THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
July 12, 2009
The New York Times

Another Insurgency Gains in Pakistan

by Carlotta Gall

TURBAT, Pakistan -- Three local political leaders were seized from a small legal office here in April, handcuffed, blindfolded and hustled into a waiting pickup truck in front of their lawyer and neighboring shopkeepers. Their bodies, riddled with bullets and badly decomposed in the scorching heat, were found in a date palm grove five days later.

Local residents are convinced that the killings were the work of the Pakistani intelligence agencies, and the deaths have provided a new spark for revolt across Baluchistan, a vast and restless province in Pakistan's southwest where the government faces yet another insurgency.

Although not on the same scale as the Taliban insurgency in the northwest, the conflict in Baluchistan is steadily gaining ground. Politicians and analysts warn that it presents a distracting second front for the authorities, drawing off resources, like helicopters, that the United States provided Pakistan to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Baluch nationalists and some Pakistani politicians say the Baluch conflict holds the potential to break the country apart - Baluchistan makes up a third of Pakistan's territory - unless the government urgently deals with years of pent up grievances and stays the hand of the military and security services.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Baluch were rounded up in a harsh regime of secret detentions and torture under President Pervez Musharraf, who left office last year. Human rights groups and Baluch activists say those abuses have continued under President Asif Ali Zardari, despite promises to heal tensions. . . .

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[Balochistan's strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.--Michel Chossudovsky, "The Destabilization of Pakistan," Centre for Research on Globalisation, December 30, 2007]

[Question: From your comments it appears that Balach and Mengal are heading the resurrected BLA and the BLA has been revived by the Americans and Russians to create trouble in Balochistan but could you give us any coherent reasons for going to such great lengths for disturbing Pakistan that is supposed to be a frontline ally of the United States on its war against terrorism?

Misha and Sasha: Frontline ally? Are you kidding? Americans are using Pakistan and Pakistanis would soon find it out if they have not already. Americans don't need that kind of allies and they have made it abundantly clear for anyone who can read their policy goals correctly. Let them deal with Iran and you would see. If there can be any desirable American ally in that region, that is Iran - Iran under a different regime, and they are working to that end. Except for Balochistan, the rest of Pakistan is useless for them.--Tariq Saeedi et al, "Unveiling the Mystery of Balochistan Insurgency," pakalert, February 6, 2009]

[India needs energy, and the natural source is Iran. And, in fact, they're discussing an Iran-to-India pipeline. But if you could get natural gas flowing from Central Asia to India, avoiding Iran, that would support the US policy,--"Noam Chomsky on US Expansion of Afghan Occupation, the Uses of NATO," democracynow.org, April 3, 2009]

[An immense desert comprising almost 48% of Pakistan's area, rich in uranium and copper, potentially very rich in oil, and producing more than one-third of Pakistan's natural gas, it accounts for less than 4% of Pakistan's 173 million citizens. . . .

Strategically, Balochistan is mouth-watering: east of Iran, south of Afghanistan, and boasting three Arabian sea ports, including Gwadar, practically at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.

Gwadar - a port built by China - is the absolute key. It is the essential node in the crucial, ongoing, and still virtual Pipelineistan war between IPI and TAPI. IPI is the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, also known as the "peace pipeline", which is planned to cross from Iranian to Pakistani Balochistan - an anathema to Washington. TAPI is the perennially troubled, US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, which is planned to cross western Afghanistan via Herat and branch out to Kandahar and Gwadar.--Pepe Escobar, "Balochistan is the ultimate prize," Asia Times, May 9, 2009]

[So whoever "wins" Balochistan incorporates Pakistan as a key transit corridor to either Iranian gas from the monster South Pars field or a great deal of the Caspian wealth of "gas republic" Turkmenistan.--Robert D. Crane, "Baluchistan: Pivot of Asia, Revisited," theamericanmuslim.org, May 9, 2009]

[Now that's as classic as the New Great Game in Eurasia can get. There's NATO vs the SCO. With either IPI or TAPI, Turkmenistan wins. With either IPI or TAPI, Russia loses. With either IPI or TAPI, Pakistan wins. With TAPI, Iran loses. With IPI, Afghanistan loses. In the end, however, as in any game of high stakes Pipelineistan poker, it all comes down to the top two global players. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets: will the winner be Washington or Beijing?--Pepe Escobar, "Pipelineistan goes Af-Pak," Asia Times, May 14, 2009]

Jason Ditz, "Baloch Separatist Group Stopped Getting al-Qaeda Aid in 2003, Then Started Getting US Aid," antiwar.com, August 25, 2009

[CIA's mouthpieces in the US media and the Web have been activated to give maximum punch to US threats of bombing Quetta and convincing the international public opinion of the veracity of US intelligence on the presence of Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden in Balochistan.--Ahmed Quraishi,"US strikes will 'impact' Pak military," Nation, October 3, 2009]

[Jundallah is a Baloch separatist group which operates on both the Iranian and Pakistani sides of the border. The group, which once boasted of ties with al-Qaeda, has been supported by the United States since at least 2005.--Jason Ditz, "Six Iranian Commanders Among 49 Killed in Suicide Bombing: US-Backed Jundallah Reportedly Claims Credit," Guardian, October 18, 2009]

Robert Tait and Mark Tran, "Iran blames Pakistan and west for deadly suicide bombing," Guardian, October 19, 2009

[ . . . there is ample evidence that the George W. Bush administration was deeply involved in funding Jundallah. . . .

Since the 1990s, the U.S. has supported the construction of a pipeline from Central Asia through Afghanistan to Pakistan and the Indian Ocean, in order to transport natural gas from that region to international markets. . . .

But Iran and Pakistan have signed an agreement to construct a pipeline from southern Iran to Pakistan for transporting Iran's natural gas to Pakistan.--Muhammad Sahimi, "Jundallah and the Geopolitics of Energy," antiwar.com, October 20, 2009]

[Pakistan, which like its neighbor India has a nuclear arsenal and is not a signatory to the NPT, has long been rankled by India's deal, wanting one of its own with the US. . . .

There will be a price: the US, according to analysts who spoke to Asia Times Online, wants Pakistan to walk away from the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.--Syed Fazl-e-Haider, "US dangles Pakistan a carrot," Guardian, March 26, 2010]

[Despite opposition from the US, Pakistan signed an agreement with Iran on June 13 to go ahead with a $US7.6 billion gas pipeline between the two countries that will provide a desperately-needed supply of energy to Pakistan from 2014. The deal cuts across Washington's efforts to isolate Iran economically through UN Security Council sanctions and its own unilateral penalties against Tehran's nuclear programs.--Sarath Kumara, "US opposes Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline," wsws.org, July 9, 2010]

[The hearing, headed by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) focused on questions of human rights abuses in Pakistan's largest province, but also brought renewed attention to calls by Rep. Rohrabacher and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) for the US to impose independence on Balochistan.--Jason Ditz, "Pakistan: US Balochistan Hearing 'Meddling'," antiwar.com, February 13, 2012]

Farrukh Saleem, "CIA carving out new role in Balochistan," thenews.com.pk, February 27, 2012

Jason Ditz, "125 Killed in Pakistan Bombings," antiwar.com, January 10, 2013

Abdul Sattar and Riaz Khan, "Thousands of Shiites Protest 89 Killed in Pakistan," abcnews.go.com, February 17, 2013

Tony Cartalucci, "Baluchistan, Target of Western geopolitical interests, Terror wave coincides with Gwadar Port handover to China," globalresearch.ca, February 18, 2013

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