The US Treats Pakistan Like An Occupied Country

By: Eric Margolis

WASHINGTON – I was visiting Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States when the phone on his desk rang.

“The hot line,” he said. “Sorry I have to take this call.”

As he listened, his face grew darker and darker. Finally, he banged down the phone and exploded: “Another US drone attack that killed a score of our people. We were never warned the attack was coming. We are supposed to be US allies!”

This strongly pro-American ambassador was wrong. While the US hails Pakistan as a key non-NATO ally, the US treats it like a militarily occupied country. The government in Islamabad is left to observe increasing drone attacks and CIA ground operation with deepening embarrassment and helplessness.

Average Pakistanis have no doubt about what’s happening. Most believe their nation was more or less occupied by the US after the 2001 attacks on the US.

The Pakistani leader who allowed this to happen, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has admitted that the US put a gun to his head and demanded he allow the US to use Pakistan’s army, air bases, ports, intelligence service, logistics, and air space – or face war. Musharraf quickly caved in to the US ultimatum, something a tough predecessor, Gen. Zia ul-Haq, would have surely rejected.

As US drone attacks intensify in Pakistan’s tribal belt and inside Afghanistan, the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, which was engineered into power by Washington and sustained by US dollars, keeps imploring the US to halt the attacks that are enraging Pakistanis. Senior Pakistani diplomats have been warning that the drone strikes that have so far killed 2,500-3,000, mostly civilians, are fuelling extremist groups in Pakistan and humiliating its armed forces.

No one in Washington is listening. Islamabad’s attempted to show some independence by halting US-NATO truck convoys from Karachi to Afghanistan for seven months after a deadly US air attack last November that killed 25 Pakistani soldiers.

But the blockade was recently lifted after $1 billion of American aid to Islamabad was unfrozen. The dollars are flowing again – many of them right back out into Swiss, Dubai or Singapore bank accounts.

Anti-American feelings in Pakistan have been soaring. Some polls show over 90% of respondents expressing hatred or anger against the US. These public sentiments have been worsened by more loose talk by Republicans in Washington about seizing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, making Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan a separate state, or putting Pakistan on America’s terrorist list.

There are even rumbles from the far right and pro-Israel neocons about attacking Pakistan. America’s failing war in Afghanistan is being blamed on the Pakistan-backed Haqqani group which is also ironical since during my days in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, Haqqani was a favorite of CIA.

Washington’s not so discreet threats of punishment have abated for the moment thanks to the mess in Syria and rising threat of war against Iran. But Pakistan remains a potent generator for anti-American jihadist sentiment, and for rising anti-Muslim sentiment in America.

Ironically, the US went to war in Afghanistan to supposedly punish anti-American groups, yet now ends up creating ten times more enemies in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the truck craziness has reared its head again. Supply trucks for US and NATO forces are backed up at Pakistani border crossing points because supposedly because of security threats.

Trucking supplies into northern Afghanistan via the Black Sea, Russia, and Central Asia has been costing the US $100 million monthly at a time when 44 million Americans live below the poverty level. Flying supplies and munitions from the US to Afghanistan costs ten times more than ground transport.

On top of this, Taliban and its allies are annoyed that the truck convoys have stopped. Why? Because they were being paid off millions more of baksheesh by the US to let the convoys pass.

Talks this past week in Washington between CIA chief David Petraeus and Pakistan’s new intelligence director, Lt. Gen. Zahir ul-Islam were said to be cordial but not 6discernably productive. Nor were talks between top Pakistani and US generals. Diplomats seem to have dropped out of the picture.
Note:The article appeared on writer’s blog under the title,”Drone Attacks Generate Enemies for US”

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  • Salman Abbasy  On August 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Margolis has clearly and correctly set Pakistan’s steadfast public apart from the cowardly and disloyal leadership, both military and civilian.

  • KHAN XIA  On August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    The question we have to ask is why are we going along with it. You have to bite the bullet some time. It is better to do it earlier and not when all is done with and finished.

    Also by Margolis in a similar vein:

    Destroying Pakistan to Make It Safe
    by Eric Margolis:

    “——– The Obama administration had threatened to stop $1.2 billion annual cash payments to bankrupt Pakistan’s political and military leadership, and block $5.5 billion future aid, unless Islamabad sent its soldiers into Pakistan’s turbulent NWFP ———-

    “Pakistan’s army and air force claimed to have killed 1,000 `terrorists’ (read: mostly civilians) ——- UN sources now say the operation has created close to 2 million refugees. —— Up to three million Afghan Pashtun are refugees in Pakistan.

    Pakistan’s armed forces, who are being paid by the US to fight Pashtun tribes, have scored a brilliant victory against their own people. Too bad Pakistan’s military does not manage to do as well in wars against India. Blasting civilians at home, however, is much safer and more profitable.

    “Unable to pacify Afghanistan’s Pashtun tribes (again, lumped together as `Taliban’), a deeply frustrated Washington has begun tearing Pakistan apart in an effort to end Pashtun resistance in both nations. CIA drone aircraft have so far killed over 700 Pakistani Pashtun. Only 6% were militants, according to Pakistan’s media, the rest civilians.——

    “As Pakistan’s Pashtun increasingly aided Pashtun resistance in Afghanistan, US `Predator’ drones began attacking them. Washington forced Islamabad to violate its own constitution by sending troops into Pashtun lands. The result was the current explosion of Pashtun anger.

    “——– Washington’s ham-handed policies and last week’s Swat atrocity threaten to ignite Pakistan’s second worst nightmare after invasion by India: that its 26 million Pashtun will secede and join Afghanistan’s Pashtun to form an independent Pashtun state, Pashtunistan.

    “This would rend Pakistan asunder, probably provoke its restive Baluchi tribes to secede, and might tempt mighty India to intervene military, risking nuclear war with beleaguered Pakistan.

    “The Pashtun of Northwest Frontier have no intention or capability of moving into Pakistan’s other provinces, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. They just want to be left alone. Alarms of a `Taliban takeover of Pakistan’ are driven by ignorance or propaganda.

    “——— Nor are Pakistan’s well-guarded nuclear weapons a danger – at least not yet. Alarms about Pakistan’s nukes come from neoconservative fabricators worried about Israel.

    The real danger is in the US acting like an enraged mastodon, trampling Pakistan under foot, and forcing Islamabad’s military to make war on its own people. Pakistan could end up like US-occupied Iraq, split into three parts and helpless.

    If this continues, at some point nationalistic Pakistani soldiers may rebel against the corrupt generals and politicians on Washington’s payroll.”

    And this from another article entitled, ‘Welcome to Obama’s War’ by the same author:

    ” ————– By expanding the Afghan war, Obama fuels the growing threat of a major explosion in Pakistan. Today, US warplanes and CIA killer drones operate from three secret Pakistani air bases with covert Pakistani government cooperation. Washington has rented 120,000 Pakistani troops for $100 million monthly (plus equally large, secret CIA payments to senior Pakistani government officials and officers) to support the US occupation of Afghanistan.

    “In an unprecedented act, Pakistan’s government is being paid by Washington to attack its own people, and to allow US forces to do the same. Watching Pakistan’s new government dance to Washington’s tune is an embarrassing spectacle for friends of Pakistan, and a subject of sneering contempt for its foes.

    “Pakistan is bankrupt. The previous US-backed Musharraf regime made off with whatever money there was. Yet at some point, Pakistan’s rent-an-army of modern-day sepoys may rebel and turn against the government that orders it to kill fellow Muslims while letting India expand its influence in Afghanistan and crush independence-fighters in Kashmir.———–“

  • Khan Sahib  On August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Nicely captured, hitting the nail on its head!

    Question: Who is the enemy which US/NATO is fighting in Afghanistan and for which the supplies are required?


  • Bill  On August 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    One more case in which the idiots above Bush and
    Obama who control U.S. foreign policy are getting
    what they want — destroying every Muslim state
    that will not kiss Israel’s/Washington’s ass — and in
    the process accelerating the decline and fall of the
    U.S. Empire instead of strengthening or expanding
    it as they have been convinced by the neo-cons is
    the case.

    World War III becomes more likely by the day…


  • Portugheis Alberto  On August 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    So, on hearing of the new drone attack, the Pakistani Ambassador to the US exploded
    “We were never warned the attack was coming. We are supposed to be US allies!”
    What else could he do? he’s a diplomat, who, like a politician, must say what people expect him to say. And what, if the Pentagon had given “warned” him before the attack, would that have made any difference?

    Drones were manufactured for being used; millions were spent on their development. Targets for using them must be found. Pakistan has been highly rewarded for allowing drones to be dropped there. Their coveted Prize is: the “honour and privilege” of being invited to a year membership of the UN Security Council. More “ally” impossible !!!!!!

    PS Eric Margolis would help the world if, instead of just saying “The US Treats Pakistan
    1ike An Occupied Country”, he would list the MANY countries in the world treated the
    same way.

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