Sunday, 14 July 2013

Our Friends in the North West Provinces

'Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion
paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde
force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant
and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising
fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the
strong arms of science, the science against which it (Islam) has vainly struggled,
the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”'

Winston Churchill, The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan (1899).

'Of course it could be argued that Afganistan had always posed difficult problems and that the setback to British influence there was an isolated, exceptional incident.'

David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (1989).

'The 4oth Army had gone, but the Afgan civil war continued with horrifying force. The morale of the mujahedin was high. Arms continued to reach them from Pakistan in contravention of the Geneva Agreements. These the Pakistanis had never had any intention of observing: President Zia ul-Haq told President Reagan that they had been denying their activities in Afghanistan for eight years, and that Muslims had the right to lie in a good cause.'

Roderic Braithwaite, Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-1989 (2012).

'Britain also appears to have begun to secretly support the Afghan rebels before the Soviet invasion. On 17 December 1979, a 'special coordination' meeting was held in the White House, chaired by Carter's vice president, Walter Mondale, involving all key US government departments. As Soviet troops were amassing near the Afghanistan border, threatening to invade to shore up the communist regime, the meeting agreed to 'explore with the Pakistanis and British the possibility of improving the financing, arming and communications of the rebel forces to make it as expensive as possible for the Soviets to continue their efforts.' Thus the British now began to play their primary role vis-a-vis the Americans, that of junior partner in US-led covert action, a sharp contrast to the more equal role enjoyed by London in the 1950s; Britain would carry-out specialist tasks such as training the Afghanistan resistance and dispatching covert operatives to support the fighting. Overall the US was 'to cast the Soviets as opposing Moslem religious and nationalist expressions.'

Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with radical Islam (2012).

'Mr President... you accepted that a historic responsibility had been thrust upon you, a responsibility to cope with and manage this situation not just in the interests of Pakistan, but in the interests of the international community. It is for that reason, among others, that Pakistan deserves the support of Britain and of all the other nations of the world who are genuinely interested in bringing about the withdrawal of Soviet troops. On behalf of Britain, let me confirm to you – Pakistan has our support in the general problems you are facing... We deeply admire the courage and skill you have shown in handling the crisis.'

Speech given by Margaret Thatcher at a banquet in the home of Zia ul-Haq, 1981.

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