22 January 2008

Huawei Technologies and its role in terrorism

Of recent interest is Huawei Technologies and its long term work to supply China with high tech and to give aid to terrorist sponsoring regimes. The WSJ on 12 OCT 2007 had an article on the problems with Huwei Technologies and Bain Capital, the firm that Mitt Romney helped to run (Source: Globalsecurity's cache of DHS documents):

3Com says sensitive data won't flow to Huawei. 3Com Corp. tried to allay concerns over a proposed sale of the company to Bain Capital Partners LLC and Huawei Technologies Co., a telecommunications company with close ties to the Chinese government, saying the Chinese company won't have access to "sensitive" U.S. technology. 3Com, a Massachusetts networking-equipment and network-security-systems company, and private-equity firm Bain Capital said they notified the U.S. government that Huawei won't have any operational control and won't be able to make decisions for 3Com if the deal goes through. Bain, which agreed Sept. 28 to buy most of 3Com for $2.2 billion, or $5.30 a share, said last week that it would submit the proposed transaction to national-security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. Companies generally submit deals to government review as a defense measure. The government can unwind deals that weren't reviewed if it later determines the deal is a threat to national security. The proposed acquisition of 3Com, which counts the U.S. Defense Department among its customers, was expected to generate government scrutiny because of concerns over Huawei's government ties. Bain would retain a majority stake in 3Com, while Huawei would hold a minority stake, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Huawei, which is 3Com's largest customer, will appoint three of 11 board members if the acquisition goes through, according to the filing. 3Com said it relied solely on Bain Capital for information about arrangements with Huawei.

The fascinating thing about this is: how did Huawei get into a position to look at 3COM? That takes a bit of digging to find out in the telecom and networking market, but comes up with a surprising source: Cisco Systems.

Not directly, mind you, Huawei had copied technology from Cisco systems (hardware and software) that infringed upon patents as seen in a NYT story of 24 JAN 2003. Cisco was not pleased with that and brought a lawsuit against Huawei, naming Huawei, FutureWei and Huawei America Inc. as those that were part of the complaint. By 02 OCT 2003 (again at NYT) the suit would be suspended for 6 months if Huawei agreed to modify its equipment and the critical juncture comes with 3COM here:

Huawei's modifications will be reviewed by independent experts over that period. Both companies said they expected the agreement to lead to an end to the legal dispute.

The agreement could also significantly benefit 3Com, the Cisco competitor that entered into a joint venture with Huawei earlier this year. 3Com intervened in the lawsuit and has also agreed to the stay.

''As part of the agreement, Huawei has stopped selling the products at issue in Cisco's lawsuit and will only offer for sale new modified products on a worldwide basis,'' a Cisco spokeswoman, Penny Bruce, said.


3Com stands to gain at least as much as Cisco and Huawei from a legal settlement. In March, 3Com and Huawei formed a joint venture to develop and sell telecommunications products under the 3Com brand in all markets outside of Japan and China, while selling products in those two countries under the 3Com-Huawei brand. 3Com, which currently owns 49 percent of the venture, has contributed $160 million, in an effort to lower its costs and offer an expanded product line.

Removing the uncertainty created by the Cisco lawsuit could give 3Com a much needed lift. In its request to intervene in the Cisco suit, 3Com asked the court to clarify that any new products that 3Com will ship from its joint venture with Huawei would not be subject to Cisco's intellectual property claims. Shares of 3Com climbed 54 cents, or 9 percent Wednesday to $6.45. Cisco shares rose 61 cents, or 3 percent, to $20.20.

Bruce Claflin, chief executive of 3Com, said the companies were awaiting regulatory approval for the joint venture, which they expect to receive by the end of November. In the meantime, 3Com continues to sell Huawei products under the 3Com brand through an original equipment manufacturer arrangement.

Yes, somehow Huawei started to copy Cisco technology after getting into a venture with rival 3COM, and then expanding market share using that technology. That is how a company associated with the People's Liberation Army in China gets its hands on technology: by wooing business partners in the West where 'marketing' is all-important and actually keeping track of the technology and how it is manufactured becomes a secondary concern. Huawei has a list of companies in the West that it has been working with for years after the heady 1990's where so many inroads to the US market were made.

Thus, today, the deal where Huawei wants a 'minority interest' in 3COM and 3COM goes to Bain Capital to make sure the company will be held by US interests is raising red flags. This from an Earthweb article by Sean Michael Kerner on 03 JAN 2008 on the deal:

The issue of Chinese ownership could potentially hold up the $2.2 billion buyout of networking vendor 3Com.

3Com announced in September its bid to go private with Bain Capital taking a majority stake. As part of the deal, Chinese networking vendor Huawei Technology would be set to take a minority interest in 3Com.

The deal had been originally expected to close in the first quarter of 2008, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.

One of those regulatory approvals would come by way of the Department of Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has been reviewing the deal. The committee determines whether there is a national security risk from a foreign investment in a U.S. company.


Yet the proposed buyout has drawn criticism from U.S. lawmakers as well as special interest groups such as the China e-Lobby. In late November, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.), ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for a halt to the deal.

Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Mich.), chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, both raised concerns about the transaction on charges that Huawei has links to the Chinese military.

"U.S. regulators ought to reject the proposed buyout of 3Com by one of the least transparent companies operating in China, a firm with shadowy ties to Chinese army and intelligence services," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement.

Activists also blasted Huawei's role in the deal. In a letter to CFIUS, D.J. McGuire, co-founder and president of China e-Lobby, an advocacy group pushing for more aggressive U.S. policies against the country's government, similarly warned about the Huawei's connections.

"In 2001, Huawei was exposed as one of the Communist Chinese firms building an Iraqi fiber-optic network that would have enabled Saddam Hussein to integrate his air-defense system," McGuire wrote in his letter. "The firm was also involved in building a telephone network for the Taliban in Afghanistan, while the terrorist group was sheltering and aiding Osama bin Laden."

While regulators may have issue with the proposed new relationship between Huawei and 3Com, it won't mark the first time the two have cooperated. The companies in 2003 launched the H3C joint venture as an effort to undercut networking giant Cisco. In 2006, 3Com bought out Huawei's stake for $882 million.

In addition to concerns about national security risks, 3Com is facing heat over the proposed acquisition from other quarters.

"Several purported class-action lawsuits have been filed since Sept. 28, 2007 by 3Com shareholders against the Company, its current directors, a former director, Bain Capital Partners, and in some cases, Huawei Technologies," 3Com noted in its October SEC filing.

According to the filing, some shareholders seek class certification and injunctions to halt the transaction, claiming an "insufficient" sale price.

So, a deal to undercut Cisco using Cisco's own technologies now morphs into an attempt to gain interest in the original company, 3COM, by the company tied to the PLA that also supported Saddam Hussein and the Taliban. Bain Capital Partners, as cited, formerly *ran* 3COM via the directorship role, and the current CFO of 3COM, Jay Zager, made sure that the TippingPoint software (network intrusion detection software) was spun off (via Asia al-Reuters 15 OCT 2007). The question of just how much access Huawei has had to that technology prior to this is not answered and one hopes the answer is: none.

This sort of deal is not new, and testimony by Gary Milhollin, Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control before the Senate Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services Committee on Government Affairs on 07 NOV 2001 highlights Huawei and its methods for working in the West:

There is little doubt that the present system allows American exports to endanger our security. A recent example is American transfers to Huawei Technologies, the Chinese company caught helping Iraq improve its air defenses by outfitting them with fibre optic equipment. The assistance to Iraq was not approved by the United Nations, and thus violated the international embargo.

The history of Huawei shows how American exports to China can wind up threatening our own armed forces. At about the time when this company’s help to Iraq was revealed earlier this year, Motorola had an export license application pending for permission to teach Huawei how to build high-speed switching and routing equipment – ideal for an air defense network. The equipment allows communications to be shuttled quickly across multiple transmission lines, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk from air attack.

Motorola is only the most recent example of American assistance. During the Clinton Administration, the Commerce Department allowed Huawei to buy high-performance computers worth $685,700 from Digital Equipment Corporation, worth $300,000 from IBM, worth $71,000 from Hewlett Packard and worth $38,200 from Sun Microsystems. In addition, Huawei got $500,000 worth of telecommunication equipment from Qualcomm.

Still other American firms have transferred technology to Huawei through joint operations. Last year, Lucent Technologies agreed to set up a new joint research laboratory with Huawei “as a window for technical exchange” in microelectronics. AT&T signed a series of contracts to “optimize” Huawei’s products so that, according to a Huawei vice president, Huawei can “become a serious global player.” And IBM agreed to sell Huawei switches, chips and processing technology. According to a Huawei spokesman, “collaborating with IBM will enable Huawei to...quickly deliver high-end telecommunications to our customers across the world.” Did IBM know that one of these customers might be Saddam Hussein?

As a result of deals like these, Huawei’s sales rocketed to $1.5 billion in 1999, to $2.65 billion in 2000, and are projected to reach $5 billion in 2001. These are extraordinary heights for a company that began in 1988 as a $1,000 start-up. Real growth did not begin until the mid-1990s, when American help started rolling in. Texas Instruments started its assistance in 1994, and by 1997 had set up laboratories to help Huawei train engineers and develop digital signal processing technologies. Also in 1997, Motorola and Huawei set up a joint laboratory to develop communication systems.

These exports no doubt make money for American companies, but they also threaten the lives of American pilots.

Huawei is not an isolated case. From 1989 to 1993, the U.S. Commerce Department approved six licenses for the export of equipment to China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC). This company has supplied C-801 and C-802 anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran, and, according to United States intelligence, it shipped M-11 missiles to Pakistan in 1992. It was sanctioned by the United States in August 1993 for missile proliferation.

This is not just Huawei, although they do look to be a major player in the 'wheeler-dealer' concept in the West. He would also tell the House Armed Services Committee about this and about the laxity of proposed Bush Administration export control regulations on 19 SEP 2002. And prior to 9/11, in MAR 2001 at Foreign Policy In Focus an article by John Gersham looking at diplomatic problems in Taiwan would also examine this:

An Iraq Connection?
At a March 5 meeting with U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher, Chinese officials acknowledged that three Chinese telecommunications firms had violated UN sanctions against Iraq by selling and installing fiber-optic communication cables, but they rebuffed Pentagon allegations that the companies were upgrading Iraq’s air defense system. They said the three companies were doing civilian work, albeit without clearance from the United Nations. China has told the United States that it ordered the companies to follow UN sanctions and stop doing business in Iraq. At the center of this controversy is Huawei Technologies, China’s largest telecommunications equipment company.

Huawei, founded by a former officer of the People’s Liberation Army in 1988, is an emerging global powerhouse with powerful internal backers and strong global alliances. Huawei has targeted emerging markets where China has long-standing relationships and where competition from the dominant global players is more limited. Huawei is now competing with the likes of Cisco and Lucent, recently beating out both for a contract to supply equipment to Thailand’s second-largest Internet service provider.


The Huawei case reveals an ongoing tension and conflict both within the administration and among Republicans on the Hill. While some U.S. firms might be tempted to support sanctions against Huawei as a means of undercutting this emerging competitor, most recognize that the company offers access to China’s telecom and data communications market—the fastest growing communications market in the world outside the United States. Cooperating with Huawei can help foreign firms meet local requirements for manufacturing facilities. The list of American companies aggressively courting Huawei include 3Com, AT&T, Cisco, IBM, Intel, Lucent, and Motorola. These linkages between U.S. and Chinese firms increase the resistance in the U.S. to a hard-line China policy and stand in direct conflict with the “China threat” forces increasingly dominant in the Bush administration.

Yes, this theme of 'trade making people free' has, instead, ensured that a global powerhouse player in the telecom area can copy US technology and then turn around and compete with its previous 'partners' once it gets access to that technology. With that technology in hand it can then go to America's *enemies* and help make them more effective in countering the US. Do note that human rights have not increased in China over this period of time. In point of fact they are often just the opposite as seen by the CBC in an article by Trevor Metz from 05 NOV 2007 on the brain drain of China and working conditions there:

The problem of overwork was recently highlighted in an extreme case out of Guangdong Province in Southern China. A 25 year-old software engineer by the name of Hu Xinyu with Huawei Technologies, a major telecom company, died in May of 2006 of what's been discovered as extreme fatigue caused by overwork. However, the cause of death listed by the hospital was bacterial encephalitis. The engineer's tragic death created a media stir in China. Before joining Huawei, Hu was described as an athlete and sports enthusiast. The incident triggered a public outcry - not because it was an exceptional situation among white collar workers - but precisely because it was so common. In his death, Xinyu has become a symbol for thousands of Chinese workers forced into this culture of overwork.

China's inefficient business and government models have created a system dependent on personal relationships known as "guanxi". The old saying "it's not what you know, but who you know," seems to be nowhere more true than in China. Angie Yang says it alone keeps her from returning to the Chinese workforce. "I felt that the most difficult aspect when working for Chinese company is the relationship called guanxi. For instance, if there are 10 employees in one company, eight out of 10 will have a certain relationship (such as being a cousin) with the owner. How can you work efficiently in this situation? They don't take any responsibility anyway. Obviously, this is not right place for me and too complicated as well."

Remember, all of those folks wanting a 'better life' via trade are making such things as this possible. This doesn't appear to be much in the way of 'increase in liberty' or 'freedom' and more in the line with 'do as you are told until you die doing it' sort of concept.

Yet the main problem, beyond how Chinese companies treat their own workers or their lack of efficiency is that of helping the Chinese regime further its aims. Thus the export control problems are a start, but, as Mr. Milhollan points out, the problem with the various infractions on trade export controls and such is not just the single nature of the items going out. The infamous 'aluminum tubes' for Iraq suspected of their nuclear program turned out to be for their long range missile program, but the tubes, themselves, allowed the construction of other devices due to their very nature. That is why export control enforcement is so essential: some equipment is not *just* dual use, but can serve in a large number of programs far away from any written, purchase use.

The links between Huawei and the Taliban goes beyond just US worries, as this BBC article of 10 DEC 2001 looks at:

A leading Chinese software company based in India has angrily denied allegations that it supplied telecommunications and surveillance equipment to the Taleban regime in Afghanistan.

Reports from the southern Indian city of Bangalore - where the firm is based - say the state government has summoned company officials to clarify the situation.

Officials from Huawei Technologies have said they will complain to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs about allegations published in the press.


The newspaper says defence officials are concerned that its headquarters are near key defence installations in Bangalore.

Officials in the city have meanwhile confirmed that they have collected passport details of all the Chinese staff who work for the company and have passed them on to the home ministry in Delhi.

It is a bit worrying that a Chinese telecom giant that has supported dictators and tyrants decide to place their Indian HQ close to defense installations. Anyone growing up during the Cold War would know *that* is not a wise thing to have happen to you. From the Indian Express, this article of 11 DEC 2001 helps to scope out some of the work done by Huawei:

In an unexpected fallout of the US action in Afghanistan, the Government has decided to take action against two Chinese firms doing business in India — one a telecom firm, Huawei, alleged to be helping the Taliban militia to develop a telephone system for 130,000 users in Kabul, the other a firm setting up a 16-MW hydro-power project in Patikari, Himachal Pradesh. Both decisions were taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) following IB and RAW reports.


A privately-held company founded in 1988 by former People’s Liberation Army officer Ren Zhengfei, Huawei Technologies is the world’s seventh-largest telecom firm, operating in 40 countries with sales of $2.66 billion last year. Huawei made a quiet entry into the Indian market in 1999 and has already invested around $10 million in its two software development centres in Bangalore; it currently employs 513 staffers, of whom 178 are Chinese software professionals.

Earlier this year, the Taliban media reported it had signed a deal with it to set up 12,000 digital telephone lines in Kabul.

Not *just* telecom but a major hydroelectric dam project by another company, which is really something that one would want to ensure was highly secure due to the problems of water containment and such. This is what happens when you give little scrutiny to a Nation willing to utilize any of its companies for National means, such as espionage, and even goes so far as to set up companies with that as a purpose in mind. This would not be the only time that Huawei Technologies was worried about in India, as reported by the Asia Times Online on 16 NOV 2005:

Paranoia about Chinese telecom companies investing in India has dealt a blow to the expansion plans of two Chinese telecom equipment makers.

And with these developments, India has accommodated US intelligence suspicions that some of the Chinese companies are indulging in espionage activities globally.

India has always been wary of the "invasion" of Chinese telecom companies, but the country's concerns went into overdrive recently when, at the behest of the security agencies, India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the Department of Telecom stalled on granting permission to Huawei Technologies of China to set up a $60 million telecom equipment-manufacturing unit. Its application has been pending since March.

This was the second time in four years that Indian security agencies had moved to stymie Huawei's plan, which was first mooted in 2001. Earlier, the FIPB shot down Huawei's intention of setting up a $40 million research and development center next to the proposed manufacturing unit.


And last week, the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), which is the country's largest telecom company, canceled a $31.16 million contract involving Huawei.

Huawei and its two Indian partners, Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd and state-owned Semiconductor Complex Ltd, failed, according to BSNL, to supply equipment for more than 105,000 code division multiple access (CDMA) lines. This is after the Chinese firm won a bid last year for supplying equipment.

BSNL also hinted that it was considering banning Huawei from participating in any tender it issues this year, and may even permanently ban Huawei from bidding in all its future projects.


Huawei and ZTE are two glaring instances of the severe doubts India has about allowing the entry of Chinese telecom companies into the country. But, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the objection regarding Huawei has reached serious proportions "since its operations in India have come to the adverse notice of India's security agencies, which have expressed reservations regarding the company's links with the Chinese intelligence and military establishments", according to an official of the ministry.

The MEA also says that Huawei has misused the country's visa regulations, and suspects that it has indulged in intelligence-gathering activities for China. India's leading intelligence agencies, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau, have been blunt. According to them, "Huawei has been responsible for sweeping and debugging operations in the Chinese Embassy," and as a result allowing a Chinese telecom company to participate in Indian telecom projects stands the risk of "exposing strategic telecom networks to the Chinese".

These agencies have also expressed their "reservations regarding the company's links with the Chinese military and intelligence establishment, their clandestine operations in Iraq and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, and their close ties with the Pakistan Army".

And given some of the problems seen in Pakistan, there may be some right to be worried about such things.

One of the reasons to worry is the predatory practices of Huawei and other PRC companies that seek to enter capitalist markets. In examining how Argentina's cellular phone system has been taken over, almost completely, by Huawei and another company from China, ZTE, Jamie Hulse published a paper from the US Army Strategic Studies Institute in SEP 2007 on the topic and the wider view of Huawei not only in Latin America, but, with other PRC companies, globally. In one particularly interesting section he examines exactly *how* these companies were able to muscle into markets in Argentina:

Part of Huawei and ZTE’s successful international expansion is owed to their aggressive approach to business. In Argentina, their style has been described as ruthless. They are known to bribe and “trap” clients. They frequently offer Argentine clients and prospective clients full-paid trips to China. Upon arrival, it is alleged that they are presented with an envelope containing a significant amount of cash. Industry analyst Carlos Blanco disclosed one known case where, after a day of sightseeing, the Chinese left photos of their guests taken while touring in their hotel rooms. According to Blanco, such behavior is frowned upon by Argentine businessmen and is seen as a form of extortion.37 Blanco views Huawei as the more ruthless of the two companies. He explains that Huawei is known for its cunning tactics of roping in clients. It often lends its equipment for trial periods, but if the prospective client does not wish to make a purchase after the trial, the Chinese company backtracks, claiming that it must charge for the use of the equipment. Uruguay’s state telephone operator ANTEL purportedly fell into this trap. Huawei had offered ANTEL a 1-year trial of third generation telephone radios. After the trial period, ANTEL dragged its feet about purchasing the expensive, high-tech equipment, but Huawei insisted. ANTEL bought the equipment even though the marketplace did not warrant it.38

Thank you to all of those opening up trade with China! Who would have thought they would be more unscrupulous and more adaptable than Western companies at bribery and extortion? And speaking of bribery and extortion, that fits right in with Saddam Hussein and the entire Oil For Food business dealings. From Newsmax a 10 OCT 2007 report by Charles R. Smith gives the quick overview with that:

Yet, there is more to Huawei than mere “deep ties” to the Chinese military. According to a May 2004 U.S. Defense Department report to the inspector general, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Huawei is “a Chinese company that operated in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.”

Huawei’s operations inside Saddam’s Iraq included smuggling in communications gear forbidden by the U.N. and taking payments in the form of cash from the Iraqi oil-for-food program. In fact, Huawei’s antics inside Iraq were detailed by the CIA in its Iraq Survey Group final report.

“One Chinese company, illicitly provided transmission equipment and switches to Iraq from 1999 to 2002 for projects that were not approved under the UN OFF Program. Reporting indicates that throughout 2000, Huawei, along with two other Chinese companies, participated in extensive work in and around Baghdad that included the provision and installation of telecommunication switches, more than 100,000 lines, and the installation of fiber-optic cable,” noted the CIA report.


Ironically, much of the Iraqi air defense network installed by Huawei was made of equipment exported to China by U.S. manufacturers. Huawei’s air defense network even acquired the NATO code-name “Tiger Song” because allied aircraft had to dodge missiles and bomb the system on a regular basis.


However, America is not the only nation to get a clear picture of Huawei. The Times of India reported in 2005 that several Indian government agencies, including the RAW — the Research and Analysis Wing (India’s CIA) — concluded that Huawei “poses a specific threat.”

The Indian intelligence agency stated that Huawei “has been responsible for sweeping and debugging operations in the Chinese embassy. In view of China’s focus on cyber warfare, there is a risk of exposing our strategic telecom network to the Chinese.”


In September 2000, according to the official Kabul Radio Voice of Shari’ah in Dari/Pashto, the Tablian met with representatives of China’s export trade and electronics industry and a number of Chinese engineers.

The Chinese “briefed the minister of communications, Mowlawi Yar Mohammad Rahimi” and “promised that during their stay they would implement practical measures to lay the fiber-optic cable and prepare sites for the installation of newly-purchased units. The Chinese delegation came to Kabul recently to carry out the preparatory work for installing the 12,000-line telephone exchange.”

The history of Huawei is very clear, documented by Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, two customers who kept their receipts. Huawei violated a U.N. ban on Iraq and took money destine to feed starving Iraqi children to put an air defense network in the desert. They sold a similar network to the Taliban, aimed again at U.S. soldiers. Huawei worked to kill Americans.

Truly this is not a company that is looking out for the health and well-being of the US, and looks more than willing to work with just about anyone, so long as it helps China. One of the interesting parts in this is that China went to the Taliban, which does not seem like a natural mix of things as the radicals in the Taliban, and al Qaeda, don't view China as much of a 'friend'. The answer to that comes in one of my earlier articles on Pakistan, looking at Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and this from a 13 MAR 1994 NYT article:

To the east, hundreds of Afghans allied with Hekmatyar have fought in the embattled state of Jammu and Kashmir, a territory disputed since the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. Thousands have died in the struggle. In China, where Islam has been periodically suppressed, Afghan veterans have fought in two western provinces, Uighur and Xinjiang, where they have armed and trained Chinese Muslim rebels.

To the west, Hekmatyar has sent 500 mujahedeen to fight in Azerbaijan with Iranian forces, according to Haji Abdul Qadr, the Governor of Afghanistan's Nangahar Province. Hundreds of Afghans have fought against Serbs and Croats in Bosnia.

Yes, a bit of terrorism showing up in China during the 1990's which must have been none-too-pleasing to the regime. And when the Talibe came to power the idea of having a regime in Afghanistan that had supported sending fighters to China must have crossed the minds of more than a few folks in Beijing. And Hekmatyar would even try to make up with China after the defeat of the Taliban, as seen in a 07 SEP 2002 Asia Times article:

Sources within the HIA say that the organization has recently reestablished contact with the Chinese government. In the past, Beijing has blamed the HIA for stirring a religious uprising in in the northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang, but Hekmatyar made concerted efforts to placate China, as well as to urge the Muslim leaders in Xinjiang to stop their separatist agitation. Beijing was said to be appreciative of these efforts, but it is yet to be seen how far China will go in supporting the new Afghan freedom struggle against foreign troops, if at all.

That is Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan, Hekmatyar's main associated group in Pakistan to help put a front on his activities. For those of you who have a feeling that you may have heard about Mr. Hekmatyar from someone else recently, it is because you most likely did. The case of Rep. Mark Deli Siljander, as seen with this AP report in the Chinapost of 18 JAN 2008, gives a bit of that indictment:

The charges are part of a long-running case against the charity, which was designated by the Treasury Department in 2004 as a suspected fundraiser for terrorists.

In the indictment, the government alleges that the charity employed a man who had served as a fundraising aide to Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader and mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.

The indictment charges the charity with sending approximately US$130,000 (euro88,000) to help Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the United States has designated as a global terrorist. The money, sent to bank accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned.

Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who has participated in and supported terrorist acts by al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Justice Department said Hekmatyar "has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan."

Things are becoming a bit clearer with how Hekmatyar was able to continue on with fighting and then return, in force, after his stay in Iran. I always thought that arming the enemies of the US would make a good case for treason... well, I am sure the DoJ can get to the bottom of that.

In any event, getting pressure from Hekmatyar and not much respect from the Taliban was leading to killings and unrest in Western China. This led to China trying to get some form of insurance with the Taliban as seen in an article by Ahmed Rashid of 19 JUL 2000 reprinted at Institute for Afghan Studies (and a large h/t to Stratmag on this):

IMPLICATIONS: China with its long-standing communist policies towards ethnic minorities and religion, is primarily concerned with Uyghur Islamism and separatism, but wants to avoid a confrontation with the wider Muslim world. Significantly Jiang Zemin warned that the use of military force in Afghanistan ''is not a solution'', thereby rebutting Russia's June threat to bomb Taliban camps northern Afghanistan. Jiang Zemin stressed that the United Nations must be given full support to persuade the Afghan factions to form a coalition government. Unlike Russia and the Central Asian leaders, China sees the Taliban as a reality that has to be moderated and contained.

China's apprehensions of the Taliban and their role in supporting Islamic militancy in Central Asia and Xinjiang, has led to problems with Pakistan, its long standing ally in the region which supports the Taliban. For China the moderate government in Tehran is a much more acceptable ally. Although Shia Iran supports the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance with military aid, it has developed diplomatic and trade links with the Taliban. It also has a limited defensive strategy in Afghanistan, does not support Sunni militancy in Central Asia or Xinjiang, and helped mediate an end to the civil war in Tajikistan in 1997 that earned Chinese praise.

A Chinese-Iran partnership is already developing to build strategic oil and gas pipelines in Central Asia, which would both counter United States and Russian pipelines and give the Central Asian states alternative routes to export their energy. Chinese companies are helping build the Neka-Tehran oil pipeline in Iran that will allow Iran to swap oil with Central Asia, while China is interested in helping build a Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran pipeline to Bandar Abbas on the Gulf as well as a pipeline from Central Asia to China. A new China-Iran axis in Central Asia will add a new twist to the Great Game.

CONCLUSION: President Jiang Zemin met with Russian President Vladamir Putin for the first time in Dushanbe and Putin pledged a strategic partnership with China. Although Russia, China and the United States share a common concern for stability in the region, China's strategy in Central Asia is generally at odds with both Russia and the United States. Russia is committed to an unabashed anti-Islamic crusade in the Caucasus and Central Asia that is rapidly turning both racist and chauvinistic whereas the United States continues to be obsessed with 'Islamic' terrorism and Osama Bin Laden rather than wider strategic objectives.

China is concerned about a repeat invasion this year by Namangani's forces in both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and has vociferously condemned the support that Namangani's forces have received from Afghanistan. Last year, Namangani's forces threatened to invade Uzbekistan, but got only as far as Kyrgyzstan. China is worried that an invasion by Namangani could trigger further Uyghur unrest in Xinjiang and lead to a stepped up Russian presence thus increasing United States-NATO activity in the region. In response, the Taliban authorities in an unprecedented statement on July 6, rebuffed China's attitude at the Dushanbe summit.

China was looking to find some way to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism and Uighar separatism, and trying to bribe the Taliban into *not* supporting them must have seemed like a good way to go. At Stratmag the timeline is laid out for China, starting in 1979-80, and funneling arms to the mujahideen, then helping to train them with the PLA. That training in arms, weapons and explosives would lead to insurgents slowly heading into China. In an excerpt from The China-Taliban Equation by Surya Ganadharan, we see the role of Pakistan in this, along with the Taliban:

Ahmed Rashid writes that "huge quantities of consumer goods, foodstuffs and heroin are smuggled across the border between Afghanistan and China. Almost all the arms and explosives used by Uighurs in attacks on Chinese security forces in recent months have come from Afghanistan." In many cases, they also happen to be of Chinese origin and were supplied by China to the Afghan mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation.

Prof Giri Deshingkar says Peshawar is the main point from where drugs, weapons and copies of the Koran enter Xinjiang. In comparison, he says the route through the Wakhan Corridor in north-east Afghanistan into Xinjiang is mountainous and difficult. The Chinese realised this during the Afghan civil war when they found it easier to route arms supplies to the Mujahideen through Peshawar and the Karakorum highway. But reports now suggest that Beijing sees the highway in a different light because it seems to have intensified contacts between Uighur separatists in Xinjiang with extremist Islamic groups and drug barons in Pakistan.

China has blamed the Lahore based Tabligh-e-Jamaat, headed by Pakistan's former ISI chief, for fomenting unrest in Xinjiang. Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami has become one of the several fundamentalist groups that has been giving regular arms training to militants from Xinjiang, creating strong embarrassment for Islamabad. Since 1992, China has been asking Pakistani authorities to prevent such activities. For this reason, Beijing has been going slow on upgrading the Karakorum highway even though an agreement for upgrading it has existed since March 1995. The upgraded highway would have boosted transit trade from Pakistan to Kazakhstan and Kyrghystan. This was confirmed by Ahmed Rashid in an article in the Pakistani Herald magazine in December 1995: "Beijing's reluctance stems from the fact that the proposed road would run across Xinjiang and the Chinese fear that the route would increase the traffic in fundamentalism. After an abortive Islamist uprising in the town of Baren in 1992 in which 22 people were killed, China closed its road links with Pakistan for many months."

The Pakistani government was concerned enough about preserving good relations with its strategic ally, and on May 5, 1997 handed over 12 Uighurs to China. They were all wanted for bomb attacks in Xinjiang. It's not clear what happened to them. Three months later, China announced plans to lay a security fence along the border with Pakistan to check infiltration by Islamic extremists and drug runners. In February 1998, former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited China and apparently gave a firm assurances that he would take measures to stop fundamentalists infiltrating into China. This seems to have been followed up in October 1998, when a Chinese delegation led by a senior official from the Xinjiang provincial government, arrived in Gilgit, in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, for talks on steps to check trans-border smuggling, infiltration and other activities.

The role of Huawei, then, is one to help deflect radical Islam away from directly threatening China and trying to mollify Pakistan at the same time. China would agree to aid, support and train the Taliban fighters, put a presence into the region to support the ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan. That would worry India because of the next-door neighborhood all of that is taking place in: Kashmir. Already facing up to radical Islamic groups being aided and abetted by both Pakistan and Afghanistan, Chinese help would further increase those links, supply more forces and be a long-term threat to the stability of India in that region.

At this point I will be posting this 'as-is' [I have done a bit of early morning clean-up and am still trying to make sense of this]... and wonder just how much Mitt Romney knew that his Bain Capital firm was involved with Huawei, what he did once he knew, and if he received any material compensation from Bain while it was dealing with Huawei. As he did start Bain, one would think he would be a bit concerned about it after he left it as an active manager.

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