Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pakistan Irredenta

With the rise of nationalism in Europe during the 19th century came a new phenomenon called “irredentism” – the agitation by one country to reclaim portions of another, based on ethnic similarity or previous ownership. The term was based on the phrase Italia irredenta, the slogan of Italian nationalists who wanted Italy to annex Italian-speaking areas retained by Austria after the unification of Italy in 1866. Italia irredenta was a significant force in Italian politics right up until the Great War, and helped induce Italy to join the Allies.

Various irredentisms were the bane of Europe in the 20th century. Hitler wanted to unite with his ethnic compatriots in the Sudetenland and Alsace-Lorraine. A significant Romanian minority was included in the Hungarian portion of Transylvania, causing friction between the two countries. The Turks and the Greeks are still at odds over Cyprus, and the Serbs long to reclaim the “historic heartland of Serbia” in Kosovo.

Ethnicity, religion, language, shared history, and general culture combined to form a volatile mix that produced modern nationalism. But nationalism and irredentism are not necessarily language-based phenomena; both Italy and Spain united even though their component provinces spoke dialects which were all but separate languages.

Driven as it is by powerful nationalist emotions, irredentism can cause countries to make decisions that are not always in their national interests. It is impossible to understand the deadly foreign policy of Germany during the 1930s without reference to German irredentism. Similarly, in order to understand current Chinese foreign policy it is necessary to examine China’s fixation on reclaiming Taiwan.

And Pakistan’s foreign policy cannot be understood without considering Kashmir.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Map of Pakistan

In the runup to independence in the 1930s and 1940s, the Muslim portions of India could not be reconciled with the rest of the country, and the British decided to partition the territory.

Muhammad Ali JinnahMuhammad Ali Jinnah founded the state of Pakistan in 1947, cobbling together different ethnic groups whose only major commonality was Islam. Many Muslims remain in India, but few Hindus and other non-Muslims remain in Pakistan – like other Muslim-majority countries, Pakistan has driven out, killed, or converted most of its infidels.

Even so, Pakistan is quite diverse. It originally included what used to be East Pakistan and is now Bangladesh. The latter is ethnically distinct, and fought to gain its independence from Pakistan in 1971. In Pakistan are Shiites as well as Sunnis, and the Sunnis are divided into different sects and subgroups, speaking different languages or dialects and having differing social status.

One of the major distinctions is between the Deobandis and the Brelvis. According to B. Raman,
     The majority of the Brelvis are descendants of converts from Hinduism and belong to poor rural classes. Since they cannot afford to go on Haj to Saudi Arabia, their tradition allows them instead to visit the graves of their pirs and saints. These flexible and tolerant traditions had spread in the past from the sub-continent to Afghanistan , the Central Asian Republics (CARs), Dagestan and Chechnya and to other countries where Muslims from the sub-continent have migrated.
The Wahabi-Deobandis of Pakistan, who are in a numerical minority, are the descendants of the original migrants from Central Asia, Afghanistan and the Gulf. They look upon themselves as the high-born (the “Ashraf”) and look down on the Brelvis as the low-born (the “Alaf”). Power has largely remained in the hands of the Wahabi-Deobandis, but till 1971 there was no organised, state-sponsored attempt to force the Wahabi religious traditions on the Brelvis.
The alienation of the people of pre-1971 East Pakistan was mainly due to the refusal of the Deobandi high-born of West Pakistan to accept the Bengali Muslims, largely the descendants of converts from Hinduism, as their equals.
The war of 1971 and the separation of Bangladesh and the subsequent appearance of signs of alienation amongst the Mohajirs of Karachi and other urban areas of Sindh, who are descendants of converts from Hinduism from northern India, created fears of another split of Pakistan.
This led to the emergence in the 1980s of a number of Muslim extremist organisations wedded to the policy of ridding Islam in Pakistan of what they looked upon as the corrupting influences of Hinduism and making the Muslims of Pakistan strictly adhere to the Deobandi-Wahabi traditions.
The Deobandi-Wahhabi group Tablighi Jamaat has experienced a tremendous growth during the last quarter-century, converting infidels and bringing lapsed Muslims back into its austere version of the Ummah. Its graduates have moved on to join or form some of the most violent and radical of the Islamist terror groups.

At the time of independence India was awarded the former principality of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir is a remote but strategically important area, and has at various times been ruled by Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims, as well as the British. It contains a mixture of tribal groups, including many which share ethnicity with their brethren in Pakistan itself.

Pakistan went to war with India in 1948 with the aim of obtaining Kashmir. There was an eventual cease-fire, a line of control was demarcated, and an uneasy truce ensued. Affairs were complicated by the interference of China, to whom Pakistan ceded a part of the “Northern Areas” in 1963. China annexed the part of Kashmir known as Aksai Chin, which is still claimed by India.

Conflict has flared periodically since 1948, with India and Pakistan occasionally going to war over Kashmir. But after each country acquired nuclear weapons, war became all but unthinkable. In order to achieve its urgent goal of occupying the remainder of Kashmir, Pakistan must consider different strategies.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Since the 1980s Pakistan has allowed extreme Islamist groups to operate openly within its borders. Even proscribed terrorist organizations flourish; when listed by the U.S. State Department they tend to change their names so as to avoid a crackdown.

Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, finds these groups useful, since they are instrumental for operations in Kashmir. The groups infiltrate India, inflame the sentiments of like-minded Muslims there, and organize terrorist attacks against Indian targets. They can also be useful within Pakistan itself:
    In their efforts to maintain law and order in Pakistan and weaken nationalist and religious elements and political parties disliked by the army, the ISI and the army followed a policy of divide and rule. After the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, to keep the Shias of Pakistan under control, the ISI encouraged the formation of ant-Shia Sunni extremist organisations such as the Sipah Sahaba. When the Shias of Gilgit rose in revolt in 1988, Musharraf used bin Laden and his tribal hordes from the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to suppress them brutally. When the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM---now called the Muttahida Qaumi Movement) of Altaf Hussain rose in revolt in the late 1980s in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur in Sindh, the ISI armed sections of the Sindhi nationalist elements to kill the Mohajirs. It then created a split between Mohajirs of Uttar Pradesh origin (in Altaf Hussain’s MQM) and those of Bihar origin in the splinter anti-Altaf Hussain group called MQM (Haquiqi--meaning real). In Altaf Hussain’s MQM itself, the ISI unsuccessfully tried to create a wedge between the Sunni and Shia migrants from Uttar Pradesh.
Having failed in his efforts to weaken the PPP by taking advantage of the exile of Mrs.Benazir and faced with growing unity of action between Altaf Hussain’s MQM and sections of Sindhi nationalist elements, Musharraf has constituted a secret task force in the ISI headed by Lt.Gen.Mahmood Ahmed, the DG, and consisting of Lt.Gen.(retd) Moinuddin Haider, Interior Minister, and Lt.Gen.Muzaffar Usmani, Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, to break the PPP, the MQM and the Sindhi nationalists.
This task force has encouraged not only religious political organisations such as the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam (JUI) of Maulana Fazlur Rahman etc, but also sectarian organisations such as the Sipah Sahaba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi of Riaz Basra, living under the protection of the Taliban and bin Laden in Kandahar in Afghanistan, to extend their activities to Sindh.
Pervez MusharrafThis is the unruly tiger which Pervez Musharraf inherited and is attempting to ride. The ISI believes that it controls the terrorist groups, but who controls the ISI? Depending on which source you read, the ISI answers either to the office of the President or to the Army chiefs of staff. Musharraf would like us to believe the latter – “Ah, those rascals at ISI! I wish I could do something about them, but they are beyond my control!” – but Indian intelligence tends to believe that he is in control. Otherwise, how has he managed to escape the tiger’s jaws thus far?

But it is a dangerous game that Pakistan is playing:
     During his televised breakfast discussions with Indian editors at Agra on July 16 and his press conference at Islamabad on July 20, Musharraf described the terrorists operating in J & K as “indigenous freedom-fighters” and denied that they were based in Pakistan or that they were receiving any assistance from Pakistan. A similar stand was taken by Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, during a TV interview on July 22 when he was asked about the post-summit massacre of some Hindu pilgrims going on their annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave by the Al Umar Mujahideen and the massacre of the Hindu residents, including women and children, of a village in the Doda district of Jammu by the LET on July 22.
In its issues of February 13,1995, and March 27,1995, the “News” of Pakistan had carried two detailed investigative reports by Kamran Khan, a well-known Pakistani journalist, on an international terrorist network consisting of the HUM (then known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar) and other Islamic terrorist organisations operating from Pakistani territory with the knowledge and connivance of the Pakistani authorities. He reported that about 200 HUM members from Pakistan had died in clashes with the Indian security forces in J & K since 1991 and that its cadres were also active with the Abu Sayyaf group in Southern Philippines and with the terrorists in Chechnya. He also brought out the links of these organisations with Ramzi Yousuf, now undergoing imprisonment in the US for his role in the New York World Trade Centre bombing in February, 1993, and their role in the explosion at a holy shrine at Mashhad in Iran on June 20,1994, killing 70 people and in training Saudi fundamentalist elements opposed to the ruling family.
The Islamist terrorists may prefer Musharraf to the infidels, but it is hard to imagine that they like Pakistan’s military government as much as they would the Caliphate. That is, after all, their ultimate goal.

Musharraf and the ISI believe that they can continue this triple game indefinitely – holding the terrorists “by the scruff of the neck,” playing the extremists off against each other, and then saying, “Terrorists? What terrorists? There are no terrorists here!” to the world at large.

Pakistan’s cynical policies bore fruit in 1999, when India caved to the demands of terrorists after the Kandahar hijacking:
     Five years after Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 was hijacked in December 1999, the three men released by the Indian government to ensure the safety of the passengers continue to be sheltered in Pakistan despite repeated demands for their custody by Interpol, the American FBI and the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On December 24, 1999, five armed Pakistani nationals hijacked Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 from Katmandu to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Led by Sunny Ahmed Qazi, alias Burger, the hijackers slashed the throat of one of the 178 passengers, a honeymooner, and forced pilots to open the cockpit door. Burger demanded that the Indian government release three Pakistani terrorists from prison in exchange for the hostages aboard the aircraft.
…Among those released by India was Masood Azhar, a Pakistani national and secretary general of the Harkat-ul-Ansar, who was arrested on February 11, 1994 from Srinagar. Masood Azhar was the ideologue of the Harkat-ul-Ansar, a militant group already placed on the US State Department’s watch list of terrorist organizations. The second released jihadi was an Indian national -- Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, chief of the Al-Umar Mujahideen militant outfit.
Azhar has continued to ply his trade under the watchful eye of Pakistan and the ISI.

In 1917 The German General Staff had their own version of Azhar. They, too, thought that they had him by the scruff of the neck. Calculating that they could play the Bolsheviks against Kerensky, they permitted Lenin to travel in a sealed train through Germany to the Finland Station in Petrograd. Their schemes succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, igniting the Bolshevik revolution and consigning millions of people to the hell of Communism for the next 74 years. For those survivors who could still remember, it must have been bitterly ironic to see the hammer and sickle flying over the ruins of the Reichstag in 1945.

What diabolical forces is General Musharraf even now unleashing? What future conflagration is he igniting by playing with his terrorist matches?

And all for Pakistan irredenta, those swaths of Central Asian mountainous territory, the Alsace and Lorraine of Kashmir.


Baron Bodissey said...

ik, welcome back! And thank you for providing me more links. As you can see, I used your earlier links to get part of the material for this post.

I will take my time and go through your new batch carefully. I'm grateful for the material; I have much to learn

The Truth Teller said...

Today's textbooks don't bring out many of the points you have here.

Over at our site, an information only site with no comments permitted, we have been privilged to receive quite a lot of related material from the Hindu-Sikh community. Baron, you might find some of the information of use.

Baron Bodissey said...

Truth Teller -- thanks for reminding me about your site (I've been there before); Dymphna and I will both take another look.

CP said...

The cess pool of jihadi groups in Pakistan is indeed a dark one. They are quite incestuous in their connections and by changing their names so frequently, it makes sorting it out all the more difficult.

Musharraf is fully aware of what's going on and is playing a dangerous game of "ride the fence". He and the ISI have close connections to jihadi leaders (including Al Fuqra's Sheikh Gilani) going way back. It is not a pleasant history where our interests are concerned.

LifeoftheMind said...

THe situation of Kashmir is a little more complicated. Both sides are arguably in the wrong, as happens in life. THe partition agreement when the British left said that each Princely State (in theory and independant country bound by treaty directly to Britain) could join India or Pakistan or neither. Kashmir hesitated because the ruler was Hindu but the population was moslem. When a rebellion, supported by Pakistan, broke out the ruler opted for India but did so after partition was expected to be completed. Legally India had a case since the wishes of the inhabitants were did not need to be consulted. Morally Pakistan had a case. India's claim was compromised by the fact that another Princely State was Hyderbad with a moslem ruler and a hindu population. India simply ignored that ruler's wishes and invaded.

Baron Bodissey said...

LifeoftheMind --

I'm well aware of how complicated the situation is. My summary is a simplified overview.

I'm still learning (and just beginning to write) about the complexities of the India/Pakistan conflict.

I acknowledge a sympathy for the Indians, since they are on the receiving end of the Great Jihad, just as we are. But I will do my best to give Pakistan a fair hearing.

LifeoftheMind said...

My sympathies are the same as yours. Just want to be careful that we don't give our enemies any extra ammunition. My guess is that British India should have become four or five new nation states. My assumption, a dangerous thing I know, is that the world would be better off if China also became four or five new countries.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Games like the Germans played with Lenin in 1917 are always products of short-term thinking. The Germans probably would have succeeded with their own gambit had they not a short time before gambled with unrestricted submarine warfare against the United States. The Pakistani government plays games with Kashmir irredenta at its peril.

Don't forget, also, that the irredenta concept goes the other way too. The Indians, particular their foreign policy and military establishments, have never liked the whole concept of Pakistan.

Baron Bodissey said...

LifeoftheMind --

I agree about China. I believe that Mark Steyn has predicted that China will fragment like the Soviet Union within his lifetime (though probably not within mine).

al fin said...

Why would you assume that the ISI is a monolithic entity, without deadly internal factions vying with each other for control? Look at the ethnic patchwork of Pakistan itself. Would the internal workings of the government be less divided?

The islamists are the cat's paw for part of the ISI. Other parts of the ISI may be targeted by the cat's paw for assassination. Infiltration and counter-infiltration, it is a game played for high stakes, with intricate rule sets that may change without notice.

It is reminiscent of internal power politics of the USSR during Stalin's time. A fragile balance doomed to fail.

Baron Bodissey said...

al fin -- why would you assume that you know what I am assuming? Much of what I write here is about the face that Pakistan and ISI present to the world. And much of what may be true is well-disguised and obfuscated.

There is plenty of disinformation from Pakistan, just as there was from the USSR, so your comparison is apt.

Pakistan is a many-faceted entity, and I am presenting only a facet or two here. I am well aware of that.

To present a full picture would require a book-length treatise, and more information than can I can obtain.


An analogy might be what goes on in the CIA. The CIA is out there doing its job, not always competently, but serving the interests of the USA. At the same time large portions of the bureaucracy in Langley are actively working to discredit and undermine the President of the United States.

Maybe we're more like Pakistan than we might think.

Papa Ray said...

Thank you Baron for the essay. I find it just what I needed to read in order to start MY education on this area of the world.

I have been (for the last three years) concentrating my education to Iran, Iraq and Syria and it is by no means finished.

But for someone who didn't know anything about them when I started, I find that I can more than hold my own in discussions with our local moonbats and liberals.

As an example:
You and I (among others) have been calling Islam a CULT for months if not years. The people in the largest building in the world have just now came to that determination.

The Pentagon Breaks the Islam Taboo

Now lets see what they do with that revelation.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Annoy Mouse said...

Excellent essay Baron.

Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are of course where Osama Bin Laden is known to be holed up. The Pakistani army has ceded some of this territory to certain tribal bands to maintain ‘security’. It stands to reason that the Pakistani government has a debt of honor to uphold in regards to these tribes and it is doubtful that there are any elements there that would have a problem with al Qaeda enough to rat them out.

Nonetheless, it sounds like an intricately stacked house of cards waiting to get blown over, the unwitting participants waiting to see what hand they’d be dealt.

Al Fin,
Just like the CIA and the US State Department are in a potentially deadly game of brinksmanship… the Clintonista’s will use lies, leaks, and subterfuge to support their own shadow government. It is high time for a night of the long knives to make the US government whole again.

Just read Barons last comment… touché.

Baron Bodissey said...

Annoy Mouse -- good to have you back! I'm glad you haven't abandoned us.

There is so much complicated information about the political/tribal situation in Pakistan that it's hard to know where to begin. If you peek into some of those B. Raman articles, you'll find an alphabet soup of terrorist-organization acronyms, plus all those unpronouncable names. It makes my head spin.

But, because of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, I've made Pakistan my topic, so I'm going to stick with it for a while.

Saudi Arabia is the source of most the money, but Central Asia is where the mujahideen are coming from, IMHO.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Wow, now that was an eye-opener! First impression: What a mess. It brings a lot of questions to mind, like how the hell does Gen. M stay in power? And can there ever be democracy in that part of the world? (If it means losing Gen. M, I hope not!)Also, can anyone truly call Pakistan a nation with so many disparate peoples at each other's throat? Is there any "hope" for the place? Rhetorical questions all, I know. No wonder there is a general belief that OBL is "hiding" some place in it's "netherlands!" (bad pun, sorry VanGogh family!)

Anonymous said...

Ik, very informative comments. I am a voracious reader of history and always fall on the side of truth telling when learning of history. Your nuggest of information are truly appreciated.

LifeOfTheMind, I was completely unaware of Hyderabads situation itself! add, the Muslim ruler of Hindu-dominated Junagadh (in Gujrat) was in a tenuous situation himself.

My two cents worth was that Lord Louis Mountbatton was quite impartial and impractical when it came to dividing the subcontinent. Well, the Brits always had a way in divide and conquer, ie, Northern Ireland.

As far as India(/Pakistan) being 4 or 5 countries, I disagree. I thought it would have been better if Pakistan (and Bangladesh) remained in India proper.

But I do agree that China should be 4 or 5 countries. Manchu up north, reunite Outer Mongolia with Mongolia proper, let Taiwan free, Annam free, Xianjing remain with teh remant of China, and Tibet free. The rest subdivided into two confederations of Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.

Anyways, I like this blog and their posters.

Keep up the good work men.