The Pakistan that can say No

Actually, the military establishment that can say No

“Pakistan,” Hamid Mir writes, “suffered a loss of more than US$34 billion and received only US$11 billion as aid in the last seven years for participating in the war against terror.” Ahmed Quraishi, another commentator, contends that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Baitullah Mehsud is really a proxy of the CIA (thereby contradicting Graham Usher who gives credence to the allegation that Mr Mehsud is backed by India). And Richard Holbrooke and Admiral Mike Mullen are out to ‘malign the ISI and the Pakistan army’, which, presumably, were hitherto unmaligned. Pakistan, you see, is just an innocent victim of American foreign policy.

During the Holbrooke-Mullen visit, the issue of unpopular drone strikes was made the centrepiece of the “gap” that exists between the US and Pakistani governments [see Chidanand Rajghatta’s report].This allowed the Zardari-Gilani-Kayani government to score some points in the media and among the people. It won’t be long before some commentators will compare it, favourably, to General Musharraf’s famous post-9/11 U-turn when he quickly acceded to US demands.

But the real “gap” is the rather obvious fact that the US government has dropped the pretence of suggesting that the top leaders of the Pakistani army are well-meaning folks doing their best to stamp out the ‘renegade’ and ‘rogue elements’ of the military establishment. The US State Department, Mr Mir reveals, even played an intercepted audio conversation between General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani to journalist Mary Anne Weaver.

Soon after President Barack Obama’s announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, this blog argued that the main issue “boils down to this: just how is the United States going to ensure that the Pakistani military establishment plays ball?” There is money, of course, but there is a limit to which the United States can avoid or delay disbursing the financial aid, as the conventional wisdom in Washington is that the collapse of the Pakistani state is imminent. In any case, to the extent that the civilian channeling, extra oversight and ‘benchmarks’ keep the military establishment’s hands out of the cookie jar, it is unlikely to be motivated by the moolah. Pakistan cannot afford to say No. But the military establishment can.

In coming days, expect the military-jihadi complex to ratchet up the tensions with India, in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere. Even the pretence of supporting a freedom struggle in Kashmir will be discarded in favour of justifying the escalation as indicated by ‘legitimate security concerns’ in the face of rising Indian influence in Afghanistan and mischief in Balochistan. The ground for this has already been prepared by the prominence (via Jengnameh, a noteworthy new blog) given to the opinions of Ahmed Rashid, Barnett Rubin and Shuja Nawaz by the Obama administration circles. It will only grow by mindless repetition. Indians should expect a tense summer.

So, regardless of how desperate President Zardari (or any civilian leader) is for foreign aid flows, General Kayani will say No. The good news is that we don’t have to suffer the pretence. The bad news is that because Mr Holbrooke drew those red lines so quickly, he’s trapped in a red circle of his own making. Mr Holbrooke and Admiral Mullen would do well to to back to Washington and address the main issue. The solution does not involve giving Pakistan the drones with which to conduct the strikes. It involves doing something about the red lines.

9 thoughts on “The Pakistan that can say No”

  1. The “give us drones” is a disingenuous argument by pakis.The utility of drones to US is to shorten sensor-to-kill loop and diplomatic issues arising out of a downed pilot or worse execution-mutilation of their dead bodies(which pakis r famous for)..Also civilian CIA is manning the drones with direct contact with President for these type of assassinations. The drones are specifically used so that it is withing civilians realm. Paki can easily take out targets with laser/GPS guided bombs at their disposal with F-16 platforms. They killed Bugti like that didnt they? I find it ridiculous that why people even entertain arguments of pakis like “we gave co-ordinates to Americans of Mehsud and they refused” b******t.

  2. Pakistan: Where’s Our US Bailout?

    link

    Ah, the humility, the devotion, the selflessness. It brings tears to the eyes.

  3. thereby contradicting Graham Usher who gives credence to the allegation that Mr Mehsud is backed by India)

    Actually, no he doesn’t. He cites that senior Pak military officials claim this is the case but he doesn’t endorse it and a couple of paras further down he says, to quote:

    “The ISI’s charge that there is Indian involvement in the unrest in the tribal areas is unconvincing, and the evidence scant,”

    So I think you have misread him here. You might want to correct that.

    As to the other points, it is difficult to know what is exactly going on in the NWFP and the FTA and who is fighting whom. Guessing the Pak army’s motives is also hard seeing that I would assume that there will be at least more than one faction present and each one will have differing views. Which faction is dominant at the moment, is something that will be hard to determine with any certainty, even for those within the military.

    To a degree this arguement about drones is besides the point; the US will not give the software and the C&C systems to man the drones over to the Pak military and without them the drones are worthless. They have already pulled the trick of doling out weaker versions of drones to other allies like Egypt and Lebanon without the operating systems, as the latter are cutting edge tech and won’t be given to any except perhaps NATO allies. Certainly not the Pak military.

  4. “(thereby contradicting Graham Usher who gives credence to the allegation that Mr Mehsud is backed by India)”
    Graham Usher:
    “In the Bajaur tribal area.. led by Baitullah Mehsud, …. He is also thought to have recruited hundreds of Afghan fighters, among them ‘agents’ from the Afghan and Indian intelligence services – ‘Pakistan’s enemies’,– ‘in the words of a senior officer’.”
    “Delhi sees the new Afghanistan as a part of its sphere of influence. .. four consulates in Afghanistan .. has given its government $1.2 billion in aid: ‘a remarkable sum for it to donate to -a country that is 99 per cent Muslim- and with which it has no common border’.”
    “It’s precisely in order to resist the India-Iran bloc – as well as the emerging axis between Delhi and Washington – that the ISI has aligned itself with the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani.”
    “Washington is exasperated by Pakistan’s refusal to fight the Taliban, but it’s been given little incentive to do so.”
    “The Pakistan army believes India is responsible for the CIA’s new belligerence. ..India wants to create such turmoil in the tribal areas … destroy the ‘terrorist havens’, and wrest back Pashtun lands claimed by Kabul. .. India wants to dismember Pakistan because of the ‘danger’ it poses as the world’s only Muslim nuclear state… ‘the Americans have decided India will be the regional power. And India thinks a fragmented Pakistan would reduce the threat level.’
    “former Indian envoy to Pakistan, G. Parthasarathy, told India Today magazine in January that India ‘should not shy away from political destabilisation and inflicting economic damage on Pakistan. The time has come for us to say that Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan is disputed.’ —‘It does not bode well’.”
    “The Pakistani army attempted to defuse tensions along the Line of Control, closing militant training camps and co-ordinating security with the Indian army.”
    “The process collapsed … because India did not reciprocate: military rule in Indian-occupied Kashmir remained as entrenched as ever.”

    —The author has proven without any doubt that he’s a part & parcel of the ISI propaganda machinery. All the above cited statements are ‘exactly’ – as if drafted– ‘in the words of a senior (ISI) officer’-with which the Pak Establishment claims & portrays itself as ‘the victim’,

    —Then one cunningly planted (with a dash of pretense journalism) in the midst of all the fictitious accusations – for the sake of the gullible parasites…who rush to his rescue with this—-

    “The ISI’s charge that there is Indian involvement in the unrest in the tribal areas is unconvincing, and the evidence scant,”

    —& which is immediately neutralized by him (on his master’s instructions)-by stating-

    “-but it’s safe to assume that India is keeping a close eye on what’s going on there.”

  5. anybody who thinks Usher is on some ISI payroll is a complete idiot imo. Foreign journalists are going to have their opinions of what is happening in these places, they aren’t the paid hacks of the Indian govt.

    —Then one cunningly planted (with a dash of pretense journalism) in the midst of all the fictitious accusations – for the sake of the gullible parasites…who rush to his rescue with this—-

    Try and dress it up however you want; he has just said that there is no evidence of Indian involvement; this is a factual claim on his part; the rest is your personal mumo-jumbo of an interpretation.

    —& which is immediately neutralized by him (on his master’s instructions)-by stating-

    “-but it’s safe to assume that India is keeping a close eye on what’s going on there.”

    Ok, just hot stupid are you? OF COURSE India is keeping an eye on things on the region; they wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they weren’t. I had an interview with the JS in charge of this region in the MEA 2 years ago who said that they receive intelligence reports regularly on this area but don’t have any resources to do anything more than gather intelligence. Which chimes in exactly with what Usher said.

    The Indian intelligence services and the state, would be guilty of blind incompetence and stupidity; if they didn’t try and keep a handle of what is going on in the region. I guess we can be glad that however bad they are; individuals like you will be kept away from such decision-making.

  6. ” if they didn’t try and keep a handle of what is going on in the region”

    —Duh? What’s the big deal about it???Even Timbuktoo keeps an eye on the developments over there…

  7. ‘this is a factual claim on his part;’

    —this is a pathetic face-saving attempt for all the ludicrousness…

  8. ” I had an interview with the JS in charge of this region in the MEA 2 years ago who said that they receive intelligence reports regularly on this area but don’t have any resources to do anything more than gather intelligence.”

    —As if the JS would have divulged to an interviewer the surreptitious ground operations being implemented…they must’ve mastered the art of getting rid of nosy suckers.

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