British Anti-Nation-State Warriors Attack South Asia
by Ramtanu Maitra on 23 May 2009 0 Comment

South Asian nations, victims of their colonial past, have been steadily weakened over the years by violent forces undermining their sovereignty. These anti-nation-state warriors have adopted methods of religious and ideological warfare to change the governments and polarize the population. Recent events in Pakistan, in particular, indicate that if this threat is not fully understood, and acted upon adequately, this entire region, comprised of more than 1.6 billion people, will embark on the dangerous path of perpetual war.

The growing evidence of the Pakistani Army’s willingness to cohabit with the Pakistani Taliban inside Pakistan stems from the adoption of the model of the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate, which is the foundation of British intelligence. Julian the Apostate ran religious cults and religious wars, pitting one group against the other, as a way of managing a certain phase of the Roman Empire in the 4th Century.

Recent developments in Pakistan, particularly since September 2001, suggest that the country is not only slipping into the hands of anti-nation-state jihadists, but the powers-that-be in Islamabad are tacitly accepting these forces as partners, even at the danger of breaking up the country. Pakistan’s northern and western parts, except for Baluchistan, are now virtually under control of the violent jihadis, who are indoctrinated with the ultra-conservative Wahabi version of Islam, and funded by Saudi and opium money. Although average Pakistanis do not find the development comfortable, the Army, the guardian of Pakistan’s sovereignty, has begun to accept these jihadis as its partners to “protect” the nation from the “evil designs” of India, which the jihadis, and some of the highest officials in Pakistan’s military establishment, label as “Hindu India.”

Pakistan and Clueless Washington

This fact went virtually unnoticed in Washington over the years, where the understanding of Pakistan and of its rulers has remained confined to the Cold War mindset. The wake-up call came only recently, when the Obama Administration noticed that the jihadis, instead of being content with having secured control of Pakistan’s North and West, bordering Afghanistan, and staying put there, began to move south and east in late April, in a bid to gain control of the capital, Islamabad.

Hell broke loose and furious words were issued from Washington by senior administration officials, urging the Pakistani Army to deal with the jihadis, or else! Although it is not clear whether Washington’s present level of concern has more to do with fear of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling in the hands of the anti-US jihadis, or the crumbling of Pakistan’s sovereignty, what is certain is that Washington has realized that something “unforeseen” is happening.

Lacking the insight on the situation, but loaded with facts, what Washington failed to realize is that the Pakistani Army, as well as the establishment, were always under the influence of the anti-nation-state British ideology. A great friend and helper of the United States and its allies in fighting the godless Soviet Union, the Pakistan Army’s internal fount of strength is its focus on fighting India. Having weighed the pros and cons, the Army now finds the jihadis better partners, ideologically, than the somewhat unreliable democracy-seeking, and Western-influenced, Pakistani middle class, when it comes to perpetual war against India. As a result of this development, Washington must realize that the Pakistani Army has no real intent to annihilate the jihadis. That is neither physically possible—since the vast majority of the jihadis are home-grown—nor does the Army find any advantage in doing it, considering the fact that the Americans and the reluctant NATO member-nations, will be leaving the area sooner or later.

An ‘Open Conspiracy’

There is no real mystery as to why the Pakistani Army is acting the way it is. Although threats of religious and ideological warfare abound in South Asia, the Pakistan situation is a particularly serious threat, because of both the size of the population and the numerous ethic contradictions within the country. It is the British colonial ideology, directed against sovereign nation-states, that particularly shaped the current crisis.

Britain spread its empire, starting in the 18th Century, by conquering nations and then preaching about how “evil” nationalism is. That had always been the hallmark of the British imperial method, and remains so today. Take, for instance, the statement of then-British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who wrote in The Independent on Nov. 22, 2001, that “in a world where states and the interests of their citizens are so obviously interdependent, we need to rethink our attitudes to concepts like ‘independence’ and ‘sovereignty.’ ” Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed. The war against terrorism, Blair said, has made national sovereignty out of date.

To illustrate where Straw and Blair came from, consider the following, written in 1932 by the British Empire’s “historian,” H.G. Wells. In his book The Open Conspiracy: Blueprints for a World Revolution, he cited nationalism as the greatest evil afflicting mankind, and proposed the long-range goal of conditioning nations to willingly abdicate their own sovereignty, in favour of a world government. “The fundamental organization of contemporary states,” Wells wrote, “is plainly still military, and that is exactly what a world organization cannot be. Flags, uniforms, national anthems, patriotism sedulously cultivated in church and school, the brag, blare, and bluster of our competing sovereignties, belong to the phase of development the Open Conspiracy will supersede. We have to get clear of that clutter.”

To that end, the forces bent on tyrannizing mankind have used religion, politics, globalization, and nongovernmental organizations, among other weapons, to weaken the nation-states. This is the trap that all the South Asian nations, some more zealously than others, have walked right into.

Religious Wars: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

Besides Pakistan, religious wars are raging in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In Sri Lanka, the inability of the Buddhist Sangha-influenced leaders of the Sinhala ethnic group to implement the key elements of the India-Sri Lanka peace accord, signed by then-Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then-Sri Lankan President Julius Jayewardene in July 1987, led to the rapid growth of the terrorist Tamil Tigers, backed by Britain and Canada, in particular. 

The key elements of the accord included acknowledging that Sri Lanka is a “multi-ethnic and a multi-lingual plural society” consisting of Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims (Moors), and Burghers; recognizing that the Northern and Eastern provinces have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil-speaking peoples, who have hitherto lived in this territory along with other ethnic groups; the official language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala; Tamil and English will also be official languages; and the government of Sri Lanka shall ensure free, full, and fair participation of voters from all communities in the Northern and Eastern provinces in electoral processes. 

The failure of a particular religious community to implement the accord provided the terrorist Tigers the opportunity to bring along a large number of Tamils who identify themselves as Hindus. The ensuing civil war caused the death of thousands and allowed the colonial forces to fish in murky waters, with the intent of breaking up Sri Lanka. It is likely that if the accord had been implemented, the Tamil Tigers would have been pushed aside by the majority of the Tamil ethnic group in Sri Lanka.

Colombo is now on the verge of eliminating the Tigers and restoring peace in the island nation. However, the key elements of the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 still have to be implemented to the satisfaction of both sides. The religious nature of the conflict must be eliminated, and a democratic political process must take over, to restore peace and tranquility in Sri Lanka.

In Bangladesh, whose independence from Pakistan in 1971 came about through a violent struggle, the jihadists, trained in Britain and funded from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, over the years, have blatantly and violently undermined the democratic forces in power. The process continues unabated, and the religious warriors launched a massive attack in February, with the intent of assassinating the Army Chief and the Prime Minister. The attempt failed, and subsequently some Britain-linked cells that had been set up to unleash a religious war have been dismantled; but the threat remains.

The modus operandi of the religious warriors in Bangladesh is not that different from the one adopted in Pakistan, but with one caveat. Bangladesh has adapted to a democratic system, although a fragile one. But the Bangladeshi Army, unlike the Pakistani Army, does not pose as the guardian of the nation. The religious warriors, however, consider that “Hindu India” is a threat to Bangladesh’s sovereignty. The mindset of these religious warriors has been emboldened by the help offered generously from Britain and Saudi Arabia, and also by the Pakistani intelligence services.

Ideological Wars: India

India, the largest South Asian nation, has been ravaged since Independence in 1947 by a number of secessionist movements, ranging from the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir in the North, to the Myanmar borders in the Northeast. In the Northeast, the secessionist forces are mostly tribal, people who had been kept in quarantine from the rest of India, by the British Raj during its 200 years of rule. These groups had close contact with London, mostly through Christian proselytizing groups. Following India’s independence, these tribal groups set out to secure separate, independence states. Although the situation locally remains dangerous, these groups, because of their internal contradictions, have not been able either to coalesce, or to expand beyond the region.

However, the ideological movement of violent Maoism has grown rapidly in India in recent years. Unlike the problem in the Northeast, the Maoist problem has spread far and wide, and is linked to the Maoist movement in Nepal as well. The Maoists in India have taken control of a huge swath of land, running from the state of Bihar in the North to the state of Tamil Nadu in the South, encompassing the highly underdeveloped areas of the states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh. The common thread that runs through this massive stretch of land is: underdevelopment and poverty.

According to an Indian analyst, the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and north Andhra Pradesh are but a few of the states in east India that have been grappling with this problem for quite some time. Maoist organizations such as the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), Communist Party of India (Maoist), People’s War Group (PWG), and their alleged sympathizers such as the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC), have been attacking police stations, government offices, panchayats (village councils), banks, and the media. The Maoist organizations have control over 19% of India’s forests in these areas, and had expanded their influence from 55 districts in nine states as of November 2003, to 155 districts in 15 states as of February 2005.

According to press reports, these Maoists, who are extremely violent, have established a corridor between Jharkhand on one side and Andhra Pradesh on the other. The corridor passes mostly through forests, crossing human habitats at a few patches. The area where the Maoists exhibit their strength through violence is bereft of physical infrastructure, lacking educational facilities, health-care centers, power, water, and railroads.

Because Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Nepal, and Uttar Pradesh are contiguous, development of drug trafficking, and some drug production, in Himachal Pradesh, would further undermine the security of India, and provide a potential financial base to the Maoists.

The author is South Asian Analyst at Executive Intelligence Review News Services Inc.

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