August 08, 2012

Jehadi takeover can prompt Indo-US attack on Pakistan: book

New Delhi, Aug 8, 2012, (IANS):

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/270148/jehadi-takeover-can-prompt-indo.html

A jehadi takeover of Pakistan with its nuclear arsenal can spark an Indo-American military assault on that country, which could lead to Pakistan's reabsorption into India, says a new book.

"If the (Pakistan) army were to disintegrate in the face of a jehadist takeover, all the existing (nuke) safeguards would presumably melt away," says the book "The Unravelling - Pakistan in the Age of Jihad".

Author John R. Schmidt served as political counsellor at the US embassy in Islamabad in the years leading up to 9/11.

"If there are concerns today that terrorists might be able to seize a warhead and either use it for nuclear blackmail or seek to detonate it somewhere in the US, imagine the level of concern that would exist if jehadists were actually running the show in Islamabad," it said.

The book (Pan Macmillan) says that in such circumstance, the US "would decide to strike first, deploying its specially trained commando units, if they exist, or attempting to bomb Pakistani warhead storage facilities, if they can be located.

"The logic of the situation would seem to demand that the US attempt to liberate the country from the jehadists," it said.

"It could probably destroy all that was left of the Pakistani armed forces through the use of air power. But it would need considerable help to wrest physical control of the state away from radical Islamists."

The book goes on to say that the "obvious move would be collaborate with India".

"An Indo-American alliance could see the experience of Operation Enduring Freedom (of Afghanistan) repeated on a much larger scale, with the US providing the air power and India the bulk of ground forces," it says.

The author, who now teaches at a US university, says that it is "difficult to speculate how far into Pakistan Indians might feel inclined to push".

"Would they attempt to occupy the entire country, or perhaps call a halt at the Indus?""At the very least they would want to bottle up the remaining jehadist forces and deny them ready access to the sea. This could militate in favour of seizing Punjab, Sindh and the coastal areas of Balochistan, while leaving the Pashtun areas on the far side of the Indus as a kind of jehadist no-man's-land."

But things won't be easy.

"Once the dust had settled, the Indians and their US allies would then face a critical political question: what to do about the areas of Pakistan that had been brought under their control," the book argues.

"Should they attempt to reconstitute Pakistan politically, handing power back to the civilian feudals while trying to reconstruct a less hostile Pakistani military?

"Or would they decide to incorporate the occupied territories into India, bringing about the final unravelling of the Pakistani state?

"It would be the greatest of ironies if Pakistan ended its existence by being reabsorbed into India," the book said.

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