Plots and Counter-Plots: Western Skulduggery to Realign Central Asia

Someone sure wants regime change in Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Someone sure aims to realign Central Asia from its current Russia-China tilt to a more western-friendly posture. And that someone may be willing to use violence and lawfare to get such results. Who on earth could it be? Answer that question correctly and you go to the head of the class – the class that never gets mentioned by the western propaganda machine, aka corporate media.

This malodorous silence, whiffling through our press and TV, means no focus, ever, on western machinations to engineer regime change. That skullduggery may be alluded to as the wild charges of some unreliable non-western politico, but that’s it. They’ll tell you that Pakistan’s president, Imran Khan, who is not very friendly with Washington, faced a no-confidence vote and to get out of it precipitated a constitutional crisis and that Kazakhstan foiled a foreign agent’s attempt to kill President Kassym Jomart Tokayev, but they’re strangely reluctant to draw lines of causality between the likely shadowy culprits, and those who pull their strings, namely Washington’s rulers.

Pakistan prime minister Khan told a huge crowd on March 27 that “foreign powers are engineering a regime change in Pakistan.” He claimed to have proof in a letter and, based on that, later the Foreign Office reprimanded the U.S. ambassador. The letter mentions a no-confidence motion against Khan, according to an April 2 article in the Cradle, “about eight times.”

That infamous no-confidence vote was announced in early March. By the time of Khan’s speech, seven members of his party had switched to the opposition, thus depriving the prime minister of his National Assembly majority. He appeared certain to lose the no-confidence vote. It looked like Khan was finished. But he counterattacked, accusing the U.S. of meddling in Pakistani politics. He cited U.S. officials reportedly threatening Pakistan that while he remained in power, the country would stay on Washington’s enemies list.

More specifically, Khan claims that U.S. assistant secretary of state Donal Lu was involved in the “foreign conspiracy to topple his government…the U.S. dismissed it,” India Ahead reported April 3. “Khan claimed that Lu warned the Pakistani envoy to the U.S., Asad Marjeed, that there would be ‘implications’ if the Pakistan prime minister survived the no trust vote.” He did survive it – because it didn’t happen. Khan “advised the president of Pakistan to dissolve the National Assembly,” thus rendering the entire no-confidence vote moot. Then Khan proposed fresh elections. Though the Pakistan supreme court has the final say on that, such elections look likely.

This frustrates any American velleity to see the back of the Pakistani PM. But in the eyes of many Pakistanis, it doesn’t remove him from danger. “His obstinate resistance to U.S. bullying tactics,” reports the Cradle, “make him a prime target for assassination. Most Pakistanis have long considered the killing of leaders such as Liaquat Ali Khan, Z. A. Bhutto, Zia al Haq and Benazir Bhutto to be the work of U.S. intelligence.” Khan’s security has been beefed up.

There is no question Washington would prefer Khan gone. It may even, through Lu, have made its wishes clear to some in the Pakistani government. Of course, the white house denies all this. But the prime minister certainly believes it, took his case to the people and convinced many of them, thus becoming a hero. Crowds supporting Khan, shown in videos, are mammoth and clearly do not regard what he has done as a subversion of democracy. Or they don’t care, because the history of violent western political tampering in their nation is front and center in their minds, blocking out concerns about constitutional niceties.

So now Washington’s problem is – what happens if this designated enemy hangs onto power? Once re-elected, Khan will be more hostile to the west than ever. He may also be more powerful than ever, as the Pakistan politician who outmaneuvered Washington and survived its attempt to ditch him. Such a scenario would demonstrate, yet again, the folly of American meddling in other nation’s internal affairs.

Meanwhile over in Kazakhstan, the government claimed it foiled a plot to assassinate president Tokayev. This is in part notable because not too long ago, an attempted color revolution roiled the Central Asian country and was put down with the aid of Russian troops. Some speculated back then that the failed coup was Washington’s handiwork, though these rumors and chimeras wafting through the city of Nur-Sultan never solidified into anything tangible.

The assassination suspect detained in the capital city had a weapon that “was brought to the country in separate parts and was professionally disguised,” according to See News April 3. The reports about this arrest are sketchy and may well turn out to be overblown, but the Kazakhstan government is evidently jittery. Not surprising, considering the deadly riots a few months back. Tokayev is clearly looking over his shoulder at every shadow and this may be a false alarm. But the mayhem last winter was a big deal; it was no minor protest. Enough people dislike Tokayev, within the country and outside, in the west, for him to have reason to worry.

While neither Khan nor Tokayev are exactly darlings of Washington, Khan is probably the bigger thorn in the empire’s side. He famously snapped at the EU, “Are we your slaves?” when told that Pakistan needed to get on board and vote against Russia at the UN in early March. Like the rest of the Global South, Pakistan under Khan has stayed neutral on the Russia/Ukraine struggle, which many of those non-western nations regard as a U.S. proxy war. So it’s hard to see why Khan has been singled out. Perhaps it’s that he’s been somewhat more outspoken than other leaders of the Global South and has a sharp tongue. Or maybe it’s his refusal to moderate his enthusiasm for Moscow. In any event, there’s little doubt that he is regarded as a problem in Washington. And Khan further failed to endear himself to western rulers with his remark that “we have friendships with the United States, Russia, China and Europe. We are not in any camp.” Clearly that amity with the U.S. has frayed recently, with Khan convinced Washington’s out to get him. You can bet he’ll have extra tight security through the upcoming election – and if he wins, well after that, too.

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