Coups Against Mossadegh & Bhutto
Mossadegh & Bhutto
People who have deep sense of history regretfully remember July 5 (1977) as
perhaps the darkest day for democracy in Pakistan’s history. How ironic it
was that it followed the historic day (July 4) when the Americans as a proud
nation more than two hundred years ago had heralded to the world that the
noble concept of “we the people” as the sole arbiters of power and the main
pillar on which rests the democratic edifice of civil society had come to
stay. The idea had set ablaze the imagination of all-freedom loving people
and given a new momentum to self-governance, a new meaning to human liberty
and dignity, equality and fraternity and opened floodgates of global change.
However, in Pakistan just before the 4th of July celebrations ended in 1977 at the American Embassy in Islamabad, sheepishly walked out to his waiting four-starred limousine, Pakistan’s army chief General Ziaul Haq hand in hand with a young political counsellor Arnie Raphel. They were whispering to each other—perhaps the General was confining to him—scheme of things that were to unfold after the clock was to strike 12 at midnight. Many believe what Kermit Roosevelt was to Shah of Iran in the American coup of 1953 against Dr Mossadegh; Arnold Raphel was to General Ziaul Haq in the dismissal of Pakistan’s only popularly elected prime minister martyred Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Arnold’s importance and closeness could be judged from the fact that once Zia and his generals had put into action Washington’s Jihad against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he was despatched to Islamabad as one of the youngest American ambassadors, to be by the side of his friend –General Zee-- to ensure constant supply of dollars and guns. And their affinity was so deep that even nature acknowledged it by putting them together on the ill-fated C-130. With them also went the vital secrets of the possible collaboration between the two for the ouster of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had earlier been warned of a horrible fate if he did not dissuade himself from acquiring nuclear technology.
A walk through the pages of history of the two coups—one against Dr Mossadegh and the other being General Zia’s against ZAB, one would find many similarities in consequences—both equally devastating and lethal. Kermit Roosevelt as CIA’s in-charge of the Operation Ajax to oust Iran’s popular Prime Minister Dr Mossadegh to restore Shah on the throne and Anglo-American hold on Iranian oil, had poured unaccounted dollars into Iran to buy support from the army generals, street goons and thugs, politicians, mullas, journalists, traders and transporters. And after his initial failure, Kermit Roosevelt ultimately succeeded in Mossadegh’s removal, his life-long house arrest and restoration of the Shah to the throne to act thereafter, for quarter of a century, as American policeman in the region.
The immediate and short term objective of the coup was no doubt achieved. Iranian oil exploitation, authoritarian supremacy of the West in the region and minimising of the growing Soviet influence had been established. However, in the dispassionate assessment and evaluation of the of the long term achievement one would have to agree with the conclusions of the famous author Stephen Kinzer (All the Shah’s Men) and John Perkins, in his book:
“Confessions of An Economic Hit Man” that CIA’s coup against Dr Mossadegh who commanded overwhelming respect of his people sowed the seeds for a fundamentalist Islamic movement, served fodder for the Khomeini Revolution and ignited an inextinguishable fire of anti-Americanism in Middle East and elsewhere as manifested in the rise of Islamic militancy and global terrorism. While Kermit Roosevelt succeeded in bringing down until his removal, the most popular Iranian political leader by winning people over through payoffs and threats, enlisting them to organize a series of street riots and violent demonstrations, which created the impression that Mossadegh, was both unpopular and inept.
By abandoning President Truman’s realistic and just policy on Iran and falling a victim to CIA, State Department and mostly the British Foreign Office’s disinformation as well as sexed up dossiers, President Eisenhower had, by approving Dulles brothers coup plot to oust Dr Mossadegh dubbed wrongly as rabid communist when he was a nationalist pure and simple, fighting the British imperialists for a fair price for Iranian oil, had committed the greatest US foreign policy blunders of the 20th Century.
Since the pro-Shah Iranian coup in 1953 Americans have only reaped a bitter harvest of genuine hatred of the Iranian people irrespective of their vocations. Besides that, that colossal blunder when looked in its correct perspective today has been the main factor for the rise of Islamic militancy when just before 1953 every Iranian household looked towards the United States as their friend. By removing a democratic Mossadegh and replacing him by a tyrant dictator, Washington had earned the permanent animosity of the masses.
In 1977 history of Iranian coup was repeated in Pakistan. ZAB’s policies somehow did not fit in the American global scheme of things. He wanted to create a strong Islamic bloc and convert their otherwise zero+zero=0 status into a position of respect. West saw in it a direct threat to Israel’s expansionist designs. He wanted to lead the Third World for a better economic deal and rightful place in the comity of nations dominated by the capitalist and communist camps. Domestically, he introduced a revolutionary reformist agenda that would have eliminated exploitation of man by man. He nationalised industries, financial and educational institutions to open floodgates of change for the greatest good of the largest number. His inerasable slogan of “roti, kapra and makkan” (bread, clothing and shelter) continues to hold sway over the imagination of the downtrodden masses even today as the key to a prosperous future in a federal Pakistan. They hopefully look forward to the return of his daughter former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to be delivered of their continuing miseries. ZAB’s unleashing of the massive human energy through his populists policies was misconstrued by the Western capitalist interests. Like Dr Mossadegh his nationalistic commitment too was misunderstood. They took him to be a communist when he was not.
What irked them most was his nuclear policy. They failed to understand that it was purely based on catering to the deterrent and security needs of the country besides generating cheaper and cleaner energy for the galloping industrialisation of the country that he had undertaken to improve the purchasing power and quality of life of his poor people. Not doubt, the greater quantum of interest and speed in acquiring nuclear energy was essentially to protect and preserve Pakistan’s territorial integrity after it was dismembered by India in 1971 war. It is a considered view among the civilian and military analysts that had Pakistan acquired nuclear capability before 1971 it could have saved itself from foreign aggression.
However, his quest for nuclear capability to secure Pakistan’s territorial integrity from outside aggression was misunderstood. His remark that when the Christians have it, Hindus have it, Jews have it and the Communists have it—why not a Muslim country should have it—was wrongly given the colour that he was setting up a nuclear weapons manufacturing industry to export it to other Muslim countries. The fact, however, was contrary to the fiction blown into a mountain by all those who had arsenals full of nukes. Being a Muslim he was singled out for it and made a horrible example. And for that like CIA coup against Dr Mossadegh, Pakistani generals were used in cahoots with the mullas, political parties, media magnets, street goons, intellectuals, traders, shop-keepers, labourers etc. Dollars were pumped into the country in such a large number that for the first time ever in Pakistan they were available freely at the curb much less than rupee value. Labourers working at constructions sites found it more profitable to participate in political agitation in the streets. After putting in 12 hours of hard work, carrying bricks and mortar on their shoulders in temperatures touching 40 degree, they used to get Rs 15 while joining a political rally for just few hours a day they would earn Rs 50. And if they were arrested, they were assured sumptuous rations to be delivered by their political mentors at their door steps for as long as they were incarcerated.
The PNA movement of 1977 had started on the alleged grounds of rigging in the elections. Pakistan’s invisible rulers used it to further their own ends and to serve the master who wanted ZAB to b e made a horrible example. It exposed their sinister game in totality when the military moved in immediately after PNA and PPP leadership had come to terms for fresh elections. The message was intercepted “Party is over”, that is, General Zia’s coup was in order.
Much similar to Dr Mossadegh’s removal, the short term objective of removing ZAB was no doubt achieved but like Dr Mosadegh’s, ZAB ouster too had much similar consequences. It replaced popular democratic leadership with that of a ruthless Wahabi dictator who paved the way for Pakistan’s Talibanisation. General Zia was allowed to trample upon the democratic rights of the people by those very nations that profess democracy day and night in exchange of his mercenary role in Afghan Jihad.
Now too the situation is not much different. General Musharraf is having the cake and eating it too. It was under him and not under any civilian that Pakistan was discovered to be running a nuclear supermarket. He has been allowed to slam doors on popular political leadership not because Pakistani masses want it. His main source of strength is his mercenary institution and the man in Washington who changed the colour of his glasses in post-9-11 period to see in the pariah military dictator as his “best friend”—(and one would not be proud of that connotation if one knew who is considered as man’s best friend in the West).
By showing preference to a military dictator democratic west is making the same colossal blunder that President Eisenhower had made in 1953 by allowing a coup against a democratic leader in Iran. Under General Musharraf Taliban have established a state within the state in Waziristan region of Pakistan and Quetta has become their recruitment and training centre. Had they seen through his game of running with the American hare and hunting with the Taliban hounds and not acquiesced into his blackmail on the bogey of over blown Islamist peril and seen that democracy returns to Pakistan, they would have by now stability and working democracy in Afghanistan as well.
Time is running out fast. Today Taliban have established their writ in Waziristan, tomorrow they could run over the entire North West Frontier. Before that happens, let democracy return to Pakistan since it is the only viable approach to countering and eliminating terrorism. A little late would be too late and there would be no milk left to cry over
Copyright © 2004-2006 PPP USA. All rights reserved