Rohrabacher Attempts to Justify His Meddling With Pakistan

Over the weekend, the Washington Post gave California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher space so that he could attempt to explain to us why he is disrupting diplomatic efforts to repair US-Pakistan relations by continuing his quest for an independent Balochistan. Rohrabacher does manage a reference in the opening paragraph to the atrocities befalling the Baloch at the hands of Pakistani authorities, but his  column is more of a laundry list of what is wrong with Pakistan rather than why Balochistan should be independent.

Remarkably, Rohrabacher states “With this resolution, I do not seek to single out Pakistan”, but goes on to list a litany of complaints against Pakistan, most of which have nothing to do with the Baloch. Rohrabacher hits Pakistan for being an accomplice in the 9/11 attacks, for the fate of Shakeel Afridi and for harboring the Taliban. Coming from the man who coined the term “Freedom Fighters” to describe the Mujahedin while on Reagan’s staff and even going so far as to fight alongside bin Laden in Afghanistan against the Soviets, this is a remarkable level of hypocrisy. He also happens to mention that the Chinese have designs on the port of Gwadar. The clincher that Rohrabacher is simply punishing Pakistan comes in his penultimate paragraph:

It is time Washington stopped aiding Pakistan and developed a closer friendship with India and, perhaps, Baluchistan.

Yup, he’s not singling out Pakistan, he just thinks we need to stop supporting them and support their biggest enemy and those fighting from within.

Missing from Rohrabacher’s piece is any mention of what the Baloch are doing in their quest for independence. One would think that having been burned already by teaming with bin Laden out of hatred for the Soviets, Rohrabacher would look into the actions by those he is now supporting against Pakistan. Others appear to be aware that such examination will come soon, and we see a recent piece in Dawn where the independence movement attempts to justify some of its worst violence:

Brahamdagh [Bugti], whom the authorities in Pakistan have variously accused of financing, running and heading terrorist activities in Balochistan, rejected the perception that Baloch sardars were against development in their areas. He said the Baloch were, however, opposed to road-building projects meant for further exploitation of the province’s natural resources.

When asked about the murder of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan, Brahamdagh blamed the army. “When the army kills people, the family members [of those killed) have no choice but to react and take revenge,” he said.

The reason roads are being destroyed is that they are being used exploit natural resources and Punjabi settlers are being murdered because the Baloch have to kill someone in return for the Pakistani army killing their family members. What could possibly go wrong with supporting groups with these views?

 

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
11 replies
  1. PeasantParty says:

    Dana purchased Pakistan and is its dictator since when?

    There is the problem. We have too many arrogant assholes in positions of power that think they themselves control the world.

  2. Jeff Kaye says:

    The nationalists in Balochistan are playing a game that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to Kurdish leaders in Iraq, playing footsie with the Americans against a regime backed by the Americans. In the end, they should expect betrayal. As for the Balochs, their nationalist leaders — their more extreme ones — are playing a terror playbook that has been used at times by the Kurds, but the killings of the Punjabis is more redolent of techniques used by former nationalist groupings with some success, from Algeria’s FLN to the Zionists’ Irgun.

    No way is Rohrabacher proceeding with his Balochistan agenda without the backing of certain layers within the government, some Other Governmental Agency or another, and that certainly goes back at the least to his Afghan “Freedom Fighter” years.

    Divide and conquer is the name of the game, if you want to be an empire.

  3. William Ockham says:

    this is a remarkable level of hypocrisy

    Really? Is there any level of hypocrisy that is remarkable for Dana Rohrabacher? I’m pretty sure that his level of hypocrisy has been set on infinite for some time now.

  4. Jim White says:

    @Jeff Kaye: Yes, betrayal is what I’ve been expecting as well. I’ve also been trying to warn the Baloch who are jumping on Rohrabacher’s bandwagon that they could suffer the same fate as the Kurds who were emboldened by conservative Republicans after the first Iraq invasion only to be slaughtered by Saddam.

  5. PeasantParty says:

    You know, this has worried me to no end. I guess you can tell from my opening comment. Now I am wondering when Dana thinks we should drop into Saudi Arabia, the United Emerites, and Isreal so that we have a controlling foot print in the entire region. No need to deal with treaties and allies. As we already know, that shit can disappear in an instant. He might as well guide our military and CIA to go ahead and plan on the takeover in those areas too. (Arrogant Asshole that he is)

  6. harpie says:

    At least two interesting things about the Balochistan Province of Pakistan [Wiki Link]

    * Proximity [and common heritage of the Balochi people] to Iran
    * Natural Resources [“The income of the province is largely obtained through extraction of exhaustible natural resources such as natural gas, coal and minerals.” …copper and gold]

    Also, from Seymour Hersh in The Next Act [11/27/06]:

    (The Pentagon has established covert relationships with Kurdish, Azeri, and Baluchi tribesmen, and has encouraged their efforts to undermine the [Iran] regime’s authority in northern and southeastern Iran.)

  7. Bob Schacht says:

    @harpie: Ah, the Azeri! Who could have forgotten them? They are, after all, the principle ethnic group of Azerbaijan… with even more millions also in Iran, not to mention significant minorities in Iraq, Russia, Turkey and Georgia.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azeri)
    They constitute about 20% of Iran’s population, and three provinces in NW Iran have majority Azeri populations. There are more Azeri in Iran than there are in Azerbaijan. At least they have a country. The Kurds and Balooch don’t even have that.

    I have driven through Iranian Azerbaijan several times, in the dead of winter, stopping only in Tabriz, IIRC.

    Bob in AZ

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