Noticias de Rupia | Nouvelles de Roupie | Rupiennachrichten | ??????? ????? | ???? | Roepienieuws | Rupi Nyheter | ??????? | Notizie di Rupia | PAKISTAN LEDGER | ???????? ????? | Moin Ansari | ???? ??????? | February 11th, 2009 |
What is different about the approach? Well most of it is the same old rhetoric packaged anew, and some of it is old wine in new bottle. It does offer a few additional kernels of focus on economic development for both Afghanistan and Pakistan, but that has been promised many times over the past decade. None of it actually materialized. Neither the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) nor the Free Trade Agreements, nor the trade preferences stood the test of reality.
The goal is the same “pacification of Afghanistan”. This time it is “pacification of Afghanistan by eliminating the ‘safe havens’ in FATA. 3000 more targets sent to Kabul will not reverse the insurgent gains. More drone attacks on FATA won’t cut it. More pressure on Islamabad won’t hack it..
Even the half million foreign soldiers in South Vietnam, a country (66,000 square miles) a quarter the size of Afghanistan (250,000 square miles; 80,000 foreign troops; 17,000 more US troops to come this year), together with a Vietnamese army of 410,000 could not guarantee the existence of a few windmills.
We used to have a military principle that remains relevant : Take and Hold Ground. It comes down to this : If you can’t hold the ground you’ve taken, then what is the point in taking that ground? You can’t defend windmills if you leave the place in which you built them and then let the enemy come in to take control. In that case, your soldiers have died for nothing. The Fifth Afghan War: Tilting at Afghan Windmills by Brian Cloughley
While President Obama weighs the false premise of “weighing the drone attacks (taking out high value targets)versus Pakistani ire” his advisors are telling him to outsource the war in Afghanistan –transform the Little Brown Pakistani army into an anti-insurgency force working for CENTCOM. How much Pakistani blood does American aid buy? The entire premise is full of holes. Most of the drone attacks are illegal and a gross violation of not only the UN charter but also of Pakistani sovereignty. If the USA loses its moral authority, it has nothing. Most of the Drone bombs have landed on women and children anyway—creating a sea of anti-Americanism.
Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke has a very difficult task ahead of him. Bruce Rediel defines it as “dim and dismal”. He has already started the trip with a huge suspicions in Delhi. It is pedagogical to scrutinize the writings and interviews of Bruce Reidel with We have often called “the brains of Obama” for South and West Asia. Bruce Reidel in a recent interview in the Washington Post gave a sober and realistic assessment of the situation in the Subcontinent.
President Obama has tapped Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA official now at the Brookings Institution, to chair his Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy review. Co-chairing it will be Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to the region, and Michele Flournoy, the new undersecretary of defense for policy.
The strategy review, which has 60 days to do its work before Riedel returns to Brookings, is meant to go beyond military questions. Washington Independent. Get Ready for that Af-Pak Strategy Review, By Spencer Ackerman 2/10/09 3:50 PM
It is now obvious that the reality of the defeat in Afghanistan is apparent not only to the ground soldiers, but also to the thinktanks in Washington.
Riedel will work with Holbrooke and Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of Defense for policy. Officials said the overhaul must be finished by April, when Obama attends a NATO summit in Europe commemorating the 60th anniversary of the alliance.
Obama offered a hint of his likely policy at a news conference Monday, saying a key goal would be eliminating havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan in which the Taliban and other extremist groups operate
Riedel, in writings and interviews, has said southern Afghanistan is in chaos and the Taliban is encroaching on Kabul, the capital. By Julian E. Barnes, February 11, 2009, Los Angeles Times
There is going to a new emphasis on economic development for the area. Obviously this was neglected by the Bush Administration. The Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (“Roz”) were announced but never implemented. This needs to change. Pakistan’s “Do More” list for the USA. Pakistan’s Pakistan’s legitimate interests have to be taken into account.
MR. GIBBS: Well, obviously, there’s a review that overlaps also with what General Petraeus is doing. I think everyone has mentioned that in order for us to change the direction that we see in Afghanistan, we can’t simply focus on just the military aspects, that we have to focus on the diplomatic, the civil society, the reconstruction.
So I think with what Bruce is doing, and what other military planners are doing, is looking at the Afghanistan and Pakistan policies in a — not just in how many troops, but in a broad sense of what is possible and what needs to happen in order to change the direction.
Pakistan to Holbrooke: Here’s a list. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi and others wrote a seminal article suggesting a huge focus on economic development of the area. (Afghanistan Lost? Barnett Rubin & Maleeha Lodhi et al answer at Harvard) It seems that the new administration is paying heed of what the Pakistani Foreign Minister calls “the Civilian Surge”. Dr. Lodhi’s list is pretty much the consensus in Pakistan today.
1. U.S. missile attacks on Pakistani territory should end.
2. Assistance under the Biden-Luger bill should be offered
with no strings attached. Blaming Pakistan won’t help the war on terror.
3. Give Pakistan helicopters, night vision, radar to fight a counter-insurgency, it doesn’t need conventional arms from America.
4. Give Pakistan a break in trade agreements. The all- important textile industry needs a lifeline. US support for a prosperous Pakistan that resists terror by Asif Ali Zardari
5. Make India part of the equation for stabilising Kashmir, by recognising Pakistan’s security concerns on its eastern border. India intoxicated by meager success is blind to real self-portrait of caste infested penury and balkanization
6. The United States should reshape its Afghan policy to take into account Pakistan’s security concerns, otherwise no strategy will work. US Charge of the Light Brigade into Pakistan is a US failure and has to stop
7. Pakistan must also tell the United States that sending more troops to Afghanistan without a change in strategy will backfire. Pakistan Assembly: No to War in Afghanistan
8. Policies to stabilize Afghanistan should not end up destabilising Pakistan. The Taliban should be prised away from al Qaeda, and a reconciliation process with the Taliban begun. Simon Cameron Moore. Reuters. Pakistan needs lecture on fighting the terrorists. President Zardari
The good news from Washington is that the “Tin Ear” has an opening. Washington for the first time in a decade is not in dictation mode only–it at least understands the nuances of the problem. It is aware of the poltergeists in the Khyber and the hobgoblins in the Ganges. This understanding of South Asia can be used for good or it can be used to exploit to differences and create a bigger mess.
It is in American interests to eliminate the source of the insurgency and wipe off Anti-Americanism in South Asia.
All these strands of US aggression and pressure towards Pakistan have now come together in what was a clear threat of aggression against this country by Obama in his press conference on Monday (February 9) where he declared that the US knew that Al Qaeda safe havens existed in FATA (I suppose just as US intelligence knew WMD existed in Iraq which warranted the US invasion) and would not be tolerated! This statement was preceded by US gunship intrusions into Pakistan along with drone attacks and missiles fired from across Afghanistan into the tribal belt. So the Obama threat of sending in US troops into Pakistan has been given presidential expression. And in the face of all this, Holbrooke has the gall to declare that he is in Pakistan to renew US “commitment and friendship with the people of Pakistan”. Mr Holbrooke, the US has never had a commitment to the Pakistani nation – only to its own goals here and to its handpicked leaders, both in uniform and in civvies. As for friendship, only the US would define this in terms of killings, which is what they are doing to the Pakistani people.
If the US really wanted to show a positive commitment to the people of Pakistan, they would stop the drone attacks, allow our state to dialogue with all its stake holders, desist from strategic arrangements with India that have a direct fallout on Pakistan, stop destabilising Pakistan by using its territory to target the Iranian state, and accept our differing perspective on critical issues including proliferation and Dr Khan. In the case of the latter, given how the US and its European allies are proliferating with India and Israel in complete violation of their commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is rather farcical to give us sermons on proliferation and try and undermine our already enfeebled judicial system by demanding the state incarcerate Dr Khan again. The News. Shireen Mazari
The strategic imperative of “convincing” the Pakistanis to cooperate with American troops on the ground is not lost to Bruce Reidel. How this “convincing” is done is the question. The Bush Administration did most of the convincing from the barrel of the gun and with threats. Richard Armitage handed an ultimatum “you are with us or against us” with a stern warning “we will bomb you to the stone age”.
In 2001, Pakistan gave the ultimate strategic sacrifice by ditching a friendly government in Afghanistan and help American occupy that country. We let the Americans install a government of their choice in Kabul and saw them push the terrorists inside Pakistan instead of finishing them off on the Afghan soil. We suffered billions of dollars in undocumented losses, way beyond the pittance in American aid. And what did we get? Insurgencies, terrorism and economic collapse. On top of it, India has blocked Pakistan’s water, effectively declaring a water war. This same hostile India is firmly establishing its presence near our borders in Afghanistan. And then the Americans have the audacity to come and berate us for having a soft corner for freedom fighters in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Ahmed Quraishi. The News
Rumsfeld and company sent drones full of bombs targeting the suspects as well as the innocent. The CIA tried to convince the Pakistanis through covert operations that Vice President Jospeh Biden refused to talk about on ‘Face the Nation” a few weeks ago . “I will not make a comment on it” and “I cannot comment on it” he said.
So there it is: the question of what’s achievable; what the right goal is for U.S. policy; what’s in the U.S. interest; and how to achieve it at acceptable cost.
Along those lines, Christian Brose has a smart post at Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog arguing against a restriction of the goals in Afghanistan along the lines of President Obama’s articulation last night of the conditions for success. It’s causing me to kind of revise and extend some earlier comments: if the idea is indeed that the Afghan people are the center of gravity, they won’t bandwagon away from the Taliban-led insurgency without having their material and aspirational needs met, so some degree of — for lack of a better term — Central-Asian-Valhalla-ness is probably appropriate, even if you take the position that the core interest of the United States in Afghanistan-Pakistan is to eliminate Al Qaeda’s safe havens. The question is how much Valhalla-ness? Christian, I think, doesn’t offer a compelling argument for the necessity of democratization, providing instead a contention that such a thing is desirable. It certainly is, but the question is what’s achievable and what’s related to the national interest.Get Ready for that Af-Pak Strategy Review, By Spencer Ackerman 2/10/09 3:50 PM
It is the “convincing” part that has had a negative impact and exacerbated the problems in the Af-Pak theater.
Previously the “convincing” part included removing Pakistani leaders and threatening them with dire consequence. The message from Henry Kissinger to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is engraved in Pakistani memory cells. The threats from Johnson to Ayub Khan are also very well known in Pakistan.
It is commendable that President Obama is willing to approach the region with an open mind. He will resolve half the problem by simply making the US strategic community understand that respecting Pakistan’s interests is the best way to achieve American interests in the region. After all, why treat Pakistan as the enemy? Unless, of course, it IS the enemy. The writer works for Geo TV. Email: email@example.com, Pakistan’s alleged proxies, Monday, February 09, 2009, by Ahmed Quraishi
Bruce Reidel and others in the Obama Administration seem to think that economic cooperation with Pakistan would help “convince” the Pakistanis. Here is a synopsis of what Bruce Reidel thinks about South and West Asia.
- The Bush administration gave Pakistan about a dozen helicopters. What they really need is several hundred to operate in this very difficult terrain where air mobility is really the key to battlefield success.
- These Predator attacks have scored some important successes. Significant Al-Qaeda figures have been killed. But they also have a counterproductive element to them, which is that they further the alienation of the Pakistani people away from us
- One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge we face in Pakistan today, is that the American brand image has been badly eroded.
- Polling in Pakistan shows that a majority of Pakistanis blame America for the country’s internal violence. India comes in second place, and al-Qaeda and the militancy comes in third place. Any time that you are outpolling India as the bad guy in Pakistan, you’re in deep, deep trouble.
- The Taliban have a sense that they’re winning, and objectively if you look at the numbers–the number of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] casualties, the number of bombings–it does look like they are winning.
- quite critically, the safe haven that the Taliban and al-Qaeda and other jihadists have built in Pakistan has to be closed down. That can only happen with the cooperation of the Pakistani government. And trying to get that cooperation out of the Pakistani government in my judgment will be the single hardest test that Ambassador Holbrooke faces and in fact may be the single hardest foreign policy challenge President Obama faces
- in the eyes of Pakistanis who are obsessed with the threat from India, it looks like encirclement. That’s what makes the challenge of trying to change Pakistani behavior so complex
- The shelf life of any foreign army in Afghanistan is limited.
- The Taliban have been saying, and Mullah Omar in particular has been saying, “Victory is in sight. NATO’s will is breaking. The Europeans already want to go home.” Within a couple of years, he promises his supporters, NATO will leave and they will take over. Now he’s even offered in the last month safe passage for any NATO forces that want to leave, akin to the safe passage that the mujahadeen gave the Soviets in 1989. Until you break that sense of confidence and momentum, I don’t think you are going to see any serious willingness on the part of the Taliban to want to negotiate.
- The Pakistanis, for example, are convinced that we will use their country for our short-term interest in finding Al-Qaeda, and then abandon it, as they feel we abandoned it in the 1980s. The Afghans feel the same way.
- if we want Pakistan to provide border security, a good step in the right direction would be an agreement on that border.
The choices in front of the Obama Administration are clear:
- Can they understand what is good for America?
- Can they align American interests with those of Pakistan and Afghanistan?
- Do they want a hostile Pakistan or a friendly one?
- Do they want perpetual warfare in the Hindu Kush or do they want peace in the Khyber?
- Are the going to consider the animosity, belligerence and machination of Delhi towards Pakistan as simply Pakistani “obsession” and “paranoia” or are they going to resolve the disputes between India and Pakistan
Blaming Pakistan won’t help the war on terror.The Government in Pakistan under tremendous pressure from the populace is unable to handle the pressure and will have to take a stand against the drones. Pakistan to Holbrooke: Here’s a list. The United States should reshape its Afghan policy to take into account Pakistan’s security concerns, otherwise no strategy will work. US Charge of the Light Brigade into Pakistan is a US failure and has to stop
Obama to unveil new policy: Marshal Plan & end to bombing raids in Pakistan —————————
Peek into Obama’s brains: Bruce Reidel on Pakistan ————————–
Growing consensus in the Obama team: Much of Pakistan’s problems originate in Afghanistan ————————–
Obama advisor Weinbaum predicts total Afghan policy review: Sees focus on talks & Reconciliation —————————-
Afghanistan: Gen. Petraeus’ Pakistani advisers: Indians jittery
Obama adviser Weinbaum gives deep insights into new Afghan policy
UK Brig. Smith: “We’re not going to win this [Afghan] war”
Failure and Defeat in Afghanistan: Inevitable Frustration & misdirected Payback for ally Pakistan
US Charge of the Light Brigade into Pakistan is a US failure and has to stop
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan run by Taliban Huge Migraine for India
NATO war: UK 1880 defeats in Afghanistan
Rescueing the Pashtuns of Afghania from Afghanistan Erase the Durand Line