Saturday, April 8, 2017

US Missile Strikes in Syria; US Mediation in India-Pakistan Dispute; Bannon’s Future

Did Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad really use chemical weapons against his own people? Are US Missile Strikes on Syrian Shayrat airbase justified? Why did Russian President Vladimir Putin stand by and watch his Syrian ally punished by US missile strikes? What is President Trump’s strategy in Syria beyond these limited strikes? How will the Trump Administration deal with ISIS in Syria? How will Russia and Iran react to further US involvement against their ally Assad?

What did United States’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley say about the Trump administration mediating between India and Pakistan? Why did India immediately reject it? Where will this initiative go from here? How will Lisa Curtis’s appointment as South Asia director of US National Security Council impact President Trump’s policy in South Asia given that she co-wrote a paper with Husain Haqqani that is highly critical of Pakistan? Would President Trump's Pakistan policy be better or worse or the same as President Obama's?

Why has President Trump’s close aide Steve Bannon been bumped from the US National Security Council headed by General HR McMaster? Is there any truth in rumors of Bannon’s clash with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner? Is Bannon about to be completely eased out of the White House? How will such an exit change the White House?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with regular panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump Administration's Policy Toward Muslims, India and Pakistan

Is Husain Haqqani Advising Trump?

Obama's Parting Shot Against Pakistan

Does the US Share Responsibility For the Rise of ISIS?

Impact of Trump Appointment on US Domestic and Foreign Policy

Iran-Saudi Conflict

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel


Anonymous said...

World is not at all bothered about indo pak dispute for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

Whoever commented the above is the truth. The international community's priority number one is Syria war, priority number no. 2 is robably east Ukraine and Yemen war, priority number 3 is tackling ISIS Al Qaeda terrorism....Israeli Palestinian issue, Somalia, Nigeria boko haram, North Korea vs South Korea Japan tensions, south china island disputes.
Kashmir issue does make a headline once in a while. It's pretty clear no one really cares about resolving this dispute. India and Pakistan will have to be contend with the territory they have. I think each should respect the LOC and develop the areas under their respective controls.

Riaz Haq said...

Farooq Abdullah: Wake up #India, talk to #Pakistan or lose #Kashmir … via @indiatoday

National Conference chief and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Dr Farooq Abdullah today said the violence and loss of lives during the Srinagar bypoll "are a tragedy and a failure of the government of the day."

National Conference chief and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is contesting the state by-elections from Srinagar, said that the violence and loss of lives during the bypolls in the state "are a tragedy and a failure of the government of the day. They could not provide security to the people, and further, it is the present dispensation which the people reject."
"Why am I playing with fire? Is that not true? Are the stonepelters fighting for MP-ship or MLA-ship or some ministerial post? Wake up, before it is too late," said Abdullah, demanding that the youth deserved to be heard.
Here are some excerpts from the explosive interview.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You said - Kashmiri youth are picking up guns for the freedom of Kashmir, and not for becoming legislators. As a senior statesman, shouldn't you be bridging the gap, but almost endorsing azadi and Kashmir is lost to India?
Farooq Abdullah: Sometime ago, a Parliamentary delegation came to Kashmir under the leadership of the home minister. The delegation was told that we will talk to the youth, and all the stakeholders. Have they done so, in a single step, in the last two years? Why do you blame me?"

Q: Because you want votes, you are stirring the pot..?
A: Wake up, wake up. The situation is quite bad, and don't tell me Pakistan is not a party to this problem. Whether you like it or not, you have to talk to Pakistan. If you want to beat the threat of the terrorists, then you better start talking now.
Q: With what end result? All the talking, and yet terrorists are sent across border, and violence continues?
A: Let us start mending our fences, and start controlling present problem. Let's not burn, let's talk to the youth, Hurriyat, other leaders and come to a solution.
Q: How are talks are going to be different this time?
A: You have 8 people dead, and God knows how many injured. How long will you keep on doing this? You think it's all law and order? Or, you think by development you can change the mind of people?"
Q: Your critics will say that this is theatrics. When you are in power you speak differently, and now you seem to be catering to separatist sentiment?
A: You are losing Kashmir. You better wake up, and start thinking on not a military solution, but a political way. And come down from your high horses...I am seeing a very bad situation. The youth is on boil. Which I have not seen before.
The situation remains tense in the Kashmir valley a day after violence and a historic low voter turnout, at 7 per cent, marred bypolls in Srinagar.
The Election Commission has postponed the bypolls in Anantnag Parliamentary constituency to May 25, 2016.
The decision came after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's brother Tasaduq Hussain Mufti, who is contesting a Parliamentary bypoll in Anantnag, appealed to the Election Commission to postpone his election.
On Sunday, 8 civilians were killed and school set on fire in Shopian, in incidences of poll violence in Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said...

Strategic Insights : Is #Pakistan close to a #nuclear deal with the #US?: #India … via @TOIOpinion

Many signs portend yes. In the waning days of the Obama administration, talk grew in Washington, D.C. of the US offering the same nuclear deal to Pakistan as it had offered India. The White House never seemed to categorically deny those rumours.

Pakistan has always held the keys to Kabul, and has played its cards expertly. The seeming about-face against the Taliban post 9-11; the double game played with the Americans, one foot in their camp, the other planted firmly in the Afghani Talibani; all of this has led to the Taliban coming to the cusp of capturing Kabul, with the Yanks receiving the same hiding that the Russkies and the Pommies haven’t as yet forgotten.


But how can one secure against a security guard who turns turtle. The Yanks must have their own folks in the Strategic Plains Division and other centralized Pakistani nuclear establishments. After all, a hundred million can pay for a lot of outsized American salaries. But the Pakistanis have pulled a fast one with the deployment of their tactical nukes, the little Nasrs.
No Yank can control their use, for the operational control lies with about 300 Pakistani military field commanders. One goes rogue and a dirty bomb could go off in Indianapolis in short order. No wonder Nikki Haley, a key member of Trump’s foreign policy team, is now crying herself hoarse to mediate between Pakistan and India. Her express aim: Islamabad, you ditch your tacticals, India you yours. Washington’s interest must always be protected.
Pakistan is happy with the mediation. But not happy enough. It has left the Americans out of talks with the Afghan Taliban, cozying up instead to the Chinese and the Russkies. What is the Russian interest in Kabul? They are not even contiguous with Afghanistan any more. And the Chinese? Well, wherever the Pakistanis are, can the Chinese be far behind. And not even a leaf can fall anywhere in Asia now without the assent of the Chinese.
America is alarmed. Ever the brinkman, Pakistan is up to its old tricks. One overriding purpose drives it: Treat us as India’s equal. Memo from Islamabad to Washington: We know you are screwed in Afghanistan. We will get you out safely as long as we get the same nuclear deal as India has got.
The Yanks seem to have got the message. Pakistani nuclear delegations visit Washington regularly now. One is there right now meeting with American experts. Nikki Haley was perhaps just the portend of things to come. Any day, you might have an announcement of a nuclear deal for Pakistan.
Poor India. What has it been doing all this while. It has alienated the Russkies so much that they are now selling arms to Islamabad for the first time ever. Has India’s foreign policy establishment been sleeping at the wheel? Or will they be able to pull a rabbit out of their hat? The plot thickens.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump admin requests #US #Congress for $743 million in #aid to #Pakistan for FY2017, up from $662 million last year

PRESIDENT DONALD Trump’s administration has put in place a modest enhancement of military and civilian aid to Pakistan — the first reversal of a uninterrupted five-year decline — for the 2017 financial year, requisitioning $743 million, against a post 9/11 low of $662 million in 2016, according to figures released by the authoritative Congressional Research Service on Friday.
Aid to the civilian sector makes up the larger part of the increase, rising from $352 million last year to $423. Of that $400 million is made up of the Economic Support Fund, a programme the State Department says is meant to encourage countries facing terrorism to join “the community of well-governed states that act responsibly in the international system”.
However, military assistance has also increased marginally, from $310 million to $320 million. The figures do not include Coalition Support Funds, or CSF-reimbursements made for logistical and operational support of US troops in theatres like Afghanistan.
In 2017, the National Defence Authorisation Act allows the US to pay Pakistan up to $1.1 billion in CSF, of which $400 million is subject to the condition that it has taken action against the Taliban-linked network of Sirajuddin Haqqani. In 2015, the US paid $550 million in CSF to Pakistan.
Aid to Pakistan declined sharply since 2011, reflecting a downturn in relations, when the country received $2.463 billion in aid. In 2012, the total fell to $1.916 billion, and further to $1.195 billion in 2013, before dipping to $979 million in 2014.