Thursday, March 15, 2012
But What of the Balochs?
The New York Times recently ran an article questioning why the West was so concerned about the plight of the Palestinians yet cared not a whit about the suffering of the Balochs at the hands of the Pakistani military.
It seemed curious when I read it. The Balochs, after all, have been going through this for a long time, well before the Americans showed up to turf the Talibs from Afghanistan. We were pretty indifferent to their persecution for more than a decade. Now, it seems, they've popped up on our radar. What gives?
It's been reported in Asia Times Online that the CIA, MI5 and the Mossad have taken a sudden interest in Balochistan and supporting Baloch separatists/nationalists against Pakistan. This comes at the same time when State Secretary Hillary Clinton is reading Islamabad the Riot Act over Iran.
What has Israel and the West up in arms is something discussed on this blog several times in recent years, the prospects of an oil pipeline connecting Iran to China, linked through Pakistan. That pipeline would pass through the Baloch region of southern Pakistan. It would create a direct and powerful link between South Asia and Southwest Asia and anchor Chinese hegemony in the region. It could also expand the sphere of influence of the Sino-Russian Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) right to the Persian Gulf.
Israel and the West are determined to block that linkup at almost any cost, even to supporting and arming an anti-Pakistan Baloch insurgency. That's an insanely high-stakes/high-risk gambit for the West which is already flailing in Afghanistan. It's the sort of adventure the Americans rarely do well and could wind up turning Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan squarely against the West. Turning on Pakistan will virtually guarantee Pakistan will strongly back the Taliban in retaking control of Afghanistan.
Besides, should we really be working to destabilize Pakistan?