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Mediate for peace in Kashmir

Mediation is "a form of conflict management in which a third party assists two or more contending parties to find a solution without resorting to force." In international affairs it is a process designed to encourage opposing nations to avoid conflict by placing their arguments, usually about territorial disputes, before an independent tribunal which can weigh evidence and deliver a ruling that will settle the dispute, under law.

There have been cases in which mediation, arbitration, third party involvement - call it what we will - removed the likely causes of war between two countries, and it is obvious that if there were more arbitration there would be less conflict. In this dreadful world, so

full of confrontation, hatred and barbarity, anything that will reduce the chances of conflict must be considered laudable by all but the certifiably insane.

At the moment one of the major international concerns is the confrontation between India and Pakistan, both of which are busily testing yet more nuclear-capable missiles. Much of the world had hoped that India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, would - in spite of his nationalistic tendencies - lay down his cudgels and take up an olive branch, but this has not happened. It was reported that the reason for termination of dialogue was that Pakistan's high commissioner in Delhi, Abdul Basit (a man of outstanding ability, incidentally), met with Indian citizens who seek resolution of the India-Pakistan dispute over the territory of Kashmir.

So Delhi cancelled a scheduled meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries, and even the demonstrably India-supportive United States was moved to describe the decision as "unfortunate". There has not been interaction between the prime ministers who constantly jet around the world visiting so many leaders - all sorts of leaders, in fact, except the one next door with whom contact is so important. And the sticking point, the seemingly insoluble difference that stops movement towards rapprochement, is the territory of Kashmir.

At a press conference, Basit stated that "Kashmiris are legitimate stakeholders in finding a peaceful solution to the issue," which seems pretty fair, given that the future of the Kashmiri people is at stake and that a peaceful solution is infinitely preferable to resolution by conflict. But India's Ministry of External Affairs, conducting diplomacy by tweet, posted that "there are only two 'stakeholders' on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir - India and Pakistan. None [sic] else." And that sums up the problem : India believes that the people of Kashmir are irrelevant to the dispute that has destroyed so many Kashmiri lives.

The historian Alastair Lamb wrote that the dispute began "as a contest over rights to a territory, not the struggle to establish the wishes of a people." Yet it is a determination of the United Nations that "We, the peoples" should "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," and it is evident that the issue of Kashmir is the most likely catalyst for conflict in the Sub-continent.

The territory of Kashmir has been in dispute between India and Pakistan since most of it was awarded to India after Independence in 1947. There is no point in going into detail about the historical background, and it is sufficient to state that the matter remains on the books of the UN Security Council, which passed a resolution agreeing with India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the matter of accession to India or Pakistan should be decided by the people because, as Nehru said so wisely, "Kashmir should decide question of accession by plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as those of the United Nations."

Nothing of the sort has happened, and both countries blame each other for the continuing standoff which has caused useless wars between them. Countless numbers of citizens of both countries, civilians and soldiers, have died for nothing because of the Kashmir dispute, and it is the touch-paper for wider conflict in the subcontinent. The local exchanges of fire taking place could easily develop into wider engagements that could escalate to war. So it would be very sensible to have the Kashmir dispute resolved.

At the UN General Assembly in October 2014 Pakistan's representative said:

Pakistan is willing to engage India in a comprehensive dialogue to normalize relations between the two countries by finding an amicable solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Peaceful resolution of this dispute is imperative for durable peace and stability in South Asia.
That seems reasonable. But India's representative stated that this was "untenable", reiterating India's position that that there should be no third party mediation. The official stance, emphasized by India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh, is that "Pakistan has accepted a resolution in National Assembly asking for UN's intervention ... but if there is a problem it should be resolved through bilateral talks."
According to Singh, Pakistan is trying to "internationalize the Kashmir issue," which is a non-sequitur, a logical fallacy, because the dispute was referred to the UN Security Council more than 60 years ago and has remained on its agenda ever since.

The original Resolutions on Kashmir have never been questioned by the Security Council. They have not been modified, never mind canceled. The fact that the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP, created in 1949) continues in being is evidence that the UN is involved in the Kashmir dispute. (Which is not acceptable to India which, unlike Pakistan, denies UNMOGIP's observers access to the Line of Control dividing the disputed territory and has recently tried to close down its office in Delhi.)

For more than 60 years it has not been possible for the Kashmir problem to be resolved bilaterally, and it is impossible that it could ever be resolved in that manner. It is a most serious situation and the Indian official offhand line that "if there is a problem" is sadly inappropriate. There is room for negotiation, to be sure - but negotiation involving third parties, as has been so successful in the past in resolving disputes in which India has been involved.

For example, the Indus water treaty, drawn up in 1960 under the auspices of the World Bank, allocated distribution of water from the six rivers that run down from Tibet through India to Pakistan's Indus Basin. This was a prime example of successful mediation, and as the Guardian newspaper had it in 2002 : "It is true that some disputes between India and Pakistan appear intractable. But the Indus treaty is proof that these can be amicably solved. For peace, both sides must accept that water must never become a weapon of war." The mediated Treaty is still in force. It removed a source (literally) of dispute. And it proves that third party mediation works in reducing the possibility of war.

Then there was the India-Pakistan dispute about the Rann of Kutch, a totally sterile and economically and strategically useless area of land (like the Siachen Glacier) about which it seemed there would be everlasting dispute. But both countries - encouraged by British prime minister Harold Wilson - agreed to arbitration by the UN. The UN Tribunal reached its decision in February 1968 and awarded some 10% of the disputed territory to Pakistan, which was a most satisfactory outcome for India.

More recently there was the Bay of Bengal dispute between India and Bangladesh, settled through The Arbitration Tribunal on the India-Bangladesh Maritime Delimitation, which delivered its ruling on July 7, 2014. The tribunal was set up "under the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, in the matter of the Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary Delimitation between India and Bangladesh." The decision of the court was accepted by both countries and was a shining example of dispute-solving through mediation.

Yet on Kashmir, as stated by US Special Representative James Dobbins in May 2014, India has "consistently rejected any third-party mediation and argued that this is an issue that needs to be negotiated directly and without the participation of any third party."

India's foreign minister declared in October that "There is no way in which India will accept any intervention on an issue that is entirely accepted in the Simla Agreement as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan ... It is a waste of time for anybody no matter how eminent to be even trying to question it."

It is plainly incorrect to claim that that 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan excludes mediation, if only because it agreed that the "principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries" - and the UN Charter states that:

The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice. [Emphasis added.]
The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.
Does not the Kashmir "situation" fit precisely into that category?
It is obvious that India and Pakistan will never by themselves agree to a Kashmir solution and that the dispute has the potential to yet again cause war. And war in the subcontinent would inevitably escalate to nuclear exchanges that would kill millions of people.

It therefore makes sense to seek a solution by involving a third party. And that should be the International Court. Arbitration is the only path that can lead to reduction of tension and towards increased trust, trade and prosperity. Independent mediation is the only way to peace.

Brian Cloughley is a former soldier who writes on military and political affairs, mainly concerning the sub-continent. The fourth edition of his book A History of the Pakistan Army was published this year.

Mediate for peace in Kashmir
by BRIAN CLOUGHLEY, atimes.com
More on Kashmir :

The Army & Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan

SINCE 1947, Pakistan has passed through an unending sequence of critical junctures. Reeling from crisis to crisis, and plagued by war, the machinations of hostile external forces, and the depredations of uniformly corrupt and incompetent civilian governments, Pakistan has always been saved from complete and utter destruction by the timely and judicious intervention of the military, the only institution in the country possessing the expertise and wherewithal to address these complex problems. Even today, as Pakistan experiences yet another political impasse featuring intractable political forces engaged in an escalating cycle of antagonism, it may be the case that only the military possesses the deftness of touch and the maturity of outlook required to bring matters to a swift and efficacious conclusion.
Or so we are told. As Aqil Shah argues in The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan, the military’s continued involvement in Pakistani politics can be attributed, amongst other things, to its self-perception as the only organisation capable of defending Pakistan from the myriad threats, violent and otherwise, that it allegedly faces.
Drawing on a variety of different sources, including interviews of military personnel, declassified military documents, and educational materials and publications emerging out of the National Defence University, Shah convincingly demonstrates that the military’s belief in its unique ability to protect and pursue Pakistan’s national interests, defined in the broadest possible sense, has deep roots in the institutional culture of the organisation. When the military topples civilian governments or shapes foreign policy, it does not just do so to protect its corporate interests; while that may play a role in the military’s decision-making, Shah argues that the military genuinely possesses a sense of manifest destiny with regards to the role it has assumed as the guardian of Pakistan.
The problem with this, pointed out repeatedly over the course of the book, is that the role the military has historically played in Pakistan’s politics has been counterproductive at best. With a clarity and directness that is refreshing, The Army and Democracy attributes Pakistan’s lack of democratisation to the military’s formal and informal political interventions, further suggesting that this has, on the balance, greatly impacted the state’s ability to effectively resolve the perennial problems of ethnic conflict, governance, and growth that have blighted Pakistan’s history.
Indeed, as is demonstrated through a detailed, historical overview of the different episodes of military rule in Pakistan, the military has actively damaged democratic institutions and politics, co-opting and controlling different civilian actors through a combination of coercive and non-coercive measures. If Pakistan’s democratic governments appear to be led by poorly institutionalised political parties stuffed full of opportunistic patronage politicians, and if the courts, parliament, and civil society have historically been unable to rein in the military, it is largely because the military has prevented them from developing into more effective mechanisms through which to achieve substantive democratisation. The banning of political parties, the introduction of presidential forms of government, the dismissal of democratically elected leaders through the use of dubious constitutional amendments, and the suppression of alternative, radical forms of politics, are all routine features of military politics that have systematically undermined democracy in Pakistan.
In tracing out the dominance of the military in Pakistan, Shah goes over familiar ground when he outlines how the perceived threat posed by India, coupled with the ethnic tensions between East and West Pakistan that quickly surfaced after 1947, provided the predominantly Punjabi military with both the opportunity and the justification to play a more active role in Pakistan’s politics. In a departure from scholars like Hamza Alavi, whose arguments about the “overdeveloped” nature of the colonial state have often served as a starting point for understanding the power of the Pakistani military relative to civilian governments, Shah suggests that the country’s descent into authoritarianism was not inevitable. On the contrary, it was leaders in the Muslim League, including Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, who invoked the spectre of Indian aggression to legitimise attempts at centralising state power in the face of Bengali demands for greater autonomy and representation.
The identification of India as an existential threat to Pakistan, and the subordination of all other interests to the need to build an effective military, provided the armed forces with the means through which to strengthen their internal organisational coherence and establish an India-centric ideological worldview. It also reinforced biases, inherited from the colonial tradition, which viewed civilian politicians as being utterly incapable of dealing with the problems they confronted.
As the civilian government ceded increasing amounts of space to the military, particularly after the death of Liaquat Ali Khan, the military assumed a more central role with regards to the formulation of policy in a number of areas including the establishment of strategic ties with the United States in the context of the Cold War, and the form to be taken by the nascent federal system in Pakistan. Taking over responsibility for formulating responses to the external and, crucially, internal threats it believed Pakistan faced, the military developed as an institution that deliberately cultivated a mindset defined by a contempt for civilian politics and politicians, extreme suspicion with regards to India and other external forces, and a belief in the efficacy of violence in dealing with ethnic and ideological tensions within the country.
The wide-ranging nature of the military’s responsibilities in this early period, coupled with its almost unchallenged authority, allowed it to define ‘national interest’ and then cement its role as the entity best suited to pursuing it. Throughout the narrative that unfolds in The Army and Democracy, it becomes evident that even though circumstances have changed, and the military has often been forced to adapt to changed political environments, these beliefs remain the cornerstone of the military’s approach to understanding, and engaging in, politics.
The Army and Democracy is arguably at its most interesting and informative when it details the socialisation process that takes place within the military. Through his analysis of the military’s publications and training materials, as well as his interviews with military personnel, Shah provides a rare insight into the internal workings of the military mind. Whatever the original imperatives might have been that gave rise to the military’s dominance and worldview, it becomes clear that the perpetuation of these beliefs and ideas is the outcome of concerted efforts to inculcate them within the military’s rank and file.
The sociological approach Shah takes to understanding the military’s institutional norms, beliefs, and values is extremely useful because it helps to illuminate and explain many of the actions that its personnel take; for example, the military’s flagrant disregard for the Constitution and democracy makes more sense when recognising how the National Defence University’s curriculum for 2012-13 only devotes two hours (out of a total of 987) to explaining and understanding the Constitution, with only a fraction of this time being used to understand the military’s constitutional role. Similarly, when it comes to broader strategic questions, such as the wisdom of maintaining militant proxies in Afghanistan or the alleged role played by India in fomenting unrest in Balochistan, the policy papers and articles disseminated within the military play a fundamental role in fostering a culture that, as Shah points out, is steeped in “conspiracy and paranoia.”
Furthermore, the military has actively disseminated its beliefs throughout the rest of society, using the ISPR and close links with the media and journalists to align public opinion with its own strategic and political objectives. The demonisation of democratic politics, the hysterical approach to relations with India, and the enthusiasm for Islamisation that are now a central part of the public discourse are in no small part the result of the military’s efforts to garner greater legitimacy for itself.
For Shah, this institutional culture is also the primary impediment to the exercise of effective civilian power and oversight over the military. While there are a range of potential measures through which civilian governments could potentially exercise a check on the military, their chances of success are unlikely in the absence of the military’s own willingness to submit to such control. Again and again, throughout Pakistan’s history, attempts to reform the military and bring it within the ambit of civilian jurisdiction have failed, and have almost invariably prompted a backlash ranging from outright coups to the behind-the-scenes attempts to destabilise and weaken democratically elected leaders.
Even when the military has apparently been in retreat, as was the case after 1971, or has voluntarily ceded political space, such as in the aftermath of the Musharraf regime, Shah makes it clear that the military has always retained the option of undertaking more direct interventions while making use of other, informal means through which to discharge its self-appointed role as the custodian of national interest.
For all its attention to detail and scholarly insights, The Army and Democracy is an extremely accessible read that will undoubtedly be of great value to experts in the field as well as a more general audience. There are, however, two areas that could have benefitted from a more comprehensive treatment in the book. Firstly, The Army and Democracy could have said more on the dynamics of collaboration and co-optation that often define civil-military relations, particularly in the context of electoral politics. While the book does devote some time to this particular theme, especially when discussing the use of patronage and funding to prop up acceptable civilian actors, it would have been interesting to see more about the effects of this on political parties and governance.
Secondly, while the book understandably focuses on the internal culture of the military, and the way in which this has shaped attitudes towards civilian governments and democracy, not enough attention is paid to the question of the military’s material interests. While it is certainly the case that the military’s capacity to define the threats faced by Pakistan, and its belief in its ability to deal with them, helps to explain the military’s political actions, it is difficult to discount the role that concrete economic interests might play in prompting interventions in the political sphere.
When discussing the Musharraf era and its aftermath, Shah argues that there has been a shift in the way the military views a number of issues currently being faced by Pakistan. For one, the military has apparently decided to play a less “activist” role in politics, focusing instead on manipulating events in the background rather than engaging in overt interventions. It also appears to be the case that the military has slowly started to reevaluate its support for Islamist militants, recognising the disastrous effect they have had on Pakistan domestically. In both areas, however, it is clear that change, to the extent it is taking place, is slow; the military’s voluntary withdrawal from formal politics does not herald a new appreciation for civilian politicians or democracy, and there are many within the military who think the long-term benefits to be accrued by working with militant proxies outweigh the short-term costs of doing so. Given the conservatism inherent to all militaries, as well as the lack of any effective means through which to challenge the military in Pakistan, it is unsurprising that this is the case. However, as Pakistan’s problems continue to worsen, it is also increasingly clear that more democracy, not less, will be required to build the kind of accountable, participatory, and responsive governments that can deal with these issues.
In a context where almost seven decades of overt and covert military involvement in politics have largely served to exacerbate Pakistan’s most deep-rooted problems, it is clear that things will have to change before they can improve.
The reviewer is Assistant Professor of Political Science at LUMS
The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan
By Aqil Shah
Harvard University Press, Cambridge
ISBN 978-0-674-72893-6
Bike review by Hassan Javid, dawn.com

Ten point agenda to urgently resolve chronic problems of Pakistan

Importance of being earnest THE title of Oscar Wilde’s novel about late 19th-century British society also aptly sums up the most essential ...
Keep reading >>>>> http://pakistan-posts.blogspot.com/2014/11/ten-point-agenda-to-urgently-resolve.html?m=1

Why We Lost: Retired U.S. General Calls for Public Inquiry into Failures of Iraq, Afghan Wars

Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, a retired three-star U.S. general who helped command troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, joins us to discuss his new book, "Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars." Bolger writes: "I am a United States Army general, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous; step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem, to wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry." Bolger is now calling for a public inquiry along the lines of the 9/11 Commission to look into why the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone so poorly.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The United States marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with a series of events nationwide. Speaking at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said honoring the nation’s troops includes questioning the policies that send them to war.

DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL: The wall reminds us to be honest in our telling of history. There is nothing to be gained by glossing over the darker portions of a war, the Vietnam War, that bitterly divided America. We must openly acknowledge past mistakes, and we must learn from past mistakes, because that is how we avoid repeating past mistakes. The wall reminds us that we must never take the security of our country for granted, ever. And we must always question our policies that send our citizens to war, because our nation’s policies must always be worthy, worthy of the sacrifices we ask of the men and women who defend our country.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday. Well, we turn now to a retired three-star U.S. general who helped command troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger has just published a book titled Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. He writes, quote, "I am a United States Army general, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous; step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem, to wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry."

AMY GOODMAN: In a piece published this week in The New York Times headlined "The Truth About [the] Wars," General Bolger called for a public inquiry, along the lines of the 9/11 Commission, to look into why the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone so poorly.

To find out more, we’re joined by General Daniel Bolger, served 35 years in the U.S. Army before retiring last year, commanded the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq, 2005 to ’06; the 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad, 2009 to ’10; and the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan from 2011 to ’13. His military awards include five Bronze [Star] medals, including one for valor, and the Combat Action Badge.

We welcome you to Democracy Now!

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Thanks very much, Amy, Juan.

AMY GOODMAN: How did the U.S. lose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: I think that the simplest way to say it is that we misapplied the forces of our armed forces. We didn’t use them in the way that they’re trained and prepared. You know, Senator, now Secretary, Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, like his brother, served together in the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. His statement there is a very powerful. You’ve got to have a public debate before you commit American military forces. We did have that after 9/11, but it was very rushed. We had that again in 2002 before going into Iraq. We never continued the debate. The initial phases of both wars went successfully from a military standpoint, but we never followed it up by having a discussion: Is it appropriate to send thousands of young American men and women into foreign countries to go house to house and try to sort out who’s a terrorist, who’s a villager? That’s something we tried in Southeast Asia, and it didn’t work. And yet we repeated it once in Afghanistan and then again in Iraq. And that’s very disturbing, and I think that led directly to our failure in both campaigns.

AMY GOODMAN: The surge in Iraq?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: The surge in Iraq was a—the word is what it means: A surge is a temporary measure. And it was a temporary increase in troops. The best way I would sort of use an analogy is if a patient is ill and has a fever, you can give them a lot of aspirin and bring the temperature down, but when you stop giving the aspirin, the underlying fever is still there. So the surge in Iraq gave some temporary relief—and we did a surge in Afghanistan, as well, in 2009, '10, ’11—but it wasn't permanent, and it didn’t solve the underlying problem, which is to say that both countries have an insurgency, and the solution to those insurgencies, if there’s going to be a solution, rests in the hands of the Iraqis and the Afghans.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But the enormous amount not only of casualties that occurred on the U.S. side as well as the Iraqi side in the war, and then this enormous buildup of an Iraqi army trained by the United States that then essentially disintegrated with the rise of ISIS, how did that happen?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Well, we shouldn’t be surprised by that. The old Iraqi army—we had fought them twice, in '91 and 2003—they also disintegrated when we came into contact with them. ISIS had a similar experience. It takes many decades to build a decent army. And a few years of training, a couple days at the rifle range, some marching around is not going to do the trick. We've had experience building armies in other countries—I think particularly the South Koreans, who did not do all that well in the Korean War in 1950 to '53, but now have an army capable of defending their country and, in fact, going around the world and doing United Nations missions. South Korean troops served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and served with distinction. But that was an effort of decades. And it does not require hundreds of thousands of troops. It doesn't require fleets of jet bombers. It requires a small number of trainers and a long-term commitment to a solution that the people of that country, the Afghans and the Iraqis, want.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, you state in your book that the United States military is essentially not prepared to mount counterinsurgency wars. Conventional wars is one thing, but the counterinsurgencies is a whole other world. Could you expand on that?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: I could. I think our challenge is—we’re very good at conventional wars. In fact, we were so good at it that myself and other commanders thought, this time we’re going to fight Vietnam and get it right, because our quality young men and women, so brave, so tough, so well supported by the American people with equipment, training and their families—we thought this time we’re going to pull it off.

And we missed the fundamental strategic error of that thought, and it’s an error based in arrogance, hubris, whatever word you want to use. And that is, by their nature, when a country is having a problem with rebels or with insurgents, the solution must lie with the local people. The solution will be partially political in nature. There may be a violent component to it. There may be deals cut. But it’s not something that hundreds of thousands of American or Western troops can solve, no matter how well they’re trained at military skills. So I think we missed a fundamental strategic point there.

And I know I definitely blame myself. I am concerned about my own failings in that area, because I studied Vietnam in the Army War College and in the other Army schools. I knew what we had done wrong there. And in my arrogance, I made the error, along with many of my peers, of thinking, well, this time, because our troops are better, we might pull it off. It doesn’t change the fundamentals on the ground.

AMY GOODMAN: You have called a commission to look at the flaws of what happened—you’ve called for a kind of commission. In June, we spoke to Richard Clarke, the nation’s top former counterterrorism official. He said he believes George W. Bush is guilty of war crimes for launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He served as national coordinator for the security and counterterrorism during Bush’s first year in office. He resigned in 2003 following the Iraq invasion. This is a part of his response, whether George Bush should be held on war—should be tried for war crimes.

RICHARD CLARKE: I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing.
AMY GOODMAN: Richard Clarke went on to say that then President George Bush had wanted him to place the blame for 9/11 on Iraq.

RICHARD CLARKE: I resigned, quit the government altogether, testified before congressional committees and before the 9/11 Commission, wrote a book revealing what the Bush administration had and had not done to stop 9/11 and what they did after the fact, how the president wanted me, after the fact, to blame Iraq for the 9/11 attack.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Richard Clarke, former top terrorism—counterterrorism czar. Your response?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Well, I would tell you, I don’t know that war crimes or that is in order; I don’t have enough knowledge about those aspects. I will tell you, though, where Richard Clarke is on very firm ground is the seriousness and the importance of a public hearing as to what went wrong in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

You know, if you go back to the Korean War, that I mentioned earlier, in 1951, there were major hearings. We called in MacArthur, who had been fired by that time, the general in the theater—he came and testified; Omar Bradley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state—pretty much everybody but President Truman testified in front of those congressional hearings. Senator Fulbright called similar hearings during the Vietnam War. And in that case, the field commander general, William Westmoreland, did come back and testify.

Where are those hearings on this war? Where is the similar event? People like Richard Clarke need to be called in so that they can explain fully what they know, and then it can be corroborated and put to the full light of day, so the American people then can say, through their elected representatives, "Hey, we think this is a good idea. We want you to stick with it and train these guys," or, "Hey, this has not worked out. Let’s do something different." But the key thing we need is a public hearing. The last public vote on war or peace in Iraq or Vietnam was in October of 2002 with the use of authorization for use of force for Iraq. Other than that, there’s just been the annual budgets. And despite a lot of rhetoric, every year that budget gets approved.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask about the whole issue that you raise not only of what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, but how the branding of the war on terrorism has expanded to so many other countries, some of which Americans don’t know anything about. You mention that just the label, Operation Enduring Freedom, there was an OEF in CCA, in the Caribbean and Central America; OEF-HOA in the Horn of Africa; OEF-K in Kyrgyzstan; an OEF-P in the Philippines.


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Given the fact that so many Arab and Muslim countries have now been targeted for this expansion of our war on terrorism, how do you, as a general, as a military man, deal with this perception, growing perception, in the Arab and Muslim world that there is almost a civilizational battle—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —between the West and their region of the world?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: It’s obviously a great concern. And remember, we should not forget, when we speak of this as Americans, the primary victims so far of the war on terrorism in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaign have been the Iraqis and the Afghans. We’ve caused some of that. We didn’t mean to. I can tell you, we tried very hard to prevent civilian casualties, but when you use modern weapons, you can’t always be that careful, and especially when you’re trying to pick out an enemy who’s wearing civilian clothes. It’s just very difficult. The enemy has also inflicted casualties on their own populations, and these are civil wars, in many ways.

So, the primary victims of this war on terrorism numerically have been from the Arab and Muslim world. You would think there would be common cause, that we could get together and find some ground where we could agree on who is the enemy here and what to go after. And that’s where I think we’ve really had a challenge, because we don’t hold those meetings, either. We tend to—we tend to stay very focused on threats to the American homeland—I’m glad we are. I don’t want to see another 9/11 here or any attack like that. It’s horrific. But as a result, we end up in a lot of places with our intelligence entities and with our special forces chasing a lot of people.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you have to be retired, General, to say something like this?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: No, and I’m glad you ask that, Amy. Believe it or not—and Secretary Hagel is a good example of that. When we close the doors and have a meeting in the military or with members of government—I met with Secretary of Defense Hagel; I’ve met with his predecessor, Secretary Panetta; his predecessor, Secretary Gates; his predecessor, Secretary Rumsfeld; you know, Secretaries Rice, Kerry, etc. You know, we get to have our say with all those people. And when the door is closed, we can be very honest about what we think or don’t think. But there is a tradition of civilian control of the military in the United States. And when the decision is made, you salute and carry out that decision. Once the door opens, that is the decision that you carry out to the best of your ability. And if you can’t carry it out, then you have to do like Richard Clarke and say, "OK, I can no longer work in this organization."

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Can you talk a little bit about your personal experiences as a commander when—particular incidents that really drove home to you the failures of our policies and of our efforts in those areas?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: When I was first there in 2005, in the spring of 2005, in Iraq, my duties involved going out with both U.S. and Iraqi forces. And I would go out into the villages, and it was very obvious, almost immediately, that as much as we’ve tried to develop intelligence and tried to figure out who’s who, you’re going into a village where the notification of the target individual you’re looking for says "40-plus-year-old male, name is Mohammed." Well, in a village of a thousand people, there’s 500 people who could answer to that description. And you’re trying to sort out, so you’re going into homes, you’re going into marketplaces, you’re going into schools, trying to figure out who’s the enemy. You don’t speak the language, so you’re working through your Iraqi counterparts in all this.

And it became painfully obvious to me that—that is, the armed forces of a superpower, if this is what we were reduced to, we were following the wrong policy. This was not a fight that we should be doing. And it’s a—I think it’s a very legitimate fight for the Iraqis to determine the future of their country, or the Afghans. We can help them, but they have to take the lead. And I believe when they take the lead, what we’ve seen is they use a much larger political component. They cut deals. They make arrangements. They bring people in. They don’t feel like they have to hunt down and kill everybody.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to a piece we did yesterday. Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro did this film, Body of War, about one young man, a veteran named Tomas Young—


AMY GOODMAN: —who died this weekend. This clip goes to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner of 2005. It includes President Bush joking about the missing weapons of mass destruction. This is what it is.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Those weapons of mass destruction got to be somewhere. Nope, no weapons over there. Maybe under here.
AMY GOODMAN: There you have it. There you have it, President Obama at the White House—President Bush—

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: President Bush.

AMY GOODMAN: —at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, joking in 2005, as thousands of U.S. soldiers were dying because the pretext was weapons of mass destruction, looking under the tables of his Oval Office, saying, "No weapons there, no weapons here."

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Yeah, well, I mean, that’s—you should never joke about serious business like that. That’s obviously some poor judgment on the part of the president to make light of that. But I—

AMY GOODMAN: But he’s expressing a profounder truth, as well, even if he is laughing about it.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: To a degree. And I think we need to remember that, you know, whatever we think about the going into Iraq, there were a series of votes in the U.S. Congress, going back to the early ’90s, and in the United Nations, that identified Saddam Hussein as a problem for multiple things. The chemical weapons program was one thing. The New York Times has recently, in a very good article, explained his residual program that did exist. I saw it when I was over there. There were both nerve gas and mustard gas rounds that were still there. They were not modern, they were not in great shape, but they were present, and the enemy did sometimes use them.

AMY GOODMAN: And that the U.S. helped to provide him with.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: During the '80s, yeah, when they were fighting the Iranians, helped to provide the technology, for sure. But with that in mind, the other things that Saddam Hussein had, you know, on his ledger that we shouldn't forget, tremendously dangerous to his neighboring countries, had invaded several of them, including Iran and Kuwait.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.S. supported him in—with his war in Iran.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Well, in Iran, yes, but certainly not in Kuwait. I mean, that was the reason for the first war against Iraq in ’90, ’91. But he had done that. He had obviously killed a large number of his own civilians, to include using chemical weapons against both Shia Arabs and Kurds. And it followed the Gulf War with a repressive campaign against the Marsh Arabs in the south and the Kurds in the north. And then the other is a connection to terror and terror groups, that was not inconsequential. I mean, Abu Musab Zarqawi, who was later the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was already leading Ansar al-Sunna in northern Iraq in 2002, before we came in.

AMY GOODMAN: But this was Kurdistan, which the U.S. was supporting, the northern—northern Iraq.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Well, we had an arrangement with Kurdistan. But the other thing I would mention, Abu Abbas, the mastermind of Palestinian Liberation Front, the death of Leon Klinghoffer in 1985 aboard the cruise ship, Achille Lauro, he was a guest in Baghdad.

AMY GOODMAN: But President Bush saw that it didn’t fly to use other examples. The imminent threat to the United States, what they settled on, the reason the U.S. invaded Iraq, was weapons of mass destruction, because that could hurt people in the United States. And that proved to be a pretext and a lie. My question—

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Well, I don’t agree that it’s a lie. I mean, that I can’t go with, because there were weapons over there. I think we misunderstood the scale of them. "Lie" would imply that the president or somebody knew there was nothing there and said, "Well, let’s say we do it anyway." And I haven’t seen any evidence of that.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, what about Richard Clarke saying, right after 9/11, he bumps into Bush in the White House, and Bush says to him, "We’ve got to get Iraq," and he looks at him like, "What are you talking about? They have nothing to do with 9/11"?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Yeah, there were similar statements in Bob Woodward’s book, you know, Bush at War, where—same things, where—the initial question. Part of it was because Iraq was on our threat radar. What the United States knew about Afghanistan in 2001 was very minimal. We did know about Iraq, and we knew they were trouble.

AMY GOODMAN: Just last week, I went to Vienna, Austria, and I interviewed Robert Kelley —


AMY GOODMAN: —who is a former director of the IAEA for the Iraq Action Team—


AMY GOODMAN: —what is known as a U.N. weapons inspector. He expressed regret over the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying his team’s observations on the ground in Iraq went unheeded by U.S. officials.

ROBERT KELLEY: I feel very bad about what happened in 2003. It’s extremely embarrassing that the country ignored the people who were in Iraq making the observations and didn’t take us into account. And when the U.S. sent this team in, two months after the war or so, the leader of the team, after two months, quit. And his statement was: "We were all wrong. They had no weapons of mass destruction." Well, we weren’t all wrong. The people who were in the field were saying there’s nothing there.
AMY GOODMAN: That is Robert Kelley, former director at the IAEA for the Iraq Action Team, what we call a U.N. weapons inspector.


AMY GOODMAN: Saying they weren’t there.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: No, I mean, again, residual program was what existed, several—as The New York Times pointed out, several thousand rounds. We certainly saw the remainder of that. I mean, when I was in Baghdad, they were still removing yellow cake uranium leftovers from the Tuwaitha plant, the old Osirak plant that the Israelis had bombed in 1981. So there were pieces and parts. And intelligence work is never—is never complete. I think one of the things that we’ve certainly got to remember is the atmosphere of the time. I mean, one thing that interested me when I was researching the book we’re talking about here, the vote for the authorization for the use of force in Iraq in 2002 was even more decisive than the one in January of ’91. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Hillary Clinton supported it.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Among others, you know, John Edwards, you know, the current secretary of defense, as well.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to—

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Or secretary of state, rather.

AMY GOODMAN: Before we go to the next question, we’ve got to break, but we’re going to come back, and Juan’s got a question for you. Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger is our guest. His book is Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. He served 35 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 2013. We’ll be back with him in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Our guest is Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger. He has written a book called Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, served 35 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 2013. Juan?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, General Bolger, I wanted to ask you about a couple of other strategic decisions of the United States in both Iraq and Afghanistan: in Iraq, the decision early on not only to topple Saddam Hussein, but to basically purge all Baathists from the government and military, the result being basically a disintegration of governing structures in the entire country and now the virtual dismemberment of Iraq as a functioning state. And also, in Afghanistan, going in after al-Qaeda and ending up, for 10 years, fighting the Taliban—

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Right, who had never attacked the United States.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Who had never attacked the United States. And could you talk about both of those?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: I will. In the case of Iraq, misunderstanding of the history of Iraq, the role of the Baathist Party, false analogies of what he had experienced going after the Nazis in occupied Germany or imperial Japan, going against the imperial government remnants in 1945—didn’t fully understand that the Baathists and the Sunni Arab population, a big overlap, and that those were all the technocrats, those were the educated folks, those were the people who not just ran the police, the military and the intelligence services, they also ran the power, the water, the education system, the hospitals. And so, when you go in and sign a blanket order and say, "Well, these people can have nothing to do with society," not only have you disenfranchised and essentially created the core of what will be the insurgency—the insurgency, by the way, that still provides a core of fighters for ISIS to this day—the other thing you’ve done is you’ve basically chopped out modern society for the rest of society that had depended on these guys to keep the lights on, to keep the roads clear, to keep all these other things done. Not well thought out, and as a result, very difficult to reverse. And one of the things—in this case, we were a victim of our own success. Sir John Keegan, the British military historian who recently passed away, he commented in his book on the Iraq War. He said, you know, we talk about disbanding the Iraqi army. The Iraqi army had already disbanded itself in the face of the U.S. invasion. So we would have not just had to, you know, kept these people in government; we would have had to call them back, make sure they—you know, figure out who was who. It would have been quite a process, and it was not something that we thought out at all.

And then you go to the other country, Afghanistan, you know, you correctly said, the people who attacked us on 9/11 were Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network. They were resident in Afghanistan, but the Taliban that ran Afghanistan, although a pretty unsavory group and trouble in their own right, their dealings and activities were all within their own country. They were not an international terrorist group. But to get to al-Qaeda, we felt like we had to go through the Taliban.

AMY GOODMAN: Fifteen of the 19 of them were from Saudi Arabia.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Very true, exactly right, because al-Qaeda, international terrorist group. And from an individual, Osama bin Laden himself, from Yemen, although a Saudi family, resident for a while in Sudan. He was an international businessman. His father was a very famous and well-known and wealthy construction contractor.

AMY GOODMAN: General Bolger, what if war was simply not an option? What if it was off the table?

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Well, I’ll tell you, Amy, that’s one thing that always needs to be brought up when we make discussions, decisions about should we go to war. There always needs to be a voice that says, "What if we just don’t do this?" And the military people sometimes have been that voice. You know, very controversial figure in the war, although I admire him a great deal, is General Colin Powell. He was that voice in the first Gulf War, based on his very difficult experiences in Vietnam. He had been an adviser to Vietnamese forces. He had been with the Americal Division at the time of the My Lai massacre. You know, he knew what he was doing. And he was the guy counseling the first Bush administration, saying, "Be careful about this. Think hard about this. Don’t go to—you know, do what you need to do." By the second war, he’s a voice crying in the desert, and nobody’s listening to him.

AMY GOODMAN: You rarely hear the questioning generals, people like you, when it comes to actually making the decision, in the media. You rarely hear them. You hear a lot of generals. You don’t know about their connections to military contractors and how they’ll benefit personally financially.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: I have none.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there’s a problem with that? That if someone is in the military and is being interviewed, they should—you should hear, "They work for Boeing," "They work for Lockheed Martin."

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: I think that degree of transparency is important in our society. And I can tell you this, from any other line of work, they would certainly identify what the guy was doing for a living. I can tell you where I work: I work at North Carolina State University, and I’m an adjunct professor, and I enjoy teaching history to the men and women who go there.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And this whole issue of the—we’ve seen off and on over the years the problems with the contracting of these wars, of the private contractors—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —that come in and make huge killings off of the military, servicing the military, off of the presence of the military in these countries, that they, in essence, fuel political support for the war. And we’ve just got about 30 seconds.

LT. GEN. DANIEL BOLGER: Yeah, certainly, there’s that aspect. And I think, in a comprehensive look at the war, that’s got to be one of the things we look at. You know, why are these contractors there? Did we form our military incorrectly that we have to buy all these contracts to do the job?

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much. General Daniel Bolger has been our guest, lieutenant general, who has written the book Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. He served 35 years in the U.S. Army before retiring last year.

I’ll be speaking at Maplewood High School tomorrow night, Thursday night, at 7:30. Check our website. And on Saturday, I’ll be in Berlin, Germany, at Campact’s 10th anniversary. Go to democracynow.org.


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امکانات اور اندیشے Possibilities & fears ISIS in Middle East

Bernard Lewis Plan for division of Middle East
یہ بات عام طور پر کہی جاتی ہے کہ داعش کے پیچھے‘ امریکہ کی خفیہ ایجنسیوں کا ہاتھ ہے۔اس کا سب سے بڑا ثبوت‘ اس حقیقت کو قرار دیا جاتا ہے کہ داعش نے عراق اور شام کے اندر‘ تیل کے جن کنوئوں پر قبضہ کر رکھا ہے ‘وہاں صرف خام تیل نکل سکتا ہے۔داعش کے زیر اثر علاقوں میں کوئی ریفائنری موجود نہیں۔داعش ‘روزانہ 200ملین ڈالر کا جوخام تیل فروخت کرتی ہے‘ اسے امریکی رضا مندی کے بغیر کسی کو نہیں بیچا جا سکتا۔200ملین ڈالر کا تیل‘ روزانہ چوری چھپے بیچنا ممکن نہیں۔داعش کی نشوو نما اور تیز رفتار پھیلائو ‘کسی بڑی طاقت کی درپردہ مدد کے بغیر ممکن نہیں تھا۔ یہ بھی کہا جا رہا ہے کہ داعش کے پاس جدید ترین اسلحہ‘ امریکہ کی عملی اعانت کے بغیر نہیں پہنچ سکتا تھا۔داعش نے شامی اور عراقی فوج کے مقابلے میں جدید اسلحہ استعمال کر کے‘ جو تیز رفتار کامیابیاں حاصل کی ہیں‘ وہ درپردہ امریکی اعانت کا ثبوت ہیں۔
جی 20کی حالیہ میٹنگ ختم ہونے پر‘ جو مشترکہ اعلامیہ تیار کیا جا رہا ہے اور آج (اتوار)کسی وقت جاری کر دیا جائے گا۔ خبر ہے کہ اس میں داعش کے ابھرتے ہوئے خطرے کا ذکر بھی کیا جائے گا۔بنیادی طور پر‘ یہ بحر الکاہل کے ملکوں کی تنظیم ہے‘ جہاں اسلام کے نام پر‘ دہشت گردی کرنے والی تنظیموں کا خاص اثر نہیں۔صرف انڈونیشیا میں دہشت گرد تنظیموں کا وجود پایا جاتا ہے لیکن یہ تنظیمیں مغرب یا شرق اوسط میں کارروائیوں کا خاص ریکارڈ نہیں رکھتیں۔اگر وہاں جمع ہونے والی بیس بڑی بڑی طاقتوں کو داعش کا سوال‘ اپنے مشترکہ اعلان میں شامل کرنا پڑ رہا ہے تو اس خطرے کی نوعیت کا اندازہ کیا جا سکتا ہے۔یہ ایسی تنظیم نہیں جسے نظر انداز کیا جا سکے۔جس طرح اچانک یہ معرض وجود میں آئی اور جتنی تیزی کے ساتھ‘ دو ملکو ں کا رقبہ چھین کر‘ اپنی ایک ریاست قائم کرنے میں کامیاب ہو گئی‘ اس سے اندازہ کیا جا سکتا ہے کہ اس کی جڑیں کہاں کہاں ہیں؟ اور وسائل کتنے ہیں؟ یہ بات عام طور پر کہی جاتی ہے کہ داعش کے پیچھے‘ امریکہ کی خفیہ ایجنسیوں کا ہاتھ ہے۔اس کا سب سے بڑا ثبوت‘ اس حقیقت کو قرار دیا جاتا ہے کہ داعش نے عراق اور شام کے اندر‘ تیل کے جن کنوئوں پر قبضہ کر رکھا ہے ‘وہاں صرف خام تیل نکل سکتا ہے۔داعش کے زیر اثر علاقوں میں کوئی ریفائنری موجود نہیں۔داعش ‘روزانہ 200ملین ڈالر کا جوخام تیل فروخت کرتی ہے‘ اسے امریکی رضا مندی کے بغیر کسی کو نہیں بیچا جا سکتا۔200ملین ڈالر کا تیل‘ روزانہ چوری چھپے بیچنا ممکن نہیں۔داعش کی نشوو نما اور تیز رفتار پھیلائو ‘کسی بڑی طاقت کی درپردہ مدد کے بغیر ممکن نہیں تھا۔ یہ بھی کہا جا رہا ہے کہ داعش کے پاس جدید ترین اسلحہ‘ امریکہ کی عملی اعانت کے بغیر نہیں پہنچ سکتا تھا۔داعش نے شامی اور عراقی فوج کے مقابلے میں جدید اسلحہ استعمال کر کے‘ جو تیز رفتار کامیابیاں حاصل کی ہیں‘ وہ درپردہ امریکی اعانت کا ثبوت ہیں۔
اس سے پہلے‘ القاعدہ کے بارے میں یہ حقائق سامنے آچکے ہیں کہ اسامہ بن لادن ‘ سی آئی اے‘ کی دریافت تھے۔انہیں افغانستان میں دہشت گرد تنظیم کے مراکز قائم کرنے پر مامور کیا گیا تھا۔روایت ہے کہ اسامہ بن لادن نے جدید کمپیوٹر ٹیکنالوجی اور اسلحہ بنانے کے ماہرین کی خدمات حاصل کر رکھی تھیں اور تخریب کاری کے منصوبوں پر عملدرآمد کے لئے بھی انہیں‘ ماہرین کا تعاون حاصل تھا۔ورلڈ ٹریڈ سنٹر ‘ دنیا کی سب سے بڑی سپر پاور امریکہ کی شان و شوکت کا مظہر تھا۔ اس کی تباہی امریکی غرور کو خاک میں ملانے کے مترادف تھی۔ اسامہ بن لادن نے امریکی ‘ فخر و عظمت کے اس نشان کو مٹانے کا منصوبہ بنانے اور اس پر عمل کرنے کا جو حیرت انگیز کارنامہ سر انجام دیا ‘ اس پر امریکی آج بھی تلملا تے ہیں۔ اسامہ بن لادن سے انتقام لینے کے لئے‘ انہوں نے افغانستان کو تباہ و برباد کر کے رکھ دیا۔ عالم اسلام میں‘ تخریب کاری کا جال پھیلایا اور آخر کار‘ اسامہ بن لادن کو ہلاک کر کے‘ اپنی آتشِ انتقام کو ٹھنڈا
کیا۔ورلڈ ٹریڈ سنٹر کے سانحہ کے بعد‘اسامہ اور امریکہ کا تعلق ‘دشمنی میں بدل گیا۔ القاعدہ کے موجودہ امیر‘ایمن الظواہری امریکہ کے بدترین دشمن سمجھے جاتے ہیں۔شام اور عراق میں بغاوتوں کی نئی لہر اٹھنے اوردونوں ملکوں کے ریاستی ڈھانچوں کی ٹوٹ پھوٹ دیکھ کر‘ امریکہ کو شرق اوسط میں تیزی سے بدلتے حالات پر تشویش پیدا ہوئی۔ عراق اور افغانستان کے تجربات کے بعد‘ امریکہ فیصلہ کر چکا ہے کہ وہ کسی بھی بیرونی لڑائی میں اپنی مسلح افواج کو‘ میدان جنگ میں نہیں اتارے گا،جسے بوٹ آن گرائونڈ کہا جاتا ہے لیکن وہ ایسے حساس خطے میں رونما ہونے والی تبدیلیوں سے لاتعلق بھی نہیں رہ سکتا۔ عام خیال یہی ہے کہ داعش کا وجود‘ اسی امریکی ضرورت کا نتیجہ ہے۔ داعش کی تنظیم دیکھتے ہی دیکھتے‘ قائم ہوئی۔ دنوں کے اندر‘ اسے اسلحہ اور افرادی قوت میسر آنے لگی۔ شام اور عراق دونوں کا ایک بڑا رقبہ ‘ داعش کے کنٹرول میں آگیا۔ اس کی اقتصادی طاقت میں تیزی رفتاری سے اضافہ ہونے لگا۔ دنیا بھر کے‘ دہشت گرد اور جنگجو‘ اس کے پرچم تلے جمع ہونے لگے۔پاکستانی دہشت گردوں نے بھی داعش کے ساتھ مل کر‘ انسانیت سوز مظالم میں حصہ لینا شروع کر دیا۔کافی عرصہ پہلے‘ تحریک طالبان پاکستان کے یہ دہشت گرد ‘لیبیا اور پھر شام میں کارروائیاں کرنے گئے تھے۔ انہی میں سے کچھ لوگ‘ داعش کے مقبوضہ علاقوں میں پہنچ کر‘ وحشت ناک انسانی قتل و غارت کی وارداتوں میں شریک ہونے لگے۔ اس تنظیم کا براہ راست مذہب سے خاص تعلق نہیں لیکن وہ اپنے مظالم کے لئے‘ اسلام کا نام استعمال کرتی ہے اور نام نہاد خلافت قائم کرنے کے لئے‘ ایک خلیفہ کا انتخاب بھی کر لیا گیا۔ یہ ابو بکر البغدادی ہیں۔ ان کا پس منظر ‘ کسی کو معلوم نہیں۔ مختلف روایات سننے میںآ رہی ہیں‘ جن میں سے ایک یہ بھی ہے کہ البغدادی‘ کچھ عرصے کے لئے پاکستان میں بھی سرگرم رہ چکے ہیں۔ ان کا تعلق صدام کی فوج سے تھا۔ وہ باقاعدہ ایک فوجی افسر تھے۔جس طرح داعش نے تیز رفتاری سے دو ملکوں کے علاقوں پر قبضہ کر کے‘ ایک علیحدہ مملکت کے قیام کی بنیاد رکھی ہے‘ اس سے اندازہ ہوتا ہے کہ یہ جغرافیائی حدوں سے آزاد‘ دہشت گرد تحریک نہیں بلکہ ایک الگ جغرافیائی وجود قائم کرنے کے راستے پر گامزن ہے اور اس کا بنیادی مقصد خطے‘ خصوصاً شرق اوسط میں‘ریاستی ڈھانچوں کو توڑ پھوڑ کے مفلوج کرنا ہے۔ اس کے مقاصدکے بارے میں مختلف قیاس آرائیاں ہو رہی ہیں۔ ان میں سے ایک یہ ہے کہ اسرائیلی دفاع کو دوام دینے کے لئے‘ پڑوس کی تمام عرب ریاستوں کی دفاعی قوت کو پارہ پارہ کر کے‘ رکھ دیا جائے۔لبیا‘ عراق ‘ شام‘یمن‘ تونس اور افغانستان کی فوجی طاقت (جو بھی تھی)منتشر کی جا چکی ہے۔مصر کے حکمران طبقوں کو ضرور اسرائیل کا حامی اور مددگار بنایا جا چکا ہے۔ اس کی فوجی طاقت آج بھی برقرار ہے۔اسرائیل کو نا قابل تسخیر بنانے کے لئے‘ مصر کی فوجی طاقت کو غیر موثر کرنا ضروری ہے۔اندازے لگا ئے جا رہے ہیں کہ اردن اورایران میں بد امنی پھیلا نے کے بعد‘ مصر کو نشانہ بنایا جائے گا۔اس کے بعد‘ شرق اوسط میں اسرائیل کو چیلنج کرنے کی طاقت‘ کسی پڑوسی ملک میں نہیں رہ جائے گی۔ اسرائیل کے لئے آخری خطرہ‘ فلسطینیوں کی آبادی ہے‘ جو اسرائیل کے اندر بھی بڑی تعداد میں موجود ہے‘ اور غزہ اور اردن کے مغربی کنارے پر بھی آباد ۔ اسرائیل کا آخری ہدف یہی ہے کہ فلسطینیوں کو اسرائیل کے اندر اور گردونواح سے نکال کر‘ دوسرے عرب ملکوں میں بھیجا جائے۔اسرائیل اپنے آپ کو اس وقت تک‘ غیر محفوظ سمجھتا ہے جب تک اس کی سرحدوں کے اندر اور ملحق علاقوں میں فلسطینی‘ قابل ذکر تعداد میں باقی ہیں۔فلسطینیوں کی آبادی میں اضافے کی رفتار کو اسرائیلی اپنے لئے ‘بہت بڑا خطرہ سمجھتے ہیں۔ وہ چاہتے ہیں کہ پورے فلسطین پر قبضہ کر کے‘اپنی سلطنت کو محفوظ اور مستحکم کر لیا جائے۔یہ مقصد بڑی حد تک‘ پورا ہو چکا ہے۔ فلسطینی آبادی کا بہت بڑا حصہ‘ پہلے ہی بیرونی ملکوں میں منتقل ہو چکا ہے اور وہ ایک قوم کی حیثیت میں صرف اسرائیل کے اندر اور اس کی سرحدوںپر بیٹھے ہیں۔جب تک فلسطینی آبادی کو اس کے وطن سے بے دخل نہیں کر دیا جاتا‘ اسرائیل اپنے آپ کو نا مکمل سمجھتا رہے گا۔اسرائیل کے لئے ‘ دو بڑے خطرے ایسے ہیں جن کی موجودگی میں وہ اپنے آپ کو کبھی محفوظ نہیں سمجھے گا۔ اس کی سالمیت اور بقا کی آخری ضرورت یہ ہے کہ ایران اور پاکستان کی دفاعی طاقتوں کو غیر موثر کیا جائے ۔ پاکستان میں داعش کے نمودار ہونے کی ابتدائی نشانیاں ظاہر ہونے لگی ہیں ۔ جس تیز رفتاری سے اس کی کارروائیوں میں اضافہ ہو رہا ہے‘ اسے دیکھ کر یہ اندازہ کرنا غلط نہ ہو گا کہ داعش پاکستان میں کسی بھی وقت متحرک ہو سکتی ہے۔واہگہ پر ہونے والا خوفناک دھماکہ‘ اس امر کا ثبوت ہے کہ بین الاقوامی دہشت گر د تنظیمیں ‘ آج بھی پاکستان کے اندر کارروائیاں کرنے کی اہل ہیں۔ شمالی وزیرستان کے آپریشن کے نتیجے میں‘ مقامی دہشت گردوں کی طاقت تو یقیناً منتشر ہوئی ہے لیکن جن دہشت گردوں کے ناتے‘ بیرون ملک موجود ہیں‘ ہماری ایجنسیاں ان کے نیٹ ورک کا سراغ پوری طرح نہیں لگا پائی ہیں۔کراچی میں دہشت گردی کے نظام کو ‘پوری طرح ختم نہیں کیا جا سکا۔ بلوچستان اور خیبر پختونخوا میں ‘ دہشت گردوں کی پوری طاقت کا خاتمہ بھی نہیں ہوا۔پنجاب میں دہشت گرد‘ اپنے خفیہ ٹھکانوں کا سلسلہ پھیلاتے جا رہے ہیں۔ وہ اپنی پوری طاقت سے ‘ کب کارروائیاں شروع کریں گے؟ ہمیں اس کا اندازہ نہیں۔پاکستان کی طرف بڑھتے ہوئے خطرات کو روکا جا سکتا ہے۔اس کے لئے‘ پوری قوم کو تمام داخلی اختلافات بھلا کر‘ جذبہ جہاد کے ساتھ منظم اور متحرک ہونا پڑے گا۔فی الوقت ‘ ہمارے حالات کا رخ‘ استحکام کی طرف نہیں ہے۔
By Aamir Mehmud dunya. Com