Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saudi Arabia pushes Pakistan to extremism

"... Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest supporters of Pakistan through generous donations of aid for economic recovery and support. It has in the last few months given more than $750 million in aid with the most recent being a $1.5 billion dollar ‘gift' and another $1.5 billion promised. The gift of a billion dollars has been questioned by various sources and with good reason. To not see this "gift camel" in the mouth would be extremely naive and dangerous. Saudi Arabia has a history of funding organisations that have served as a front for organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and other militant groups responsible for the majority of the attacks against minorities and against India. The donation also comes from a Saudi Arabia that is determined to maintain its relevance at a time when the US-Iran relations are thawing.
Pakistan in turn has given military support to both Saudi Arabia and more recently, to Bahrain to quell a Shia uprising....The worry that it will grow into a regional conflict pitting Sunnis against Shias is high. The greater fear is that the violence will push the condition of the besieged minorities even further with a spillover into regional countries. There have already been reports of Al Qaeda militants from Pakistan seeking support and a base in Syria. A Pakistan waiting in the wings, ready to offer more support militarily and more men fueled in the ideologies that inflame sectarian violence has become increasingly real.An escalation of the sectarian violence can already be seen in the sudden explosion of violence after years of conflict that had been building on the Iranian-Pakistan border. Last week after Pakistani gunmen killed 14 Iranian border guards, Iran retaliated by killing 16 Pakistani rebels and has threatened to send troops into Pakistan to recover any hostages. To dissociate this event from Saudi Arabia's anonymous donation and the Saudi displeasure with the US would be foolish. A greater threat to the lives and livelihoods of minorities living in Pakistan cannot be ruled out under the circumstances...."

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