THE PUZZLE

January 9, 2013

By Azmaish Ka-waqt

The Pieces of the Puzzle

  1. Renewed interest by Scotland Yard in the Imran Farooq murder in London
  2. The unconditional and abject apology by the MQM before the Supreme Court of Pakistan
  3. The Qadri intervention
  4. MQM’s prompt and total support of the Qadri intervention.
  5. Surge in US Drone attacks with TTP being targeted.
  6. Pakistan military’s changed threat perception with the internal threat identified as the main threat and a public announcement of this realization.
  7. US/UK/NATO compulsion to exit Afghanistan in an orderly manner and the need to protect Afghanistan from external inroads in the vulnerable post exit period
  8. Pakistan’s centrality in the entire exit strategy including safe passage for logistic movement.
  9. The political situation in Pakistan and the US/UK desire for status quo so that their exit strategy continues to get support.

The Mosaic

The US and UK decide that an electoral change in Pakistan that could have unpredictable results is not in their interest at this stage. They need the present political and military set up in Pakistan in 2013-2014 to get out of Afghanistan, push the peace process in Afghanistan forward and not face the ignominy of a post exit chaos in Afghanistan. Pakistan must therefore be accorded a central role and given an assurance of continuity of the status quo.

The US/UK does not favor an internal upheaval in Pakistan and want ‘democracy’ to continue. They sense that the people want change and reform to give them a better future and not more of the same that the elections seem to promise. The US and UK do not want a change that triggers a change in policies that may change the relationship with the US.

Enter Qadri with limitless funds and superb organizational ability. He promises reform and elections under a competent and impartial interim government. The implication being that the interim government will have to be given time for the reforms. The MQM ‘decides’ to join Qadri and clears itself with the Supreme Court-surprising many on both counts. To ward off criticism The MQM leader threatens a political Drone strike-obviously a disclosure of some sort.

The military readies itself to face the new threat and an expected disruption in the already serious internal security situation. Increased Drone strikes ratchet up the pressure on insurgents who may be expected to retaliate in Pakistan’s urban areas heightening the internal threat.

The major power players react as expected. The PPP (government) soft pedals the MQM turnabout and goes along with the evolving situation as status quo suits it. The military and the judiciary are satisfied that the Constitutional provisions are being respected. The PML(N) and the PTI are lost in the fog and likely to remain lost.

The interim government is given access to IMF and World Bank funds and acts to reform not just the electoral process but takes long overdue steps to establish the rule of law, to provide services and security to the people through effective governance, tackles the internal threat and puts the country on the road to economic recovery. The people heave a sigh of relief.


Pakistan in 2012: A year in review

December 31, 2012

The year 2012 was no less tumultuous for Pakistan than any other year. Starting from the Supreme Court and former premier Gilani at loggerheads to the return of Tahirul Qadri’s (untimely) arrival on the political scene, Pakistan has seen a healthy share of ups and downs this year. NATO supply routes were resumed, terrorism continued, Metro Bus project was initiated – it is difficult to remember when one event ended and the other began. For the purpose of simplification and to refresh the previous year, Spearhead Research put together a year in review, a compilation of all important news Pakistan saw.

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Karachi calling

December 14, 2012

ZoneAsia-Pk

Urban violence has become a permanent affliction in Karachi. Anyone explaining the roots of this violence to you would say ‘it’s complicated’ – and that is indeed an accurate summary of the bloodshed that erupts across the city in random spurts. The plague of violence in Pakistan’s biggest city and commercial hub is multifaceted. From ethnic strife to gang wars to politically motivated crimes to just petty theft – Karachi has it all. Where does it start? And more importantly, where would it end?

This is strange because less merely 25 years, Karachi was the land of opportunity in Pakistan. Once the capital of the country, this economic hub bustled with life and activity with little thought spared to the horrors awaiting citizens a few years down the road. Fast forward to 2012, Karachi faces (in the words of Bilal Baloch) feeble security, over-population, poor public transportation and housing, weak law and order, abuse of public services by the wealthy and powerful, illegal land-grabbing and squatter settlements, pollution so pervasive that it contaminates food and water for all, ethnic divisions, sectarian divisions, meager education; in short, institutional inadequacies on a grand scale. At the same time, it is this city that allows unbridled port access to NATO, fishermen and businessmen. The city has seen the likes of Alexander the Great, Sir Charles Napier, Muhammad Bin Qasim, poets, authors, bloggers and artists. The City of Lights continues to function under such paradoxical circumstances, with violent bloodshed in one corner of the city and celebrations in another.

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Syria- it’s time to talk

July 16, 2012

Tacstrat Analysis

The news around Syria these days revolves around countries using angrier tones against Assad, Turkey amassing troops along the border, and top Syrian military leaders defecting. All of the developments, combined together have so far done absolutely nothing to Assad’s grip. The facts on the ground are that Assad is still in control of the government’s most powerful bodies, most notably the military, and by extension of Syria.

Assad is a man who grew up watching his father, exterminate entire rebellions without word ever reaching the outside world. With the advent of the internet, this is no longer possible, but Assad still behaves as if it is. The reason he does this is because he knows the chances of a foreign military intervention is unlikely. This isn’t some pariah state like Libya where it mattered to no one if the government was toppled, or like Tunisia where the monarchy could be evacuated in a single day and the system destroyed. With Syria there seems to be the complexities of Libya but this time the regime has international backing. So far China and Russia have successfully vetoed any bill that would entail military intervention. This time NATO doesn’t seem likely to intervene either because of the upcoming U.S elections. Even so the Free Syria Army is receiving a lot of help. Qatar’s president has even hinted, and we use the term lightly, at a military intervention without the Security Council. Turkey has been pushing for harder steps against its neighbour, but for the moment it seems that everyone is too busy squabbling

The resistance will not last with a military intervention. Reiterating, Assad is still the most powerful military force in Syria by a mile, and he has no qualms using indiscriminate force. This should be more than evident to everyone by now. Assuming, with good reason, that such an intervention will not be possible until the U.S elections this year, it may not be wrong to assume that the U.S may hammer out a diplomatic solution yet. Assad will be important to this. Russia is very keen on protecting its interests in Syria and it is unlikely to balk. The resulting deal would be Assad with fewer powers. However it seems that such a deal will never be accepted by the rebelling forces for two main reasons.

The first is Assad’s excesses in his counter-revolution. He has repeatedly and with obvious determination attacked civilian centres with heavy weapons with reckless regard for innocent life. As mentioned before, mass media is an important feature of this revolution. Because of this, Assad’s excesses have been seen all around Syria on computer screens.

Secondly, the Free Syrian Army which seems like one monolithic unit because of the name is actually various independent resistance movements adopting the same slogan. They have no unified command structure, and at this point have the most basic military training. The defections of Assad’s generals have not strengthened their ranks without significantly weakening Assad’s, but it has given them a morale boost.

Al Qaeda style tactics have added a more sinister undertone to the uprising. The suicide attack in Damascus that killed two dozen civilians was tracked to Ayman Zawahiri’s call for holy warriors to fight against Assad. Panetta said that while US has intelligence that Al Qaeda is involved to an extent, their activities are off the radar. It is argued that the failure of the west to come to Syria’s aid created the chasm that militants stepped in to fill. What with Al Qaeda’s historic interest in securing Levant, Free Syrian Army’s protests that they have nothing to do with terrorist organizations don’t sound very convincing.

“From their point of view, the battle going on in Syria is against defenceless Sunnis, that no one is helping them,” said Elliott Abrams, a senior national security advisor to President George W. Bush and staunch advocate of more decisive action in the Middle East to contain Iran and Shiite militias. While the key indicators of their presence would be the increasingly sophisticated attacks on government sites and buildings, what’s also possible is that after 16 months of fighting the rebels just got better.

Fact of the matter is Syria is no Egypt. The piece de resistance in the scenario being an Allawite’s monopoly over force targeted towards a largely Sunni majority of untrained civilians with meagre weapons; and yet there is no turning back for the Free Syrian Army. A political solution might be possible if defecting generals and Assad are brought to the table to negotiate a settlement underwritten by Russia and Turkey. In an ideal world, UN would have already stepped in to conduct a nationwide referendum and settled the matter in a democratic fashion. As it is Assad will be hard to oust completely without military intervention and the Free Syrian Army needs to come to terms with it and be open to the idea of a peaceful settlement. Cries of viva la resistance sound more like a hollow echo with every passing day.


US-PAK relations post-2014

May 14, 2012

By Nida Afaque
ZoneAsia-Pk

The Davis affair, OBL raid, Salalah attack, closure of NATO supply routes were one pitfall succeeded by another until one could only wonder: could this get any worse? The current state of affairs does not appear any less dismal. Persistent demands of abstaining from drone strikes from Pakistan’s end have only fallen on deaf ears. Suspicions of al-Zawahiri’s presence and the US House subcommittee’s proposal of imposing conditions on aid to Pakistan indicate that reconciliation may not be around the corner. The looming withdrawal of coalition forces in 2014 also means an agreement acceptable to the regional powers has to be made before the forces exit Afghanistan.

What does this mean for Pakistan and where does it see its relations with America heading?

A good place to start is to understand United States’ objectives for the region and the role Pakistan comes to play in achieving these objectives. The US wants to ensure that terrorists from this region are no longer a threat to its national security and that Afghanistan has a democratically stable government which works in the interests of the masses. Coalition forces have been carrying out a direct attack on terrorists and have recently started divulging power to Afghan National Forces and accepting many of their terms to culminate in the Strategic Partnership Agreement.

Over the years, Pakistan’s role in the war on terror has become increasingly active. For a third world country, Pakistan has tried to relocate its meager resources and armed forces against terrorists taking refuge near the Afghan border. Thousands of lives have been lost and cities and towns have turned to dust. America, however, is not too sympathetic for it believes Pakistan is not mustering all the force it can behind this cause. One cannot blame Pakistan if they fall short in their efforts. America has not set a good precedent from the Soviet war and Iraq is still reeling from the effects of foreign intervention. It is thus quite natural for Pakistan to look out for itself by holding the Taliban card. Pakistan has protested against US demands and presence by boycotting the Bonn Conference and evacuating US forces from some of its airbases. But it will remain wary of taking drastic steps with matters like CSF funds still due unsettled.

The US needs the support of local powers to ensure sustainability of peace efforts. But reaching out to India, Russian and Central Asian republics over Pakistan only reflects American distrust of their so-called ally, Pakistan. Things are not too sunny for these Asian powers whose national economies and people are proving to be a handful for the governments. India is experiencing a decline in rupee against the dollar while Russia’s domestic politics are a major concern for its public. Russia also continues to maintain a strong influence on the central Asian republics. Even China has been losing its manufacturing activities to other countries. Therefore, these countries may not be willing to wholeheartedly participate in achieving US’s goals because of which US may have to resign to Pakistani assistance.

For Pakistan, diplomatic relations with the United States extend to the economic and social realms too. America remains amongst Pakistan’s top trading partners and has carried out developmental projects to improve living and social conditions of its people. Collaborating with NGOs and local business partners the US has funded projects aiming to tap Pakistan’s natural resources help alleviate the rampant energy crisis. Time and again US’s strong commitment towards alleviating Pakistan’s internal crises has surfaced, but this interest reflects US’s own regional interests. The US has offered cheaper gas alternatives and has tried to revive the TAPI project which had until recently lost much of its fervor in an attempt to discourage the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project. For now, despite its level of dependence on the IMF and World Bank (both of which are highly influenced by the US), and an open call for sanctions by the US, Pakistan has decided to go ahead with the IP pipeline.

Contributions in the social sector have been more than significant. Since 2002, the US has been providing $ 2 billion aid annually to Pakistan making it the third largest recipient of US aid. Just last year $ 1277 million and $ 1143 million were allocated to military and civilian programs respectively. Some of their eminent projects include Fulbright Scholarship, BISP and HEC.

After 2014, the US will have a remarkably smaller force present and with no impending security mission, Pakistan can expect them to be more forthcoming in civilian projects. In fact, America has already started to improve its image by publicizing its share in agriculture, education and health sectors. This could help legitimize US aid and at the same time make a difference to Pakistan’s paltry social welfare system.

While the governments of the two countries seem to be struggling to make things work, the masses may not harbor the same sentiments. Some conservatives have been remonstrating against US influence in Pakistan and have successfully organized themselves under the banner of Difa-e-Pakistan. Even though US aid to Pakistan is less than 1.2% of the GDP, this small amount of aid magnifies its effect in terms of the efficacy with which these institutions work, and the sectors it has been channeled towards. Breaking ties with US therefore might prove disastrous for the social welfare development, whereas aligning with them can open doors to diplomatic relations with other foreign powers. However, staying under US influence might only make us increasingly dependent, and with a strong backbone to structure and solidify the building blocks of our nation, these high levels of dependence may eventually compromise on our sovereignty. Such a mindset is also found on the American side which doubts Pakistan’s intentions in the war on terror.

Times may be tumultuous but a complete breakdown of diplomatic relations will be prevented by the interdependence of the two countries. The recent setbacks have sent the relationship decades behind. American withdrawal from Afghanistan coupled with changes in the internal climate of Asia’s regional countries will produce a shift in political and economic power dynamics.

These power dynamics may shift in favor of America. Its global power and influence is widely acknowledged. Neither Pakistan nor any of its other allies pose as a formidable competition to the US. Thus it is highly possible to expect Pakistan to bend to the terms demanded by US. But as Hafeez Malik suggests in US Relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan: The Imperial Dimension, America might lose its stronghold due to an “imperial overstretch”. Pakistan’s current civilian government has been resisting what they believe is unnecessary US interference. It did close down NATO routes, expel US forces from the Shamsi air base and may continue to stand against US imperialism. Pakistan may altogether decide to abandon the War on Terror and risk losing military and possibly civilian aid. Even worst is the possibility of US interpreting this to be a hostile move and giving in to its fears of a terrorist nation. We could then be looking at the latest venue of the War on Terror. Then again, we must not overlook the anxious efforts US is making to leave Afghanistan. Just like it came to accept Afghan demands for the transition process, it may also agree to do so with Pakistan. After all, it has repeatedly been stressed that Pakistan is an essential component to their operations in the region.

How the situation unfolds has yet to be seen but one thing is for certain; this is relationship is worth salvaging in some form than not having any relationship at all. The latest impasse is an opportunity for Pakistan and US to reach a common ground on contentious issues and build a relationship which is not based on merely temporary circumstances.


Reconciling with Reconciliation

May 11, 2012

Spearhead Research

The US Ambassador to Pakistan has worked tirelessly to put US-Pakistan relations on a positive track and both he and his wife have earned the respect of Pakistanis. He was expected to stay at least another year so there is much speculation on the reasons behind his early departure especially because the announcement comes soon after the US Secretary of State stated in India that the US believed that Ayman al Zawahiri was in Pakistan and that the US wanted Hafiz Saeed brought to justice. Ambassador Munter has been trying to find middle ground in the stand-off between the US and Pakistan and there is no doubt that he discerned the pragmatic opinion in Pakistan that wants the relationship revived and the drift into corners that overrules this pragmatism. The US talks to Pakistan from a position of strength as it is perhaps the only country that has the power to shape external environments in pursuit of its interests. The US-India relationship gets a boost whenever high ranking US officials speak down to Pakistan from India and no doubt this goes down well with the Afghan government too. Pakistan understands the coercion and pressure especially when all US aid is tied to US determination of Pakistan’s cooperation on counter-terrorism operations and actions against the use of IED’s. The US has clearly spelt out that there will be no apology from the US over the Salala incident in which twenty four Pakistani soldiers were killed by US forces and no change in the policy on Drone strikes. The US has kicked the ball fully and squarely into the Pakistani court. The next call has to be by the government of Pakistan-an elected government that is trying desperately to balance civil-military relations and establish civilian supremacy over national security policy formulation.

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STRAWS IN THE WIND

February 16, 2012

By Ahsan Waheed
ZoneAsia-Pk

There is a big hype in the media about the Prime Minister’s fate at the hands of the judiciary. It is certainly news and a sad day for Pakistan but not the kind of catastrophe that it is made out to be. If he is convicted and goes there will be another Prime Minister and it will be business as usual. The majority feel that he should be allowed to complete his term and that writing a letter to a foreign government about an elected President is not what our government should be doing. In any case these matters are good for drawing room discussions and media speculations but do not matter one way or the other.

Then there is the furor over the memo, the so called memo-gate. This non starter from the outset started off with a bang, created some fireworks and collapsed with a whimper. It is being dragged along but no one is interested any more. If two functionaries had to depart then another two took their place. If there was some hard talk then it was followed by clarifications and assurance. The whole thing was and remains farcical.

We now have the drama of the ISI Chiefs replacement. This is a routine affair and there are clear cut procedures for it. If he gets another extension it will be good because he is a straight talking and straight shooting man who has done a great job. If he retires he will be replaced by a suitable lieutenant general selected from the panel of names given by the military. The US Ambassador has commented upon this change in his address in Massachusetts. The US is ‘monitoring’ this change as if it matters or as if it can do anything about it. One of the analysts from the many who make a living out of commenting on Pakistan has said that this change is very significant because the ISI is not just an intelligence agency but it actually makes policy. So has it made all the policies that are being implemented? All this does boost the ISI image by driving home the point that it is an obsession for many who are terrified by it. That’s not too bad-is it?

The US is talking to the Taliban and have allowed them an office in Qatar so that others can talk too. Everyone and his aunt know that the US is preparing for a face saving exit after being defeated and after failing to create any sustainable structures in Afghanistan. The Taliban and others are licking their chops at the prospect of tucking into the pathetic caricature that is the Afghan Security Forces. The suited guys in government are looking at getting out as quietly as possible to wherever they came from. After the US and NATO leave it will be business as usual in and around Afghanistan. Karzai will be ditched and will be history-not that it will make any difference.

There is the matter of who kept Osama under wraps. A bitter, sick retired general with an axe to grind has blamed Musharraf and everyone is running round in circles. A doctor recruited by the US to find Osama is being interrogated and the US is ‘concerned’—he is a Pakistani and not a US citizen. US ‘diplomats’ continue to be tripped up some where or the other-the latest being one caught at an airport with bullets in his bag. Every one wonders where his gun was hidden and whether they searched him thoroughly. Some mad cap ‘fundos’ with some misguided former position holders get up on a stage and make threatening noises and tremors go through the land and as far away as the US! The good thing is that Pakistan continues to tick over and Pakistanis cope with power shortages and soaring costs. If the NATO logistics resume through Pakistan the dollars will flow in—not bad at all.

What matters is Pakistan’s economy, its internal situation, its institutions and public sector enterprises, its relations with neighbors and the world, its people and internal security. This is what we should be focusing on because if we get this right we are home free. Till we can do that let us develop thick skins and not get tickled by all these meaningless straws in the wind.


Diverging Roads

December 2, 2011

By Zoon Ahmad Khan
ZoneAsia-Pk

Quite often the truth becomes what it is believed to be.

The 21st century; where every tom, dick and harry has an opinion and the power to impose it.

If Pakistan were to manage a decent start to wrapping up a decades old mess, is now the right time?

The recent airstrikes at the Pakistani Check Post in the Mohmand Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal areas left a nation of 187 million in shambles. With the Shaheed Jawaans’ funeral and photographs repeatedly playing all over Pakistani television, the fingers pointing towards the US have increased exponentially in this week. The NATO airstrike fueled a sentiment that has for years discovered a decent abode in a perturbed and beaten down society. This disposition is reflected in the jaw-dropping success of an anti-drone and predominantly anti-Imperialist streak visible in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s campaign accompanied by a widespread murmur of ‘puppet leaders’ quandary that several opposition parties and the media have raised. Post Memogate Fiasco, one attempts to link the two events: Is this the Iron fist to intimidate Pak Army? We might never find out for sure, but there is enough evidence to highlight divergence.

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The worst is yet to come

July 1, 2011

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

The US in pursuit of its strategic and economic objectives in this part of the world arm twisted Gen Musharraf in September 2001 soon after 9/11 and made him do its bidding. Pakistan forces were pushed into the inferno of war on terror which was not Pakistan’s war. To start with, flames were lit on two extreme flanks resting in Baloch inhabited interior Balochistan and Pashtun inhabited FATA. The course of flames was gradually channeled towards settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), then to other cities of KP and subsequently to major cities of Punjab as well as Islamabad. Flames of terrorism were stoked by CIA and FBI outposts established in 2002 with the concurrence of the ruling regime. ISI and other intelligence agencies were asked to take up a backseat and intelligence collection, collation and dissemination was taken over entirely by CIA on the plea that it had superior technological means.

The CIA then brought in RAW and RAAM agents to boost its strength and collectively gave birth to Pakistani Taliban, who later got organized and formed Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007. They were won over by providing them bagfuls of dollars and meeting all their weapons and equipment demands and also promising them that FATA will be made an independent caliphate and submerged with Pashtun belt of Afghanistan. In Balochistan, disgruntled Baloch Sardars of Bugti, Mengal and Marri were cultivated to start insurgency. They were lured by promising them independent Balochistan full of mineral resources and Gwadar Port falling in the path of envisaged energy corridor from Central Asia. About sixty Farari (training) camps were established in interior Balochistan and supply routes both from Afghanistan via Spin Boldak and Shahgarh in India were made operational to meet all their demands. Later on, several terrorist outfits like BLA, BRA and BLF came into being and their leaders were given asylum in Afghanistan and London.

While our intelligence agencies got busy in nabbing terrorists from all over the country and the Army got embroiled in fighting tribesmen in FATA and Balochistan, CIA and FBI helped by MI-6, RAW and RAAM agents got on with their job of destabilizing Pakistan from within. Besides sabotage and subversion by terrorists, drones were also introduced by CIA to further fuel terrorism. Shamsi airbase was used for the purpose. Sold to the idea of enlightened moderation Musharraf accepted the US advice to expand and liberate the media. It was then decisively penetrated by foreign powers to be able to promote their coined themes and to change perceptions of the desired audiences in Pakistan. India promoted its culture through electronic media and also took help of our media to hide its ugly face. All these processes which weakened Pakistan went on unabatedly throughout Musharraf’s stint in power till March 2008 and Pakistan’s sovereignty kept eroding. By that time all institutions of Pakistan including Army, ISI and judiciary stood discredited.

When the US realized that Musharraf had lost his popularity and would not be helpful in changing the perceptions of people from religious conservatism to secularism, and was not in a position to make compromises on joint Pak-US operations in FATA, or opening up nuclear and missile assets and placing them under a joint control mechanism, or reducing Chinese activities in Gwadar Port and Balochistan mineral projects, or shelving Pak-Iran gas pipeline and in curbing anti-Americanism, it decided to bring in Benazir and make a dream team of liberal parties. When Benazir started to act too independent, she was removed from the scene and handpicked puppets were given reins of power. They pursued Musharraf’s policies in letter and spirit and went a step ahead in keeping their patrons appeased. The Army, ISI and the judiciary however made recoveries by recapturing lost spaces and soon were able to re-establish their image and credibility.

The political leaders deeply engrossed in lot and plunder were slapped and humiliated but were also given blandishments and a free hand to milk the country and reduce it to a carcass. Their incompetence to govern and their corrupt practices were acceptable since they obediently served Washington’s interests. In order to cripple Pakistan’s economy and make it dependent upon US aid, rulers were told to put Pakistan’s neck in the stranglehold of IMF and to keep borrowing and keep spending lavishly.

They were told to ignore terrorism and ethnic cleansing of non-locals by Baloch insurgents seeking separation simply because they are seculars and pro-USA and India. Rulers were directed to use full force against militants in northwestern tribal area particularly against those who were anti-American and supporting Jihad in Afghanistan. Haqqani group based in North Waziristan (NW) is their chief foe. Ilyas Kashmiri outfit and Lashkar-e-Taeba are also on US hit list, and to a lesser degree are Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir. Dozens of other militant groups including TTP located in NW which are anti-Pakistan but not involved in Afghanistan do not bother USA.

TTP which has its tentacles in all seven tribal agencies as well as in settled areas of KP, Swat, Malakand, South Punjab, Pashtun belt of Balochistan and its long arm can reach any part of Pakistan is of chief concern for Pakistan. Several foreign agencies are providing massive funds, weapons, equipment, explosives, training facilities, guidance and manpower replenishments from Afghan soil to TTP since they desire this force to possibly defeat or as a minimum contain bulk of Army. But for foreign support in huge quantities, it would not have been possible for the TTP to rebound after its backbone had been broken in the two decisive battles of Bajaur and South Waziristan in 2009. Footprints of foreign hands were clearly seen in all the regions that were recaptured from the militants by security forces. In the Bajaur battle which raged from July 2008 till February 2009, large number of Tajik and Uzbek fighters used to supplement Maulana Faqir’s force. Even now Afghans are involved in Mohmand Agency and in Dir.

While launching of military operations by the Army in Waziristan led to emergence of Pakistani Taliban, two drone attacks in Bajaur Agency in 2006 instilled hatred against the Army particularly when October strike on a seminary killing 80 students was wrongly owned by the Army. Brutal military action against inmates of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza including women and children in July 2007 triggered recruitment of young Taliban in a big way. It also ignited spate of suicide bombings in cities. Thereon, it became easy for the senior members of TTP like Qari Hussein to motivate young boys aged 12-16 years to become suicide bombers. The schemers then shifted terrorism to major cities particularly Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore. This was made possible after the induction of Blackwater in 2008. Several security companies cropped up in capital cities.

Mumbai attacks on 26/11 were masterminded to deflect attention of the world from the atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir where the situation had become explosive, and to nail down ISI and to pave way for carrying out surgical strikes in Pakistan similar to drone strikes. New tactics involving double suicide bombers and group attacks were introduced in 2009. Drone attacks were intensified and so were target killings in Balochistan and Karachi.

In order to keep the judiciary subservient, the ruling regime was emphatically told not to restore the sacked judges led by chief justice Iftikhar. Shahbaz Sharif’s Ministry in Punjab which was relatively stable was brought down and Governor Rule imposed on Washington’s direction in early 2009. Restoration of judges and Punjab government was not to the liking of plot makers. After the enactment of Af-Pak policy in March 2009, which heralded the beginning of the final phase against Pakistan’s strategic assets and passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill, large number of under cover CIA operatives mostly belonging to US Special Forces made their way into Pakistan in 2010. Their inflow increased in second half of 2010 as a result of removal of all security checks by ISI and Special Police. Raymond Davis who had earlier on been deported due to his shady activities also managed to sneak back. By end 2010 an effective countrywide CIA-Blackwater network duly connected with militant groups and criminal gangs had become operational. Roadmaps leading to various defence installations and nuclear sites had been prepared.

This network provides the local militants intelligence and intimate guidance of marked target areas. Its ramifications came to light after the arrest of Raymond but also led to intensification of CIA-ISI rivalry and nose-diving of Pak-US relations. Till April, the militants targeted mostly soft targets in cities to create harassment and fear among the public and to accentuate problems of security forces and intelligence agencies. Mosques, worship places and markets were targeted to pitch Islamists against Islamists and defame Islam.

Helicopter assault on 02 May duly assisted by CIA base in Abbottabad was executed to achieve multiple objectives. The foremost was to restore declining popularity of Obama and US military in the eyes of Americans in particular and world in general. Second; lower the image of Army, air force and ISI that had risen high and to discredit the three institutions in the eyes of the public. Former CIA Director Panetta who had crossed swords with Lt Gen Pasha on several occasions had sworn to teach him a lesson. Third; embarrass Pakistan and to put it in a tight corner, leaving it with little space to defy US dictates.

Having created the desired effects through media and Congressmen, US high officials visited Islamabad and further harassed the already hassled leadership by conveying that Pakistan would from now on be judged by its acts and deeds. To give heart to the fainting leaders, the visitors gave a clean chit to them saying that they were not directly involved in hiding OBL but there was a support group inside Pakistan which had protected OBL. This certification was music to the ears of our leaders. Feeling relieved, they readily agreed to let CIA inspect the Abbottabad House compound where OBL lived, hand over the tail of the destroyed Blackhawk helicopter, launch an operation in NW and to conduct joint operations to eliminate terrorists. These concessions were doled out in violation of the spirit of 14 May unanimous resolution of the parliament.

Mehran Naval Base attack was executed on 22 May to dishearten the navy, to shatter the confidence of the people in armed forces and to completely demoralize the nation. Among several hypotheses, one of the assumptions was an attack conducted by Ilyas Kashmiri group. If so, he has been reportedly killed on 04 May fearing that he may spill the beans. Apparently 02 May and 22 May incidents were also intended to create divisions within forces by suggesting that there were sympathizers and supporters of al-Qaeda and Taliban in each service and intelligence agency and that there was an urgent need to purge such undesirable elements. Mehran Base attack is a prelude to many more suchlike attacks since it seems that the conspirators have now started the final destructive stage to hit hardened military installations including nuclear sites.

In continuation of ISI bashing, Human Rights Watch and western media has come out with another wacky story that the ISI was behind the unfortunate murder of eminent and bold journalist Syed Salim Shehzad. Had it been so, he would have been taken to KP or FATA and not towards Sarai Alamgir? It seems to be a clear cut case of Blackwater which is ever ready to exploit a situation whenever any person makes several enemies and becomes prominent. ISI’s plate is already full to the brim and would be mad if it buys another headache for itself. The situation assumes greater curiosity and mystification after expression of deep concern by high US officials like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton on his death.

While the people have not come out of the shock of two attacks in May, the foreign and local media is adding to their apprehensions by floating rumor balloons of despondency and trying to undermine the capabilities of armed forces. An impression is being created that the military is incapable of safeguarding our vital interests. There is a very small segment that still talks good of USA otherwise great majority distrusts USA and suspect that it will again strike Pakistan to denuclearize it. They are not convinced with John Kerry assurances that the US is not interested in Pak nukes particularly after NATO Secretary General’s statement that it is the collective responsibility of international community to secure nuclear assets of Pakistan.

Stories of our nukes falling into wrong hands have begun to reappear in western media. Despite multi-layered system of security evolved by Pakistan which is second to none, doubts are still being aired by vested interests that Pakistan’s nuclear program is unsafe and needs to be secured. Pakistan Army managed to get out of the deathtrap laid by its adversaries in Swat and SW. They have now prepared another deadly deathtrap in NW and are once again trying to lure in Pak Army with a hope that this time it will get trapped. It is only when major portion of our combat divisions get embroiled in the war in northwest that India will make its Cold Start doctrine operational on the weakened eastern front. Coming months are fraught with extreme dangers but our rulers are naively thinking that after John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s visit worst is over. In my view the worst is yet to come.

While I am quite confident that our security forces would be able to thwart all hostile attempts made on our nuclear arsenal and delivery means and will also be able to safeguard the frontiers against foreign aggression, what I am worried is that we have still not identified our foes and taken preventive measures. Unless we guard against the designs of our foes pretending to be friends, we will not be able to confront the worst threat which is staring into our eyes and has got closer to our vital ground.


The worst is yet to come

July 1, 2011

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

The US in pursuit of its strategic and economic objectives in this part of the world arm twisted Gen Musharraf in September 2001 soon after 9/11 and made him do its bidding. Pakistan forces were pushed into the inferno of war on terror which was not Pakistan’s war. To start with, flames were lit on two extreme flanks resting in Baloch inhabited interior Balochistan and Pashtun inhabited FATA. The course of flames was gradually channeled towards settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), then to other cities of KP and subsequently to major cities of Punjab as well as Islamabad. Flames of terrorism were stoked by CIA and FBI outposts established in 2002 with the concurrence of the ruling regime. ISI and other intelligence agencies were asked to take up a backseat and intelligence collection, collation and dissemination was taken over entirely by CIA on the plea that it had superior technological means.

The CIA then brought in RAW and RAAM agents to boost its strength and collectively gave birth to Pakistani Taliban, who later got organized and formed Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007. They were won over by providing them bagfuls of dollars and meeting all their weapons and equipment demands and also promising them that FATA will be made an independent caliphate and submerged with Pashtun belt of Afghanistan. In Balochistan, disgruntled Baloch Sardars of Bugti, Mengal and Marri were cultivated to start insurgency. They were lured by promising them independent Balochistan full of mineral resources and Gwadar Port falling in the path of envisaged energy corridor from Central Asia. About sixty Farari (training) camps were established in interior Balochistan and supply routes both from Afghanistan via Spin Boldak and Shahgarh in India were made operational to meet all their demands. Later on, several terrorist outfits like BLA, BRA and BLF came into being and their leaders were given asylum in Afghanistan and London.

While our intelligence agencies got busy in nabbing terrorists from all over the country and the Army got embroiled in fighting tribesmen in FATA and Balochistan, CIA and FBI helped by MI-6, RAW and RAAM agents got on with their job of destabilizing Pakistan from within. Besides sabotage and subversion by terrorists, drones were also introduced by CIA to further fuel terrorism. Shamsi airbase was used for the purpose. Sold to the idea of enlightened moderation Musharraf accepted the US advice to expand and liberate the media. It was then decisively penetrated by foreign powers to be able to promote their coined themes and to change perceptions of the desired audiences in Pakistan. India promoted its culture through electronic media and also took help of our media to hide its ugly face. All these processes which weakened Pakistan went on unabatedly throughout Musharraf’s stint in power till March 2008 and Pakistan’s sovereignty kept eroding. By that time all institutions of Pakistan including Army, ISI and judiciary stood discredited.

When the US realized that Musharraf had lost his popularity and would not be helpful in changing the perceptions of people from religious conservatism to secularism, and was not in a position to make compromises on joint Pak-US operations in FATA, or opening up nuclear and missile assets and placing them under a joint control mechanism, or reducing Chinese activities in Gwadar Port and Balochistan mineral projects, or shelving Pak-Iran gas pipeline and in curbing anti-Americanism, it decided to bring in Benazir and make a dream team of liberal parties. When Benazir started to act too independent, she was removed from the scene and handpicked puppets were given reins of power. They pursued Musharraf’s policies in letter and spirit and went a step ahead in keeping their patrons appeased. The Army, ISI and the judiciary however made recoveries by recapturing lost spaces and soon were able to re-establish their image and credibility.

The political leaders deeply engrossed in lot and plunder were slapped and humiliated but were also given blandishments and a free hand to milk the country and reduce it to a carcass. Their incompetence to govern and their corrupt practices were acceptable since they obediently served Washington’s interests. In order to cripple Pakistan’s economy and make it dependent upon US aid, rulers were told to put Pakistan’s neck in the stranglehold of IMF and to keep borrowing and keep spending lavishly.

They were told to ignore terrorism and ethnic cleansing of non-locals by Baloch insurgents seeking separation simply because they are seculars and pro-USA and India. Rulers were directed to use full force against militants in northwestern tribal area particularly against those who were anti-American and supporting Jihad in Afghanistan. Haqqani group based in North Waziristan (NW) is their chief foe. Ilyas Kashmiri outfit and Lashkar-e-Taeba are also on US hit list, and to a lesser degree are Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir. Dozens of other militant groups including TTP located in NW which are anti-Pakistan but not involved in Afghanistan do not bother USA.

TTP which has its tentacles in all seven tribal agencies as well as in settled areas of KP, Swat, Malakand, South Punjab, Pashtun belt of Balochistan and its long arm can reach any part of Pakistan is of chief concern for Pakistan. Several foreign agencies are providing massive funds, weapons, equipment, explosives, training facilities, guidance and manpower replenishments from Afghan soil to TTP since they desire this force to possibly defeat or as a minimum contain bulk of Army. But for foreign support in huge quantities, it would not have been possible for the TTP to rebound after its backbone had been broken in the two decisive battles of Bajaur and South Waziristan in 2009. Footprints of foreign hands were clearly seen in all the regions that were recaptured from the militants by security forces. In the Bajaur battle which raged from July 2008 till February 2009, large number of Tajik and Uzbek fighters used to supplement Maulana Faqir’s force. Even now Afghans are involved in Mohmand Agency and in Dir.

While launching of military operations by the Army in Waziristan led to emergence of Pakistani Taliban, two drone attacks in Bajaur Agency in 2006 instilled hatred against the Army particularly when October strike on a seminary killing 80 students was wrongly owned by the Army. Brutal military action against inmates of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza including women and children in July 2007 triggered recruitment of young Taliban in a big way. It also ignited spate of suicide bombings in cities. Thereon, it became easy for the senior members of TTP like Qari Hussein to motivate young boys aged 12-16 years to become suicide bombers. The schemers then shifted terrorism to major cities particularly Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore. This was made possible after the induction of Blackwater in 2008. Several security companies cropped up in capital cities.

Mumbai attacks on 26/11 were masterminded to deflect attention of the world from the atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir where the situation had become explosive, and to nail down ISI and to pave way for carrying out surgical strikes in Pakistan similar to drone strikes. New tactics involving double suicide bombers and group attacks were introduced in 2009. Drone attacks were intensified and so were target killings in Balochistan and Karachi.

In order to keep the judiciary subservient, the ruling regime was emphatically told not to restore the sacked judges led by chief justice Iftikhar. Shahbaz Sharif’s Ministry in Punjab which was relatively stable was brought down and Governor Rule imposed on Washington’s direction in early 2009. Restoration of judges and Punjab government was not to the liking of plot makers. After the enactment of Af-Pak policy in March 2009, which heralded the beginning of the final phase against Pakistan’s strategic assets and passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill, large number of under cover CIA operatives mostly belonging to US Special Forces made their way into Pakistan in 2010. Their inflow increased in second half of 2010 as a result of removal of all security checks by ISI and Special Police. Raymond Davis who had earlier on been deported due to his shady activities also managed to sneak back. By end 2010 an effective countrywide CIA-Blackwater network duly connected with militant groups and criminal gangs had become operational. Roadmaps leading to various defence installations and nuclear sites had been prepared.

This network provides the local militants intelligence and intimate guidance of marked target areas. Its ramifications came to light after the arrest of Raymond but also led to intensification of CIA-ISI rivalry and nose-diving of Pak-US relations. Till April, the militants targeted mostly soft targets in cities to create harassment and fear among the public and to accentuate problems of security forces and intelligence agencies. Mosques, worship places and markets were targeted to pitch Islamists against Islamists and defame Islam.

Helicopter assault on 02 May duly assisted by CIA base in Abbottabad was executed to achieve multiple objectives. The foremost was to restore declining popularity of Obama and US military in the eyes of Americans in particular and world in general. Second; lower the image of Army, air force and ISI that had risen high and to discredit the three institutions in the eyes of the public. Former CIA Director Panetta who had crossed swords with Lt Gen Pasha on several occasions had sworn to teach him a lesson. Third; embarrass Pakistan and to put it in a tight corner, leaving it with little space to defy US dictates.

Having created the desired effects through media and Congressmen, US high officials visited Islamabad and further harassed the already hassled leadership by conveying that Pakistan would from now on be judged by its acts and deeds. To give heart to the fainting leaders, the visitors gave a clean chit to them saying that they were not directly involved in hiding OBL but there was a support group inside Pakistan which had protected OBL. This certification was music to the ears of our leaders. Feeling relieved, they readily agreed to let CIA inspect the Abbottabad House compound where OBL lived, hand over the tail of the destroyed Blackhawk helicopter, launch an operation in NW and to conduct joint operations to eliminate terrorists. These concessions were doled out in violation of the spirit of 14 May unanimous resolution of the parliament.

Mehran Naval Base attack was executed on 22 May to dishearten the navy, to shatter the confidence of the people in armed forces and to completely demoralize the nation. Among several hypotheses, one of the assumptions was an attack conducted by Ilyas Kashmiri group. If so, he has been reportedly killed on 04 May fearing that he may spill the beans. Apparently 02 May and 22 May incidents were also intended to create divisions within forces by suggesting that there were sympathizers and supporters of al-Qaeda and Taliban in each service and intelligence agency and that there was an urgent need to purge such undesirable elements. Mehran Base attack is a prelude to many more suchlike attacks since it seems that the conspirators have now started the final destructive stage to hit hardened military installations including nuclear sites.

In continuation of ISI bashing, Human Rights Watch and western media has come out with another wacky story that the ISI was behind the unfortunate murder of eminent and bold journalist Syed Salim Shehzad. Had it been so, he would have been taken to KP or FATA and not towards Sarai Alamgir? It seems to be a clear cut case of Blackwater which is ever ready to exploit a situation whenever any person makes several enemies and becomes prominent. ISI’s plate is already full to the brim and would be mad if it buys another headache for itself. The situation assumes greater curiosity and mystification after expression of deep concern by high US officials like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton on his death.

While the people have not come out of the shock of two attacks in May, the foreign and local media is adding to their apprehensions by floating rumor balloons of despondency and trying to undermine the capabilities of armed forces. An impression is being created that the military is incapable of safeguarding our vital interests. There is a very small segment that still talks good of USA otherwise great majority distrusts USA and suspect that it will again strike Pakistan to denuclearize it. They are not convinced with John Kerry assurances that the US is not interested in Pak nukes particularly after NATO Secretary General’s statement that it is the collective responsibility of international community to secure nuclear assets of Pakistan.

Stories of our nukes falling into wrong hands have begun to reappear in western media. Despite multi-layered system of security evolved by Pakistan which is second to none, doubts are still being aired by vested interests that Pakistan’s nuclear program is unsafe and needs to be secured. Pakistan Army managed to get out of the deathtrap laid by its adversaries in Swat and SW. They have now prepared another deadly deathtrap in NW and are once again trying to lure in Pak Army with a hope that this time it will get trapped. It is only when major portion of our combat divisions get embroiled in the war in northwest that India will make its Cold Start doctrine operational on the weakened eastern front. Coming months are fraught with extreme dangers but our rulers are naively thinking that after John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s visit worst is over. In my view the worst is yet to come.

While I am quite confident that our security forces would be able to thwart all hostile attempts made on our nuclear arsenal and delivery means and will also be able to safeguard the frontiers against foreign aggression, what I am worried is that we have still not identified our foes and taken preventive measures. Unless we guard against the designs of our foes pretending to be friends, we will not be able to confront the worst threat which is staring into our eyes and has got closer to our vital ground.


Pres Zardari oped in Sunday’s Washington Post

March 7, 2011

By Asif Ali Zardari
Washington Post

Just days before her assassination, my wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, wrote presciently of the war within Islam and the potential for a clash between Islam and the West: “There is an internal tension within Muslim society. The failure to resolve that tension peacefully and rationally threatens to degenerate into a collision course of values spilling into a clash between Islam and the West. It is finding a solution to this internal debate within Islam – about democracy, about human rights, about the role of women in society, about respect for other religions and cultures, about technology and modernity – that shall shape future relations between Islam and the West.”

Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

These assassinations painfully reinforce my wife’s words and serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in Pakistan affects the success of the civilized world’s confrontation with the terrorist menace.

A small but increasingly belligerent minority is intent on undoing the very principles of tolerance upon which our nation was founded in 1947; principles by which Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, lived and died; and principles that are repeated over and over in the Koran. The extremists who murdered my wife and friends are the same who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and who have blown up girls’ schools in the Swat Valley.

We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat. Such acts will not deter the government from our calibrated and consistent efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. It is not only the future of Pakistan that is at stake but peace in our region and possibly the world.

Our nation is pressed by overlapping threats. We have lost more soldiers in the war against terrorism than all of NATO combined. We have lost 10 times the number of civilians who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Two thousand police officers have been killed. Our economic growth was stifled by the priorities of past dictatorial regimes that unfortunately were supported by the West. The worst floods in our history put millions out of their homes. The religious fanaticism behind our assassinations is a tinderbox poised to explode across Pakistan. The embers are fanned by the opportunism of those who seek advantages in domestic politics by violently polarizing society.

We in Pakistan know our challenges and seek the trust and confidence of our international allies, who sometimes lose patience and pile pressure on those of us who are already on the front lines of what is undeniably a long war. Our concern that we avoid steps that inadvertently help the fanatics is misinterpreted abroad as inaction or even cowardice. Instead of understanding the perilous situation in which we find ourselves, some well-meaning critics tend to forget the distinction between courage and foolhardiness. We are fighting terrorists for the soul of Pakistan and have paid a heavy price. Our desire to confront and deal with the menace in a manner that is effective in our context should not become the basis for questioning our commitment or ignoring our sacrifices.

If Pakistan and the United States are to work together against terrorism, we must avoid political incidents that could further inflame tensions and provide extremists or opportunists with a pretext for destabilizing our fledgling democracy. The Raymond Davis incident in Lahore, which directly resulted in the deaths of three Pakistani men and the suicide of a Pakistani woman, is a prime example of the unanticipated consequences of problematic behavior. We need not go into the legal, moral and political intricacies of this case. Suffice it to say that the actions of Davis and others like him inflame passions in our country and undermine respect and support for the United States among our people. We are committed to peaceful adjudication of the Davis case in accordance with the law. But it is in no one’s interest to allow this matter to be manipulated and exploited to weaken the government of Pakistan and damage further the U.S. image in our country.

Similarly counterproductive are threats to apply sanctions to Pakistan over the Davis affair by cutting off Kerry-Lugar development funds that were designed to build infrastructure, strengthen education and create jobs. It is a threat, written out of the playbook of America’s enemies, whose only result will be to undermine U.S. strategic interests in South and Central Asia. In an incendiary environment, hot rhetoric and dysfunctional warnings can start fires that will be difficult to extinguish.

The writer is president of Pakistan.


Pakistan unfazed over U.S. “raid plan”

December 31, 2010

By ANITA JOSHUA

Pakistan on Tuesday remained outwardly unfazed by a New York Times report suggesting senior American military commanders in Afghanistan were pushing for an expansion of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Without commenting on the veracity of the report, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said: “The U.S. knows our position and redlines. We do not expect the U.S. to complicate matters involving counter-terrorism.” Maintaining that Pakistani security forces were capable of handling terrorists and militants, he said, “There is no question of allowing foreign troops inside Pakistan”.

As for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan trying to extend its operations to Pakistan, Mr. Basit said it had no such mandate. “We will not accept violation of our sovereignty.”

Part of the reason for Pakistan’s quiet response to the report is the way it made NATO sweat in October after a couple of ISAF helicopters intruded Pakistani airspace and killed Frontier Corps personnel positioned along the Afghanistan border. Islamabad closed its border with Afghanistan for ISAF supply trucks resulting in a blockade and an apology from NATO and the U.S. Pakistan is a major supply route for non-military cargo for ISAF. Having successfully communicated its position to NATO in that instance, Islamabad appears confident ISAF will not attempt another such misadventure in a hurry however desperate the U.S. may be to begin troop withdrawal from Afghanistan from July 2011.

The U.S. wants Pakistan to begin operations in North Waziristan as sanitising this “safe haven” of terrorists is seen as crucial to the success of the Global War on Terror. But on-record briefings by the American civil and military leadership in recent days suggest Washington has accepted Islamabad’s contention that it will do so at a time of its choosing.

While the Pakistan government has till now maintained that a final decision on when to launch operations in North Waziristan would be taken by the military, Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was recently quoted by the media as saying the last call would be of the civilian administration.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported from Kabul that NATO had denied the NYT report. U.S. Rear-Admiral Gregory Smith, NATO’s deputy chief of communications, was quoted saying ISAF and its Afghan partners had developed a strong working relationship with the Pakistani military to address shared security issues. “This coordination recognises the sovereignty of Afghanistan and Pakistan to pursue insurgents and terrorists operative in respective border areas.”


How Pakistanis See US Afghan Strategy

December 21, 2010

By Stratfor

The White House on Thursday released an overview of the much awaited Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama last year as a National Security Staff (NSS)-led assessment of the war effort. Perhaps the most significant (and expected) aspect of the report is the extent to which the success of the American strategy relies on cooperation from Pakistan. The report acknowledges recent improvement in U.S.-Pakistani coordination in the efforts to bring closure to the longest war in U.S. history, but also points out there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of Pakistani assistance.

Indeed, this is an issue that has been at the heart of the tensions between the two allies since the beginning of the war. However, the United States – now more than ever before – needs Pakistan to offer its best, given that Washington has deployed the maximum amount of human and material resources to the war effort that it can feasibly allocate. To what extent such assistance will be forthcoming is a function of how Islamabad is looking at the war.

From the Pakistani point of view, this war has been extremely disastrous. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 to deny al Qaeda its main sanctuary led to the spillover of the war into Pakistan. Al Qaedas relocation east of the Durand Line forced Islamabad to side with Washington against the Afghan Taliban and laid the foundation for the Talibanization of Pakistan.

Any Pakistani effort to effectively counter this threat is dependent upon the U.S. strategy on the other side of the border. Just as the United States is dealing with a very difficult situation where it has no good options, Pakistan is also caught in a dilemma. There are two broad and opposing views among the Pakistani stakeholders in regard to what the United States should do that, in turn, would also serve Pakistani interests.

On one hand are those who argue that the longer U.S. and NATO forces remain in Pakistan’s western neighbor the longer the wars will continue to rage on both sides of the border. The thinking is that since there is no military solution, Western forces should seek a negotiated settlement and exit as soon as possible. Once a settlement takes place in Afghanistan, Pakistan will be in a better position to neutralize its own Taliban rebellion and restore security on its side of the border.

Yet there are those who – while they accept that a continued presence of foreign occupation forces in Afghanistan will continue to fuel the jihadist fire – are more concerned about the ramifications of a premature withdrawal of Western forces. The fear is that a Taliban comeback in Afghanistan will only galvanize jihadists on the Pakistani side. At a time when it is struggling to re-establish its writ on its side of the border, Islamabad is certainly not in a position to exert the kind of influence in Afghanistan it once was able to in the pre-9/11 years.

In other words, an exit of foreign forces from Afghanistan will not restore the old arrangement. Islamabad is therefore in uncharted waters. What the Pakistanis hope for is some form of negotiated settlement that will help restore some semblance of security on their western periphery and allow for some measure of influence in a post-NATO Afghanistan. How to get from the current situation to that endgame state is quite opaque and what lies beyond is fraught with uncertainty, given the destabilization that has taken place in the last five years. What makes this situation even more problematic for the Pakistanis is that they feel that they are not the only ones who are without options. Their benefactor, the United States, is in the same boat.


JB Campbell: Anti-American

December 14, 2010

by J. Bruce Campbell

The leakers are being called “anti-American.”

What decent person, anywhere in the world today, is not anti-American? Is there anyone more dangerous than our typical ignorant, arrogant American “citizen,” who very likely couldn’t find America on a marked map of the world? Well, yes: the American military man, who is the most dangerous son of a bitch on the planet. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

I’m anti-American. I really wasn’t until I returned to Rhodesia in January, ’73 to join up and help in their struggle against Communist terrorists. I’d been down there in ’71 for discussions with the government on bringing Americans and others wanting to be part of a new country project based on a book by my boss, Michael Oliver, called A New Constitution for a New Country. The plan was to have a minimum of a hundred square miles with no taxes and no draft, replacing the former tax-haven in Freeport, Bahamas. Thousands of productive Americans and others were ready to relocate.

Mike’s real name was Olitsky and he was a Lithuanian Jew who’d fled into Germany to escape Stalin’s Red Army. He wound up in Dachau for four years. He introduced me to Holocaust Revisionism when I ventured to ask him about his experience. He shrugged and said, “It was a factory. We worked during the day and stayed in a dormitory at night.”

“But what about the, uh, the-”
“The what?”
“You know, the killings.”
“I never saw any of that.”

Four years in Dachau, never saw any of that. Okay. He did see the US Army “liberate” the camp in April, ’45. The SS and Alpine troops recuperating there had negotiated a surrender to the Americans, who entered the camp and started shooting the guys who thought they were surrendering. Then the Americans marched the surviving soldiers (all the prison guards had fled days earlier) up to a wall near the hospital and set up a machine gun. Three hundred forty-six German soldiers on R&R were slaughtered in a few minutes, five hundred twenty in all that morning. George Patton handled the cover-up and protected the war criminals. The army doctor on the scene, Col. Howard Buechner, described it in his book, Dachau: Hour of the Avenger. Of the 32,000 inmates freed, about 1,200 were Jews, including Mike.

My new country project discussions were with the Rhodesian minister of internal affairs, Jack Howman. He rather indignantly turned us down. Nevertheless, I did return and take part in their war against Communist terror. I suppose it was during those two years that I became reluctantly anti-American. Our country, the good old USA, supported the Communist war of terror against the Rhodesian people, black and white. Our country put Robert Mugabe in power, just as it put Nelson Mandela in power a few years later. Mandela was Member Number One of the South African Communist Party. America put every Communist party in power in every single Communist country since 1917. That includes Lenin & Trotsky, Mao Tse Tung, Kim Il-sung, Ho Chi Minh, Tito, Pol Pot and Fidel Castro. Our government kept Stalin in power from 1924 until his death in ’53. It went to war in ’41 to rescue Stalin from well-deserved German destruction. Billions (trillions in today’s worthless money) were given by America to save Soviet Communism.

An itinerant writer named Robert K. Brown came to Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1974 to interview me. He said he was freelancing for Esquire Magazine and Guns Magazine. He wanted to know what would make a Californian such as I come over to this little country in southern Africa and fight terrorism? The interview eventually appeared in the first issue (Summer ’75) of a strange magazine called “Soldier of Fortune.” I took Brown up to Mt. Darwin and introduced him to my farmer friends who were on the front lines of terrorism every day and night of their lives. I asked him not to quote me because I could be prosecuted for “mercenary activities” by the State Department. He quoted the hell out of me but changed my name to “Mitchell McNair.” But the point of this is that he told me what he did for the CIA back in the ’50s… Brown was in the CIA’s Special Forces and was part of the assassination team that murdered Rafael Trujillo in ’61. But in ’58 and ’59, Brown ran guns to Fidel Castro to assist in his coup against Fulgencio Batista. Once Castro came to power, the CIA pretended to be against Castro to justify its gigantic power-grab of the government. But Castro, along with every other Communist leader in the world, was put in power by the US government. Then our government exploited the “threat” presented by Communism to justify “defense spending” and lucrative no-win wars. Today, the Chicoms, those ultimate Communists, are our business partners and we have arranged for the anti-Communist Moslems to be our new worst enemies.

Brown’s magazine was funded by the CIA and was immediately put to use in recruiting mercenaries for their ludicrous operation in Angola. I called Brown in Boulder at one point to ask why the hell he was recruiting for the foul Angolan terrorist, Holden Roberto? He said lamely, “Well, the CIA likes him.” Any questions so far?

The more I studied US history over the next few years, the more I came to hate everything this country stands for, or pretends to stand for. American history turns out to be one gigantic lie, as phony as a Hollywood movie. In fact, all we have come to believe about ourselves has pretty much come from Hollywood. This is no exaggeration. The American myth was created by a few Russian Jews who ripped off Tom Edison’s film process in New Jersey and split for the coast to avoid prosecution. Neal Gabler wrote a book entitled An Empire of Their Own, How the Jews Invented Hollywood. The inescapable fact is that not only did they invent Hollywood, but the entire myth of America as the promised land.

For Russian Jews, it was. America was the land of milk, honey and suckers by the millions. Our self-image as Americans is a Jewish image. The slaughter and rip-off and exile of American Indians to Bantustans we call “reservations” was glamorized (authorized) by Hollywood Jews. The reality of this genocide makes American condemnation of Zionist genocide of Palestinians meaningless. That is, it would be meaningless if any American politician condemned Israel, which hasn’t happened yet. If we had some bacon we could have bacon and eggs, if we had some eggs.

The whole American experience is based on mass murder and land-grabs and lies (broken treaties). Not one treaty made by the US Army with the Indians was left unbroken. Maybe the one with the Yakimas, but I’m not sure about that. Up in this country where we live, you see the slogan once in a while, “Custer Had It Coming.” When you investigate what all he did to the Lakota, Cheyenne and others, such as mass murdering women and children, for no reason other than ethnic cleansing, you have to conclude that he and his war criminals definitely had it coming.

Custer worked for Phil Sheridan and Bill Sherman, both of whom are in the War Crimes Hall of Fame. Their crimes against the Southern people and the Indian people will turn your hair white with shock. American (Yankee) war of aggression and genocide are the bases of all modern total war. The buffalo were exterminated just to cripple the Plains Indians. To punish the Nez Perce for resisting another broken treaty, the army slaughtered thousands of their Appaloosa horses. The army put the Nez Perce in boxcars in the winter of ’77 and shipped them to Ft. Leavenworth. This is the actual American way.

I’ll skip over our genocidal adventures in the Philippines and our Jewish-engineered role in the Great War and go right to the World War, or rather its aftermath in Europe. Our mopping-up method is described above with the Dachau massacre of surrendered troops. Such sadistic butchery was encouraged by a 1941 book “highly recommended” to the troops by Franklin Roosevelt, a book by an obscure Jew in advertising named Theodore Kaufman, entitled “Germany Must Perish!” It was the basis for what became known as the Morgenthau Plan for Germany, which called for the extermination of a large percentage of Germans, the forced sterilization of the rest and the destruction of all industry or its removal to the Soviet Union, flooding all mines and turning Germany into a goat pasture. Henry Morgenthau was FDR’s Jewish treasury secretary. George Patton writes in his memoirs that Eisenhower gave Morgenthau his plan, which was eventually drafted by another Jew named Weiss (Harry Dexter “White”). Upon war’s end, Eisenhower put the plan into effect with his order to starve to death all captured German PoWs. This is documented in James Bacque’s Other Losses. Over a million German prisoners died eating grass and bugs out in open fields in the American starvation program from May to December, 1945.

Then, Ike starved millions more German civilians throughout that period ’til 1947, when the Cold War started and America needed Germany to pretend to fight our erstwhile ally, Stalin. This merciless starvation program is documented also by Bacque in his Crimes & Mercies. Naïve people have doubted this crime against humanity and asked, “Why didn’t the Germans complain, if what you say is true?” Answer: For one thing, the Germans are not a complaining people, the way Jews are. This is not a good thing, but it’s the way they are. They shut up and take it. But the real point is, to whom could they complain if they were complaining people? The Americans? The British, the Soviets, the French, all of whom were participants in the American genocide program? Bacque estimates that between nine and thirteen million Germans were slaughtered in Eisenhower’s starvation and forced exposure operation in two years.

Then there was the Eisenhower program officially called by the army, Operation Keelhaul. If you still think that being an American is a good thing, consider this one… During the war, millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Cossacks and others escaped from Soviet slave-terror into Italy, Austria, Yugoslavia and other countries. Many of them were Red Army soldiers captured by the German army at Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk and countless other battles and sent to PoW camps in Germany and Poland and Italy. The hysterical beast, Josef Stalin, who fled Moscow at the approach of the German army, gave the order that any Red Army soldier who surrendered was to be shot when the war was over. This was well-known. Nevertheless, Dwight Eisenhower broke all international laws regarding treatment of captured enemy forces and ordered the rounding up and handing over of these men and their families. Approximately five million of them were forced into boxcars by US Army soldiers at bayonet point and sent east to Hungary, where they were taken off the trains and either shot by the tracks or sent to the Gulag Archipelago to be worked to death over the next year. This was documented also by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his monumental record of Soviet/American bestiality. I have interviewed veterans who participated in this unimaginable betrayal of humanity.

Reportedly, the only photo on Ike’s Oval Office desk was one of Josef Stalin-autographed.

In 1956, our President Eisenhower encouraged the Hungarians to rise up and kick the Soviets out of Budapest, promising them American help if they showed they deserved it. So the Hungarians rose up and seized all the Jews that Khrushchev and Stalin had installed over them, hanging and shooting many hundreds, and forced the Soviets out of Budapest. Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs that he waited a couple of weeks for Eisenhower to follow through on his promise of aid, but it never came. So he ordered the tanks back in and the wiping out of the freedom fighters.

This is the actual American way, administered by respectable political pukes such as Dwight David Eisenhower, nicknamed in the 1915 West Point yearbook as “The Terrible Swedish Jew.”

We are just now learning what the army and air force did to the Koreans during the Korean War. Millions were slaughtered. We Americans wonder why the crazy North Koreans are so paranoid and ready to fight? We wonder because we don’t know what the hell our government did to those people in the 1950s. We have no idea that our government approved the Soviet occupation of North Korea in 1945, making it Communist in ’48. Then we drew an arbitrary line across the 38th parallel and created “South Korea” and prepared to go to war against “North Korea” when everyone was ready in 1950. War made to order with unbelievable profits to the bankers and “defense contractors.” 34,000 Americans killed – for what?

Viet Nam. Did you know that Ho Chi Minh was a US intelligence agent during World War II? He made his reports to the OSS at the Texaco office in Hanoi. Did you know that the American OSS installed Ho Chi Minh in power in the northern half of Indochina in 1945? An arbitrary line was drawn across the 17th parallel in ’54 and our northern puppet started the war against our southern puppet in ’59, which we of course lost in ’75. Another war made to order with unbelievable profits to the bankers and “defense contractors.” Millions of Vietnamese slaughtered by our wonderful boys, 58,000 of whom were also slaughtered – for what?

The United Nations is a US front. It was devised by American traitors in the Council on Foreign Relations in 1945 and has always been housed in New York. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the sixteen acres in Manhattan and built the edifice in 1951. Its first crime against humanity was the creation of the Israeli nation of parasites in 1948, while the UN was still headquartered on Long Island. The UN waged war against Rhodesia and South Africa throughout the ’60s and ’70s, always subsidized by American taxpayers. Most Americans don’t know or remember that the Korean War was fought by American soldiers under the blue and white flag of the United Nations.

And now, our wonderful boys are fighting for Israel against Moslems in Iraq and Afghanistan and secretly killing thousands in Pakistan and Yemen. These wars are based on Israeli lies stemming from their massacre of 9/11. Even though the American FBI director, Mueller, admitted there was no evidence of Moslem hijackers, we invaded Afghanistan. Americans don’t know that the Taliban were our guys until they objected to a Unocal pipeline being constructed across their country. Richard Armitage told them they could either have a carpet of gold (if they went along with the pipeline) or a carpet of bombs if they didn’t cooperate. They didn’t cooperate and virtually overnight, the Americans categorized them as the enemy, showering our gold on a rival group, the Northern Alliance. Our former friends, the Taliban, are kicking our butts, which is only fair. You invade someone’s country based on your own lies, you deserve to have your butt kicked.

Football star and millionaire Pat Tillman fell for the 9/11 legend and joined the Army Rangers to hunt down Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. But then he and his brother were sent to Iraq, which puzzled them both. Why Iraq? Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 (but neither did Osama or Afghanistan). Pat Tillman signed his own death warrant with his questions and complaints about invading Iraq. So he was sent back to Afghanistan to be silenced. In one of the dumbest excuses for a skirmish I’ve ever heard of, he was sent forward to engage with some non-existent enemy fighters. Then he was shot at by his own guys behind him. The odd thing is that his forehead had three .22 caliber bullet holes in it. The M-4 rifle shoots a .22, of course, but it’s a high-power, high-velocity .223 that does serious damage. The fact that his forehead had three .22 holes and wasn’t obliterated means he was executed with three low-powered. 22LR bullets from a pistol. The general in charge of the official heroic lies about enemy action and then “friendly fire” was Stanley McChrystal, an infamous black ops leader of The Secret Team and organizer of many, many assassinations.

And so, I’m anti-American. I suspect that if Pat Tillman were alive he’d be just as anti-American. Real patriots can get that way quickly when they realize they’ve been hustled.

Don’t start about the Constitution. Don’t tell me that if we just stuck to the Constitution we’d be in good shape. I’ve found that people who go on about the Constitution have never read it. They don’t understand that it’s just a seven-part plan for running the government. They don’t understand that it was crafted by Freemasons using Masonic lodge rules of order as a template. They don’t know or forgot that the founders sneaked the Constitution on us when they were supposed to modify the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the States.

The Bill of Rights was our friend and it was added by Patrick Henry and truly patriotic friends to protect us from the Constitutional government. But George Bush and his PATRIOT Act destroyed the Bill of Rights. Obama is a foreign-born CIA asset so he has no understanding of the Bill of Rights. Apparently both he and his strange wife lost their law licenses several years ago anyway and I suspect they missed Bill of Rights day in law school.

I’m not sure what it is about America that we’re expected to love. The government? The Federal Reserve? The IRS? Our banking system? Wall Street? How about our schools? The way we conduct our foreign policy? How about the CIA and sanctioned kidnapping, torture and false imprisonment and killing Israel’s enemies with our cowardly Predator flying death machines? Maybe the FBI, America’s number one terrorist organization?

Tell me, what is there to love? Our farms and Monsanto suicide seeds and all our fake food? Our labor unions that don’t try to protect American jobs? How about NAFTA that was jammed down our throats by Bill Clinton and Rush Limbaugh? You don’t remember that 1994 tag-team?

Maybe we should love Wal-Mart and all the Chinese junk inside. How about our great industries? Wait a minute-we don’t have any industries. They’re all in China.

Should we love our cities? How about the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. We really need a War on Warmongers and Profiteers. I won’t even ask if we’re supposed to love our politicians, our judges and our news media. Our ranches are nice, except the cattle are full of growth hormones and antibiotics.

Nope. Sorry. Nothing here to love, if we’re honest. Maybe if we brought our occupation forces home from the 120 countries they’re occupying, this country wouldn’t be so hateful. But there’s a gene in us that makes us extremely dangerous and destructive. We have been conditioned to view ourselves as exceptional-better than other people-and deserving of whatever other people have, such as land, gold, oil, water, whatever. You can see this gene metastasizing in the leaked videos of Americans slaughtering Iraqi civilians from our multi-million dollar attack helicopters. I say they’re ours because we’re on the hook for them.

Somebody is going to say, Well partner, you better love your right to shoot your mouth off and you can thank a veteran for that right. Uh, huh. You mean the guy over in Iraq, blowing away a family that misunderstood orders in a foreign language to stop at this goddamned roadblock (that wasn’t here yesterday)? You think I owe my free-speech right to a guy who spent the war spraying Agent Orange on foreign civilians? Do you think any of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights was reinforced by the crew of the Enola Gay? My old man was a marine in the first World War. I said to him, Man, you made the world safe for Democracy! He just looked at me, like, very funny.

It is not safe to shoot your mouth off these days and hasn’t been for a long time. The military is not making it any safer, in fact, just the opposite. The US military is breaking the law wholesale by acting as “law enforcement,” in complete violation of the law (Posse Comitatus). But shut my mouth, because there is no law anymore. We’re under the law of the gun, or Deuteronomy, which is the same thing.

Most people today are afraid even to READ my material, let alone comment on it. Let alone write something along these lines. Why do you suppose there’s so much fear in this country since 9/11? Is the military relieving this fear or reinforcing it? What about the reports that the military will be rounding up dissidents? Don’t believe them? They’re already illegally working as cops. The military does not protect ANYONE’s rights. The military kills people and destroys property. No American is safer because our military is killing Moslems in Iraq or Afghanistan-just the opposite. Not only is the military killing the world with depleted uranium munitions, but it is causing a blinding hatred of us. Just imagine armed thugs breaking into your house or your relative’s house and what it would do to your mind, assuming they didn’t blow you away because of the look of resentment on your face.

I discovered myself, years ago, that the FEMA camps are staffed by the 300th Military Police POW Command headquartered in Inkster, Michigan.

An honest American has to admit that he hates this country, not just the government. The government is a reflection of the people who pay for it. This country isn’t what you thought it was and it never has been. We’ve been conditioned to pledge allegiance to the flag and to the nation for which it stands, but what it stands for isn’t what Hollywood has had us believing since we were little kids.

All leaks are good, as long as they’re the real deal, not redacted or altered to make us support Israel. The only way we can survive is to know the truth about what government and the corporations have been secretly doing to us and others. The truth may be anti-American, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.


Taliban Exposed by Embedded Journalist in Riveting CNN Documentary

December 13, 2010

By Michael Hughes

CNN provided me with an advance copy of the film and helped arrange a discussion with the steel-nerved filmmaker, Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal, who risked his life embedding himself in a Taliban fighting unit in Kunar province – a move supposedly blessed by Taliban leadership.

However, as Refsdal described to CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the video, his heart-rending experience of going from invited guest to kidnap victim certainly forced him to question his decision.

Although Refsdal did escape, it was not before converting to Islam in an effort to save his own life after an Al Qaeda member informed him he would be executed as a spy. But it is interesting to note that, to this day, Paul still considers himself a Muslim.

Refsdal is no stranger to combat zones, spending the last 26 years reporting from the frontlines of intense conflicts the world over, including a trip to Afghanistan in 1984 when he covered the Mujahideen during their U.S.-funded jihad against the Soviets.

I asked Paul if he saw many differences between the Mujahideen of the 1980s and today’s Taliban holy warriors. Refsdal explained that while the Mujahideen had more advanced weaponry (as a result of U.S. funding via Pakistan’s intelligence service) – including RPGs and portable heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles called Stingers – they were less serious and less devout than the Taliban.

The Taliban seem more mature and take the conflict more seriously but, then again, they have no choice considering they’re fighting against the world’s most advanced combined military forces.

The Mujahideen, on the other hand, were fighting against a waning Soviet empire that used old tanks, refused to fight at night and bombed the countryside indiscriminately as opposed to employing more sophisticated guerilla tactics.

Refsdal was struck by how his hosts defied the popular depiction of the Taliban as narrow-minded fanatics. The Taliban commander was actually bound by Pashtunwali, the Pashtun moral code, to protect and treat his guest well because hospitality is a key virtue in Afghan tribal society (of course, the sub-commander broke these laws when he later kidnapped Paul for ransom – watch the documentary for the details).

Refsdal was able to capture their humanity on film during long hours of downtime between ambushes, showing the Taliban singing, praying and playing games to kill time, such as seeing who could throw a large stone the farthest.

Paul constantly asked them not to modify their behavior or routines in the least, because Refsdal was less interested in filming action scenes and more focused on capturing images such as the Taliban playing with their children – images that portrayed the realities of everyday life (which they didn’t quite understand).

The film also shows the Taliban readying for battle, and in one clip their commander gives a pep talk that is actually profound in light of the current debate in Washington surrounding the war’s rationale and validity. The commander posed a series of rhetorical questions to his troops:

“We [the Taliban] are fighting for our religion, our freedom, our honor and our land. What are their [NATO's] goals? For what purpose are they fighting us? Are they oppressed? Have they been treated unfairly? Are they living in a dictatorship?”

According to Refsdal, most Taliban are motivated to fight because of foreign occupation rather than jihadist ideology. Although Islam is important to them – it is but one aspect of their national identity.

The Taliban Paul met seem nationalistic – religion has nothing to do with why most of them joined the Taliban in the first place. As Paul told me:

“They are not fighting because of Islam or jihad – they are fighting against occupation. If they were all Hindus, the Afghans would still be trying to drive out the outsiders.”

During the film a Taliban commander mentioned that his funding came from Pakistan – which touches upon a very controversial issue between U.S. and Pakistani leaders. Paul said, from what he gathered, many of these contributions flowed in from Salafi Taliban spiritual leaders and businessmen based out of Peshawar, but he was unsure of (and they would never tell him) if Pakistani intelligence or military were involved.

Finally, I asked Paul when he looked around at the 30-year old weapons, dirt floors, and clay outposts, combined with the fact the Taliban never really train during downtime – was it hard to believe NATO hasn’t achieved its objectives?

He answered my question with a question – a good one at that: “What are NATO’s objectives?” And not unlike the type of questions posed by the Taliban commander cited earlier, I assumed Paul’s also was rhetorical in nature.

Michael Hughes writes similar articles as the Afghanistan Headlines Examiner and theGeopolitics Examiner for Examiner.com.


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