive. The US is pressing Pakistan to shift more troops from its eastern border and to start operations in North and South Waziristan where it alleges most insurgents have fled.

It is trying to create conditions wherein Pakistan Army is compelled to fight the combined force of Maulvi Nazir, Hakimullah Mehsud and Gul Bahadur, thus creating a united front would ease up pressure on Hakimullah led TTP, which is in disarray, a disaster for both Pakistan and the US.

The US also wants the Pakistani Army in Baluchistan to shift its focus from Baluch held areas where RAW-CIA-MI-6 backed separatist movement is raging and to concentrate towards peaceful Pashtun areas including Quetta where it suspects Afghan Shura (Tribal council) is hiding.

The US-NATO forces after their failed operation in Helmand are expected to launch another operation in that province once additional US troops arrive so as to force the militants to flee to neighbouring Pashtun belt of Baluchistan and make it volatile.”

The gist of this is that the US and “friends” are believed to have designs on this area that can only be realized by gutting Pakistan. Credible sources within Pakistan claim that Blackwater, along with other groups have been tied to terrorist operations against military, intelligence and civilian targets inside Pakistan as part of an operation meant to destabilize Pakistan. Major groups within, not only the military and intelligence community but the current civilian government who normally attribute the daily terrorist acts occurring across Pakistan to India are now reassessing their positions.

One thing is clear. The Bush era policies that appear to be continued, to some degree by the Obama administration, not only under the guise of counter-terrorism but purported to support regional stability and promotion of democracy are now exposed for what they are, serving an agenda of no clear advantage to America or her allies. Thus, we await the real players to show their faces.

Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.


‘Noble’ Obama’s Nobel Prize

December 11, 2009

GREG MATTHEWS-007

IF intentions are the criteria for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize then Obama was definitely one of the contenders. If the requirement is actual deeds and actions then perhaps he does not qualify. The President has been long on rhetoric and woefully short on action. It must, however, be admitted that the conflicts that overshadow peace are protracted and intractable.

President Obama’s speech in support of non-proliferation and disarmament remains a speech with no follow up action. If anything India has been encouraged on the nuclear track set for it with the Bush administrations hare brained and blatantly discriminatory Civil Technology Nuclear Agreement. Thanks to the precedence set, India is going ahead with other such agreements with Russia, Canada and Australia. The entire non-proliferation regime has been stood on its head. Obama should have used his diplomatic and oratory skills to put across his views if he really wants peace. As it is India is muddying the waters in Afghanistan and through Afghanistan in Pakistan and contributing to a situation in which many are dying. Messrs Mullen and McChrystal have been more outspoken!

Read Complete Article : http://gregmatthews007.newsvine.com/_news/2009/12/11/3618545-noble-obamas-nobel-prize


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