Tag Archive for 'Pakistan and US'

How a single spy helped turn Pakistan against the US

What really happened after Raymond Davis killed two men in the street in Lahore. Mark Mazetti in The New York Times Magazine:

The burly American was escorted by Pakistani policemen into a crowded interrogation room. Amid a clatter of ringing mobile phones and cross talk among the cops speaking a mishmash of Urdu, Punjabi and English, the investigator tried to decipher the facts of the case.

“America, you from America?”

“Yes.”

“You’re from America, and you belong to the American Embassy?”

“Yes,” the American voice said loudly above the chatter. “My passport — at the site I showed the police officer. . . . It’s somewhere. It’s lost.”

On the jumpy video footage of the interrogation, he reached beneath his checkered flannel shirt and produced a jumble of identification badges hanging around his neck. “This is an old badge. This is Islamabad.” He showed the badge to the man across the desk and then flipped to a more recent one proving his employment in the American Consulate in Lahore.

“You are working at the consulate general in Lahore?” the policeman asked.

“Yes.”

“As a . . . ?”

“I, I just work as a consultant there.”

“Consultant?” The man behind the desk paused for a moment and then shot a question in Urdu to another policeman. “And what’s the name?”

“Raymond Davis,” the officer responded.

“Raymond Davis,” the American confirmed. “Can I sit down?”

“Please do. Give you water?” the officer asked.

“Do you have a bottle? A bottle of water?” Davis asked.

Another officer in the room laughed. “You want water?” he asked. “No money, no water.”

Another policeman walked into the room and asked for an update. “Is he understanding everything? And he just killed two men?” More:

Pakistan: The end of the affair?

Omar Ali in 3quarksdaily:

We have been here before, but it is being said that the unhappy marriage between the Pentagon and GHQ has deteriorated further and once again, those watching this soap opera are wondering if this union can last? Writing in Al-Arabiya, GHQ’s own Brigadier Shaukat Qadir says that the US appears to be “gunning for Pakistan’s top generals”, who are said to be bravely resisting this latest perfidious American plot against General Kiyani. And why is the US trying to undermine the good General? Because at a meeting with President Obama he made clear “ that this soft-spoken, laid-back, easy-going general, far from being overawed by the privilege of meeting President Obama, would still give back better than he got.”

This interesting article (I highly recommend reading it twice to get the full flavor) can be read in a number of ways, all of which are worrisome. One is to assume that Brigadier sahib means exactly what he is saying. That there is some core Pakistani interest that General Kiyani bravely insisted on defending, and for that sin, he is now being systematically undermined. Note that Pakistan’s elected government did not decide what this core interest is supposed to be, nor was it consulted before General Kiyani decided to defend this core interest against US imperialism. In fact, Brigadier sahib hints that the elected regime may include “powerful individuals who have no loyalty to this country and its people”. No, this core interest, for which Kiyani sahib is supposedly willing to risk a clash with the United States (and by extension, NATO, Japan, etc) is defined by GHQ, as it has been for decades.

Strategic depth”, it seems, is alive and well and we can live with bombings, insurgencies, electricity shortages and all sorts of economic and social crises, but we cannot live without strategic depth. For the sake of this strategic depth, we kept the Taliban alive and made sure the new American-installed regime in Afghanistan would not stabilize. And when the Americans leave (something that everyone in GHQ seems convinced is happening very soon), we will restart a civil war in Afghanistan, with “our side” led by the Haqqanis and Mullah Omar. More:

Why do they pick on us Pakistanis?

Pervez Hoodbhoy in The Express Tribune. The writer teaches physics at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. These remarks are excerpted from a recent talk he gave in Washington DC to Pakistani professionals settled in America:

My green passport requires standing in a separate immigration line once my plane lands at Boston’s Logan airport. The ‘special attention’ from Homeland Security, although polite, adds an extra two to three hours. I belong to the fortunate few who can get a visa, but I am still annoyed. Having travelled to the US frequently for forty years, I now find a country that once warmly welcomed Pakistanis to be strangely cold. The reason is clear.

Foreigners carrying strong negative feelings — or perhaps harmful intentions — are unlikely to find enthusiastic hosts. I know that the man who tried to bomb Times Square, Faisal Shahzad, a graduate of the University of Bridgeport, is my compatriot. So is Aafia Siddiqui, our new-found dukhtur-e-millat (daughter of the nation). Another Pakistani, Farooque Ahmed, with a degree from the College of Staten Island, made headline news in November 2010 after his abortive attempt to blow up DC Metro trains.

If such violent individuals were rarities, their nationality would matter little. But their actions receive little or no criticism in a country consumed by bitter anti-Americanism, which now exceeds its anti-Indianism.

Example: after the Faisal Shahzad news broke in early May 2010, TV channels in Pakistan switched to denial mode. Popular anchors freely alleged conspiracies against Islam and Pakistan. None revisited their claims after Shahzad proudly pleaded guilty in June. Calling himself a “Muslim soldier”, he read a prepared statement: “It’s a war … I’m going to plead guilty a hundred times over”. More:

The frontier against terrorism

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in the Washington Post:

After the debacle of Vietnam, the United States could pack up and leave with minimal consequences for its genuine national interests; similarly, for the British in the subcontinent and the French in Algeria. But the West, indeed the entire civilized world, does not have that luxury in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If the Taliban and al-Qaeda are allowed to triumph in our region, their destabilizing alliance will spread across the continents.

In Pakistan today, democracy must succeed. The forces of extremism must be vanquished. Failure is not an option; not for us, not for the world.

How can we ensure that the forces of freedom defeat the forces of fanaticism? The problems that have fueled extremism are multifaceted and the solutions equally multidimensional. We need short- and long-term strategies, and we must realize that to truly eliminate the terrorist menace, we have to succeed not only militarily but politically, economically and socially. More:

Perves Musharraf was playing ‘double game’ with US

New book claims President Musharraf’s military actively supported Taleban whilst taking millions of US dollars to fight them. Catherine Philp in The Times:

mushWashington sent Special Forces into Pakistan last summer after intercepting a call by the Pakistani army chief referring to a notorious Taleban leader as a “strategic asset,” a new book has claimed.

The intercept was ordered to confirm suspicions that the Pakistani military were still actively supporting the Taleban whilst taking millions of dollars in US military aid to fight them, according to the “The Inheritance,” by the New York Times correspondent David Sanger.

In a transcript passed to Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence in May 2008, General Ashfaq Kayani, the military chief who replaced Pervez Musharraf, was overheard referring to Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani as “a strategic asset”. The remark was the first real evidence of the double game that Washington had long suspected President Musharraf was playing as he continued receiving US military aid while aiding the Taleban.

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India’s secret war on Holbrooke

Laura Rozen in Foreign Policy on India’s stealth lobbying against Richard Holbrooke’s brief:

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — flanked by President Obama — introduced Richard Holbrooke as the formidable new U.S. envoy to South Asia at a State Department ceremony on Thursday, India was noticeably absent from his title.

Holbrooke, the veteran negotiator of the Dayton accords and sharp-elbowed foreign policy hand who has long advised Clinton, was officially named “special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan” in what was meant to be one of the signature foreign policy acts of Obama’s first week in office.

But the omission of India from his title, and from Clinton’s official remarks introducing the new diplomatic push in the region was no accident — not to mention a sharp departure from Obama’s own previously stated approach of engaging India, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan, in a regional dialogue. Multiple sources told The Cable that India vigorously — and successfully — lobbied the Obama transition team to make sure that neither India nor Kashmir was included in Holbrooke’s official brief.

“When the Indian government learned Holbrooke was going to do [Pakistan]-India, they swung into action and lobbied to have India excluded from his purview,” relayed one source. “And they succeeded. Holbrooke’s account officially does not include India.”

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And click here to read The Washington Post story.

Previously in AW:

Holbrooke named envoy to Subcontinent

From IHT:

Richard Holbrooke, a former United Nations ambassador, was chosen Thursday for the post of special envoy to Pakistan and India.

[ Update: India managed to trim Holbrooke's portfolio to Pakistan and Afghanistan -- basically eliminating the contested region of Kashmir from his job description. Click here to read The Washington Post story]

Holbrooke has more than 45 years of foreign policy and diplomatic experience, including brokering a peace pact between warring factions in Bosnia that led to the 1995 Dayton peace accords.

Holbrooke, who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Democratic primaries, is good friends with two early supporters of Barack Obama: James Johnson, who headed Obama’s vice-presidential search team, and Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning human rights expert. And Holbrooke took pains to avoid criticism of Obama.

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