Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent trip to the United States of America had made headlines for various reasons. From a humiliating welcome meted out to Imran Khan to a gaffe made by US President Donald Trump on Kashmir, the US-Pakistan bilateral meet had kept most of the enthusiasts entertained last week.
However, an interesting revelation has been made by the Sunday Guardian report on how Wahhabi lobby in the US played laid the trap to Donald Trump by fixing a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in White House on July 23.
According to the report, US President Donald Trump decided to meet Imran Khan despite contrary advice from few realists and analysts within the Trump administration such as the National Security Council (NSC), the State Department and analysts in the US Government (USG). The reports suggested that the meeting took place as a consequence of an intense lobbying effort by the well-funded Wahhabi network in Washington. The Wahhabi network reportedly roped in Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to persuade President Trump to agree to such a meeting even though there was no substantive assistance by Pakistan in reining in the Taliban.
The meeting came into fruition despite Pakistan’s active support to Islamic terror groups such as Taliban, which once sheltered Osama bin Laden and presently hosts several fighters of ISIS and Al Qaeda. The influence of these terror groups has risen since the Trump administration began to have a close relationship with GHQ Rawalpindi in mid-2018 to seek assistance from the Pakistan army for ensuring a safe withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The money-power behind the Lobby
The Wahhabi lobby in Washington, which remains among the most influential in the city is funded by Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. The report says Senator Graham has been close to the Wahhabi lobby in Washington for decades now. He had even condemned Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia for seeking to roll back Wahhabism rather than encourage it. Because of its money power, the Wahhabi lobby has been cordial in terms with many others close to President Trump, such as Thomas J. Barack, who has several contacts in the Middle East.
Initially, President Trump had declined to meet Imran Khan. However, the Wahhabi network in the United States was successful in bypassing usual bureaucratic channels within the government to ensure a meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Khan that has had the effect of angering two US allies, Afghanistan and India. The Islamist network had expected that the Prime Minister of Pakistan will be able to establish a close personal relationship with Trump that could then be leveraged to get financial and other advantages for the Pakistan military.
Despite Pakistani establishing failing to honour its commitments to contain terror groups within its soil, the Wahhabi lobby broke through into the White House protocol to try and get Trump’s endorsement for an old formula of making India give concessions to Pakistan in exchange for Pakistan making concessions to the US. The Wahhabi lobby in Washington has comprehensive information about Trump officials and makes sure that there is an active link maintained between the officials and the lobby.
The Wahhabi International network builds up relationships with the youthful and unwary agency staffers who are newly recruited into foreign diplomatic missions. Then they ensure that such staffers are made familiar with and hopefully appreciative of the thinking of the Wahhabi lobby. Over the past nine months, because President Trump has revealed several times his impatience to “get out of Afghanistan”, such staffers have been turning to the four-decade-long GHQ strategy of trying to make the US put pressure on India to make concessions to Pakistan on Kashmir. The report states that such Wahhabi-influenced advice may have been behind President Trump’s sudden show of eagerness to get involved personally in the Kashmir issue, a move that is diplomatic trap in the context of the current US desire for a close security and defence partnership with India. As regards to Afghanistan, assisting the Taliban to take power will have consequences that destroy the little chances that exist now for stable Afghanistan to emerge from the wreckage caused by the actions of Pakistan and the flawed US responses to them.
Efforts to link Afghanistan with Kashmir
The recent gaffe made by Donald Trump ensured that his visit to India in 2019 is unlikely. It will take months to repair the damage before being forgotten by the Indian public. The report suggests that the senior officials in Washington are privately unhappy that President Trump offered himself publicly as a mediator between India and Pakistan on Kashmir after acting on the influence of the Wahhabi lobby and its backers such as Senator Graham. While refusing to go on record, and speaking only on “deep background”, key policymakers warn that a small cabal still exists of pro-Pakistan elements within the US Government (USG) which includes US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been suggesting to the White House that ‘the key to Pakistan’s sincere cooperation with the US in Afghanistan is through India being made to make concessions on Kashmir”.
Reportedly, A pro-Pakistan military lobbying network has been active within Washington since the 1970s promoting the interests of the Pakistan military. Even in the times of Barack Obama in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had hand-picked Richard Holbrooke as an envoy, who had an extensive relationship with Pakistan military and meddled in matters relating to the state through his many high-level contacts in the Lutyens Zone.
The effort to link Kashmir with the situation in Afghanistan has continued to the present, especially within the National Security Council and the State Department both of which still contain voices echoing the GHQ argument in favour of a robust US role in ensuring that India make concessions on Kashmir that would put at risk our country’s interests and security.
Senior officials at the US government believe that Donald Trump was made to fall into the trap laid for him by the Wahhabi lobby. However, senior officials say that the US President has “a very shrewd mind”, and hence that he “rapidly reversed course once it was made clear that the Wahhabi lobby was promoting policies that would damage the long-term US interest in a close and collaborative relationship with India”.
In the recent past, pro-GHQ elements within the Trump administration have been lobbying officials in Delhi to bring the All Parties Hurriyat Conference back into the core of Indian policymaking in Kashmir. Reports suggest that the US officials say that it is the pro-Pakistan cabal within US government that had been lobbying President Trump to insert himself in the Kashmir issue on the side of Pakistan, “so that the Pakistan army will begin assisting and stop sabotaging US efforts at dis-engaging from Afghanistan”, a formula tried several times in the past by previous US Presidents without any success in stopping the sabotage of US objectives and boosting of terrorism by the Pakistan military.
‘U-Turn by Donald Trump ’
The Sunday Guardian reports that some officials were surprised to see Trump following the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in wanting to force India to make concessions in Kashmir to Pakistan in exchange for the unrealistic hope of GHQ giving genuine concessions to the US side against the very terror networks it protects.
The reports say that Trump has now “fully understood” that he walked into the trap set up by the pro-GHQ cabal in the US government. Following his realisation, Trump has kept silent even via tweets on the Kashmir issue ever since the meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan. As the United States is looking forward for an India-US security alliance, pressure on India to make concessions to GHQ on Kashmir would kill the prospect of any such security alliance, something that the pro-GHQ cabal in USG is aware off.
The Wahhabi lobby including strategic experts in China and Russia are also expecting such an alliance would collapse following India’s response to Trump’s gaffe. Those eager for such an outcome are disappointed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not fall into the trap laid for him by Opposition politicians in Parliament. They demanded that Modi condemn Trump’s remarks directly, something that would have damaged the existing warm relationship between President Trump and PM Modi to the detriment of US and Indian interests.
The report suggests that the statesmanship showed by Prime Minister Modi was followed by President Trump reciprocating with quietly dropping any talk of mediation between India and Pakistan.
However, it is just the beginning as the cash-rich Wahhabi lobby in Washington will continue in its mission of promoting the aims of the Pakistan military, the only armed forces in the world that has “jihad” as its official motto, which will be a detriment to moderate and democratic forces of the world.