Jundullah: Baluchi ally of the United States... And Al Qaeda... in covert Iran war

A farfetched scenario: American geopolitical wizards pour millions in arms and organizational infrastructure into a band of nomadic raiders in the Central Asian highlands, who firmly promise to fight America's enemies and uphold truth justice and etceteras. It turns out that the militant band are a bunch of retrograde fanatics who use their newfound power to build armed networks all over the region, offering mercenary services to the highest bidder and undermining America's local allied leaders.

Obviously nothing like that has ever happened, (besides the entire 1980s) and it appears today that it won't happen again. Today Washington denies arming and training Jundullah, a band of fundamentalist mercenary lunatics supported by heroin traffickers and shady elements of who-knows-what, all in the service of bombing Iranian military personnel and stirring up trouble. A fourth-generation warfare (4GW) scenario all around.

At times like this, only the sage wisdom of the CIA's top 1980s coordinator, Milt Bearden, really makes sound sense. A 2004 note from him about the region below....

In the big overview of the Iran CIA-sponsored tribal rebellion I posted last week, I'm glad to have inserted a small reference in about Jundullah, a Baluchi-centered Sunni fundamentalist group that apparently desires an independent Sharia-dominated Baluchistan across Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Wikipedia lays it out:

Jundullah (Army of God) is a militant Islamic organization that is based in Waziristan, Pakistan and affiliated with Al-Qaeda. It is a part of the Baloch insurgency in Pakistan and in Iran's Sistan and Baluchistan Province. The goal of the group is to form an independent and united Baluchistan under a hardline Sunni Islamist government similar to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Though Baloch-dominated, the group claims to represent all Sunnis in Iran, regardless of ethnicity. Iran and Pakistan have designated it a terrorist organization and banned it. The militant Sunni group operates inside Iran's southeastern border. The group poses a threat to the country's Shi'ite clerical regime, which already faces a crisis with the West over its nuclear ambitions. The Iranian government has accused the United States of supporting the Sunni group as a destabilizing element against Ahmadinejad's regime. The Jundallah deny any link with the United States.

Evidently the CIA has been giving them a ton of money to blow up shit in Iran and start the next world war, as ABC News reported just about the same time I made that post:

The group, called Jundullah, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.

It has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials.

U.S. officials say the U.S. relationship with Jundullah is arranged so that the U.S. provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order or "finding" as well as congressional oversight.

Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.

Reuters and other news agencies are following the case. Other stuff about the case on PrisonPlanet with reasonably backed-up sources. Basically the CIA payoff to Baluchis is historically consistent with typical British and western schemes to meddle in the region: If you offer gold, nomads will go a-raiding for you until you stop paying. These operations probably started when the US Special Forces arrived in Afghani Baluchistan shortly after the 2001 invasion.

Of course, the Congress has approved no such ethnic proxy war schemes, but since these are brown people, their fate is left to the discretion of our wise executive branch.

Really complicated geopolitics there, but Alexander the Great had it all figured out. Here is the scenario of the Pashtuns, the Baluchis' northeastern neighbor who make up the core of the Taliban. While Baluchis and Pashtuns are different in important ways, the tone here from Milt Bearden is pretty accurate: Bearden was the CIA guy who handed out a billion dollars in the 1980s, and he knows what the fuck he's talking about:

The Pashtuns of Afghanistan : Alexander the Great also got in trouble here

....In the 4th century B.C., Alexander the Great fell afoul of Pashtun tribesmen in today's Malakand Agency, where he took an arrow in the leg and almost lost his life. Two millennia later the founder of the Mogul empire, Babur, described the tribesmen of the area now known as Waziristan as unmanageable; his main complaint seemed to center on his inability to get them to pay their taxes by handing over their sheep, let alone stop to attacking his armies. A couple of hundred years later, in the middle of the 19th century, the British experienced disaster after disaster as they tried to bring the same Pashtun tribes to heel, particularly in the agencies of North and South Waziristan. In 1893, after half a century of jockeying for position with Imperial Russia in the "Great Game," the British administrator of the northwest of Queen Victoria's Indian Empire, Sir Mortimer Durand, demarcated the border between India — now Pakistan — and Afghanistan. The Durand line, as it is still known to foreigners — the Pashtuns call it "zero line" and completely ignore it — separated the tribes on both sides of the line into 26 agencies, each with its own laws and tribal councils. It was this area that became the buffer between the British and Russian Empires, an agreed-upon "middle of the lake." The tribes were then left mostly to themselves for about 80 years.

The Soviet adventure in Afghanistan began on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1979, and took a decade to cycle through, ending in exactly the same fashion as all the other foreign enterprises in that land — with failure. It was in the territories to the west of zero line, in the lands of the Wazirs, the Mahsuds, and the Ahmadzais, that the Soviets repeatedly failed in their attempts to establish their authority. They took some of their heaviest casualties not many kilometers to the west of South Waziristan and Wana Fort where the current drama now seems to be winding down after two confused weeks.

.......As the CIA officer overseeing the final years of the war against the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan, I served as a 20th century American version of the British East India Company political agent and quartermaster to these same Waziri Ahmadzai tribesmen as they stymied all Soviet efforts to "exert a little authority." Their leader then was Jalaluddin Haqqani, a man of uncommon personal courage, and a deeply nuanced understanding of guerilla tactics. Though his current whereabouts are unknown — some say he died of wounds from a U.S. air attack — Haqqani has transitioned from America's best friend during the anti-Soviet war to its worst enemy in the current undertaking in Afghanistan. He is at the top of the list of America's most wanted, and it is his spirit and the Pashtun code of honor that continue to drive the Ahmadzai tribesmen against whom both the Pakistani Army and American forces are lined up.

It will be a tough and unrewarding slog. Like most of the great confrontations launched by outsiders in Waziristan over the last 2,000 years, this one will probably end in ambiguity. There have already been claims of "mission accomplished" by the Pakistani army and the Frontier Corps — after all, they lost up to 60 dead — but there will likely be nothing concrete to point to, aside from claims of having destroyed a militant sanctuary. The much ballyhooed "high value targets" we and our Pakistani allies expected to kill or capture will probably remain unknown and unresolved, and the American Operation "Mountain Storm" across zero line in Afghanistan will probably wind down with an equal lack of clarity. Already there seems to be a sense of relief that everyone will quietly go back to fishing on their sides of the lake.

That's the way it's always been in those rugged hills.

Milt Bearden was CIA chief in Pakistan from 1986 until the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. He is the co-author with James Risen of "The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB."

It is all quite simple really. "Al Qaeda" in the non-conspiratorial sense is an international network of well-armed and well-connected Salafi fundamentalists. Jundullah and Al-Qaeda as we generally know it share major cornerstones of ideology. The United States wants to exploit autonomous Islamic militant groups to attack today's opponents, so they are providing better arms and connections to this Al-Qaeda adjunct. I can't believe anyone would seriously disagree with this.

It's just Afghanistan replayed - and they're keeping it covert so the American voters won't understand where all that blowback is coming from. Another fine long-term strategy from the Beltway Hellhole.

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