War next door creates havoc in Pakistan

by Eric Morgolis, Toronto Sun, Oct. 18, 2009

Pakistan, increasingly destabilized by the U.S.-led war in neighbouring Afghanistan, is getting closer to blowing apart.

Bombings and shootings have rocked this nation of 167 million, including a brazen attack on army HQ in Rawalpindi and a massive bombing of Peshawar’s exotic Khyber Bazaar.

Pakistan’s army is readying a major offensive against rebellious Pashtun tribes in South Waziristan. Meanwhile, the feeble, deeply unpopular U.S.-installed government in Islamabad faces an increasingly rancorous confrontation with the military.

Like the proverbial bull in the china shop, the Obama administration and U.S. Congress chose this explosive time to try to impose yet another layer of American control over Pakistan as Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama appears about to send thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Tragically, U.S. policy in the Muslim world continues to be driven by imperial arrogance, profound ignorance, and special interest groups.

The current Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, advanced with President Barack Obama’s blessing, is ham-handed dollar diplomacy at its worst. Pakistan, bankrupted by corruption and feudal landlords, is being offered $7.5 billion US over five years — but with outrageous strings attached.

The U.S. wants to build a mammoth new embassy for 1,000 personnel in Islamabad, the second largest after its Baghdad fortress-embassy. New personnel are needed, claims Washington, to monitor the $7.5 billion in aid. So U.S. mercenaries are being brought in to protect U.S. “interests.” New U.S. bases will open. Most of this new aid will go right into the pockets of the pro-western ruling establishment, about 1% of the population.

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Al Jazeera has evidence that civilians are increasingly being caught up in Pakistan’s attempts to crush the Taliban in South Waziristan.

Exclusive pictures we have received show that those villagers who haven’t fled the area, can’t escape the shells and bullets.

Imran Khan reports.

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