The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Is de-nuclearizing Pakistan a necessary condition for an attack on Iran?

with 2 comments

Admiral Fasih Bokhari, former chief of Pakistan’s naval staff, raises some interesting questions regarding the source of the “Pakistani nuclear threat” narrative in a Pakpotpourri exclusive:

Can Iran, the focus of enmity for GCC and Israel, be attacked conventionally without de-nuclearizing Pakistan? This was the question that started worrying me 3 or 4 years ago. Pakistan never indicated that its nuclear umbrella covered Iran or any other Muslim country. Pakistan had consistently supported the security of the GCC countries, and had never threatened Israel. That was a policy not based on reciprocity, given GCC funding of our militant religious right and close Indo-Israel military ties; but it may have suited our power centers.

There is obvious Indian interest to have Pakistan de-nuclearized. But it is perhaps only in the Iran context that it suits American, GCC, and Israeli interests to de-nuclearize Pakistan.

Is Pakistan’s deterrent seen as an umbrella for Iran? Was the pull back based more on Russia, or China’s position? What could be the Russian or Chinese response given the strong economic linkages of mutual dependence of those countries with the US? Is the uncertainty of Pakistan’s position a factor? Are our nuclear policy signals being read clearly? Are we even signaling to countries of that region? Who is pushing this “fear of Pak nuclear” narrative? Are we fated to remain India centric? Have we devised a counter narrative acceptable to all countries involved? These were very vexing questions.

In the current American, Indian, Israel, and GCC narrative mindset it makes sense for them to put our military on the back foot, and support our political dispensation against the military, in the name of greater “democracy”. The only way to take out Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program is by neutralizing the will to resist of the Armed Forces and further destabilizing the country to a stage that the government and people voluntarily demand it’s [sic] dismantling under international supervision.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

July 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I really feel amazed and amused at the idea of Pakistan providing Nuclear umbrella to Iran or any other regional country………how many Nukes will it take by USA/Israel to finish off Pakistan…4? or 6?? And I am not talking of neutron or fission bomb…………For God’s sake have mercy !!!!!!!
    We will be lucky if we survive first strike by India ………………………….I am not being defeatist but realist so let us have balance of Terror…….and so no hot war. Both of us, India & Pakistan, are arrogantly stupid and even brinkmanship be avoided…….



    July 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

  2. Dear Admiral Bokhari

    First, let me compliment you on your paper “Who put a lid on Policy Formation?”

    There were thought provoking questions & some good back ground to go with it. Well done. Following is my take on it:

    1-I will agree that Pakistan must deal with the SWAR on a nation-to-nation basis. Whereas, it includes the multi dimensional pressures from India, this should not over rule our strategic dealings with other countries of the Region.

    2-Regarding Iran. I do not feel, not attacking Iran, US was in any way deterred by a nuclear Pakistan. The deterrent was the Iran President who will retaliate, with force if need be, for whatever Iran is worth, if attacked. For that alone, I respect the man. Dignity & the ability to stand in face of a strong adversary is not a common trait in today’s geo political situation. Besides, a pre dominantly Sunni Pakistan, beholden to USA economically will not come to the rescue of a Shia Iran. Neither will this move be supported by Saudi Arabia. So Pakistan’s hands here are tied. Very much so. In marketing the US’ perception on what is happening in Iran, Clinton said: “We see that the government of Iran, the supreme leader, the president and the parliament are being supplanted, and that Iran is moving towards a military dictatorship,” Clinton told a gathering in Qatar’s capital of Doha. The United States appears to be in a hurry to bring about a regime change in Iran but its biggest problem is that it does not know how to go about it. One of the aims of Clinton’s visit to the region, is to win an assurance from Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Gulf States that they would increase their oil supplies in the event the region is destabilized by an attack on Iran either by the US or by Israel. China, like Iran, is opposed to US hegemony though it does not state it openly. China is suspicious of the US presence in West Asia and Afghanistan, and feels it could be a threat to China’s interest in Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. Some analysts believe the instability in Pakistan’s tribal areas and Baluchistan is being deliberately engineered by anti-China forces to prevent China from extending a highway from its western borders to the Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Once this highway becomes operational, it will make China geographically close to West Asia and help it save billions of dollars in transport costs. China and the US are also engaged in a “great game” to keep Central Asia within their sphere of influence. China, with Russia’s help, appears to have won this battle for Central Asia; but the US has not given up its ambitions in the oil-and-gas-rich region totally. In recent weeks, US-China relations have been strained by a series of US moves which Beijing saw as hostile. Among them were the sale of advanced weapons to Taiwan and US President Barack Obama’s meeting Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama despite Chinese protests. Given these factors, it is unlikely China would back the sanction and lose the friendship of Iran, which Beijing regards as a natural ally in its growing cold war with the US. What I’m saying is: It is never Pakistan US is wary of, in attacking Iran. It is China.

    3-Your question: who has put policy lid on our policy formation & review process? Us of course. Since we lack economic independence, and have put our eggs in one basket, we are pretty much under the thumb of US. Thereby if we take a step in interest of Pakistan but which may not suit USA, our interests have been abandoned in favor of the US. You are aware of how Pakistan was sharply rapped on the knuckles when it tried to woo Karzai into forming an alliance with China & not US August last year.

    4-Pakistan has a strong, and if I may add, legitimate fear of India. The blue eyed boy of US & the trump card against China’s rise to power in the region. Pakistan expectedly, has reacted sharply to the two major strategic agreements signed between United States and India, within weeks of each other namely:

    New Framework for US-India Defence Relationship signed between US Secretary of Defense and the Indian Defence Minister in Washington on June 28, 2005.

    US-India Joint Agreement signed between the US President and the Indian Prime Minister in Washington on July 18, 2005.

    Subsequent events have only strengthened the relationship between US & India.

    Pakistan’s fears and concerns on the US-India Strategic partnership emerge as follows:

    India emerges as the dominant power in South Asia.
    South Asia’s regional strategic balance is jeopardised.
    Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence vis-a-vis India gets compromised.
    India’s power projection and force projection capabilities will get enhanced.
    And since Kashmir has to be linked by Pakistan with every conceivable development, USA has jeopardised an equitable settlement of this issue.
    Water violation by India vis-a-vis Pakistan

    We must develop strategies to suit OUR interests. However, can we develop them in light of our limitations?

    I hope this input is an answer to your request for the same.
    Warm Regards

    Yasmeen Ali

    July 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

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