Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Pakistan Gambit: A Classic Pincer Movement

Manuscripts Don't Burn has been watching Pakistan with interest over the past month or two. The invasion of Iran, which has been on and off constantly for at least two years now, took a body blow earlier in the month with the publication of the National Intelligence Estimate which stated Iran was currently not pursuing nuclear weapons.

Naturally geopolitics doesn't grind to a halt when a strategic problem crops up - it simply seeks to accomplish its goals via a different path. Hence the massive destabilisation of Pakistan over the past half year.

Given that this is all about oil, Pakistan forms a key link in the oil supply chain from Afghanistan and the Caspian Basin. Also, now that an Iranian invasion is off the cards for the time being, it has become vital to isolate Iran as much as possible, and surround it with American troops. Gaining control of Pakistan was always on the cards for the Project for the New American Century , but things have definitely been brought forwards very rapidly with the NIE and the necessary retreat from Iran.

Manuscripts Don't Burn notes that Musharraf himself successfully instituted a state of emergency in early December and managed to change the law to bring direct control of Pakistan's nukes into his hands only - and not into those of any elected prime minister. Given the impending civil war in Pakistan, this seems like an amazingly prophetic move - except of course there are rarely any coincidences in geopolitics. Theoretically at least, no matter how bad the civil war gets, the nuclear arsenal remains in Musharraf's hands; the question now of course is how long before the UN offers Musharraf a peacekeeping force, which of course will be predominantly under American control. Manuscripts Don't Burn expects this within a few weeks at most.

The UK and US media are already painting Bhutto's assassination as linked to - surprise, surprise - Al Qaeda. Doubtless the Taliban will be implicated too. And probably Sauron, Kim Jong Il, Vlad the Impaler, and the Bastard Lovechild of Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, just for good measure. After all, we need to get some knees jerking if this thing is going to work...

Next stop - Pakistan! Let's get those Iranians surrounded, boys!

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