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It’s not about Israel

Pakistan must not again play lackey to U.S. and Saudi bidding.

By Lt Gen (R) Asad Durrani | February 2021


It’s about taking pressure. There were times when we were quite good at it.

Though already a cog in the American belt to contain the Soviet influence; in the early 1960s we decided to reach out to China – probably because the once warm Sino-Indian relations were now in deep-freeze. The US of course was unhappy because Taiwan was the only China it wanted to know. We still stuck to our guns. A few years down the line, Kissinger asked us to take him over the Hump. In 1971, we whisked him away to Peking – over the Himalayas.

We did one better when defying the US’s diktat to sever ties with the post-revolution Iran that had taken some American diplomats as hostages. And that was despite the fact that we at the time badly needed US aid against the Soviets in Afghanistan. We have represented the Iranian interests in Washington ever since.

Resisting immense US pressure to keep our nuclear programme on track is by now pretty well-known, but I consider maintaining leverage with the Taliban against the desires of the rest of the world a masterstroke of statecraft. On behest of distant powers, we did not abandon our neighbours. That helped us to bring them to the table whenever it was required – lately, on Trump’s request.

Probably our bleakest performance was when after 9/11 – despite a good hand that we had since the US direly needed our support – Musharraf meekly accepted all the infamous seven demands. It took us almost a decade before the catastrophic events of 2011—Raymond Davis, OBL, and the massacre at Salalah—compelled us to tell the Yanks to go get lost. This act of playing the hard ball was as effective as all the earlier ones – and also conveyed the right message: we were no pushovers.

So, what’s this Saudi pressure that Imran Khan was talking about – and that too on a non-issue!

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4 thoughts on “It’s not about Israel

  • February 1, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Most enlightening article.

    • February 4, 2021 at 9:48 pm

      We need to learn to cut down our nondevelopment budget and stop basing our relationship with Saudi Arabia on transactional security alone and put emphasis on economic cooperation.

  • February 2, 2021 at 4:45 am

    You have given credit to the Israelis, they know how to play their essentially weak hand. A postage stamp-sized country inhabited by outcasts from Europe, it wields immense influence in the world.

    She does this by using Jewish money to control banking, politics and media to manipulate policies of the most powerful country in the world. This to an extent where Israel’s enemies routinely become enemies of the U.S. Having acquired nuclear capability, she can now blackmail West Europe with the ‘Sampson Doctrine’ — if I go down, I am going to take you down with me’.

    She can lure the Indians with the promise to use her influence over the U.S to ensure the latter’s policies remain sympathetic. As for the Middle East and Pakistan, it is to Israel’s advantage if the regimes are weak and tenuous, hence in need of external support. Zia-ul-Haq, Musharraf and the PPP did their best to keep Israel pleased, often at Pakistan’s expence. So the cookie crumbles.

    • February 2, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      MNS THE FUGITIVE ran us to subservience Saudi India and the U.S. as he was counting pennies. While national interest suffered, the dunderhead took FM slot too, leaving for others to play cat and mouse to reduce us to pigmies. IK has a backbone of sterling material rather than the amoeba dunce.