First dimension:
Weak, nay collapsing, state institutions especially the law enforcement machinery and the intelligence apparatus. Over the past decade, induction into the Sindh Police has had three basis-political patronage, cronyism and nepotism. Officers at the DIG level have been inducted from the Income Tax Department, Wapda and even from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). Each and every one of the some eight-dozen police stations in Karachi has a political appointee. Each and every one of the police stations is allied to one or the other militant wing of a political party.

In its current shape and form the Sindh Police as an operating entity is simply incapable of producing a desired effect. The Sindh Police can neither ensure public safety nor prevent/detect crime. The High Court of Sindh has 18,571 pending cases while the subordinate courts have an additional 144,942 pending cases. On top of that, prosecutors are either incapable or unwilling to prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the state.

The PPP, MQM and ANP know that state institutions are collapsing and cannot protect the life and limb of their proxies. All three have therefore armed themselves to the teeth. In Karachi, just below all the politically motivated violence there is a layer of inter-faith Shia-Sunni violence. Then there’s intra-faith Deobandi-Barelvi violence. Plus, all the criminal gangs, drug mafias, weapon mafias and land mafias. And now the Taliban have also jumped in to further de-legitimise the state.

Imagine; the Sindh Police provides little or no training to its new recruits. Training centres are ill-equipped, under budgeted and some don’t even have classrooms or proper toilet facilities.

Second dimension:
Political exclusion of a large segment of the population. Of the 168 seats in the Sindh Assembly, the ANP has 2, the MQM 50, the NPP 3, the PML(F) 8, the PML(Q) 11 and the PPP 93. Admittedly, ANP does not represent the entire Pashtu-speaking population of Karachi, as MQM does not represent the entire Urdu-speaking population of Karachi but based solely on demographic realties the ANP could have up to 25 seats in the provincial legislature. That is political power way out of sync with group population ratios on the ground.

In Sub Saharan Africa-countries like Niger, Senegal, Burundi and Rwanda – political exclusion of a large segment of the population has been the primary driver of severe internal conflict that stretched out over decades of death and destruction.

Peace-building in Karachi would have to tackle the issue of political exclusion of more than 20 percent of Karachi’s residents. Karachi’s system of governance has long ignored migration and settlement patterns. And, the consequence of that ignorance is now for all of us to see – a serious societal breakdown leading to even more serious conflict.

Third dimension:
Power struggles of the elite. Herein lies the ‘greed theory to conflict’ – Pakistan’s political elite in competition to capture Karachi’s resource rents. To be certain, greed alone does not result in violent conflict but greed, when state institutions are ineffective, becomes a dangerous driver behind violent internal conflict.

Someone wise once said, “One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our need from our greed.”

By Dr Farrukh Saleem

Libya Occupied

The Claims

The pulling down of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad in 2003 and Muammar Qaddafi’s in Tripoli in 2011 have a striking similarity: it was “angry people” who carried out the destruction in both cases. When imperial powers want to change regimes, they find a large number of “angry” people willing to cooperate with them against their own governments.

The invaders, however, have an excuse for invasion so that they can satisfy the people of their own countries. Afghanistan was invaded to “save America from terrorism and to protect American values and freedoms” abhorred by the Taliban. Iraq had to be occupied for the neutralisation of its alleged weapons of mass destructions. In Libya, the grounds for invasion are equally moral and humanitarian, not strategic or materialistic. It is not that the oil giants, Britain’s Shell and France’s Total, had been drooling over Libyan oil: it just happens that the country’s oil region is now effectively under the control of British and French troops.

Chris Cork’s piece “A country awakes” (Sept 6) has further elucidated how the Libyan people have won their freedom from a tyrant. He asserted that “Libyans fought the ground war themselves (albeit with some sturdy support from the coalition of the willing) and want to keep the soldiering a local enterprise.” Yes, the insurrection is a local venture, though it’s another matter that the MI6 boys had penetrated deep inside Libya to foment the uprising. It’s also another matter that foreign mercenaries were brought in to fight government forces.

The Reality

In reality, Qaddafi’s government couldn’t have been brought down without the Nato bombing campaign led mainly by American, British and French air forces. About 20,000 sorties, with more than 7,500 strikes so far, have gone against ground targets in Libya, as reported by veteran Canadian journalist Patrick Martin in a recent despatch. If each strike delivered four bombs or missiles per run, more than 30,000 bombs would have levelled buildings, killed and maimed innocent Libyan men, women and children. This is what Chris Cork calls “some sturdy support from the coalition of the willing.”

It’s in place to quote an analysis by Britain’s Second Line of Defence (SLD) in its report about Operation Ellamy in Libya that confirms that “the UK’s pace of operations has been averaging £3-5 million per day on a gross basis. It brings running operational costs for weekly air operations to £20-35 million, and monthly to £80-140 million, bringing the cost of operations since March 19 to £300-525 million”– to mention only Britain. Some “local enterprise,” this.

The irony is that imperial powers never allow independent journalists to report from the warfront. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now in Libya have introduced a new trend of embedded journalism. All reports by the embedded journalists are carefully vetted before going public. Therefore, people in the US and Europe can only read what is intended for them. That is one reason why, according to a poll, almost thirty percent of Americans prefer to glean news and commentaries from alternative forums on the Internet than to depend on their mainstream media.

Among the countries that have contributed towards the Nato operations in Libya by providing aircraft and troops are Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE. Should the king of Jordan and the emirs of Qatar and the UAE not have questioned themselves what type of dictator they were trying to topple in Libya and how he was different from them? Qaddafi was held in higher esteem than, say, the Khalifa of Bahrain and its hated prime minister of forty years. The genuine public uprising, mainly by Bahrain’s seventy percent Shiites, was ruthlessly crushed while the rebellion in Libya was not only encouraged but actively supported by Nato air power.

Tailpiece: Mr Cork, how do you discriminate between Tony Blair’s claim about Saddam’s WMDs and David Cameron’s about Qaddafi killing his own people? Is it not intriguing that both Iraq and Libya overflow with high-quality oil?

By: Iftekhar A. Khan

War on the ‘Red Empire’

How America Planned for an Attack on BRITAIN in 1930 with Bombing Raids and Chemical Weapons

* Emerging world power feared British reaction to its ambitions
* Plan Red was code for massive war with British Empire
* Top-secret document once regarded as ‘most sensitive on Earth’
* $57m allocated for building secret airfields on Canadian border – to launch attack on British land forces based there

Details of an amazing American military plan for an attack to wipe out a major part of the British Army are today revealed for the first time.

In 1930, a mere nine years before the outbreak of World War Two, America drew up proposals specifically aimed at eliminating all British land forces in Canada and the North Atlantic, thus destroying Britain’s trading ability and bringing the country to its knees.

Previously unparalleled troop movements were launched as an overture to an invasion of Canada, which was to include massive bombing raids on key industrial targets and the use of chemical weapons, the latter signed off at the highest level by none other than the legendary General Douglas MacArthur.

The plans, revealed in a Channel 5 documentary, were one of a number of military contingency plans drawn up against a number of potential enemies, including the Caribbean islands and China. There was even one to combat an internal uprising within the United States.

In the end there was no question of President Franklin D. Roosevelt subscribing to what was known as War Plan Red. Instead the two countries became the firmest of allies during WW2, an occasionally strained alliance that continues to this day.

Still, it is fascinating that there were enough people inside the American political and military establishment who thought that such a war was feasible.

While outside of America, both Churchill and Hitler also thought it a possibility during the 30s – a time of deep economic and political uncertainty.

In 1930, a mere nine years before the outbreak of World War Two, America drew up a terrifying plan specifically aimed at eliminating all British land forces in Canada and the North Atlantic, thus destroying Britain’s trading ability and bringing our country to its knees

The top-secret papers, once regarded as the most sensitive on Earth, were found buried deep within the American National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The highly classified files reveal that huge pushes were to be made into the Caribbean and West Coast to block any British retaliation from either Europe, India or Australia.

In 1931, the U.S. government even authorised record-breaking transatlantic flying hero and known Nazi sympathiser Charles A. Lindbergh to be sent covertly as a spy to the west shore of Hudson Bay to investigate the possibility of using sea-planes for warfare and seek out points of low resistance as potential bridgeheads.

Four years later, the U.S. Congress authorised $57million to be allocated for the building of three secret airfields on the U.S. side of the Canadian border, with grassed-over landing strips to hide their real purpose.

All governments make ‘worst case scenario’ contingency plans which are kept under wraps from the public. These documents were unearthed buried deep within the American National Archives in Washington, D.C. – a top-secret document once regarded as the most sensitive on earth.

It was in 1930, that America first wrote a plan for war with ‘The Red Empire’ – its most dangerous empire.
But America’s foe in this war was not Russia or Japan or even the burgeoning Nazi Germany.
Plan Red was code for an apocalyptic war with Britain and all her dominions.

After the 1918 Armistice and throughout the 1920s, America’s historic anti-British feelings handed down from the 19th century were running dangerously high due to our owing the U.S. £9billion for their intervention in The Great War.

British feeling against America was known to be reciprocal.

By the 1930s, America saw the disturbing sight of homegrown Nazi sympathisers marching down New York’s Park Avenue to converge on a pro-Hitler rally in Madison Square Garden.

Across the Atlantic, Britain had the largest empire in the world, not to mention the most powerful navy.
Against this backdrop, some Americans saw their nation emerging as a potential world leader and knew only too well how Britain had dealt with such upstarts in the past – it went to war and quashed them.

Now, America saw itself as the underdog in a similar scenario.

In 1935, America staged its largest-ever military manoeuvres, moving troops to and installing munitions dumps at Fort Drum, half an hour away from the eastern Canadian border.

By the 1930s, America saw the disturbing sight of homegrown Nazi sympathisers marching down New York’s Park Avenue to converge on a pro-Hitler rally in Madison Square Garden

It was from here the initial attack on British citizens would be launched, with Halifax, Nova Scotia, its first target.
‘This would have meant six million troops fighting on America’s eastern seaboard,’ says Peter Carlson, editor of American History magazine.

‘It would have been like Verdun,’ alluding to the brutal conflict between German and French troops in 1916 which resulted in a death toll of 306,000.

Even Winston Churchill said while people regarded a war with the U.S. as inconceivable, it was not.

‘America felt Britain had thrown it under the bus in order to stay top dog,’ says Professor Mike Vlahos, of the U.S. Naval War College.

‘The U.S. was forced to contemplate any measure to keep Britain at bay.’

Even Hitler thought such a war was inevitable, but astonishingly wanted Britain to win, believing that to be the best outcome for Germany, since the UK could then join his forces to attack the U.S.

‘You have to remember the U.S. was born out of a revolutionary struggle against Britain in 1776,’ says Dr. John H. Maurer, of the U.S. Naval War College.

Using available blueprints for this war, modern-day military and naval experts now believe the most likely outcome of such a conflict would have been a massive naval battle in the North Atlantic with very few actual deaths, but ending with Britain handing Canada over to the U.S. in order to preserve our vital trade routes.

However, on June 15, 1939, the same year as the German invasion of Poland, an internal U.S. memo states these plans for an invasion were ‘wholly inapplicable’, but nevertheless ‘should be retained’ for the future.

This is now seen as the dawn of and prime reason behind the ‘special relationship’ between our two countries.
Huge troop movements were launched as an overture to an invasion of Canada, which was to include bombing raids on industrial targets and the use of chemical weapons – the latter signed off by the legendary General Douglas MacArthur

By: David Gerrie

The Interminable War

Ten years and thousands of human lives later, we now live in a transformed world; a world filled with terror, suicide bombers, and unpredictable calamities. Those responsible for starting this seemingly interminable war have mostly left the stage, but the new leadership seems incapable of stopping the process which has unleashed a reign of destruction and terror across the world. What are they looking for now? The self-proclaimed holy warriors and the marines, themselves an unforgettable symbol of terror, unnamed young men from Texas recruited in the name of national security and allured by the promise of grand and quick bucks are not going home, even though one cannot fathom their unfinished agenda anymore.

The game has never been so complicated and complex. We now know that the British intelligence and Scotland Yard were actively involved in an international operation to protect Saif al-Islam, the son of Muammar Qaddafi, who had feared that an “Islamist plot to assassinate him on British soil” was in place. The most brazen thing about this so-called Islamic plot is that the secret files published recently by the British press links it to Qatar, now the foremost Arab ally of the western powers in their Libyan venture. Both MI6 and the Special Air Service (SAS) were then pressed into service to protect him. Both are now hunting Saif!

Saif al-Islam, literally the sword of Islam, in reality anything but that, has been condemned by Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the US State Department; he is considered one of the prime suspects facing war-crime charges. But the same Saif al-Islam was their prime hope just four years ago and Qatar’s interior minister was the main accused in the assassination plot. Let us recall that Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, the Qatari interior minister, was also accused of sheltering “terrorists” at his farm by none other Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism director, who considered his ministerial post a “direct and serious threat to US forces present in Qatar”. Of course, no one asked: why are US forces present in Qatar in the first place? No one asks such questions anymore; indeed, we live in a transformed world.

The papers found in the international relations department of the Libyan government further reveal that Libya had officially sought help from the UK in saving the life of the dictator’s son through a letter written to a senior MI6 official. According to these papers, Saif al-Islam had then disclosed secrets of Libya’s nuclear programme. His efforts were considered “highly constructive and welcome”. When Saif filed a successful libel action against The Sunday Telegraph in 2002, which had accused him of being part of a money-laundering scam, this was viewed by a senior UK security official as an “unfortunate” matter which had, thankfully, been concluded. The amazing footnote to this episode is that many insiders claim that the money laundering stories in The Sunday Telegraph were, in fact, part of the MI6 misinformation-campaign when Libya was deemed to be a “terrorist state”!

Saif was placed on the “at-risk register” of the London Metropolitan Police Special Branch; police visited him to discuss the threat with him and took special measures to protect him. Saif, big hope of the British government, a key figure in securing more contracts in Libya, is now on the run. But then, he was speaking their language. He had allegedly disclosed certain activities of Dr A Q Khan, who was then accused of selling nuclear know-how to rogue states and striving to create an “Islamic bomb”.

Saif used to present himself as the champion of western agenda for Libya. In an interview with a British newspaper, he boasted that he had convinced his father to give up attempts to build nuclear weapons and to cooperate with the US and UK. He disclosed that Libya had spent $450m to build a nuclear bomb. “I was able to take messages to my father and explain to him. By the end, we had a good relationship with the CIA, MI6 and all the Americans and British,” he had said proudly.

This is merely one concrete example of the western duplicity; there are numerous others. But that is no more a “story” in this interminable war of terror. There is no real story left. All that we now have are unfathomable numbers: a conservative estimate three years ago by Joseph E Stiglitz, professor at Columbia University and a Nobel laureate in economics, had put the cost of this war between $3-5trillion. Since then, a number of new factors have added to that cost. The US troops returning from Iraq have required disability payments; as many as 600,000 have been treated at veterans’ medical facilities, future disability payments and health-care costs are estimated around $600-900bn. Then there are social costs, arising from veteran suicides, broken families, and lost children. And no one is counting the number of dead and displaced Afghans and Iraqis.

An interminable war, by definition, has no end. Thus, second-rate propellers will keep pushing it. An example of such a poor propeller is Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister, who recently said in an interview with Peter Mansbridge of the CBC that Islamicism is the biggest security threat facing Canada. One mentions him, although he is not worth mentioning, because there is something perversely hilarious in the idea of radical Islamicist cells gathering to plot attacks against Canada, because Harper does not seem to know that the term Islamists is the older term for the subcategory of orientalists studying Islam!

Be that as it is, the great post-9/11 hype created by mass media is over and the average citizen in the United States is now more concerned about his or her monthly bills and daily bread than national security, but there is no end in sight of the war itself. The only possible solution seems to be an economic meltdown which the United States has barely managed to avoid recently.

By: Dr Muzaffar Iqbal

The midwifery role of politicians – USA & Europe

No Bachcha Saqqa can now ascend to the throne without the active backing of the western powers, most importantly that of the United States, Britain and France. This is not only because of their enormous political leverage institutionalised through the handmaiden called the United Nations, but primarily due to their military hardware. The recent case of Libya is a classic example not only of the unjust UN role, but also of the coming together of European and American interests in the oil-rich Libyan desert; it is also a showcase of the impotence of the non-western states in an era of increasing western imperialism.

Above all, it is their devastating airpower that has emerged as the decisive force in the twenty-first century wars: the so-called Libyan revolution has been airborne on the wings of Royal Air Force. Had it not been for death and destruction raining down from the skies, the rebels would still be rebels. Despite a degree of relief one feels at the departure of Qaddafi, one cannot really rejoice in this airborne revolution.

This is the third time in a decade, that NATO forces – read US, British and French forces – have affected a regime change in the Muslim world. The midwifery role of western politicians in the birth of a “new” Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is not without adequate wages to be paid to these countries by generations of Afghans, Iraqis and Libyans. One cannot, however, look too far into the future in this post-modern era; things are changing so rapidly that Europe’s blood-drenched past is mingling with US-European neo-colonialism of the present era, in an equally blood-drenched scenario, now unfolding in many countries and already etched in so many villages and cities of occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

And all of this is being done with deliberate lies, duplicity, shameless counterfeits: the manner in which UN resolution 1973 was extended beyond any legal limits by Britain, France, and United States to kill hundreds of Libyans is indicative of this new trend. The mission that began as an effort to protect civilians, ended up killing a lot of them. The plain facts are not easy to hide: Britain took the lead in this case and decided to install a regime of its own liking. In the new book of colonisation, the modus operandi section states: take an active role in fermenting civil strife; then become partner in the resultant civil war, use selective air power, special forces, and advisors, and finally implement regime change.

The tide has certainly turned against unpopular authoritarian regimes. But the western intervention is not for the good of the oppressed people, but for its own good. In Libya, their raison d’être was that the cruel colonel was about to carry out a massacre of civilians in Benghazi after he threatened to hunt down rats “house to house”. It is unimaginable that he could have overrun an armed and hostile city of 700,000 people. This was the flimsiest of Nato’s fig leaf to justify its onslaught and deliver regime change from the air.

This should not be misread: the euphoria on the streets of Libyan cities is real. But it is just that: a short-lived euphoria, a sense of relief, before we start to hear about the real toll on civilians from some 20,000 air sorties, huge supplies of western arms and logistical support provided by NATO. The British government’s policy of no boots on the ground is also going to change soon: first in the form of some troops to “stabilise” the new government, then advisors and finally a fully operative colonial structure.

A new era has dawned. Ten years after the fatal eleventh of September, 2001, the Muslim world has finally and perhaps irrecoverably become hostage to a new wave of western colonisation. Not all countries are up for transition at this point: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the entire Gulf region, Kuwait and Jordan are able to deliver; their old rulers will remain in place, so no voice for the human rights, no concern for their brutality, no need for a new democracy in these countries. At least not yet. But the sword is hanging over them now. Time is ticking and we are entering an era beyond the reign of Bachcha Saqqas, into the comfort of western midwives.

By: Dr Muzaffar Iqbal