The Soviet backed coup in Afghanistan gave birth to Afghan militancy followed by Soviet attempts to destabilize Balochistan. A natural consequence should have been the involvement of the USA and CIA on the Pakistani side in a communistic vs. free world conflict as was the norms of the time; more so as both sides were Muslims. Yet two developments on the inter –national stage were to give it an irretrievable ‘Wahabi’ luster which US supported & this ‘Wahabi’ militancy continues to this day. The first was the vast growth in Saudi wealth due to sharp rise in oil prices. The second was the castration of CIA as a result of post Watergate repercussions!
THE BIRTH OF MILITANCY INSIDE AFGHANISTAN / PAKISTAN
by Hassan Rizvi
In 1973 Prince Daud staged a Soviet assisted coup to oust King Zahir Shah. The Daud regime not only raised the issue of Pashtunistan (Afghans claims to Pakistani provinces of NWFP and Balochistan), but also for the first time moved the Afghan army closer to the borders. More importantly KHAD the Afghan Intelligence agency (aided and abetted by the Russian KGB and Indian RAW as all three were allied in those days) used several Pakistani tribal leaders (Sardars) to start an uprising in the tribal areas of Balochistan and parts of NWFP.
Z.A. Bhutto’s government retaliated by supporting the disenchanted elements within Afghanistan. These included Burhanuddin Rabbani, Ahmad Shah Masud and Gulbadin Hikmatyar. Thus relations in the 1970s began with each country supporting the other’s dissidents on a purely nationalistic agenda on a quid pro quo basis; and till the mid-70’s Pakistan army was busy fighting a bitter insurgency in the province of Balochistan – with the help of it’s ‘Militants’ within Afghanistan. There was no question of an Islamic Jihadi motivational base for either; as ‘enemies’ of both sides were Muslim. As we shall see this was to come much later when the CIA would conceive the theory of turning ‘Afghan militants’ into ‘Islamic militants’ for use against the ‘USSR’.
THE BIRTH OF ISLAMIC [WAHABI] RADICAL MILITANCY
We have noted the birth of Afghan militancy following a pro-Soviet coup in Afghanistan and attempts at destabilization of Balochistan. A natural consequence should have been the involvement of the USA and CIA on the Pakistani side in a communistic vs. free world conflict as was the norms of the time; more so as both sides were Muslims. Yet two developments on the inter –national stage were to give it an irretrievable ‘Wahabi’ lusture which US supported & militancy carries to this day. The first was the vast growth in Saudi wealth due to sharp rise in oil prices. The second was the castration of CIA as a result of post Watergate repercussions!
• Saudi Wealth
In 1973, rise in oil prices brought great wealth to Saudi Arabia. Between 1973 to 1979 over $70 billion of this was used for furthering Wahabi Islamist purposes. Private Saudi citizens donated additional billions to private charities such as the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) which built 575 new mosques in Indonesia alone. The King Faisal mosque in Islamabad –and its seminary- was also funded by Saudi money. Alex Alexiev calls this “the largest world wide religious campaign ever mounted”. It was this large scale preaching of Wahabism (an exclusively Saudi brand of mistrust of infidels as unfit to survive, branding of rival Muslim sects as apostates to be killed, and emphasis on a violent exterminative jihad against all others who count as infidels as a means of gaining paradise) which laid the groundwork for the defamation of Islam and the spread of terrorist groups in the name of Islam world wide.
• The Castration Of CIA
It started with FBI, and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward discovering what seemed to be CIA fingerprints in the Watergate burglary. The agency was not involved, but it’s refusal to cooperate in unveiling Nixon’s obstruction of justice led directly to the firing of its director, Richard Helms, who was replaced by William E. Colby. In the preliminary congressional inquiries staffers had stumbled upon a number of domestic operations by the CIA. Colby acquiesced in unmasking these and soon assembled a list of CIA sins which ran into 693 typed pages – these later became famous as the “Family Jewels.”
The crown jewel in the lot was a program known as Operation Chaos involving CIA surveillance of antiwar protesters – the program being disclosed to the New York Times by Colby himself. This marked a turning point in public attitudes toward spying.
Overnight in public eyes the CIA became, a shadowy, sinister organization. President Ford called former CIA Director Helms into the Oval Office for advice. Helms reminded Ford that “The CIA is the president’s creature,” and defended Operation Chaos, to which Ford replied, “I plan no witch hunt, but in this environment I don’t know if I can control it.”
Starting in 1976 a witch hunt lasting five years did ensue! Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho, as chairman of the Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence, castrated the free worlds best intelligence agency; famously depicting it as a “rogue elephant.”
THE SAFARI CLUB- AN ALTERNATE SUPER INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
In September 1 1976, a group of countries got together and established a newly formed secret cabal of intelligence agencies called the Safari Club. It included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.
The club was a brain child of Alexandre de Marenches, head of the French external intelligence service SDECE.It was likely formed with the connivance of CIA to compensate for it’s paralysis after Watergate – as a means of circumventing US Congress which had tied down the CIA! Acutely conscious of the Soviet threat these countries had decided that if the US could not do anything to counter it, they would!
Millions were spent to create an operational capability. But much more was required to be done to create its financial arm. The group needed a network of banks to help manage and conceal the enormous transactions needed to finance its intelligence operations. Saudi Intelligence Minister Kamal Adham was given the task to create one.
With the blessing of CIA director George Bush Sr, he would transform the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a small Pakistani merchant bank, founded in 1972 by a Pakistani partner of Adham (Agha Hasan Abedi); into a world-wide money-laundering machine, buying additional banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money transfer and whitening network in history.
Next: The Rise of BCCI I.4
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