In better day Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen reviews Pakistani troops. Image via Wikipedia
It didn’t begin with the Haqqanis, or the attack on Kabul. It didn’t even begin with Operation Geronimo–it actually began when President Obama made the blunder of not visiting Pakistan and then going to Delhi. Trying to hide the failure of his administration to sign the Nuclear 123 deal he tried to appease the Indians by saying that he supported Delhi’s bid for the UNSC. He couldn’t had said anything worse.
The entire Pakistani nation was furious. The National Assembly was mad. The media was upset. There were demonstrations all over Pakistan–of course the US media missed it all. All of this was recorded on Rupee News. No American president had come across to biased, not Bush, not Nixon, not Johnson, not Kenney and not Reagan. They all tried to be even handed. Here was a president, with a middle name of Husein, who enjoyed tremendous popularity in Pakistan. Obama could have chased it on the equity he had with the Pakistanis. He however lost it all–because of his silly remarks, the loud mouth of his generals, the loose talk of his Secretary of State, and the exponential increase of drone bombings.
Why is that the American generals are so far off the mark when they begin to deal with the Pakistanis. The reason is that a mafia in Washington controls the access of information that reaches American policy makers. It is America’s fault too. They bank on the likes of Ahmed Rashid, the USAmbassador to Pakistan, Mr Haqqani, and Mr. Najam Sethi – plus a cabal of so called left wingers on the net—these guys are responsible for the failure of US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
US Pakistani relations have been deteriorating because of the heightened sense of frustration felt by the US Army in Afghanistan. Neither the surge, nor the increase in drone activity has helped increase the US footprint in Afghanistan. The Europeans have lost all appetite for the decade long quagmire in the Hindu Kush. The retiring American generals are leaving with a legacy of defeat. Unable to defeat the Afghan National Resistance (Talibs, Jamat e Islamai, Hizul Islmai, Haqqanis, Hikmatyar etc) — they needed a escape goat. They attempted to humiliate General Kayani and General Pasha–hoping that their resignations would allow them to deal with a more compliant COAS. They had tried that with Musharraf and had hoped that Kayani would do their bidding. It didn’t happen. Kayani walked half a mile with them–but would go no further. Like Ayub, Zia, and Musharraf, the US once again learned that the Pakistani Army will go only so far with them. When it comes to national interests, they go their own way. Ayub Khan threw them out of Badabare, Bhutto defied them and built the bomb, Zia fooled them and accelerated the Pakistani Nuclear program, and Musharraf hodd-winked them by doubling Pakistani nuclear bombs.
In the aftermath of the Abbotabad raid, General Kayani went to meet his corp commanders. He got an earful. This site also called for his resignation. Still reeling from what he had heard from the nation, he went to the army bases to listen to the “jawans’ (soldiers). The visceral response he got from the rank and file, probably surprised him also. It was the consensus of the army that they did not want American Aid and did not want the US to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs. The Chief or Army Staff then visited, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China. All branches of the government were brought on board and a strategy was created. There was a flurry of activity between Riyad, Beijing, Istanbul, Astana, and Moscow. Russia announced the formation of the Dushambe 4 (Tajiskistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia). General Kayani then got on the horn and pretty much turned down US military aid to Pakistan. He couched it in diplomatic language by saying that aid to the military should be transferred to the civilians. He then turned around sent all the US trainers home. His fellow general Pasha began hunting down the US operatives and began to hound them out. They Pakistanis knew what the reaction from the US would be. They knew that the American intelligence agencies as well as the defeated US Generals would be furious.
The Americans were left with no choice–they halted the 800 million in aid to the Pakistani military. They were banking on the advice given to them by Mr. Njam Sethi and gang. That line went as follows–”the generals are greedy, and the moment the aid is stopped, they will fold like a tent–begging Washington like poodles”. The US Generals took the advice of folks writing for dawn.com and dailytimes.com.pk and began to believe the “advice’ which was purchased with US Dollars.
Turns out, that that the Americans were wrong. The advice that they received was bogus and the US is now reeling from the consequences of inflamed Pakistanis, and the exponential growth of Anti-Americanism in Pakistan.
Of course the Bharati lobby in Congress is ecstatic, just like they are ever time they see an opportunity to hurt Pakistan. Hillary Clinton in one of her moments of sanity said that “The Pressler Amendment was one of the biggest blunders of American foreign policy”. General Petraeus (now the head of the CIA is known for his favorite anedtoe when he says, every Pakistan soldier knows what the Pressler Amendment is, and no US soldier has a clue what it is. Ted Poe a Respublican Representative was was spewing fire and brimsote the other day “Turns out they are disloyal, deceptive and a danger to the United States,” fumed Republican Representative Ted Poe last week. “We pay them to hate us. Now we pay them to bomb us. Let’s not pay them at all.” Pakistanis are praying for the day with the US Aid would be halted. The aid has strings and it has created more problems for Pakistan.
For many in Pakistan, Washington has been nothing short of perfidious since joining a strategic alliance with Pakistan 10 years ago– selectively bringing India into Afghanistan, installing an Anti-Pakistan government in Kabul, while allowing or supporting anti-Pakistan terrorists like the TTP.
John Chalmers in an analysis written for Reuters tries to explain why Pakistna is acting the way it is “The answer is that Pakistan wants to guarantee for itself a stake in Afghanistan’s political future.
- It knows that, as U.S. forces gradually withdraw from Afghanistan, ethnic groups will be competing for ascendancy there and other regional powers – from India to China and Iran – will be jostling for a foot in the door.
- Islamabad’s support for the Taliban movement in the 1990s gives it an outsized influence among Afghanistan’s Pashtuns, who make up about 42 percent of the total population and who maintain close ties with their Pakistani fellow tribesmen.
- In particular, Pakistan’s powerful military is determined there should be no vacuum in Afghanistan that could be filled by its arch-foe, India.
Chalmers says “Relations between Pakistan and the United States have been stormy ever since, culminating in a tirade by the outgoing U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Mike Mullen, last week. Mullen described the Haqqani network, the most feared faction among Taliban militants in Afghanistan, as a “veritable arm” of the ISI and accused Islamabad of providing support for the group’s September 13 attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.”
He accurately describes the mood in Pakistan “The reaction in Islamabad has been one of stunned outrage”. Washington has not gone public with evidence to back its accusation, and Pakistani officials say that contacts with the Haqqani group do not amount to actual support”.
Chalmer’s uses the sane advice of the most popular Pakistani leader today “However, Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricketer-turned-populist-politician, said this week that it was too much to expect that old friends could have become enemies overnight.
He told Reuters that, instead of demanding that Pakistan attack the Haqqanis in the mountainous border region of North Waziristan, the United States should use Islamabad’s leverage with the group to bring the Afghan Taliban into negotiations. ‘Haqqani could be your ticket to getting them on the negotiating table, which at the moment they are refusing,” Khan said. “So I think that is a much saner policy than to ask Pakistan to try to take them on’.”
Chalmers correctly describes the regional game–about which we have written multiple time here on Rupee News.
- The big risk for the United States in berating Islamabad is that it will exacerbate anti-American sentiment, which already runs deep in Pakistan, and perhaps embolden it further.
- C. Raja Mohan, senior fellow at New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research, said Pakistan was probably gambling that the United States’ economic crisis and upcoming presidential elections would distract Washington.
- “The real game is unfolding on the ground with the Americans. The Pakistan army is betting that the United States does not have too many choices and more broadly that the U.S. is on the decline, he said.
- It is also becoming clear that as Pakistan’s relations with Washington deteriorate, it can fall back into the arms of its “all-weather friend,” China, the energy-hungry giant that is the biggest investor in Afghanistan’s nascent resources sector.
Chalmer’s is right about the regional angle which has been part of our prescient forecasting for the past several years. LIke Rupee News, most Pakistanis see Central Asia as the future of Pakistan ‘Pakistani officials heaped praise on Beijing this week as a Chinese minister visited Islamabad. Among them was army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the country’s most powerful man, who spoke of China’s “unwavering support.’
Chalmer’s is also right about Islamaba’s burgeoning relations with Iran:
- “In addition, Pakistan has extended a cordial hand to Iran, which also shares a border with Afghanistan. Teheran has been mostly opposed to the Taliban, which is dominated by Sunni Muslims while Iran is predominantly Shi’ite. But Iran’s anti-Americanism is more deep-seated.
- “My reading is the Iranians want to see the Americans go,” said Raja Mohan, the Indian analyst. “They have a problem with the Taliban, but any American retreat will suit them. Iran in the short term is looking at the Americans being humiliated.”
Chalmer’s like most Indian analysts is under the impression that the Pakistani Army goes against the grain of what Pakistanis think. It cannot. The Army gets its strength from the folks that man it–if they army took up stances that are unpopular with the people, the Army could not sustain those stances. Even Mushaarraf understood that, and by attempting to fire the Chief Justice–he lost the support of the people and had to resign. For most Bharatis the Pakistani army is the culprit and their favorite whipping boy. Even though many corrupt practices have crept into the cadre, the fact remains that the army is a professional fighting force, and is the front line organization in the defense of Pakistan. Today, more so than ever, almost all political parties (from the leftis ANP, to the rightist JI) all stand behind it.
In this game of chicken, America, by suspending aid to the Pakistani Army has now lost all leverage on the Generals. Pakistan is not dependent on US arms anymore. America does not provide Islamabad the latest arms, and Pakistan can get plenty of 2nd tier arms from China or build them itself.
|The battle of Mawand was "one of the most serious defeats ever sustained in the Britisn Army in India." It was a product of what used to be called "The Great Game," the squabble with Russia in which all forms of political skullduggery were employed to maintain influence over the Afghans and the troublesome tribes of the North-west frontier of India.
The Great Game is on, a defeated army is withdrawing from the graveyard of empires. Its defeated generals are desperate and their frustration can be heard in the howling in the news media and the halls of Congress. Mullen will not win any Congressional Medals of Honor. He will melt away ignominiously into the woodwork–he will write a book, become rich and no one will ever hear of him again. After all, does anyone remember the name of the general who was defeated in Vietnam?
The people of Afghanistan and Pakistan remember the name of the man who defeated the British Army at Maiwand. Millions of Afghans and Pakistanis are named Ayub Khan. President Ayub Khan was also named after the famous Ayub Khan who defeated the mighty British Army–and the Khan sent one surviving soldier back to the Khyber pass riding a donkey.
Source: Times of Kabul