by Tariq Ali
The Wikileaks confirm what we already know about Af-Pak. Pakistan is a US satrapy: its military and political leaders constitute a venal elite happy to kill and maim its people at the behest of a foreign power. The US proconsul in Islamabad, Anne Patterson, emerges as a shrewd diplomat, repeatedly warning her country of the consequences in Pakistan if they carry on as before. Amusing but hardly a surprise is Zardari reassuring the US that if he were assassinated his sister, Faryal Talpur, would replace him and all would continue as before. Always nice to know that the country is regarded by its ruler as a personal fiefdom.
Then we have the country’s military boss, General Kayani, sweetly suggesting that the Pushtun leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, a beneficiary of US funds, might be a possible president: confirmation, if any were needed, that the uniformed ones are the real power in the land, sharing it at the moment with the US Embassy.
And the old bearded joker Fazlur Rehman, a.k.a. Maulana Diesel (after the late Benazir Bhutto gave him a diesel concession in the North in return for a bit of help), pleading with the US ambassador to be made prime minister. Now that did me make me laugh. Like many others he, too, wants the job to make some money and knows perfectly well who can make it possible. His riposte that the lack of a majority was not a problem since he could buy enough MPs is unanswerable.
As for Afghanistan, virtually everything that has emerged – the elephantine corruption, Karzai’s rifts with his US minders etc – has been written about in the LRB. Good to get confirmation that everything we alleged was correct.
This post first appeared on the London Review Blog.