Mumbai attacks may destabilise Pakistan, warns study
Stratfor, a Texas-based private research agency, has warned about, what could be described as an apparent desire of Pakistan's 'friends' and 'foes', massive destabilisation of Pakistan. The Stratfor analysis gives credence to the viewpoint of those who have been accusing India and the US of being involved in ongoing spate of terrorism inside Pakistan.
This may seem strange to some people but it is a fact that all the recent bombings in Pakistan were not carried out by al-Qaeda or 'real' Taliban but the purported Taliban, which many in Pakistan believe are being used by the Indians and Americans to achieve the objective of destabilising Pakistan. Interestingly, in some of the bombings some Taliban groups immediately claim responsibility but nobody claimed majority of the recent bombings making the acts suspicious.
Kidnapping of an Afghan and Iranian diplomat too is still a mystery and no group has so far claimed responsibility, which shows such high-profile kidnappings are also part of the larger plot to defame and destabilise Pakistan.
Although the Stratfor analysis has stayed short of possible US intention of dispossessing Pakistan of its nuclear weapons and talked of acting against terrorists alone, many Pakistanis believe the ultimate goal of the United States is to deprive the only nuclear Islamic state of its nuclear weapons.
Pakistan may face ‘massive destabilisation’ under pressure from India and the United States as fallout of the serial terror attacks in Mumbai, a Texas-based private research agency has warned.
The attacks, it warns, may also bring India and Pakistan back to the brink of a nuclear confrontation – a reference to a military standoff between the two countries in 2002 after a terrorist attack on Indian parliament.
In an analysis on the geo-political fallout of the Mumbai attacks, Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) says, “If the attacks in Mumbai were carried out by Islamist militants – as it appears – the Indian government will have little choice, politically speaking, but to blame them on Pakistan. That will in turn spark a crisis between the two nuclear rivals that will draw the US into the fray.”
Stressing that India is already under enormous pressure to respond to the attacks, it said, “Events point to a serious crisis not simply between Pakistan and India, but within Pakistan as well – with the government caught between foreign powers and domestic realities.”
Stratfor – which specialises in providing focused insight and actionable intelligence to help governments prepare for uncertainties – says the Indians will have no choice but to be assertive, and the US is likely to follow suit.
“Whether it is the current government in India that reacts or the one that succeeds doesn’t matter given the circumstances, massive destabilisation of Pakistan is possible – which is never a good thing with a nuclear power,” says the Stratfor analysis.
It says the Indians and Americans would have a ‘joint interest’ in forcing the Pakistani government ‘to act decisively and immediately’.
“The shape of the crisis will then consist of demands that the Pakistanis take immediate steps to suppress Islamist radicals across the board, particularly in Kashmir. New Delhi will demand that this action be immediate and public,” the report says.
“This demand will come parallel to US demands for the same actions and threats by incoming US President Barack Obama to force greater cooperation from Pakistan. If that happens, Pakistan will find itself in a nutcracker. The Indians will be threatening action – deliberately vague but menacing – along with the Americans,” it says.
“This will be even more intense if it turns out, as currently seems likely, that Americans and Europeans were being held hostage in the two hotels that were attacked. If the attacks are traced to Pakistan, American demands will escalate well in advance of inauguration day [of Obama].”
The Stratfor analysts, however, make it clear that “this is thinking far ahead of the curve, and the warning is based on an assumption of the truth of something we don’t know for certain yet, which is that the attackers were Muslims and that the Pakistanis will not be able to demonstrate categorically that they weren’t” involved.
“Since we suspect the terrorists were Muslims and since we doubt the Pakistanis can be categorical and convincing enough to thwart Indian demands, we suspect we will be deep into a crisis within the next few days very shortly after the situation on the ground clarifies itself,” Stratfor predicts.
But it also says the Indian government would claim the involvement of foreign quarters – regardless of the truth – to use the situation to strengthen their internal position. “That, in turn, will plunge India and Pakistan into the worst crisis they have had since 2002.”
If the Pakistanis are understood to be responsible for the attack, then the Indians must hold them responsible, and that means they will have to take action in retaliation otherwise, the Indian government’s domestic credibility will plunge, the report says.
“The Indians and Americans will have a joint interest in forcing the Pakistani government to act decisively and immediately the crisis will directly intersect US and Nato operations in Afghanistan,” the study adds.