Monday, April 27, 2009

American Policies Alienating Pakistanis

WASHINGTON: The United States has alienated Pakistan by demanding that they divert troops from the Indian border to fight the Taliban, says former US ambassador to Islamabad Robert Oakley.

‘We’ve alienated them tremendously. Whether we agree or not, the Pakistanis consider India to be the biggest threat to their security,’ Oakley told a US think-tank, the Atlantic Council.

Oakley, who served in Islamabad from 1988 to 92, also criticized the restrictions proposed in a congressional bill on US aid to Pakistan.

‘What we’re calling ‘benchmarks’ remind them very much of the ‘sanctions’ they had hanging over their heads for so many years,’ he said.

Ahmed Rashid, a leading Pakistani journalist and Taliban expert, said that the United States would do well to set more general parameters for aid.

Rashid told another US think-tank, the Jamestown Foundation, that he was ‘absolutely shocked’ by the conditions in drafts of the US congressional aid bill to his country.

‘No political government can accept a bill like this in Pakistan, even if it is on its knees -- which it is, economically speaking,’ he said.

The proposed restrictions require Pakistan to improve its relations with India, whether New Delhi reciprocates those efforts or not. Pakistan also needs to undertake not to support any person or group involved in activities meant to hurt India.

Another proposed requirement will allow US investigators access to individuals suspected of engaging in nuclear proliferation, such as Dr AQ Khan.

Oakley, in his interview to the Atlantic Council, also criticized the US drone attacks inside Pakistan.

The US, he said, needed to ask itself: ‘Are we creating more terrorists than we’re killing?’ And the drone attacks, he said, were probably creating more terrorists.

‘The drones may be killing a lot of Taliban and al Qaeda but they’re alienating the tribesmen we need to win the war,’ he said.

‘We’ve pushed the Pakistani army to fight our war and created a huge backlash. They’re not trained or equipped for counterterrorism and they’re getting killed and killing the wrong people, essentially fighting their own.’

Oakley said that right now, the Pakistani military had control over their nukes. ‘But, if the Islamists gain ground, who knows what’s going to happen?’ he asked.

Oakley was also unhappy with the current Pakistani leadership, particularly the president. They were ‘both incompetent and corrupt and had no clue on the economic side of things.’

Oakley said that unless the US contained the problem in Pakistan, ‘we don’t have any chance in Afghanistan.’

At the Jamestown Foundation, analyst Shuja Nawaz said the Obama team did not make a positive impression during their last two visits to Islamabad.

‘This was probably the worst ever visit by an American team to South Asia in history,’ said Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council. ‘It was a complete disaster.’

If this is how the Obama planned to ‘win friends, I just wonder how you are going to create enemies,’ he said.

Nawaz faulted US special envoy Richard Holbrooke and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen for publicly demanding that Pakistan’s civilian President Asif Ali Zardari rein in elements of the intelligence service believed to support extremists.

Stephen P. Cohen, an expert on South Asia at the Brookings Institution, said that the United States has made excessive demands of a weak Pakistani leadership -- from fighting extremists to safeguarding its nuclear program to treating women better and reforming its economy.

‘If we think that they can do everything, they will wind up doing nothing well.’

At a separate seminar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Khalid Aziz, a former chief secretary of NWFP who heads the Regional Institute of Policy Research, screened ‘Cries of Anguish,’ a short documentary about Fata.

The film recounted the many unsuccessful foreign attempts to conquer the region. It also focused on the tribal society of FATA’s 3.5 million ethnic Pashtuns.

A major theme of the documentary was FATA’s lack of development, which the film’s commentators attributed to the region’s inaccessibility but also to a lack of funds from Islamabad.

While development aid has increased in recent years, this assistance was now threatened by the rapid spread of extremism.

The documentary depicted FATA’s Pashtuns as demoralized, their hopes shattered ‘for reasons beyond their control’ and their lives threatened ‘by a war not of their own asking.’

After the film, Aziz addressed what he described as the ‘burning issue:’ How to pacify the region.

He noted that, historically, ‘scorched earth’ campaigns and other strictly military approaches had failed. More ‘indirect political approaches,’ however, had succeeded.

Aziz said that current pacification policies, such as the use of unmanned US drones, had increased radicalization not just in FATA but across all of Pakistan.

Aziz offered a range of solutions: Strong US rhetoric should be tempered, while better trust should be promoted between the American and Pakistani militaries. Tight border controls should be introduced. Counterinsurgency methods should be better implemented. Pakistani institutions should be strengthened.

And as for the drones, Aziz acknowledged their effectiveness and value. He championed their continued use -- though under a Pakistani flag.

Source: Dawn.com

Related Links:

Is Pakistan America's Biggest Problem?

India and Balochistan

Obama's New Regional Strategy

Webchat On Obama's New Regional Strategy

Obama's Afghan Exit Strategy

Obama's Interview with CBS 60 Minutes

Obama's New Regional Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

US Escalating Covert War in Pakistan?

Can India "Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?

20th Anniversary of Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan

Taming the ISI: Implications for Pakistan’s Stability and the War on Terrorism

Growing Insurgency in Swat

Afghan War and Collapse of the Soviet Union

US, NATO Fighting to Stalemate in Afghanistan?

FATA Faceoff Fears

FATA Raid Charades

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

India a threat to pakistan is a old wine in a new bottle. Probably that sell well internally but not anymore with the international community.

It is a open secret that the pakistan has been waging proxy war in the name of kashmir freedom. This has been thoroughly exposed by the hurriyat boycott failure in the kashmir election last year.

America is using pakistan as its test ground for the drone perfection. further they will be instigated more the by the israelly lobby for the destruction of pakistan who is the only nuclear power in the islamic countries.

In fact the best part for the pakistan and america is to run the country throw miltary which will run the country with a good agenda rather than the corrupt politicians. Many expat pakistani friend feel this way rather than to depend on the democractic leader invariable corrupt to the core.

Anonymous said...

Oakley sounds like a grumpy old dude - another Jimmy Carter, only more pissed-off. If this Oracle of Wisdom would provide us lesser mortals with his roadmap to peace we're all ears.

The India-specific clauses in the bill were surprising. Obviously, the framers are expecting Indian economic and possibly military backing once Barry Obama cuts and runs from Afghanistan.

As for blaming America for "alienating Pakistanis": seems like many Pakistanis have an entitlement mindset. Like America - and the world - owes them in perpetuity for help in vanquishing the Evil Empire. Well guess what - ain't happening. Pakistan, the once-shining anti-commie asset now looks increasingly toxic. So we're left with a severe mismatch of expectations: Pakistanis expect eternal gratitude to tide over its "minor issues"; the rest of the world is trying to limit the fallout of this radioactive situation. The Pakistani state, and many of its people need to recognize that even their best "friends" - like China - want to limit the interaction to only what's absolutely necessary.

Anonymous said...

I just dunno for how many decades Pakistan will depend on alms doled by USA. They are so accustomed to rasing a bogey about anything and extract those precious dollars from them.

I am an Indian first and Muslim later. We Indians have learnt it hard way. Suggest Pakistan also must learn to survive without any dole from so called developed nation. Come on guys, its been 62 years that you became independent, and still dreaming of assistance from a third country.

I am happy that my forefathers did not migrate to Pakistan, atleast my children are growing in open and free society and a country they really love.

Maqsood Ahmed,
Bangalore

Riaz Haq said...

Maqsood Ahmed: "Suggest Pakistan also must learn to survive without any dole from so called developed nation. Come on guys, its been 62 years that you became independent, and still dreaming of assistance from a third country."

I think you are misinformed as to aid to India. India has received and continues to receive far more aid than Pakistan. Hunger and poverty in India is far more prevalent than in Pakistan. Please read some of my posts with all data and references and educate yourself.

"I am happy that my forefathers did not migrate to Pakistan, atleast my children are growing in open and free society and a country they really love."

I understand the situation you are in. I hope you are doing well. But again, please educate yourself about the plight of Muslims in India...compare it with those who migrated to Pakistan. Real knowledge (not hype about shining India) will help you think more clearly.

Anonymous said...

Riaz-the answer for you as Indian Muslim is and will for ever be this-we are very thankful for not migrating to Pakistan.I rather be called an Indian before a Muslim.After 60 years of nationhood-single greatest failure and actually failed concept I would say is that-none of my Pakistani friends have a feeling for nationhood of pakistan -reason the fragile idea of religion for nation hood. Pakistan has literally failed in every arena of life not in any one particular area. The idea of it achieving stability is fools dream.The solution is division into smaller states based on ethnicity and US should work with Afghanistan and NATO for this. Indians are not wanting any more of stable Pakistan for stable India idea!!.
Riaz-you may say this a bad idea or we Indians are bad-but as early as 1990-Indians knew that Pakistan was bound to fail but not this fast.If you read the excellent wording above that mentions the atitude of Pakistanis to themselves and the world- Pakistanis expect eternal gratitude for minor issues-I would add Pakistan eternally blame the world for their incompetency and mistakes!!!!
I will add one thing at the end-India or world cannot help you enough to come out of this deep ravine that you have dug for yourselves.This ravine is lined with religious evil creatures and will only be possible by its creators. No amount of peace will create trust between Indians and pakistanis as we are very different in what we believe-It has nothing to do with Kashmir anyday!!! India can definitely show some pity at your nations religious perversion-while knowing you do not even understand the idea of nationhood
Abbas Ali
Hyderabad

Riaz Haq said...

Abbas: "the answer for you as Indian Muslim is and will for ever be this-we are very thankful for not migrating to Pakistan."

I am glad to hear you are doing well personally and I wish you well in the future as well.

Unfortunately, however, that is not case for tens of thousands of Indian Muslims who have been brutally killed, gang-raped, tortured and jailed or millions living in sub-human conditions and treated worse than than the untouchables, the lowest-caste Hindus who have historically been the victims of the inhumane caste system in India. In fact, Muslims in India are "the new untouchables", in the words of Indian-American journalist Asra Nomani.

Just read the Sacahar commission report or Pankaj Mishra or Arundhati Roy or review twocircles.net stories about how the Indian criminal justice systems treats minorities in India...especially Muslims who have been hounded, tortured, jailed under the guise of war on terror since 911....just because they are Muslims rather than any of their actions.

While the Hindu Indians are doing significantly better than Muslim Indians, even they suffer from hunger, malnutrition and poverty in much larger percentages than Pakistanis.

India, often described as peaceful, stable and prosperous in the Western media, remains home to the largest number of poor and hungry people in the world. About one-third of the world's poor people live in India. More than 450 million Indians exist on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. It also has a higher proportion of its population living on less than $2 per day than even sub-Saharan Africa. India has about 42% of the population living below the new international poverty line of $1.25 per day. The number of Indian poor also constitute 33% of the global poor, which is pegged at 1.4 billion people, according to a Times of India news report. More than 6 million of those desperately poor Indians live in Mumbai alone, representing about half the residents of the nation's financial capital. They live in super-sized slums and improvised housing juxtaposed with the shining new skyscrapers that symbolize India's resurgence. According to the World Bank and the UN Development Program (UNDP), 22% of Pakistan's population is classified as poor.

There is widespread hunger and malnutrition in all parts of India. India ranks 66th on the 2008 Global Hunger Index of 88 countries while Pakistan is slightly better at 61 and Bangladesh slightly worse at 70.

Indian media's headlines about the newly-minted Indian billionaires need to bring sharper focus on the growing rich-poor gap in India. On its inside pages, The Times of India last year reported Communist Party leader Sitaram Yechury's as saying that "on the one hand, 36 Indian billionaires constituted 25% of India’s GDP while on the other, 70% of Indians had to do with Rs 20 a day". "A farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes. The gap between the two Indias is widening," he said. Over 1500 farmers committed suicide last year in the central state of Chhattisgarh alone.

I invite you to read more of my posts about India and Pakistan. They may or may not change your mind, but I'm sure you'll learn a few things you can't learn from the Indian or Western media reports or books.

Anonymous said...

yes all these Pakistanis concerned about Indian extremism are crazy:

"Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over."

http://www.brookings.edu/speeches/2009/0409_pakistan_cohen.aspx

Anonymous said...

Riaz

I have a suggestion a good guy like probably must apply for indian citizen ship on the basis of common ancestor. Otherwise i must say you are an eternally optimistic guy sitting away of the border of pakistan and wishing it to change well.

Best of luck.

Naveen KS said...

No one is disputing the fact about poverty in India but compared to Pakistan we Indians have a better future and sooner or later we will come out winners.

Sachar report cannot be taken as a benchmark of Muslim deprivation in India coz it was basically commissioned for vote bank politics of the Congress Party. Yes there is deprivation among the Muslims of India just like it is among the other sections of Indians but as India grows, opportunities will open up for every section of Indians to prosper..The same cannot be said of Pakistan as of now.

Our Muslims live in a free society where the Sunnis, Shias, Ahmedias all live without fear of persecution or being victims of suicide bombers. Yes there are riots in India but not on any scale as u have described above. But then both communities suffer in the riots. As long as the communities let the self-appointed leaders of their communities use them for their narrow ends, such riots will happen from time to time but at the end of the day the victims can look forward to our courts to give them a impartial and just justice which I am afraid is not available for the Shias, Ahmedias, Hindus Christians of Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

In fact, Muslims in India are "the new untouchables", in the words of Indian-American journalist Asra Nomani.Riaz, it's fascinating how you cling to your theory even when they don't match the facts. If it satisfies your need to pull India down to Pakistan's level then so be it. You refuse to accept what Abbas and Maqsood are making plain. This reader is an Indian Christian. Pakistan is a cautionary tale about what India could have been and thankfully avoided. It's the primary reason folks like us are grateful for a (very flawed) secular India. My Sikh in-laws witnessed (and survived) the 1984 anti-Sikh riots (much worse than Gujarat) and have not forgiven the folks responsible for that. Over a period of time though, they've rationalized it as the evil perpetrated by a few, and not representative of the vast majority of Indians. All this does not mean Muslims and Christians are not discriminated against. What's important is the system is - for the most part - self-healing.

If you're going to continue dismissing real peoples' experiences by using carefully selected "statistics" and "reports", know that you're severely out of touch. Rain all you want on this parade. Probably won't affect the optimism you see on display here. You've got to ask yourself why members of the so-called "oppressed minorities" are at such pains to refute your one-dimensional portrayal of an India that we certainly understand at a more intuitive level than you do.

sameer said...

riaz sahab,
right now, its true that the internal situation in pakistan is internally messed up and we have no one to blame but our stupid leaders, both civilian and military. The only reason why india is gaining international sympathy is mostly because of our internal faults. However, the indians have been working hard behind the scenes for many years to convince the international community, especially, the UN,US,UK and EU to gain international sympathy. Unfortunately, our leaders never focused on letting democracy,rule of law, and freedom of media and judiciary to flourish and to make things more worse, have manipulated islam to further their own personal agendas rather than to promote national interests. Today, we are reaping the fruits of such actions. The truth is, pakistan is still not a free country. Pakistani govt. is taking billions of dollars from US,UK, saudi and other countries but is obliged to them and cannot make independent decisions. Neither do we still have a true democracy because if we did, the parliament should be able to call musharraf for hearings in the parliament and question him about the deal he made with america regarding drone attacks in pakistan, the deal he made regarding quietly picking up pakistani citizens and selling them to america such as aafia siddiqui--- even now, zardari is not being open about the drone attack agreement. Why is not this issue being openly debated in parliament and zardari being questioned what clandestine deal he is following ever since musharraf left office?? and now the govt. has finally admitted after lots of pressure that there is a foreign hand in the unrest in swat and baluchistan and has even named india,afghanistan and russia---while i have no doubt that these countries are involved but are these the only three countries involved or are there more countries as well and if yes, who are they??? Unless, the pakistani govt. doesnt openly answer or account for these questions, and doesnt set national priorities, pakistan will face even more difficulties in the future---The govt. needs to spend money to further national interests rather than waste it on petty politics. For example, they should spend money to train young lawyers and geo-political specialists and post them in various important countries and organizations abroad to explain and argue pakistani govt.'s positions on various issues, such as democracy, war on terror, relations with india etc---these trained people can counter anti-pakistani bias and sentiments promoted by hostile think tanks and organizations and can effectively lobby on pakistan's behalf regardless of which govt. is in power in pakistan. These people should sit in US senate hearings and sub-committess and explain pakistan's position much like the indian caucus in america does. same thing in other countries and forums such as UN and EU. Also a bridge should be built with pakistani diaspora in different countries as they are very much educated and financially well-off especially in america and europe to promote pakistan's image.

Anonymous said...

@sameer sahab

You are getting the fundamental wrong. You are still trying to patch up an anti-india sentiments. You are yet to outgrow the hate. You sow hate you reap hate. Nothing else. Who dig graves for other goes to sleep there. These are all eternal laws irrespective of religion.

They must train people to get development. Make pakistan a market for the international business. Automatically all countries will respect pakistan. Beggers are pitied but never respected. So get the fundamental right rather than the anti-india hatred.

Further it is the people of pakistan who has to change that will automatically change the politicians. Politicians are a class who are rogues irrespectgive of their nationality, caste creed religion.

People have to look up into the future rather than look at the medival practices.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "If you're going to continue dismissing real peoples' experiences by using carefully selected "statistics" and "reports", know that you're severely out of touch."

Personal, anecdotal evidence is a poor substitute for real scientific data and direct comparison on the ground. I have not only studied the available data (not media hype) but also personally visited both nations several times over the years to see reality on the ground. And my conclusion is that, in spite of Pakistan's mounting challenges, an average Pakistani enjoys a better life than an average Indian.

Anonymous said...

@sameer

Indians abroad have few instances to feel ashamed like gujarat or kandhamal where as pakistani have a continuous stream which is contribued by the corrupt politicans or power hungry militrary or islamic fundamentalist people.

Further the free lunch from usa is over for the anticommunist assitance. Today they are looking at pakistan for the safety of nuclear weapon. Otherwise they are not bothered. AT this jucnture they donot have any requirement of pakistan politically or ecnomically. So pakistan has to start looking at their own survival in their own interest shredding their inhibitions. They have to look at controlling the population, educating the masses and providing them employment so that they are not moving towards extremism.

Anonymous said...

Riaz

Enjoyment is state of mind. Hence the pakistan are enjoying the company of the taliban and the medival practice. What u said is right, kadi sa pyar uaho pari kaya cheez hai.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After all beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Sinple test is how many pakistanis who are well off are ready to go back to pakistan. Run simple poll in your site that will tell bring out the truth. Track the remittance of pakistani to country, would be the second parameter.

Anonymous said...

"an average Pakistani enjoys a better life than an average Indian."

Did you actually write that with a straight face?

For all your love for Sachar Report, you are clearly bullshitting and just taking part of the data and failing to put things in perspective.
There's no sense in taking the Muslim representation in civil services being low (4.8%) at face value, without considering the fact that of the total candidates who appear for the civil services exams, 4.9% of them are Muslims.
Ever wondered why the percentage of Muslims get lower and lower from Std.X to Std.XII to graduation to post-graduation... Its because Muslims students drop-out. Females, much more so. Not because of some institutional discrimination.
Another line from the Sachar committee that 'intellectuals' like to quote is "Muslim workers are paid less than their counterparts from other communities." What they deliberately miss out on is a line from the same Sachar report that goes, "A large part of the difference is likely to be due to the nature of the private sector enterprises themselves, with the Muslims being engaged in smaller and informal jobs and thereby low productivity enterprises." And they love to call this 'discrimination'.
And whats with all this "Muslims are in worser condition than SC/ST"? The parameters used were mean per capita expenditure (MPCE) and head count ratio (HCR). Since you claim to have 'analysed' the Sachar report, I am sure you would know what MPCE and HCR means. The all India average for the MPCE (Sachar report) was Rs 712. The figures for Muslims, OBC’s and SC/ST’s were 636, 645 and 520 respectively. The overall HCR for the country was 22.7 % with individual figures for SC/ST’s, Muslims and OBC’s being 35, 31 and 21 percent respectively.
Next time, make sure that you do some real analysis before quoting it randomly.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "For all your love for Sachar Report, you are clearly bullshitting and just taking part of the data and failing to put things in perspective.
There's no sense in taking the Muslim representation in civil services being low (4.8%) at face value, without considering the fact that of the total candidates who appear for the civil services exams, 4.9% of them are Muslims."

Have you ever wondered why only 4.8% get to the point of taking civil service exam? Why so many drop out of schools? Clearly not!

The kind of arguments you offer to justify the plight of Muslims have been offered and debunked in the United States with respect to minorities here. Your arguments are nothing short of blaming the victims for institutionalized discrimination far worse than discrimination against blacks in the US for centuries. Heck, Muslims are even afraid for their lives after officially-backed massacres and rapes in Gujarat. Thousands are still languishing in refugee camps while the killers remain free seven years after the deadly riots that claimed at least 2000 Muslim lives. These facts are well documented and well known.

Anonymous said...

Raiz

If the indian muslim wants a large family either he has to earn or his children has to earn. India is not rich enough to fund ever growing population. So the second one comes that is children leave job to support the family. That is more their belief and if they want that way nothing can be done. Probably some islamic brother hood country can donate money for them if they really want to.

Dhananjay said...

"Have you ever wondered why only 4.8% get to the point of taking civil service exam? Why so many drop out of schools? Clearly not!"

I am curious to know 'your reasoning' as to why so many Muslims drop-out of schools? I really am.
And I wont even try justifying the Gujarat carnage. That would be the worst thing to do. I am as big a Modi-hater as there can be. But, if you think that Modi hasnt been punished because the victims were Muslims, then you are clearly wrong. For the last sixty years in India, a whole lot of criminals have gone scot-free irrespective of who the victims have been. Does that mean even Modi should? Absolutely not. But, it is proof of India's flawed justice system. It is high-time 'intellectuals' like you saw things without the religion-tinted glasses and stopped riding on the discrimination bandwagon.

Anonymous said...

Precisely. Even in the congress rule for the last fourty five years, riots have happened and invariable the ruling people were involved and went scot free. Thanks to the media which is making these thinks more transparent and make the people aware. they can have the trp rating on the same.

Anonymous said...

Can I assume that you dont have any 'arguments' for "why so many Muslims (especially, girls) drop out of school"?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Can I assume that you dont have any 'arguments' for "why so many Muslims (especially, girls) drop out of school"?"

I don't think there has been any serious study done in India to investigate human deprivation. But my guess is that it has to do with the disproportionate unemployment, hunger and poverty among Indian Muslims which has been documented by Sachar Commission.

Anonymous said...

India has its own problems about violation of religious freedom, but it doesn't make it to the 'esteemed' list of countries where there are 'ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom' in the words of the USCIRC. No prizes for guessing which country makes it to the list, though. Here's the link - http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1456&Itemid=59

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting report in Pak Observer about ISI Chief's confrontation with CIA chief in Pakistan:

After my four hour long informal interaction with Admiral Mike Mullen, the most powerful man in uniform and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the multi-barrel gun directed at Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the residence of US Ambassador on the rainy evening of April 6, 2009, I had in my comments mentioned that now the ISI was the immediate target of the US Establishment. This was no “breaking news” at all as every one who keeps an eye on the ongoing war on terror knew well that US was hell-bent on (i) getting the Pakistan Army sucked in the domestic turmoil in Swat, FATA and beyond Waziristan, and (ii) reining in what the US calls “rogue elements” in the ISI.

There are confirmed reports that to achieve its objectives the CIA hired the services of at least a dozen Afghan warlords inside Afghanistan and provided through them arms and finances to militants in FATA and Swat to carry out murders and devastations in the country. It was like a double-edged sword not only to get the Army launch attacks against Taliban on Pakistani side of the border but also to give a message to the ISI that the CIA can use the Pakistani Taliban against their own security forces. It was in this background that after a long, long tolerance the prime intelligence agency of the country ultimately confronted the CIA Director Leon E. Panetta with some highly classified and irrefutable evidence. Panetta was startled when DG, ISI General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, a no-nonsense General, placed the facts before him in Islamabad on November 20, 2009. The “deliberate leaks” after the meeting of the spy chiefs of the two countries, spoke of the mind of the ISI and the armed forces of Pakistan. General Pasha had earlier conveyed the facts about the interference of CIA in acts of terrorism in Pakistan to the Government but on realizing that either the message was not strongly conveyed to the Americans or it had no desired impact on them, finally put his foot down and expressed serious concerns over the CIA's crude interference in the country's internal matters. The proof about instances of covert US support to some hardened militant outfits and terrorist activities they carried out over the past few weeks and months, was presented to Panetta. It was indeed a startling revelation for the top US spy and a bold manoeuvre of Pakistan Army. General Pasha's tactical move baffled Panetta when he was told in categorical terms that Pakistan had incriminating evidence about the CIA officials' involvement in providing assistance to perpetrators of some terrorist activities within Pakistan, which had negative impact on Pakistan's efforts towards war on terror and that the CIA must shun such activities. The clarity with which the information was conveyed sent a loud message to Capitol Hills that if it wanted Pakistan's cooperation in the war on terror, it must give up playing double games. It is a known fact that the Indian intelligence agency RAW is operating in Afghanistan with the active backing of CIA and not only is it involved in acts of terrorism in the NWFP but also in Balochistan. The Indians cannot undertake such wide-scale activities in this region without the tacit approval and backing of the CIA. The question arises how come India has developed a huge presence in Kabul.

Riaz Haq said...

Lately, there have been some arrests of American-Muslim and Pakistani-American youths on suspicions of terror. The Internet has been identified as a tool for radicalization and proposals made to deal with it. Here's an interesting post by Reem Salahi in HuffingtonPost on this subject:

Yet even in cases where agent provocateurs were not employed, the reality is that the government and media have too long treated Islam and Muslims as a homogeneous, non-dynamic, suspect group. Whenever a Muslim engages in a criminal act, the individual is always qualified by his religious background. Very rarely do we see similar treatment of non-Muslims. For example, I have never read an article describing Timothy McVeigh as the Christian white man. But nearly every article on Nidal Hasan qualifies him as a Muslim and Palestinian within the first few sentences.

As a consequence, Muslims are forced to account for the (negative) actions of a fourth of the world's population. Ironically, I have never been congratulated for the positive actions of other fellow Muslims. The acts of a few bad apples or even a few misguided youth become the norm and not the exceptions. Put differently, it would be like suspecting that every White high school student was prone to commit a massacre as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the killers at Columbine High School, did.

The reality is that the discourse on radicalization and homegrown terrorism is fundamentally racist and Islamophobic. It is based on seeing Muslims as the "other" and viewing our actions through an "orientalist" lens which frames any Muslim's questionable action as terrorism. Hence, a Muslim overstaying an immigration visa or improperly filing taxes or even paintballing becomes evidence of terrorism and radicalization, justifying the government's infiltration of our mosques, surveillance of our youth groups, and mapping of our populations. Maybe, just maybe, Muslims don't need to be understood by a different rubric than other populations. Further, by framing Muslims as terrorists and as the internal enemy within, the government and media have alienated and disenfranchised many law-abiding Muslims who seek nothing more than to actually live "unremarkable" lives.

Those in the media, in the government, and in Muslim organizations who have jumped on the bandwagon, you have missed the boat. Muslims and Muslim youth are not intrinsically prone to radicalization through the aid of the internet, just as White youth are not intrinsically prone to commit massacres or lynch ethnic minorities in solidarity with the KKK. Rather, the problem is the media and the government's continued vilification and the consequential disenfranchisement of the Muslim community. It is the government's infiltration of mosques and community centers with informants and agent provocateurs. It is the FBI's prolonged fishing expeditions and false prosecutions of many innocent Muslims. And it is an ever-worsening foreign policy that wastes away our tax dollars on killing innocent civilians throughout the world. So please stop parroting the misguided construct of homegrown terrorism and Islamic radicalization as the problem, when the real problem is xenophobia couched in politically correct terms.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story on Obama's "kill list":

Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve.

In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.

They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. While he was adamant about narrowing the fight and improving relations with the Muslim world, he has followed the metastasizing enemy into new and dangerous lands. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”

His first term has seen private warnings from top officials about a “Whac-A-Mole” approach to counterterrorism; the invention of a new category of aerial attack following complaints of careless targeting; and presidential acquiescence in a formula for counting civilian deaths that some officials think is skewed to produce low numbers.

The administration’s failure to forge a clear detention policy has created the impression among some members of Congress of a take-no-prisoners policy. And Mr. Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that the C.I.A.’s strikes drive American policy there, saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people,” a colleague said.
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Dennis C. Blair, director of national intelligence until he was fired in May 2010, said that discussions inside the White House of long-term strategy against Al Qaeda were sidelined by the intense focus on strikes. “The steady refrain in the White House was, ‘This is the only game in town’ — reminded me of body counts in Vietnam,” said Mr. Blair, a retired admiral who began his Navy service during that war.

Mr. Blair’s criticism, dismissed by White House officials as personal pique, nonetheless resonates inside the government.

William M. Daley, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff in 2011, said the president and his advisers understood that they could not keep adding new names to a kill list, from ever lower on the Qaeda totem pole. What remains unanswered is how much killing will be enough.

“One guy gets knocked off, and the guy’s driver, who’s No. 21, becomes 20?” Mr. Daley said, describing the internal discussion. “At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?”


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts og a Guardian story on US drones targeting rescuers in Pakistan's FATA region:

attacking rescuers (and arguably worse, bombing funerals of America's drone victims) is now a tactic routinely used by the US in Pakistan. In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that "the CIA's drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals." Specifically: "at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims." That initial FBI report detailed numerous civilians killed by such follow-up strikes on rescuers, and established precisely the terror effect which the US government has long warned are sown by such attacks:

"Yusufzai, who reported on the attack, says those killed in the follow-up strike 'were trying to pull out the bodies, to help clear the rubble, and take people to hospital.' The impact of drone attacks on rescuers has been to scare people off, he says: 'They've learnt that something will happen. No one wants to go close to these damaged building anymore.'"

Since that first bureau report, there have been numerous other documented cases of the use by the US of this tactic: "On [4 June], US drones attacked rescuers in Waziristan in western Pakistan minutes after an initial strike, killing 16 people in total according to the BBC. On 28 May, drones were also reported to have returned to the attack in Khassokhel near Mir Ali." Moreover, "between May 2009 and June 2011, at least 15 attacks on rescuers were reported by credible news media, including the New York Times, CNN, ABC News and Al Jazeera."

In June, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, said that if "there have been secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime." There is no doubt that there have been.

(A different UN official, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson, this weekend demanded that the US "must open itself to an independent investigation into its use of drone strikes or the United Nations will be forced to step in", and warned that the demand "will remain at the top of the UN political agenda until some consensus and transparency has been achieved". For many American progressives, caring about what the UN thinks is so very 2003.)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/20/us-drones-strikes-target-rescuers-pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times on Pak civilian victims of US drone strikes:

A new report on targeted killing by C.I.A. drones in Pakistan’s tribal area concludes that the strikes have killed more civilians than American officials have acknowledged, alienated Pakistani public opinion and set a dangerous precedent under international law.

The report, by human rights researchers at the Stanford and New York University law schools, urges the United States to “conduct a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices” including “short- and long-term costs and benefits.” It also calls on the administration to make public still-secret legal opinions justifying the strikes.

Human rights groups have previously reached similar conclusions, and the report draws heavily on previous reporting, notably by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism in London. But the study is among the most thorough on the subject to date and is based on interviews with people injured by drone-fired missiles, their family members, Pakistani officials, lawyers and journalists.

Research is difficult on the ground in Pakistan’s dangerous tribal regions, where militant groups are situated and most drone strikes occur, and the law school teams did not visit them. They did, however, meet in Pakistani cities with 69 people who had been injured in strikes, witnessed strikes or surveillance drones, or had relatives who were witnesses. The report includes excerpts from interviews with a dozen witnesses.

Sarah Knuckey, a veteran human rights investigator who led the N.Y.U. team, said she was particularly struck by the pervasive anxiety that residents of the tribal area described as a result of hearing drones buzzing overhead and knowing that a strike could come at any time. She said Pakistani journalists and humanitarian workers who work in the area described the same fear.

She also noted the pattern of second drone strikes after initial strikes, evidently targeting rescuers and relatives responding to a site. One humanitarian organization, which she said the authors agreed not to name for security reasons, told them its policy is to wait at least six hours after a drone strike before visiting the site.

American officials, including President Obama, have strongly defended the drone strikes, arguing that the remotely piloted aircraft are by far the most precise weapon for eliminating terrorists. They have said that both militants and Pakistani officials have exaggerated the number of civilian deaths.

Many experts on Al Qaeda believe that the strikes have hugely weakened the core Qaeda organization in Pakistan, though some believe that the backlash against the strikes has probably drawn some new recruits to the terrorist network. Many military experts support the government’s claim that using conventional airstrikes or troops on the ground to attack terrorist compounds would be likely to kill far more civilians than the drones have.

The full report, “Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan,” whose main authors are Ms. Knuckey, from N.Y.U., and James Cavallaro and Stephan Sonnenberg, of Stanford, and an accompanying video by the filmmaker Robert Greenwald, can be found here: livingunderdrones.org/.


http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/report-cites-high-civilian-toll-in-pakistan-drone-strikes/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of NY Times summary of “The Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth” by Mark Mazzetti:

More than two years later, the Raymond Davis episode has been largely forgotten in the United States. It was immediately overshadowed by the dramatic raid months later that killed Osama bin Laden — consigned to a footnote in the doleful narrative of America’s relationship with Pakistan. But dozens of interviews conducted over several months, with government officials and intelligence officers in Pakistan and in the United States, tell a different story: that the real unraveling of the relationship was set off by the flurry of bullets Davis unleashed on the afternoon of Jan. 27, 2011, and exacerbated by a series of misguided decisions in the days and weeks that followed. In Pakistan, it is the Davis affair, more than the Bin Laden raid, that is still discussed in the country’s crowded bazaars and corridors of power.
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Back in Washington, Ambassador Haqqani was summoned to C.I.A. headquarters on Feb. 21 and taken into Panetta’s spacious office overlooking the agency’s campus in Langley, Va. Sitting around a large conference table, Panetta asked Haqqani for his help securing Davis’s release. “If you’re going to send a Jason Bourne character to Pakistan, he should have the skills of a Jason Bourne to get away,” Haqqani shot back, according to one person who attended the meeting.
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Munter said he believed that the C.I.A. was being reckless and that his position as ambassador was becoming untenable. His relationship with the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad, already strained because of their disagreements over the handling of the Davis case, deteriorated even further when Munter demanded that the C.I.A. give him the chance to call off specific missile strikes. During one screaming match between the two men, Munter tried to make sure the station chief knew who was in charge, only to be reminded of who really held the power in Pakistan.
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On the streets and in the markets of Pakistan, Raymond Davis remains the boogeyman, an American killer lurking in the subconscious of a deeply insecure nation. On a steamy summer night last summer, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed — the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the reason Davis and his team were sent to Lahore in the first place — stood on the back of a flatbed truck and spoke to thousands of cheering supporters less than a mile from Pakistan’s Parliament building in Islamabad. A $10 million American bounty still hung over Saeed’s head, part of a broader squeeze on Lashkar-e-Taiba’s finances. But there he was, out in the open and whipping the crowd into a fury with a pledge to “rid Pakistan of American slavery.” The rally was the culmination of a march from Lahore to Islamabad that Saeed ordered to protest American involvement in the country. The night before the march reached the capital, six Pakistani troops were killed by gunmen riding motorcycles not far from where the marchers were spending the night, leading to speculation that Saeed had ordered the attack.

But Saeed insisted that night that he was not to blame for the deaths. The killers were foreigners, he told the crowd, a group of assassins with a secret agenda to destabilize Pakistan and steal its nuclear arsenal. With a dramatic flourish, he said he knew exactly who had killed the men.

“It was the Americans!” he shouted to loud approvals. “It was Blackwater!” The cheers grew even louder. He saved the biggest applause line ...


www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/magazine/raymond-davis-pakistan.html