Friday, 22 August 2014

The foreign side of the Long March, by Hussain Nadim

In 1953, the democratically-elected government of Dr Mossadegh in Iran was overthrown in a coup by the US and the UK as revealed by the declassified documents of the US government. Before the coup, massive protests were stirred against Dr Mossadegh with protestors calling him a dictator who stuffed the ballot boxes.

The protestors demanded electoral reforms and removal of Dr Mossadegh. As suspected, Dr Mossadegh was soon overthrown, and the Shah of Iran was reinstated as the monarch. Years later, it was found out that underneath the sham of election rigging, the US and the UK had toppled the Iranian government under Operation Ajax because of the Iranian government’s decision to nationalise Iran’s petroleum industry which was going to be a major blow for the UK’s economic interest in the region.
Same script, but different country, 60 years later. For social media pundits, and certain media groups, the current protests in Pakistan are about electoral rigging and bringing about a ‘change’ in Pakistan. For the innocent protesters on ground, yes indeed! However, the reality is shrouded in dense layers of fourth-generation warfare (economic and media). Beneath this rhetoric of an ‘Azadi March’ against the corrupt structure is an activity aimed at destabilising the very government which is going against the economic interest of certain global powers, national institutions and ambitious political leaders who can’t wait for their turn.
The ideal way to explain this is that the local ambitions of Imran Khan and a couple of other politicians, coupled with interests of the establishment, matched the international economic ambitions of foreign powers, thereby instigating the current crisis. Imran might not even realise it, but the way with which he is being played in the hands of external actors through local mediators is startling.
What exactly is going on needs a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and a read in history. The UAE is running out of oil, Dubai is already barren. The only thing Dubai is surviving on is its strategically-placed port that still provides a hub for trade. The ‘sin’ of the new PML-N government is that it has generously opened itself up to China, which is rapidly investing and developing the country.
With an estimated 80 per cent of all the international trade being conducted with China, the first country to suffer will be the UAE. A major chunk of its port operations will be shifted to Gwadar.
Now, a country that has its entire survival on its port becoming redundant in a few years would certainly be worried. Hence, for those who understand geo- politics and economics, fracturing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is at the key of the ongoing demonstrations. And interestingly, this time it’s not the US that has a problem, nor the UK or India. In fact, it’s the Arabs of UAE that have a serious cause of concern from the ongoing massive projects between China and Pakistan, and the opening up of Gwadar port.
Those who think that all this is part of conspiracy theory, let me take the pleasure to remind you of a recorded history of the regime changes, now declassified under the Freedom of Information Act, led by the United States. Foreign powers have been involved in the overthrow of democratically-elected governments since the dawn of history.
Politics is all about economic interests. Rarely, if ever, revolutions are caused for ideological reasons. However, to mobilise the public, sensational and emotional messages of ‘change’ ‘democracy, and ‘freedom’ are thrown in as a cover or economic interests to charge up the mob. Why else would thousands of Pakistanis come out against the PML-N government if they had even a hint of what has happened in postcolonial nations in terms of regime changes by the Western powers?
It’s disappointing to see that even after 67 years of independence, this country is still under economic imperialism and under the fourth-generation warfare where media is the key element. Those who support democracy are labelled as badshahs and those that have partnered with the dictators are painted as ‘revolutionaries’.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2014.

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