August 29, 2006
On August 27, an artillery round fired by the Pakistani military found its mark on a cave in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, bordering both Afghanistan and Iran, and killed an 80-year-old man with a magnificent white beard. His name was Nawab Akbar Bugti, and he was the leader of a popular political movement in Pakistan’s largest geographical province.
Balochistan has only four percent of Pakistan’s population, though it occupies 44% of Pakistan’s land mass. Like its neighbor, Afghanistan, it is populated by religiously conservative ethnic Pashtuns living in extremely rugged and mountainous terrain. Like its neighbor, Iran, it possesses a geologic relic in abundance: fossil fuel, in this case the Sui natural gas field that produces 45% of Pakistan’s supply. It also contains a warm water port — Gwadar — only 70 kilometers from the Iranian border.
The killing of Bugti has resulted in a province-wide rebellion in the very region…
January 18, 2008
KABUL – The capture by militants of a fort in Pakistan near the Afghan border is not just another isolated incident in the volatile region. It represents a concerted fightback by al-Qaeda to derail any peace initiatives unless the group itself is directly engaged, rather than local resistance leaders.
On Wednesday, several hundred insurgents armed with assault rifles and rockets stormed the remote Sararogha Fort in the South Waziristan tribal area and routed its garrison from the Frontier Constabulary (FC), a paramilitary force formed of…
NOTE: South Waziristan is adjacent to Balochistan, and both border Afghanistan. At the end of the second article, there is reference to bin Laden’s latest missive. On that count, I am posting one from the past and one from the present as well.
August 2004 series for Sanders Research Associates The United States is now caught between the Scylla of economic stagnation — temporarily perched atop a potential avalanche of personal debt — and the Charybdis of inflation if fuel prices continue to rise — the specter of the temporal coincidence of stagnation and inflation — stagflation.
The actions of the Bush administration are not, as presumed by the vast and spectacularly stupid population that has been convinced of American invincibility, acting out of a position of strength, but of overpowering crisis and radical instability.
The US is aggressively attempting to diversify its oil sources, not just in the Gulf where it has ensnared itself in the tar-baby of Iraq, but in Latin America, Africa, and the Caspian Basin. In all these regions, the populations have been bled white by the debt-peonage of US-directed structural adjustment programs, and anti-American sentiment is at an all time high. This animosity is further inflamed in the Caspian Basin and the Gulf by the unrepentant support for Zionism by the US and the current administration’s invocation of the Crusades in its wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.
None of these countries, however, compares to Saudi Arabia in its strategic centrality to the world system right now, or its centrality to US hegemony within that system. And it appears that one Saudi revolutionary has apprehended both this centrality and the increasing frangibility of that system — Osama bin Laden.
There really is a war between OBL and the United States, and the war is for Saudi Arabia…
January 12, 2008 Bin Laden urges the Iraqi fighters to heed the lesson of the Afghans’ historic post-Soviet debacle because “the same thing applies to Iraq today”; leaders are more interested in their own power and status than in making Islam and the ummah (Islamic community) victorious. And while bin Laden warns that Washington is using promises of money, military training and arms to entice the “Islamic Party and some fighting groups [to] support America against Muslims”, he leaves no doubt that the Islamists’ main enemy in Iraq is now Saudi Arabia, not the supposedly militarily defeated United States. After the Soviets’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, bin Laden reminded the Iraqi fighters that “America exerted great efforts … to convince the Afghan leaders through the governments of Riyadh and Islamabad to join a national unity government with communists and secularists from the West.” Bin Laden explained that the Saudi regime was then – and is again today in Iraq – the main enemy of the mujahideen…
It is extremely interesting — like watching one’s own destruction is interesting — to see how these things play out. The danger to power of using instability as a strategy seems a no-brainer. But can we be sure that this is an outgrowth of stupidity, as many surmise; or is this dynamic inevitable in its broader tendential forms, based on the late metastasis of imperialism.
The stagflation has arrived. The wars stumble along through an agony of slow defeat.
Are we entering a teachable moment; or a period of dangerous reaction? What is to be done?