The recent outburst by the UAE foreign minister against Pakistani parliament’s decision not to get involved in the Yemeni conflict brought to the fore the fact that UAE’s interests have been severely hurt by this decision. And then my mind went back to several news items and articles I read about the role of UAE in Pakistan’s present crises. I also remembered comments I received about UAE’s involvement when I wrote articles on these issues. Many commentators pointed out that it is not just big powers, but some of our muslim “brothers” in the Middle East whose economic interests are being adversely affected as a result of the building of the Gwadar port. And then my mind went back approximately ten years when huge stacks of UAE currency was discovered in hideouts of BLA separatists in Baluchistan.
An interesting discussion in Strategic and Foreign Affairs (11 August 2012) on “How to Counter Gulf Threat to Pakistan’s Integrity?” states that UAE has been harboring BLA separatists and their financiers. The callousness of our governments in “gifting” PAF Base Shamsi to the UAE monarchs, who lent it to the US, from where drone attacks were conducted on Pakistani population from their own soil! Moreover, many absconders on ISI’s terrorist list regularly transit through the Gulf states and have been residing there, but the countries have not cooperated with Pakistan in apprehending these terrorists. This clearly shows that UAE is not our strategic ally. But in marked contrast to its own behavior, it wants Pakistan to go and fight its wars! It is a small country, but is conducting itself like an empire, spreading its influence without shedding its own blood!
If we decompose the list of countries involved in the Yemeni conflict we find that some are our friends, some were our friends in the past and some are our adversaries/enemies who have been working against Pakistan’s interests hand in glove with India. US and UK have reservations with the award of Gwadar port to China. They were our allies in the past, but not any more. USA is India’s strategic ally. UAE’s interests would be adversely affected by the coming into operation of the Gwadar port. Iran is the other party in this conflict and its interests are also being adversely affected as a result of the diversion of trade traffic from the port of Chabahar to Gwadar. Iran also has a strategic partnership with India. Saudi Arabia has been and continues to be our friend and has stood by us in times of need.
The resolution passed by the National Assembly therefore makes sense. It has picked our friend from the list of countries engaged in the Yemeni war and has vowed to stand by it. It also happens to be the country which is the repository of our holy places. But there is a problem with this stance also. If we state right away that we will get involved in the conflict if Saudi Arabia is faced with a threat, then powers working behind the scenes that are eager to drag Pakistan in the conflict can manipulate the situation in such a way that the threat is diverted against Saudi Arabia, just to rope us in. The threat can be diverted towards our holy sites, to blackmail us emotionally and drag us into the conflict. It doesn’t have to be a real threat. But western strategists believe that “you can fool all the people all the time” as is borne out by their claim of the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, although none were found. They have also been asserting that Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Northern Areas pose a serious threat to them in order to impose a war on Pakistan. Most of their war strategies are based on bluff, and by stating the circumstances under which we will join this war before hand, those same circumstances can be created.
I still remember when the previous government had just been installed in Pakistan in 2008, the Finance Minister Mr Shaukat Tareen stated that Pakistan will go to the IMF if there was no other option. When China offered $500 mn and there were pledges from other friends, the US advised our friends not to make bilateral credit offerings because “Friends of Pakistan” was being constituted and these offers should be made at its meeting in Dubai. In the Dubai meeting again our friends were told to hang on till the objectives of the “Friends of Pakistan” were decided. And finally, in the Islamabad meeting of the “Friends of Pakistan” it was decided by the powers that wanted to take us to the IMF that the “Friends of Pakistan” forum would be used for holding conferences only. After all these options were successfully closed we went to the IMF. And the US played a major role in closing these options first.
In order for the Saudis to better understand our position and the resolution passed in the National Assembly, we need to share the involvement of some coalition members in subversive activities in Pakistan with the Saudis. These include our western friends of yesterday years as well as our “muslims brother” in the Gulf. Saudis need to be told that the people of Pakistan love the Saudis, but feel the coalition fighting the Houthis include some of Pakistan’s real friends and brothers like Saudi Arabia. But it also includes some big powers who are strategic partners of our enemies. The reservations of the people of Pakistan that this appears to be the last big effort on the part of these powers to apply “a big push” to achieve the outcomes predicted in Global Trends 2015 of a truncated Pakistan without Baluchistan and KPK in the year 2015. The role played by our muslim “brother” in the Gulf, working hand in glove with our enemies in organizing and sponsoring subversion and terrorist activities in Pakistan need to be shared with Saudi Arabia. The conflict of interest between our countries as a result of the coming into operation of the Gwadar port needs to be emphasized in order to make the Saudis realize that the coalition includes several countries whose real objective might be to thrust another war on Pakistan from which we might not be able to recover. And the major beneficiary from this fallout will be countries whose interests are being adversely affected by the coming into operation of the Gwadar port. Moreover, siding with a coalition that is fighting against Iranian interests in Yemen, we will be pitted against Iran, a country that has a strategic partnership with India. We must remember that the coalition we will be fighting includes many countries like the USA, UK and UAE who are not our allies in Baluchistan, with many of these countries involved in subversion in Baluchistan and other parts of Pakistan. Will both the allies in this conflict and the adversaries be working towards achieving the outcomes projected by CIA in Global Trends 2015 fifteen years ago! The coalition members contribution will be to drag us in the conflict and Iran will advance US and Indian designs in Baluchistan in retribution for our involvement against its interests in Yemen.
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