Terror as geostrategic leverJanuary 24, 2012
Geopolitically, Pakistan is hemmed in between Iran to its west and India to its east. In India, it has what it believes to be a mortal enemy with which it has been at various levels of war since independence; in Iran, it has a rival for leadership in the Islamic world. Pakistani leaders would like their nation to be the center of a pan-Islamic quasi-Caliphate to balance the growing power of India. To that end, it’s Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence has built what some call “an empire of terror” throughout the nations of Central Asia. ISI has a in every pie, with the dual goals of thwarting other Islamic nations for leadership (Iran and, increasingly, Turkey) plus building a deterrent for India. Window on the Heartland has recently posted an overview of Pakistan’s use of terror as a geostrategic lever:
Pakistan has always desired to expand its influence in Afghanistan and beyond. Central Asia is seen as an area of natural expansion for the country. Islamabad’s objectives in the region are determined by its geopolitical imperative: to turn itself into the leader of an Islamic bloc stretching from the Black Sea to China able to counter India’s influence and become an autonomous actor on the international scene. In this context, the destabilizing efforts carried out by the ISI through support to terrorist groups in Central Asia since the early 90s have been aimed at creating the right conditions so that the Pakistani leadership could gradually take over from of other major powers such as Russia, China and the United States.
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The ISI has built what is in essence a model for a low-tech, asymmetric analog to the integrated defense network centered on complex weapons systems that the US is building.