Monday, November 20, 2017

Beware of these people

Life is a very complex thing to deal with or even to live with. We have all sorts of people who come into our lives – some leaving pleasant memories, while many leaving haunting imprints that one would not even like to remember.

One of these people are the one who are always angry – showing and expressing their anger just for nothing or even on the pettiest of the thing not worthy of even being angry for. Such people are always ready for an explosive discussion and conflict with anyone who comes their way and may even harm them.

For such dealing with such people, the solution is very simple: Simply walk away, without engaging in any way. For these are the people who are actually not fighting with you, but are fighting with themselves – they only want to vent their anger on you to be at ease internally.

So be mindful of such people – leave them on their own for any engagement with them will hurt you emotionally for nothing.

If you like the Fire Within, follow us on Facebook

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tillerson's Asian Visit: What is cooking up in India?

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent visit to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India raises many an eyebrow as the high ranking US official just spent a few hours each in Afghanistan and Pakistan and then embarks upon a two days visit to India.

In America's so called war on terror, Afghanistan and Pakistan should have assumed greater importance where he just happened to have touched down and fly away to India - a country the US is trying to incorporate for peace in Afghanistan, while peace in Afghanistan cannot be sustained and obtained by Pakistan.

Perhaps it was for this lukewarm visit approach by Tillerson that he apparently received a rather cold shoulder from Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and other cabinet members in Islamabad. 

As per reports, Pakistan seem to have hit back at the accusations about harboring terrorism, just as Pakistan defended its record on the matter during the recent opening of the UN General Assembly. In a press conference after the meeting, the Pakistan foreign minister categorically said that;

  • “Terrorist attacks are not planned on or executed from Pakistani soil; there are no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, and we made this clear to the US delegation today. 
  • We emphasized again and again that US assessment about Pakistan is wrong. We are not responsible for the increase in the drug trade in Afghanistan or the increasing Afghan territory occupied by terrorists.
  • Our armed forces and law enforcement agencies have taken action; we have yielded results and will continue to do so but not for Afghan or American interest. Our fight against terrorism is our own and the results we yield are our win”.

Analyzing Pakistan government's staff, Adam Garrie of Global Village Space remarks: Assuming the language Asif and his colleagues used behind closed doors was at least as strong as the public statement, the US should be in no doubt about Pakistan’s position.

In recent times, Pakistan, dejected by repeated accusations by the USA to do more when its armed forces have lost thousands of its officers and men in combating the terrorism, have started to realign itself to the regional stake holders like China and Russia with whom it can establish a better natural relationship being in close proximity and for the reason that they understand the dynamics of the region better than  USA sitting thousands of miles away, assuming things in a rather wrongly perceived self perspective.

The opening of China Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC) brings Pakistan closer to China than ever before and its joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) also brings itself close to Russia. The trade relations with Russia and Pakistan are opening up every day and soon Pakistan will emerge as a strong country in the region backed by China and Russia.

America will lose more by aligning itself with India and continuing to bully Pakistan for its failure in Afghanistan. In fact the USA wants a scape goat in the form of a blamed Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan, where despite its elite forces the Taliban control more than 45% of the Afghan territory. Its time for USA to have a save exit from Afghanistan and bringing Afghanistan and Pakistan more closer to each other rather than asking India for help, an arch rival of Pakistan and Pakistan will never accept India's role in the afghan peace process for this very reason. Even otherwise India's jumping in to steal a piece of cake will further worsen situation in Afghanistan. This flawed policy will only worsen the US position in the region.

"Were the current Indian government not so hostile to Pakistan, one could imagine Pakistan feeling some sympathy for an Indian state that is being used by the US for its own geo-strategic and military purposes. For decades, the US used Pakistan in similar ways and to a degree is still trying to do so. The difference is that Pakistan and the world around Pakistan have changed and Islamabad’s leaders are well aware of this long overdue advantage," assumes Adam Garrie.

Is USA listening??

References: Global Village Space

If you like the Fire Within, follow us on Facebook

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Security of Pakistan's Nuclear Assets

Islamabad must presume that in the course of its past (ill-considered) ‘cooperation’ with the US to enhance the ‘safety and security’ of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the US has gained considerable intelligence about Pakistan’s strategic assets. However, Pakistani officials correctly discount America’s ability to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

These are too many, and too widely dispersed and well protected, thus not amenable to any seizure or strike. But nuclear delivery systems are more difficult to hide and protect. In a crisis, it is the delivery systems that will be the prime target of a preemptive strike. These are most likely to be detected when, in a crisis, they are being ‘mated’ with the separately stored warheads.

Furthermore, as revealed during the current Korean drama, missile launches can be sabotaged by cyber attacks and other technical means. In the emerging strategic scenario, nuclear deterrence is Pakistan’s ultimate assurance against external aggression and coercion.

Pakistan needs to take several measures so that the credibility of its nuclear deterrence is assured.
  • The massive deployment of artillery and short-range missiles (à la North Korea) as the first line of conventional deterrence and defence against an Indian Cold Start attack. This would deter Indian attack and also raise the nuclear threshold.
  • The multiplication of long-, medium- and short-range nuclear-capable missiles to ensure the penetration of any ballistic missile defence systems that India deploys.
  • The continued production of fissile materials to provide warheads for the enlarged missile force.
  • Then, there is the need to ‘mate’ at least some warheads with delivery vehicles, their dispersal and disguise, or protection in hardened silos, to respond to a preemptive strike, Eventually, submarine-launched ballistic missiles could provide an assured second-strike capability*
  • The deployment of effective air defence systems plus a limited number of advanced (and expensive) anti-ballistic missile systems to protect command and control centers.
  • The development of offensive and defensive cyber-warfare capabilities.
  • Following this, Pakistan needs the acquisition and deployment of early-warning capabilities, like the satellites, surveillance aircraft and drones.
  • In the meantime, Pakistan should utilize Chinese early warning capabilities
  • Lastly, greater integration and interoperability with Chinese land, air and naval forces to enhance conventional and strategic deterrence, quickly and cheaply.
Once Pakistan can demonstrate the complete credibility of its nuclear deterrence posture, its offers to negotiate peace and security in South Asia and to resolve the Kashmir dispute may evoke a more positive response from both India and the US. Pakistan will then also be able to pursue its socioeconomic objectives free from the threats of external coercion, intervention and aggression.

The above article is authored by Ambassador Munir Akram,  HQA, who was the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations from 2002 to 2008
Photos: AFP
If you like the Fire Within, follow us on Facebook

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Rohingya Muslims killing Under the Very Nose of a Nobel laureate

The world cared for a fragile looking women, Aung San Suu Kyi, who fought for two decades for her people being brutalized by the years of army rule in Myanmar or commonly known as Burma. And the world gave her a Nobel Prize for her efforts for peace in 1991. But when she walked into the corridors of power, she forgot her promises and also more than a million Muslim minority, called the  Rohingya, and left them at the mercy of the powerful military which still control Myanmar's defence, home and border affairs.

Although not the president of Myanmar, Suu Kyi is considered to be the de facto president of the country and she is consulted by world leaders on all international forums as Myanmar's representative.

Rohingya Muslims, who are living in the country for centuries have not been given the status of citizens of the country and are labeled by the powerful army as illegal immigrants. This 'entitles' the army to play foul with these innocent people, kill them at will and rape their women for their pleasure and then kill them too.

Over the past many years, thousands have perished and succumbed to the brutalities of the military - but the media is reluctant to air their voice and show the Myanmar military's brutalities and the ethnic cleansing being carried out - unfortunately right under the very nose of the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whom the world awarded for her peace efforts.

Not only Aung San Suu Kyi has tighten her lips to say a few words or sympathize with the poor  Rohingya Muslims, she has also very recently not allowed an Amnesty International team under ex UN chief Kofi Annan to visit the troubled area of  Rohingya Muslims and see for themselves the atrocities being committed to them.

In the meantime, Bangladesh has also stopped  Rohingya Muslims trying to enter their country after fleeing from a certain death at the hands of the military back home, if it really is home for them.Already some 50,000  Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh last year.

But the strange part is the complete silence of the world community. So far only Turkey and Saudi Arabia have openly condemned the killing of  Rohingya Muslims - while UN and all champions of world peace are mum over the plight of  Rohingya Muslims at the hands of the Myanmar army.

Does this mean world has lost its conscious and left the  Rohingya Muslims to keep dying and one day wipe out from the country? Who would side them against a brutal army of present times? Why cannot the UN sanctions a peace keeping force to be stationed in the troubled area of  Rohingya Muslims and shield them against the brute force of the Myanmar army? 

Shouldn't Aung San Suu Kyi be stripped of her Nobel Prize for she has miserably failed to ensure peace in her country for which she was awarded with this prestigious prize. 

When the Taliban destroyed an age old Buddhist monument in Afghanistan, the entire world community and the Buddhists condemned the destruction - but now when Muslims are being killed, raped and massacred, no one speaks - is the world conscious sleeping? Or it is it oblivious to atrocities committed against Muslims?

If you like the Fire Within, follow us on Facebook

Sunday, August 27, 2017

US Dilemma: Trump finding it difficult to dismount the lion

The US finds it does not know how to dismount the tiger. The US is finding the War in Afghanistan a little too hot for its liking and why not; it was a War that remained in search of strategy and failed to find it. It’s not that I wish to gloat, nor that I want to say ‘I told you so’, but that one is forced to respond when confronted with accusations that the US failed in Afghanistan on account of Pakistan. That we were a tricky two-faced partner. Since I was closely associated with this conflict for a number of years and since I am aware of the things that happened, it is only right that people such as me must speak for Pakistan just as we fought for Pakistan.
That a hundred and fifty thousand NATO troops have been overwhelmed by the imagined hoards that Pakistan sent across the border, challenges my professional understanding of the situation. That this is the same border that neither Afghanistan recognizes and nor accepts its management or fencing, a fact that of course cannot have escaped US attention. That Pakistan has seven times the number of posts than Afghanistan and the US combined does not seem to make any headway. That Afghan communication systems are functioning despite Pakistan’s repeated requests that they be shut down while Pakistani SIMs are down and out is another moot point. 
That three Generals of the US Army promised additional border deployment with a US brigade across the North Waziristan Border remains a promise unfulfilled and forgotten. That the US unilaterally up-staked and left Nuristan and the Kunar Valley, one of the most dangerous areas on the border, creating a vacuum is a question that only they can answer. That Pakistani dissidents were given safe havens in this vacuum and encouraged to attack Pakistan is for all to see and take note of. That the MOB (Mother of all Bombs) accounted for 14 Indians from Kerala amongst the causalities was never a surprise for us. That India is permitted to have so many conciliates along the Border, and none are processing visas is an obvious aberration. That Pakistan suffered horrendous terrorist attacks from Afghanistan through these bands of militants organized and facilitated in Kunar is a no brainer. The most damning aspect of this whole sorry episode is the narco issue that no one wants to talk about. A thriving drug trade amounting to a market value of $ 38 billion is hushed up. A trade under the nose of the US, and just as they do not control 40 % of the space, the damning implication of such a drug economy cannot be ignored.
Pakistan has been a so called ally. It has captured the maximum Al Qaida operators than all countries combined. It has lost 70000 of its citizens, it has the highest military causalities, its officer dead and wounded to troop ratio is the highest in the world, its generals to troop causalities is unprecedented. The cost of war has devastated the infrastructure, caused millions of its people to be displaced and has affected the economy to the tune of $ 100 Billion. It has cleared 48000 sq Kms of its space, secured 3500 Kms of lines of communication, it has established the writ of the government in these areas, people are returning home, the forces are popular and the borders controlled. But then even as I narrate this, it also saddens me. Do the Americans not know this? Are we just a victim of not having a narrative, a victim of a bad image or slanderous Haqqani shooting off his mouth? Could it be as simple as that? No, that is not possible and I am convinced, that no amount of logic, no amount of reasoning will change the US posture towards Pakistan. 
The bias and the prejudice is despite what the US knows; the posture taken is premeditated and deliberate and therefore we must have been factored into some distant objective the US may have in mind and therefore action initiated against us must be a way to arrive at that objective. The story of the safe havens we are accused of nurturing is so close to the engineered narrative about the weapons of mass destruction that were allegedly discovered in Iraq and is so much like the standard and predictable US method to madness i.e. create a false casus-belie, broad caste it and then respond to it with a pre-planned and designated physical force, that one, at the least, cannot fault the US in being true to its form.
However, at the moment I still feel that the US is going through the motion of the good-cop bad-cop routine and if we can stare them down effectively, they may back down. Remember, the US is a bully and the bully can never be appeased; the more you please, the more arrogant he gets.
However, we are warned in the first part of the new US manoeuvre while in the second part we are to expect a troop surge of 4000 troops to make a total of 12000 men. In the confused and tentative objectives of this two pronged strategy, the US is looking for its relief, its coup de grace, and conclusion to its military adventure in Afghanistan. How? The troop numbers cannot win back the 40% of space already lost, in fact that cannot sustain the space they already have. I see these troops now resorting to fire-power, bombings and long range artillery with a high ratio of airborne component. 
The nature and character of this force does not appear to have a ground-holding capacity. So I can only conclude that it is intended to punish the Taliban from a distant. If that be true, to what purpose? To me it appears that it endeavours to put the US in a better position to negotiate a power transfer. To me it looks that this ‘Unity’ Government is about to be ditched. To me it looks that the Taliban have won a place at the table where they can secure the ways and means to be the future legitimate government of Afghanistan. To me it also seems that the Indians may be the next US proxy and who might be foolish enough to take on this role. I hope they do. My hopes are founded on the likely outcome of such a stupidity if it ever comes to it.

Coming to Pakistan; we are about to lose our privileged allied status. Were we ever privileged, did we discover any advantage or draw anything out of such a relationship? I think it is time to sever this relationship that has in fact cost us so much. So we hear of all the money and funds that the US taxpayers gave to us. I for one am thankful for their assistance, I would like to say to the people of the US that we are grateful for their contributions. However, what did we get and should we always be told of what are obligations are on account of it? Well here are the bare facts; taking the year 2009 as a constant; we have received from the US a total of $ 61 Billion. 
Working on another constant of 180 million people at the time, this translates to $10.30/ head. Surely we can do without this $10.30 , even if it did get to the people which it never did. We have also received, a total of $14 Billion since 2002 till today. Against a 175 Billion national economy, this hardly amounts to .0.5% of our GDP. Like I said earlier, we are thankful for whatever we received and would never want to look a gift horse in the mouth but in no way do we feel that we are obligated due to such an insignificant amount or for that matter any amount, nor is the US entitled to make unreasonable demands on account of it, nor can we put our sovereignty or what remains of it, at the disposal of the US, because of it. We are not for sale.
So having lost the war in Afghanistan, for which they now wish to blame Pakistan, having parked our enemy in our back yard, having closed an eye to how we have been attacked from areas under their control and now being threatened for some ulterior motive, we must seek a suitable response. In my mind, the US will do what it has decided to do regardless of any explanations we have, any reasoning, narrative or argument that we present. Whereas, our response lies mostly in the domain of diplomacy and in garnering support from friendly countries as far as possible, yet we must reserve the right and the option of responding in a reciprocal a manner if it comes to a physical conflict. 
We should be wary of the total lack of support from the Islamic countries and the so called Ummah as they have amply displayed and rely on ourselves more than anyone else. My recommendation: a warning to Afghanistan that any hostile activity emanating from its territory will be taken as an act of war. That we shall respond by causing as much damage as we can in Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Bagram. We have the range, capability and capacity; they should be wary of testing it. This may deter any adventure the US has in mind - never beg a bully!!!!

About the Author
Lieutenant general Tariq Khan (Retired), Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military), winner of the Sword of Honour from Pakistan Military Academy and is a graduate of the prestigious National Defense University of Pakistan and has a long experience of fighting the War on Terror in the tribal areas of Pakistan and along the Pakistan- Afghanistan border. He has extensive interaction with the allied commanders employed in Afghanistan and working with top  military elite at CENTCOM. He has been one of the few Pakistan Army officers awarded with the Legion of Merit by the USA. He also has the honour of commanding one of the strike corps of Pakistan Army. He is a well read military analyst who often shares his view points, incisive and thought provoking analysis on national and international affairs.

(The views expressed above are personal of the author and do not necessarily express the opinion of the admin of this blog)


If you like the Fire Within, follow us on Facebook

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Grinding Pakistan - US Relations: A Rational Analysis

Much is being said about the recent statement of Donald Trump. Yes, rightfully world has to analyze his words as he commands the super power. It is also acknowledged fact that a mere presence of its 101 Air borne division of aircraft carrier changes the power dynamics of region. Is move of 7 fleet into bay of Bengal into 1971 fresh in our memory? And have we read what our president was hoping?
But we are a sovereign nation with a large army. Why should we go into panic. I am amazed that we are telling the world what we sacrificed for this war on terror – funny and shame. We need to do all for our country not to get American sympathy. We must learn to indulge in interstate relationship.
Don’t play victim to circumstances; you created. We are doing exactly the same. Let me refresh your memory of our relationship with USA. Pakistan gets independence and we run towards USA for strategic alignment, while ignoring the region. We outsourced, Badabair Air base, join CENTO and SEATO. FM, negotiates a deal with USA for military support and in the process divulges our strategic secrets. USA condones dictator for his worst act of takeover and becomes an ally. We decide to go for liberation of Kashmir and infiltrate into IHK in 1965. That is good enough. US stops your aid and we start abusing USA for not being loyal.
The then president Yayha imposes another martial law. He acts wisely and gets involved in clandestine channel to make a secret visit of Dr. Kissinger to China. They tried to pay back by pressurizing India in 1971 to spare us. We lost East Pakistan. USA claims that it helped to save the western half of Pakistan.

We again start cursing USA. In 1977, Zia takes over and he too needs USA help to get international approval. Zia opts to join AFGHAN JIHAD. We become darling of USA and billions of dollars comes in. Who had good time, is not known to us.
Then comes Musharraf’s disgraceful decision to help after 9/11. He becomes a great statesman. Again billions of dollars comes in and some of our people took reward money to headhunt Taliban including the president of Pakistan.
This is brief history of our relationship with USA. My questions:
1. Is US doing charity work in our region? They have their interests and they feel we are not doing enough. I feel it is a disgrace for a nation to be working for someone and getting financial rewards. We can ask USA please do it yourself, if we have the guts and power. 
2. Trump has spelled out his strategy for South Asia and that is his right. Why must we start fighting and ask him to acknowledge our sacrifices. Again it is disgraceful, we need to be happy with ourselves. 
3. USA wants more role for India, so it is their regional policy. It is the people and govt of Afghanistan who have to decide, whom to trust.? We gave many sacrifices for Afghanistan. We need to think as to why Afghans want more role for India?
4. USA says that we are hiding Taliban and we deny it. So let them say and we are a sovereign nation and keep doing what is in our national interest. But what is our national interest?

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings." It is all our faults. We have taken unwise and selfish decisions that we stand totally marginalized and isolated. It is good that China is one hope but now we do not want to be their colony. We never loved our country. We are into prejudices – army, civilians, democracy. We are all corrupt. We never planned for our country, see our population vs resources. And see what have we done with religion. We need to be a international law abiding nation and always take decisions for national interests.

About the Author: Brigadier Asif Aliv (Retired) is a graduate of the prestigious National Defense University of Pakistan and a well read military analyst who often shares his view points, incisive and thought provoking analysis on national and international affairs at Facebook
(The views expressed above are personal of the author and do not necessarily express the opinion of the admin of this blog)

If you like the Fire Within, follow us on Facebook

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Contractors for Afghanistan

After years of failures in Afghanistan and getting its soldiers killed for a war for which the US was never prepared, the US has come up with a new innovative approach: Replace regular forces with Contractors, the non state actors, or so to say mercenaries and professional killers.

Lieutenant General Tariq Khan (retired), a high ranking Pakistan Army officer, who had had extensive experience in fighting in the terrorists infested northern areas of Pakistan along with the Pakistan-Afghan border has analyses the concept and opines:

So the United States has come up with a new proposal. Replace the military in Afghanistan with 'contractors'. It implies that contractors are more effective than their regular forces. These contractors would not have better weapons or more resources so how come its expected that they would deliver where conventional forces could not. The only thing that the contractors would have going for them would be that they would not be restrained by rules or law. Their application of of physical force would be unrestrained violence.

 It would also be deniable by the State, " That we don't control the contractor", this is the actual concept of the Non State Actor. I hope the US do not go down this road but if they do a legal precedence would have been established in setting up and organizing Non State Actors and no one knows how to do that better than us. 

The ramifications to the region would have terrible consequences. What argument would other States have against such organizations after all whats good for the goose is good for the gander!!!

One of the ex army colonel commenting on General Tariq Khan's assertions and view point adds: "It is also indicative of low morale of regular forces and very poor enrollment back home. Secondly, though the contractors are paid heavily but organized combat is the domain of regular military. If US implement free lance killers so many more countries will do the same. The world will become far more unsafe. Bad thinking."

Photo: Pixabay
If you like the Fire Within, follow us on Facebook

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Facebook Themes