The US Foreign Policy Factor in the Pakistan School Attack

Source: BBC/AFP

Two incidents which have received maximum media coverage in the past few days.  The first is the Australian siege which resulted in two deaths. My comments related to this incident are pretty much in concurrence with Russell Brand. The man holding people hostage was mentally unstable but the leading narrative in the news reports was the political motivation aspect. The only point I would add which reinforces the notion that certain news items are given precedence to forward an agenda, is that around the same time the hostage situation in Australia unravelled, a US marine, Brad Stone, had shot six people and was still at large. Yet this was rendered to the lowers portions of the online right-wing papers possibly with the hope that nobody sees it.

The Attack on the Public School

The second incident which also garnered much media attention was the horrific attack on an Pakistani Army public school by a faction of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).  Once again the victims of the great game are innocent children, murdered by vengeful killers.

Most reports singularly used “Taliban” to describe the group and narrated the incident in isolation as the events occurred in a vacuum. Let’s not decontextualize this incident.  The Pakistani Taliban were formed when they splintered from the Aghan Taliban after the American invasion of Afghanistan, due to their differing goals. As such the Pakistani Taliban crossed the border into Waziristan and started a campaign against Pakistani military targets (against the direction of the Afghan Taliban) in pursuit of control over the FATA areas (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). (The ethnic tension here can be traced to British cartography of 1893, with Mortimer Durand splitting the area covering Pashto-speaking people in half, with one half under British administration, and the other under King Abdul Rahman Khan. This persisted with the formation of Pakistan, the border has been as porous as the artificial lines drawn in the Middle East). Marking a significant turning point which spurred more attacks against Pakistani targets was the Chenagai US drone attack on an Islamic school with express authorisation from former President Pervez Musharaf. 69 children among the 80 civilians were killed. Retaliation and revenge thereafter has been an ongoing affair. Drone strikes killing innocent civilians thereafter continued to feature as a fuel for violence.

In November 2013, TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike during peace negotiations with Pakistan in what was viewed as US sabotage. Strongly condemned by Pakistani officials, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said at the time,

“This is not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts,”

The response from the TPP, as per established precedent, was of revenge.

The other aspect has been the actions of the army, which has been under pressure from the US to engage in military action in parts of Waziristan. In December 2013, an operation resulted in uproar by the locals as families were injured, declaring the Army’s response terrorism. In February 2014, another operation was alleged by TTP to have killed their families, including women and children. In the last six months the Pakistani military has stepped up their offensive increasing the pressure on a splintered faction of the TTP.

Due in part to the cyclical violence, and a faction which has continued to weaken, the situation has now ultimately culminated in the attack on the public school. The TTP spokesman Mohammed Umar Khorasani, who called the tragedy a “revenge attack”, said,

“We targeted the school because the army targets our families. We want them to feel our pain.”

Giving credence to this is the statement from Pakistani ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani who said, “This was blowback we have been expecting for some time”.

The Usual Suspects

Despite this complicated context which implicates the US as it does Pakistan, the usual suspects came out to blame “Islamism” repudiating any blame on Western foreign policy, whilst differentiating Western attacks from deliberate targeting of civilians based on “intention” (collateral versus intentional targeting, an argument which was made by Maajid Nawaz during the Gaza strikes).  Of course, such a pathetic statement plays on semantics: an attack in a civilian area will very likely result in civilian deaths. Is there a moral difference between knowing collateral damage will result in women and children being murdered and intentionally targeting civilians? The Chenagai massacre of 69 children in an Islamic seminary by the US is a case in point.

“It is not sufficient to merely condemn this Taliban school attack” wrote Maajid Nawaz, “we must uproot the entire Islamist ideology”, echoing Tony Blair and other neocons.[1] An interesting call except such calls against secular liberalism, which is the paradigm in which the US operated when they imposed sanctions on Iraq resulting in the deaths of half a million children – more than Hiroshima – are not made. When the then Secretary of State Madeliene Albright was asked whether the price for a decade’s worth of sanctions was worth it, she sickeningly replied, “we think the price is worth it”.

Similar calls to uproot neoconservatism have never materialised from the members of the counter-extremism, fear-hyping industry. Deception, undermining of democracy, human rights and rule of law in an effort to exert Machiavellian, fascist-like policies, are hallmarks of this agenda. The fact that people holding this persuasion are in power, concerted calls to “uproot” neoconservatism have never been made despite the fact that an “intentional” war in Iraq based on lies has resulted in the deaths of over 45,000 children.  The use by the US of depleted uranium shells in civilian areas has resulted in the next generation of Iraqi children being increasingly born with birth defects. This in addition to “intentional” drone strikes, and torturing of “suspect” individuals. Is this born from US Christian and neocon thinking which desires to “crush the seed of Ishmael”? What evil ideology of the West needs to be uprooted in order to prevent such perverted actions and thinking?

In this year’s Gaza massacre, 578 children were blown to pieces.  Small bodies were spliced in half as the terrorist Zionist entity used Gaza as a laboratory.

A genuine question to the neocon/Zionist governments and their quango spokesmen, will they denounce neoconservatism and Zionism?  Will a war be waged to ensure these ideologies are “crushed”?

Illegal ideological wars, extra-judicial killings and drone attacks, sabotaged peace talks. The US in collusion with Pakistani officials has done everything to exacerbate instability in the region. These are key American foreign policy factors which have escalated the violence which has now resulted in a “blow-back”. Once again, innocent children are paying the price.

I pray peace and tranquillity be upon the families of the deceased.

 


References:

[1] If the argument is that “Islamist” ideology, however defined, is solely the cause of the attack, then this is problematic. The Afghan Taliban have explicitly condemned the public school attack. In a statement issued by them, the Afghan Taliban said,

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has always condemned the killing of children and innocent people at every juncture… The intentional killing of innocent people, women and children goes against the principles of Islam and every Islamic government and movement must adhere to this fundamental essence. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the official name of the Taliban) expresses its condolences over the incident and mourns with the families of killed children.” See – http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/peshawar-massacre-afghan-taliban-condemn-un-islamic-pakistan-school-carnage-1479853

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