Monday, May 4, 2009

Making the same mistake again

The US Defense secretary sees "larger role for Saudis in Pakistan." While enroute to Riyadh, Mr. Gates explained that he would like Saudi government to help reach consensus in Pakistan about the threat from the Taliban.

I don't think Robert Gates is naïve or ignorant. Knowing very well that it is the Saudi-inspired Wahabi Islam that drives the Taliban militancy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, why would he ask Pakistanis to seek help from the Saudis.

Every fundamentalist mosque I have ever visited in Pakistan, every militant madrassah that I know of is getting direct ideological and financial support from Saudi Arabia. The prayer leaders in Saudi Arabia routinely praise the Taliban in their sermons. What could Saudi clergy and government possibly offer to reach consensus against the Taliban in Pakistan when the Saudis are the primary supporters of their violent, fundamentalist ideology.

I think the name of the game is to contain Iran. Fearing Iran's growing influence in the region, Saudi Arabia is pushing all buttons to contain the Shiites of Iran who now exert strong influence on the Shiites of Iraq (who constitute majority) and that of Afghanistan where the Shiites are a large minority. Last month, the Saudi King Abdullah offered a personal audience to the visiting Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, General Kiyani. May I ask why a King is busy talking with Generals from another country? Unless the plan is to use Pakistan's Armed Forces to open a front against Iran from the troubled Baluchistan province.

The Shiite orthodoxy exercising control over Iran is also not careful with the newly regional influence of the Iranian State. In Ahmedinijad, Iran has its own Mullah Omar, equally regressive and out of touch with the aspirations of his people. If the Iranian leadership does not smarten up fast, the US, Israel, and the Sunni Arab states may find success in opening a front against Iran from Baluchistan using Taliban as an excuse.

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