by Clare M. Lopez
As Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari huddled with President Barack Hussein Obama at the White House last week, Taliban jihadis extended their inexorable advance into Pakistani territory. General David Petraeus was quoted as warning that Pakistan could be mere weeks from falling to their onslaught.
What nobody seems willing to say out loud, however, is that Pakistan was created to be an Islamic state governed by Shari’a and dedicated to the objectives of jihad. Its 20-year quest for the first Islamic bomb ended in success largely because the U.S. and rest of the Western world allowed it to happen. Three decades of American administrations enabled Pakistan to arm itself, train thousands of youngsters to terrorism, and then export those weapons, jihadis, and ideology to its neighbors. That the forces of Islamic jihad should now be mounting what may be a final assault for domination of the nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Pakistan should surprise no one.
Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, the 20th century founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami (the Islamic Congregation), urged his followers to “seize power by the use of all available means and equipment” in order to establish Islamic rule and instill an “Islamic way of life and morality” — in other words, impose Shari’a on Pakistan. Neither did Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of modern-day Pakistan, leave any doubt about what was intended when he addressed the All-India Muslim League in 1946: “If we fail to realise our duty today, you will be reduced to the status of Sudras (low castes) and Islam will be vanquished from India. I shall never allow Muslims to be slaves of Hindus.”
Born the following year in a bloodbath of religious hatred, Pakistan has always been ruled by its army and intelligence service, which enjoyed the virtually automatic support of its ally in Washington for the next 60 years even as they increasingly identified with hardline Islamists. Today, that army and its Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are so thoroughly infused with jihadist sympathies that their will to win against Muslim co-religionists is in serious question.
The U.S. seemed not to notice when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto made Islam the state religion of Pakistan in 1973 or when his successor General Zia ul-Haq Islamicized Pakistani courts and the economy, turned Pakistani madrassas into jihad factories, and demoted women to second-class status. Neither did the Pentagon pay the slightest attention when Brigadier S.K. Malik wrote “The Qur’anic Concept of War” in 1979, revealing Pakistan’s unswerving dedication to the doctrinal aspects of Qur’anic warfare (jihad). Malik stated unequivocally, “Jihad is a continuous and never-ending struggle waged on all fronts including political, economic, social, psychological, domestic, moral and spiritual to attain the object of policy. It aims at attaining the overall mission assigned to the Islamic state…” Gen. Zia ul-Haq wrote the forward to Malik’s book — which to this day is virtually unknown at U.S. national war colleges.
Because the U.S. needed Pakistan to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, our government turned a blind eye not only to Zia’s Islamicization of Pakistani society, but also to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. As meticulously documented in the 2007 book, “Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons”, three decades of American presidents ignored, destroyed, and misrepresented to Congress and the American people the evidence provided by U.S. and other Western intelligence services about the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan.
Pakistan’s nuclear intentions and developing capabilities were known and understood by every president from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush as was the fact that Pakistan’s military-dominated governments were deeply involved in AQ Khan’s activities. Then-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto herself acceded to AQ Khan’s request to travel to North Korea in December 1995. There she took delivery of a bagful of computer disks and other materials containing the blueprints for the advanced ballistic missiles Pakistan needed for its nuclear weapons delivery system. Husain Haqqani, the current Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., reportedly met Bhutto at the Islamabad airport upon her return and later described his horror at the realization that what she had brought back was a direct delivery from Pyongyang to the Pakistani military.
After a decade of disastrous disinterest, 9/11 renewed U.S. attention to Pakistan, but the ISI’s continuing deep involvement with its creation, the Afghan Taliban, was somehow overlooked. Confident of ISI support and drawing on an apparently endless supply of Pakistani madrassa graduates, the Taliban methodically established an intelligence, support, and training network throughout Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and beyond. Despite the veneer of its Westernized elite, Pakistan is home to millions of Muslims who know exactly what liberal democracy is and firmly reject it.
It’s these decades of failure to deal with an ostensible ally that proliferated both jihad and centrifuges that have brought us to today’s panic over the Taliban’s 2009 blitzkrieg through the SWAT Valley. Failure to absorb the lessons of Malik’s “Quranic Concept of War” and ignorance of Islamic history are the only possible explanations for any expectations that the Taliban would abide by the Malakand Accord, the agreement reached in February 2009 between the jihadis and the Pakistani government that ceded the SWAT Valley to Shari’a. Now observers are trying to come to grips with the possibility that the center of gravity for the international jihad, this nuclear-armed country of 170 million people that harbors al-Qa’eda and Taliban leaders, provides safe havens for terrorist training camps, and runs operations centers for jihadist attacks across the globe, could soon become the nucleus of a new Caliphate.
This bad dream becomes a real nightmare when a nuclear Iran run by jihadi-minded mullahs is factored in. Usama bin-Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and their al-Qa’eda cohorts are in Iran and Pakistan because they feel safe there. They didn’t bring the ideology of Islamic Jihad with them — the ideology welcomed them.
It’s not likely that the Taliban will long be halted by Pakistan’s half-hearted counteroffensive. It is the nature and the imperative of jihad to expand “till Allah’s word is supreme” (Q 8:39) or until it is halted by force. U.S. aid to Pakistan this year is no more likely to result in a redeployment of Pakistan’s military away from the Indian border or a housecleaning at the ISI than the billions already spent were. While Ralph Peters’ recent call to “Dump Pakistan” is probably unrealistic, his bottom line to “Let India deal with Pakistan” does make sense.
Much more sense than continuing to aid and abet the forces of terror by writing blank checks to a regime with no accountability, whose real interests are antithetical to America’s own.
Ms. Lopez is the Vice President of the Intelligence Summit and a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies.