Pakistan's economy is almost entirely dependent on American taxpayers. The Pakistani military submits claims every month to the US Embassy in Islamabad and receipts are neither provided nor requested. Most of this money goes to fund the Taliban and al-Qaeda. And they need that money: In the May 16 edition of the New Yorker, Lawrence Wright says that "In a country of a hundred and eighty million people, fewer than two million pay taxes and Pakistan's leaders are doing little to change the situation."
Despite the huge amounts of money we regularly plow into the country, the Pew Research Center found out last year that half of Pakistanis believe that the US gives them little or no assistance. "The Finance Minister, Hafiz Shaikh, said last month that it was 'largely a myth' that the US had given tens of billions of dollar to Pakistan." Wright talks about a recent trip to Iran, where "I began to wonder, What would happen if the Pakistani military actually captures or killed al-Qaeda's leaders? The great flow of dollars would stop, just as it had in Afghanistan after the Soviets limped away."
As much as half of the money the US gave to the ISI (the Pakistani secret service) to fight the Soviets was diverted to build their nuclear weapons. He writes that US policymakers have repeatedly expressed the worry that, if Pakistan alienated, its nuclear secrets and materials might get into the wrong hands. But that has already happened: One of the politicians who has been recently arrested, "The father's of Pakistan's bomb, A.Q. Khan, later sold plans and nuclear equipment to Libya, North Korea and Iran."
According to Wright, "There is a secret organization known as the S Wing, which is largely composed of supposedly retired military and ISI officers. 'It doesn't exist on paper,' a source close to the ISI told me. If something happens, then they have deniability." He added that if any group within the Pakistani military helped to hide bin-Laden, it was likely the S Wing. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is obviously worried that the revolutions of the "Arab Spring" (which William Henry and his tour group barely escaped in Egypt!) are coming his way, and in order to stay in power, he knows he has to reduce the clout of the religious dictator who actually runs the country.
But there is no chance to achieve modern "nation building" in Middle Eastern countries that are still living in Medieval times. In the May 13-19 edition of the Guardian Weekly, Saeed Kamali Dehghan writes: "Close allies of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandier Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested and charged with being 'magicians' and invoking djinns." On an Iranian website, Abbas Ghaffari, one of the politicians who was recently arrested, was described as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds."
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