SHAFAQNA – If you thought the cancer of Terror under control, you most certainly did not read, or heard about Balochistan. But then again why would you when the lives of faraway Balochs weigh little in the balance of Western politics? Quetta is no Paris!
On August 8, 2016, a horrific suicide attack took place in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s province Balochistan claiming the lives of over 70 civilians, notwithstanding dozens upon dozens of casualties. Should such a violent and bloody attack had hit a Western capital you can be sure the outpouring of grief and condemnation would have long flooded the world wide web – a grand righteous cry against the evil of Islamic terrorism. But like I said Quetta is not Paris, and violence in this corner of the world is somehow expected – an occupational hazard if you will, yet another reminder that civilized firmly rhymes with Westernized.
I will not bore you with a philosophical debate on ethno-centrism, and neo-colonial bigotry but the prejudice is nevertheless there, disturbingly palpable, and most definitely unpalatable.
Today is not the day to discuss political bias or political xenophobia, today I’d like to bring your attention to a development which concerns us all, as it speaks of the alliance of capitalism with our modern day evil: the infamously western-labelled Islamic terrorism.
But let’s start at the beginning – what is Balochistan, and why should you care?
Let’s not fool ourselves here and pretend that we care about every single act of violence committed across the world. Chances are, if any such violence does not directly involve you, or speak to your particular sensitivity, you will stand deaf, blind and mute to it. This is not a critic, only an observation. However loudly we would like to think that we are fair and righteous creatures, we filter world events according to our own ethno-social and political egocentrism.
This is where you will want to pay attention though, for Balochistan is not another faraway place where radicals play let’s-blow-a-hospital on account it will forward their warped religious beliefs – Balochistan is the cautionary tale we need to learn from. Balochistan is where the cancer of radicalism meets venture capitalism, laying bare an agenda which is absolutely political, and not in the slightest religious.
In other words, events in Balochistan have allowed for the true nature of Islamic radicalism to be unveiled … that and much more actually since we can now trace the outlines of those powers, which all along, have played Terror as the asymmetrical weapon of war so many analysts have long asserted, without any real smoking gun.
Balochistan is your smoking gun. Balochistan is your writing on the wall lit up with massive pink neon signs!
A restless province of Pakistan, Baluchistan has not enjoyed peace since 1947 – when Islamabad proclaimed its independence and identity away from India. Situated at the eastern end of the Iranian plateau, Balochistan’s troubles can be traced to its forced-balkanisation, and the negation of a people’s call for political independence. Unlike their Afghan counterparts, the Baloch never had mountains to act a buffer against imperial powers, never mind regional geopolitical ambitions.
Split almost evenly between Pakistan’s Balochistan province and Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province, notwithstanding a small portion of the southern parts of Afghanistan’s Nimruz, Helmand, and Kandahar provinces, Baluchistan has played piggy in the middle to conflicting political agendas and capitalists’ greed.
Today such greed has found a disturbing catalyst: Terror.
Arid and poor it may be but Balochistan remains dizzyingly rich in natural resources – hence Pakistan’s desire to keep the province within its sphere of influence – as we may soon discover to whatever cost.
Daesh aka ISIL, has now claimed footing in Balochistan … whether or not such a statement offers a reflection of reality remains to be fully determined, but in any case, the terror group has shown intent – that alone should send cold shivers down our spines. Considering the fact that Afghanistan is once again slipping back to into the arms of the Taliban or al-Qaeda, depending how you want to label those Wahhabi-inspired madmen, it is really Central Asia we stand to see disappear in the fires of Islamic radicalism.
But the issue here is not radicalism! Radicalism here is merely a foot-soldier, together a frontman and smokescreen.
How so? Well for a start Daesh is systematically popping its ugly head in those regions of the world where natural resources abound: Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya … even Egypt has been a target. Balochistan is really next on a long list of to-be-controlled resources hotspots.
Let me borrow the words of another analyst to better make my case. Akhilesh Pillalamarri wrote for The Diplomat this February: “Pakistan has faced almost constant turmoil in Balochistan since its independence, even as it struggles to secure and develop the region with Chinese help. The port access offered by Gwadar in Balochistan is an important component in China’s emerging transportation network across Asia. Right across the border in Iran, India is struggling to complete Chabahar, its attempt to answer Gwadar and link to Afghanistan by going around Pakistan. Iranian Balochistan is Iran’s soft underbelly, a restless Sunni region in a mostly Shia country, a place where Saudi Arabia can make mischief using groups like the radical Sunni Jundallah.”
Balochistan is not just a capitalist honey pot, it offers undeniable geopolitical advantages, especially if in opposition of Iran’s regional traction.
Let me put this under a clearer light. We know now that what we call Islamic radicalism is in fact the undiluted, and unfettered political manifestation of Wahhabism – the same Wahhabism which has always ambitioned to lay waste all contention to its religious rule. We also know that Wahhabism has found in liberalism a powerful friend. The special bond Saudi Arabia and the United States have entertained for many great decades stand testimony to that.
With this in mind would it be much of a stretch to deduct that liberalism, aka rabid capitalism seeks in fact to exploit radical movements to carve itself a capitalist empire of unparalleled proportion? I believe here that the work of one brilliant analyst; Joaquin Flores speaks louder than any words I could ever use.
Can we in all good conscience refutes that wherever and whenever radicals have sought to gain a foothold, billions stood to be made by corporations? Can we still turn away as radicals have clearly mapped their advances according to certain powers’ political interests in Africa, the Middle East and Asia?
Can we still play the ostrich?
By Catherine Shakdam – This article appeared first on RT