“The pincer must have two jaws,” and the US Navy aims on this position after July 2010 to station some landing ships, probably four, near the territorial waters of Pakistan. They would be able to land and support more than 30000 troops, complete with transport units and fighting gear, anywhere at the Pakistan coastline between Pasni and Gawadar. There would be aircraft carriers with more than enough warplanes to overwhelm the Pakistan Airforce. This is the other jaw of the pincer.”
CIA’S WAR [IN PAKISTAN] GETS INTO HIGH GEAR
(Additional reporting by Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Mark Davidson in Washington, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and Cristina Palmer & Rupa Kival in New Delhi)
We returned to Oleg in Moscow to ask whether the American forces that would end up near the borders of Pakistan on completion of Kandahar operation would be enough to sever half of Balochistan from the rest of Pakistan.
“First, you have to see what is happening in Helmand where the operation Moshtarak has been completed already. Whatever they do in Helmand would be repeated on larger scale in Kandahar,” said Oleg.
We already had this information. Soon after the completion of operation Moshtarak, the American forces started building forward bases and depots at four points in Helmand, the first of them at Gereshk and the last at a location southward of Malik Rokand, practically at the border with Pakistan.
We told this to Oleg. He said, “You see, this is systematic deployment of forces at the Pakistan border, with a semi-permanent logistics support system for prolonged presence.”
Some new questions arose: Would the American forces, at some convenient time, try to rush into Pakistan in order to create the ‘international strategic corridor’ they want? What will be the size and geographical scope of such a corridor? What would be the likely strength of US troops at the border of Pakistan at the end of the planned operation in Kandahar? Would the US troops at Pakistan border be enough for cutting off half of Balochistan considering that Pakistan is likely to offer some tough resistance?
THE OTHER JAW OF PINCER
“The pincer must have two jaws,” said Simon. He explained, “The US Navy should be in a position after July 2010 to station some landing ships, probably four, near the territorial waters of Pakistan. They would be able to land and support more than 30000 troops, complete with transport units and fighting gear, anywhere at the Pakistan coastline between Pasni and Gawadar. There would be aircraft carriers with more than enough warplanes to overwhelm the Pakistan Airforce. This is the other jaw of the pincer.”
The picture thus emerging was that after July 2010, the US would have substantial number of troops at the border of Pakistan with Afghanistan. This is the area where the Chagai district of Pakistani Balochistan meets the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The total number of these troops, Oleg in Moscow estimated, would be more than 35000.
Simultaneously, as Simon told us, there would be some 30000 soldiers and marines waiting to land at the beaches of Balochistan. This makes military sense, especially in the face of the fact that the part of Balochistan that lies between these two pressure points does not have any significant presence or support system of Pakistan army.
INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIC CORRIDOR
The international strategic corridor, the clipped version of the former plan to create Greater Balochistan, was of great interest from the point of view of our report.
To get a clutch-hold on this question we consulted Oleg. We asked him that as a military strategist how he would draw such a corridor on the map.
“First, you need to define our military goals and then you look at the terrain. Match the two in the most efficient manner,” said Oleg.
He said that Chagai district of Pakistan Balochistan runs for about 500 km along the border with Afghanistan. This, he said, represents nearly 30% of the total Pak-Afghan border and the easiest terrain from the military point of view.
“If I were to draw such a border, I would take Nushki as the starting point and draw a north-south line, connecting it with Ras Malan. All the area west of the line up to Iranian border would be the strategic corridor,” said Oleg.
We took this hypothetical corridor to Simon and asked for his comments.
Simon said, “Yes, this is about the size of the thing. DoD-CIA brains are also thinking along the same lines.”
Theoretically it looks neat and orderly to draw a corridor on the map and cut it off from a sovereign country on the military strength alone. However, in real life one needs some excuse, even the size of a fig leaf, to undertake such an enterprise.
We asked Oleg and Simon as to what could be the trigger point for the American forces to justify such an audacious undertaking.
Oleg said, “The excuses are not hard to find. There can be the civil war in Pakistan, which they are trying hard to start. There can also be a political assassination in Pakistan to start unrest at such a scale that the USA would be able to convince the international community that ‘humanitarian’ intervention had become necessary.”
Simon in Washington added, “An international incident can easily be linked to Pakistan and that would be a good enough reason for invasion. It can be as big as assassination of Obama and as small as bombing of a refinery in the UK. In fact, the latest amendment to the NATO charter seems designed to add this kind of hair trigger in the NATO mechanism. Justification, in any case, is no big deal when you don’t really need to justify it to anyone.”
Simon said that the recent history was full of false flag operations. He cited the 1954 firebomb and unrest in Alexandria (Egypt) by Israel, to make Egypt look unstable and delay the withdrawal of British troops from Suez Canal, the CIA murder of Mehdi Ben Barka of Morocco to foil communists from coming to power, the murder of Patrice Lumumba by CIA in 1965, the JFK plan to shoot down American civilian plane and blame it on Cuba as some of the examples.
SELF FINANCED WAR AND CIVILIAN SURGE
A chance remark by Oleg opened a new path for investigation. He said, “Goals are layered in the military strategy. If you go for a single goal and you fail in that, you are a skunk. However, if you go out there with seven goals and achieve just two, there are ways to make you look good despite overall failure.”
We started thinking of what other goals could be found in the US intention of cutting off half of Balochistan from the rest of Pakistan in addition to the obvious advantage of getting a direct supply route to Afghanistan, easy access to Central Asia, and curtailment of China.
Although these are three major goals, each one of them enough to justify an ambitious expedition, and all of them would be achieved if the US manages to create its international strategic corridor, could there be something else that we had missed?
While we were pondering this question, our sources in Helmand told that the Americans were planning a major ‘civilian surge.’ The sources told us that thousands of civilian professionals were being trained in the US in conditions resembling the terrain, town and country life, and unrest in Afghanistan.
We asked Oleg if the civilian surge in Afghanistan could have any connections with the international strategic corridor the American might try to create before the end of this year.
“Look at the corridor area and see if there is anything of economic or strategic importance,” he said.
Sure enough, as if our eyes had opened for the first time, we saw on the map Saindak and Reko Dig mines, rich in gold, silver and other precious metals and minerals. There is also a mountain in the area that is of interest to Americans because they believe it houses some of the atomic facilities of Pakistan. We took this hunch to Simon. He took a few days to get back.
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