Thursday, August 16, 2007

Iran and Pakistan - The American Contradiction

Sometimes even The Guardian disappoints me. The US has been upping the ante against Iran with its latest threat to class the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organisation. Not withstanding the fact that this would make it easier to portray Iran as a state harboring terrorists (and thus, under the Bu$h doctrine, make it easier to launch an attack), this move is an interesting contradiction with the situation in Pakistan, and its relationship with America.

One of the pretexts for this move by the US, is that Iran has been fomenting violence in neighboring Afghanistan. On page 13, The Guardian makes plain the government view on the troubles via an interview with Des Browne. Browne made the following statement:

"I have no doubt - because we have uncovered evidence - of weapons coming in through narco-trafficking routes, supplying weapons to the Taliban. I have reason to believe the Taliban go to Tehran for training."

He also accuses Iran of:

"backing every horse in the race."

This is all part of the Iran interfering with its neighbours pitch that the Western powers are spreading around. However, turn to page 26 and we find an interesting little story, buried away near the back of the international section:

The Pakistani government gave substantial military support to the Taliban in the years leading up to the September 11 attacks, sending arms and soldiers to fight alongside the militant Afghan movement, according to newly released US official documents.

Islamabad has acknowledged diplomatic and economic links with the Taliban but has denied direct military support. The US intelligence and state department documents, released under the country's freedom of information act, show that Washington believed otherwise.

The suspicion has lingered that some elements of Pakistani intelligence are still protecting the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies in the autonomous tribal areas along the Afghan border. US officials have warned they might take direct military action without Islamabad's approval.

So, while Iran is considered a hostile nation due to alleged activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan is considered a friend in similar circumstances. So when is the United States going to proclaim MQM as a terrorist organisation? I guess never as right-wing groups remain infatuated with right-wing military dictators.