The outgoing administration of lame-duck President Barack Obama has ordered sanctions against seven Pakistani entities for "acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States".
The United States Federal Register has listed the following Pakistani entities on its sanctions list: National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM); three NESCOM subsidiaries: Air Weapons Complex (AWC), Maritime Technology Complex (MTC) and New Auto Engineering (NAE); and Universal Tooling Services. The sanctioned entities are involved in developing missiles and related systems for Pakistani military.
Prior to the latest Obama sanctions announcement, the Obama years have seen US-Pakistan relations sink to an all-time low in 2011 when the United States refused to apologize after the US troops killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in an attack on two border posts on Pak-Afghan border. Pakistan responded by cutting off supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan. These supply routes were reopened only after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized to Pakistan in July 2012.
Pivot to Asia:
As part of the US "pivot to Asia" policy to counter China's rise, President Obama also courted India at the expense of America's cold war ally Pakistan. Mr. Obama visited India twice and never once visited Pakistan during his two terms. The US signed multiple agreements with India, including a nuclear deal and a military logistics deal. At the same time, the United States has pushed for India's inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group while keeping Pakistan out.
With growing distance from the United States, Pakistan has forged closer ties with China culminating in a massive $55 billion Chinese investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). If all goes well and on schedule, of the 21 CPEC-related agreements on energy– including gas, coal and solar energy– 14 will be able to provide up to 10,400 megawatts (MW) of energy by March 2018. According to China Daily, these projects would provide up to 16,400 MW of energy altogether. In addition, there will be a network of roads, rail-links and pipeline stretching several thousand kilometers from Pakistani ports on the Arabian Sea to landlocked Western China.
China-Pakistan defense cooperation is also growing with continuing collaboration on development of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and Pakistan Navy modernization with the addition of nuclear-capable custom AIP submarines.
Pakistan ties with its cold war foe Russia have also warmed up. Russia has agreed to invest in building a gas pipeline in Pakistan. Russia has also lifted its arms embargo and agreed to sell attack helicopters to Pakistani military. The two countries had first-ever joint military exercises in 2016. Recently, Pakistan, China and Russia held a trilateral meeting in Moscow on Afghanistan.
US-Pakistan Ties Under Trump:
Going by President-elect Donald Trump's initial friendly call with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in December 2016, it seems that the US-Pakistan ties are likely to be better, not worse what we have seen in the last 8 years with Washington-Islamabad relations sinking to a new low.
President Obama's two terms in office have seen the cooling of US-Pakistan ties. In the same period, Pakistan has further cemented its close relations with China and warmed up ties with its cold war foe Russia. Will US-Pakistan ties warm up again under President Trump? Only time will tell.
Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-Japan-US
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
Is Modi Isolating Pakistan?
Salala Incident Soured US-Pakistan Ties
China-Pakistan Defense Collaboration Irks West
Are Russia and Iran Supporting Afghan Taliban?
Pakistan 2nd Strike Capability
Pakistan Navy Modernization
Obama, I think as time goes by, will be seen as not a good President. He mad too many bad decisions at home and abroad, and the legacies if which will last a long time. Bailing out the banks and GM is what any president would have done, so they were not signature achievements. Obamacare's flaws, Opposition will use as excuse to shut it down. So what else is there that was positive? He was too cowardly to even raise the subject of local reform, despite urging and this when Dems had majority. I think he did not use majority property;and his do-little efforts lost him the Dem voters in swing states who voted in frustration with Dems for Trump. He will fail them, so they will sit out next election, and join others who are raising the number of eligible voters who sat out the election.
No amount of American help for India will save it from the actions of its bad and grossly inadequate leaders. America has not helped India. It has just encouraged India to spend on things that are not useful for it. Nuclear assistance just to create a market for US nuclear industry, because resistance in US to nuke plants. Could have instead provided instance with water recycling technology transfer far more useful assistance that India desperately needs. Tech transfer in other water conservation technology would also have been worthwhile.
Thanks Riaz for the insight. He turns out to be quite a sob.
My high regards for him just bit the dust.
Pakistan Plays Down Defense-Related US Sanctions
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN —
Pakistan says that the United States did not share evidence of wrongdoing before placing recent sanctions against certain defense-related Pakistani entities, but that it has pledged to work with Washington to address all concerns.
A December 15 notification by the Department of Commerce named the entities and added them to the Export Administration Regulations list, saying "these government, parastatal and private entities in Pakistan are determined to be involved in activities that are contrary to the national security and/or foreign policy of the United States."
The facilities in question are thought to be associated with Pakistan's missile development program, though officials in Islamabad have not acknowledged it. The U.S. government has not revealed details of violations these entities are alleged to have committed.
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told VOA on Saturday that the government was aware of the sanctions.
"This means that for any transfers of technology to these entities, U.S. exporters will need a license," he said, adding that Pakistani authorities were examining the case to ascertain the facts behind the listing.
Ready for discussions
Zakaria called the timing of the sanctions "intriguing." He told VOA that Pakistan was ready to work with the U.S. at the level of experts to devise mutually agreed-upon procedures for end-use guarantees.
"This will help in assuring nondiversion of high-technology exports from the U.S. without hampering our legitimate imports for socioeconomic development activities," the Pakistani spokesman said.
Pakistan officials insist their missile and nuclear programs are "completely indigenous," and that U.S. sanctions will have "little bearing" on them.
"It means nothing for us," said a senior official associated with the projects. He requested not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
The officials described the sanctions as a politically motivated move aimed at creating problems for the incoming Donald Trump administration's relations with Pakistan.
Islamabad has developed and equipped its armed forces with a variety of short-, medium- and long-range missiles, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.
The program has raised concerns in Washington about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, though Islamabad dismisses such issues as misplaced.
China blocks India's request for U.N. to blacklist militant chief
China has blocked India's request to add the head of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad to a U.N. Security Council blacklist of groups linked to al Qaeda, India said on Friday.
India has accused Jaish-e-Mohammad and its top leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, of masterminding several attacks, including a deadly assault on an Indian air base in January.
Pakistani security officials interrogated Azhar and his associates after the attack, and said they found no evidence linking him to it.
Jaish-e-Mohammad has already been blacklisted by the 15-nation Security Council, but not Azhar, an Islamist hardliner and long-time foe of India.
Foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said that India had requested that Azhar be added to the list nine months ago and had received strong backing from all other members of the council.
But China, which put a hold on the move in April, had now blocked it, he said.
"We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism," he said in a statement.
Swarup added that the inability of the international community to take the step showed the "prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism".
China's foreign ministry said there were different views about the case, so China had put forward a "technical shelving" to give more time for consultation, but that regretfully no consensus had been reached.
China's aim is to maintain the authority and effectiveness of name listing by the committee discussing the case, which accords with Security Council resolutions and is the responsible thing to do, it said in a statement sent to Reuters.
China will continue to maintain communication with all parties, it added.
India has long accused its neighbour and rival Pakistan of using Jaish-e-Mohammad as a proxy to mount attacks on Indian soil, including in the disputed Kashmir region, and earlier gave what it called "actionable intelligence" to Pakistan, including telephone intercepts.
Pakistan denies giving any aid to Kashmir-based militants.
If Azhar was blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council, he would face a global travel ban and asset freeze.
#India may matter less in the world during #Trump presidency. #Pakistan, #China #Russia #Asia
The diplomatic cover afforded by the Obama administration allowed the Modi government to focus its energies on isolating Pakistan internationally and get away with a heavy-handed policy in Kashmir – both policies that served to bolster the BJP domestically. Russia and China were relatively marginal to India’s diplomatic considerations, even though Delhi valued Moscow as a source of weapons and energy while the enhanced trade with China created a measure of interdependence that managed tensions. Delhi could choose not to participate in China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) infrastructural initiative because the US, Western powers and Japan were envisaged as the primary sources of security, legitimacy and resources for India.
This entire calculus now stands upended. Trump is keen on dismantling the pillars of US foreign policy in a manner that makes the US’ political and bureaucratic machinery deeply uncomfortable. He wants to scale back American commitments abroad, he’d like to focus on an ‘America first’ policy and is expected to be explicitly transactional in his dealings with other countries. He has chosen a pro-Russian figure in Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State and picked China hawk Peter Navarro to head the National Trade Council, leading many to anticipate serious tensions with China on trade issues.
Some in Delhi may believe that an aggressive US that counters an assertive China works for India. But policymakers will know that it is one thing to play geopolitical chess in peace time, i.e. strengthen regional partnerships to counter a rising power, and quite another being on the cusp of a US-China conflict in Asia and having to choose sides. It’s not clear if such developments will materialise soon, but the scene of global politics will move to great power dynamics between US, Russia and China. India will be peripheral to the concerns of all three for different reasons.
As far as the US is concerned, it is not clear how much attention Trump will devote to India while he is preoccupied with the inevitable domestic turbulence his presidency will generate and the resetting of ties with Russia and China. India’s leverage abroad now appears to depend on the Washington security establishment’s ability to normalise Trump and make him aware of Delhi’s utility to American strategy in Asia. But that establishment itself will take time recovering and coping with the changes he wants and India as a priority could slip in the process. Trump did not mention India in his foreign policy speech on April 27, 2016 and it is not clear if he has any definite ideas as to what to do with the relationship.
#Obama's actions speak louder than words. 3 US bombs an hour were dropped in 2016 on 7 Muslim nations incl #Pakistan
The U.S. dropped an average of 72 bombs every day — the equivalent of three an hour — in 2016, according to an analysis of American strikes around the world.
The report from the Council of Foreign Relations comes as Barack Obama finishes up his presidency — one that began with promises to withdraw from international conflicts.
According to the New York City-based think tank, 26,171 bombs were dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan during the year.
CFR warned that its estimates were "undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single 'strike,' according to the Pentagon's definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions."
Related: U.S. Airstrikes Kill Twice the Civilians Previously Thought
Some 24,287 bombs were used in Iraq and Syria, where the U.S. is helping drive ISIS militants from swaths of both countries. In 2015, the U.S. dropped 22,110 bombs in Iraq and Syria, CFR reported.
Last year saw a sharp uptick in strikes in Afghanistan, with 1,337 compared with 947 in 2015, CFR found.
The study, which drew data from a variety of military and press sources, showed that three bombs were dropped on Pakistan during 2016, 14 in Somalia and 34 in Yemen.
A similar study looking at 2015 showed that 11 bombs were dropped in Pakistan during the year, 58 in Yemen and 18 in Somalia. The 2015 analysis did not include Libya.
When he was campaigning for president in 2008, Obama pledged that when he became commander-in-chief he would "set a new goal on day one: I will end [the Iraq] war."
Upon accepting the Democratic nomination that year, Obama again outlined priorities that would make the country safer, saying: "I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan."
However, ISIS later seized parts of Syria and Iraq — and the Taliban won back territory in Afghanistan as the number of NATO troops in the country dwindled.
#Pakistan Is the Crisis Flying Under the Radar. #Trump needs to increase #military, #economic #aid to #Pakistan
First, the Trump administration should recognize that our levers to influence Pakistan are limited — but not entirely impotent. While we can and should be working to strengthen national ties with India, this must be done in a way that is not threatening to Pakistan. Thus, the first best option to help achieve stability in South Asia is to do all we can to encourage India to try to resolve differences with its neighbor. Washington’s role could include top-level official visits to both capitals; offering unofficial “Track 2” negotiating programs; and explicitly making peace and stability in South Asia a U.S. strategic interest, identified in our national strategic planning documents.
Second, the Trump administration should increase military assistance to Pakistan in the counterterrorism fight on the Afghan-Pakistani border. A long source of frustration for U.S. military planners — including during my time as NATO’s supreme allied commander responsible for combat operations in Afghanistan — has been Pakistani support for the Afghan Taliban. Developing a package of counterterrorism incentives for Pakistan that requires a quid pro quo of their reducing and eventually dropping support for insurgents within Afghanistan is key. Such incentives could include more robust intelligence sharing; better surveillance and strike technology; and joint operations. Washington’s efforts to sell weapons, surveillance, and intelligence systems to Islamabad have been uneven to say the least. Setting out a coherent, reliable pipeline of military assistance and sales would be very helpful.
A third idea would be to increase soft-power support in Pakistan. When the United States and NATO led relief efforts following the massive earthquake in Pakistan in 2005, it had a significant and positive impact on America’s image in the country. Providing more financial aid tied to education, medicine, and humanitarian projects could help. This is an area where much suspicion lingers following medical programs that are perceived to have been tied to intelligence gathering. We need effective strategic communications alongside the aid to help recover.
A question that arises in the context of soft power is whether to impose conditions on Pakistan in return for the aid it receives. While Republicans in Congress have pushed a more conservative approach to use aid as a tactic to pressure Pakistan, it is unclear how the new administration will approach this. In general, it would be wise to consider both our short- and long-term priorities in the region: Too often, a focus on eradicating terrorism today fails to address the circumstances that drive people to extremism in the first place.Too often, a focus on eradicating terrorism today fails to address the circumstances that drive people to extremism in the first place. Using aid to strengthen democratic stability, create opportunities for citizens, and increase investments to grow the economy will translate into long-term benefits that help minimize incentives to turn to extremism.
Fourth and finally, it would make sense to internationalize our efforts. Working with other nations — Britain or Germany, for example — could leverage the impact of our efforts. There are also international organizations, such as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, that exercise considerable influence in Pakistan. Strategizing jointly with international partners can help.
Stratfor recommends #America use divide-and-conquer strategy in the #MidEast #Iran #SaudiArabia #Sunni #Shia #ISIS https://geopoliticalfutures.com/us-strategies-in-the-middle-east/ …
From the beginning of American history, the U.S. has used the divisions in the world to achieve its ends. The American Revolution prevailed by using the ongoing tension between Britain and France to convince the French to intervene. In World War II, facing Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union, the United States won the war by supplying the Soviets with the wherewithal to bleed the German army dry, opening the door to American invasion and, with Britain, the occupation of Europe.
Unless you have decisive and overwhelming power, your only options are to decline combat, vastly increase your military force at staggering cost and time, or use divergent interests to recruit a coalition that shares your strategic goal. Morally, the third option is always a painful strategy. The United States asking monarchists for help in isolating the British at Yorktown was in a way a deal with the devil. The United States allying with a murderous and oppressive Soviet Union to defeat another murderous and oppressive regime was also a deal with the devil. George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt both gladly made these deals, each knowing a truth about strategy: What comes after the war comes after the war. For now, the goal is to reach the end of the war victorious.
In the case of the Middle East, I would argue that the United States lacks the forces or even a conceivable strategy to crush either the Sunni rising or Iran. Iran is a country of about 80 million defended to the west by rugged mountains and to the east by harsh deserts. This is the point where someone inevitably will say that the U.S. should use air power. This is the point where I will say that whenever Americans want to win a war without paying the price, they fantasize about air power because it is low-cost and irresistible. Air power is an adjunct to war on the ground. It has never proven to be an effective alternative.
The idea that the United States will simultaneously wage wars in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan and emerge victorious is fantasy. What is not fantasy is the fact that the Islamic world, both strategically and tactically, is profoundly divided. The United States must decide who is the enemy. “Everybody” is an emotionally satisfying answer to some, but it will lead to defeat. The United States cannot fight everyone from the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush. It can indefinitely carry out raids and other operations, but it can’t win.
To craft an effective strategy, the United States must go back to the strategic foundations of the republic: a willingness to ally with one enemy to defeat another. The goal should be to ally with the weaker enemy, or the enemy with other interests, so that one war does not immediately lead to another. At this moment, the Sunnis are weaker than the Iranians. But there are far more Sunnis, they cover a vast swath of ground and they are far more energized than Iran. Currently, Iran is more powerful, but I would argue the Sunnis are more dangerous. Therefore, I am suggesting an alignment with the Iranians, not because they are any more likable (and neither were Stalin or Louis XVI), but because they are the convenient option.
The Iranians hate and fear the Sunnis. Any opportunity to crush the Sunnis will appeal. The Iranians are also as cynical as George Washington was. But in point of fact, an alliance with the Sunnis against the Shiites could also work. The Sunnis despise the Iranians, and given the hope of crushing them, the Sunnis could be induced to abandon terrorism. There are arguments to be made on either side, as there is in Afghanistan.
#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.
Book excerpt: #Obama’s #drone war in #Pakistan was bigger than people think. 353 drone strikes vs #Bush's 48. #FATA
he following is an excerpt from Counter Jihad: America’s Military Experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, by Brian Glyn Williams, by permission of the author and publisher. Copyright 2017 University of Pennsylvania Press.
[T]he incoming Obama administration had come to see these drone strikes as a vital component of its war against terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Like the Bush administration before it, the Obama administration felt that the public relations fallout in Pakistan (where reports of civilian deaths from the drones were wildly exaggerated) was worth the disruptive effect the drones had on Al Qaeda and Taliban, who were planning new terrorist attacks from their FATA sanctuary. In fact Obama (who came to be known as “Obomba” in Pakistan) ordered 353 drones strikes in Pakistan by October 2015, compared to just 48 under President Bush (i.e. Obama launched more than seven times as many as Bush).
While his Republican critics described Obama as “weak” on counter-terrorism and accused him of being “anti-war,” former Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, pushed back on this notion stating, “President Obama has authorized more military actions in Muslim countries than any previous president and that the most conservative estimate identifies more than 3,000 drone strike fatalities during his tenure, including much of Al Qaeda’s leadership. He is the first president since the Civil War to authorize the assassination of another American — Anwar al-Awlaki, himself.” Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic similarly defended Obama saying, “this president who has this reputation [of being weak] is the greatest terrorist hunter in the history of the American presidency. I mean, we just saw in the last week the 150 militants in Somalia wiped out by a U.S. strike. Who ordered that strike?”
Obama’s drone campaign decimated the Taliban and Al Qaeda’s ranks and kept them wondering who was next and hiding, instead of planning new terrorist outrages. The Taliban and Al Qaeda came to have a tremendous fear for the high-tech drones that struck out of the blue without warning and with uncanny precision
The CIA’s ability to hit its targets in Pakistan increased in 2007 with the introduction of a much improved drone known as the MQ-9 Reaper. The Reaper had a much larger engine, allowing it to travel three times the speed of the earlier drone, known as the Predator, and carry far more armament. This ordnance included GBU-12 Paveway II laser laser-guided bombs and Sidewinder missiles. Like the more primitive Predator, the Reaper could loiter over its intended target for over twenty four hours, using high high-resolution cameras to track militants’ “pattern of life” movements from up to two miles away. Then, when the target was tracked leaving crowded areas, it could fire its deadly mini-missiles (often at targets in moving vehicles) to destroy them in the open and thus avoid civilian bystander casualties known as “collateral damage.”
It has also been reported that the Predators and Reapers were aided by secret electronic transmitter chips placed on or near targets by tribesmen working for CIA bounties. These cigarette lighter-sized homing beacons helped account for the drones’ success in taking out dozens of high high-value Al Qaeda and Taliban targets, while usually avoiding civilians. In essence, the drones’ Hellfire missiles could home in on the beacons and precisely destroy Taliban and Al Qaeda cars or buildings where they were meeting.
#Trump Administration Proposes to Cut #CSF for #Pakistan by $100 Million to $800 Million for FY18. http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/donald-trump-administration-proposes-800-million-fund-for-pakistan-1703682 … via @ndtv
WASHINGTON: The Trump administration has proposed to give Pakistan US $800 million as reimbursement for its military and logistical support in counter-terrorism operations in the next fiscal, a defence department official has said.
The administration has proposed the amount - a cut of US $100 million compared to the previous time - in its annual budget proposals under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), a Pentagon programme to reimburse US allies that have incurred costs in supporting counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations.
Pakistan is one of the largest recipient under the fund and has received US $14 billion since 2002. But for the past two years, the US Congress has imposed conditions on disbursal of money under the fund.
"The FY 2018 budget proposal seeks US $800 million in CSF for Pakistan. The CSF authority is not security assistance, but reimbursements to key cooperating nations for logistical, military, and other support provided to US combat operations," Adam Stump, Defence Department spokesman for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia told news agency PTI yesterday.
For 2016 fiscal year, Pakistan was authorised to receive up to US $900 million under CSF.
"The deputy secretary of defence signed the authorisation to disburse US $550 million in fiscal year 2016 coalition support fund to Pakistan for logistical, military, and other support provided to the US operations in Afghanistan for the period of January-June 2015," Mr Stump said.
"The Department recognises the significant sacrifices the Pakistan military has made in the fight against terrorism, and appreciates Pakistan's continued support for transit of materiel to coalition forces in Afghanistan," he said in response to a question
"Disbursement of the remaining US $350 million requires the Secretary of Defence to certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network. The Secretary has not yet made a decision on certification," Mr Stump said.
For the first time in 2016, then Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter had declined to certify that Pakistan met the certification requirement, resulting in the loss of US $300 million fund for it. This amount was reprogrammed by the Pentagon for Department of Defence's Overseas Contingency Operations Funding, a second defence department official said.
In its latest budget, the Department of Defence has attached no conditions for disbursement of CSF to Pakistan. However, it was only the US Congress which imposes such strict conditions on giving CSF money to Pakistan.
Justifying the need to give such a huge amount of money to Pakistan, the Pentagon said Pakistan has served as a key ally in operation 'Enduring Freedom' since 2001 and will continue to play a key role in maintaining stability in the region.
"Pakistan's security forces regularly engage enemy forces, arrest and kill Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, and provide significant support to US forces operating in Afghanistan. Pakistan continues to meet the enemy insurgency and has made enormous sacrifices in support of these operations," it said.
"The expenses Pakistan incurs to conduct operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces include providing logistical support for its forces, manning observation posts along the Afghanistan border, and conducting maritime interdiction operations and combat air patrol," the Pentagon said.
#Pakistan is a key #American ally: #Pentagon #US #DoD #Trump
The Trump administration has proposed to give Pakistan USD 800 million as reimbursement for its military and logistical support in counter-terrorism operations in the next fiscal, a defence department official has said.
The administration has proposed the amount — a cut of USD 100 million compared to the previous time — in its annual budget proposals under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), a Pentagon programme to reimburse US allies that have incurred costs in supporting counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations.
Pakistan is one of the largest recipient under the fund and has received USD 14 billion since 2002. But for the past two years, the Congress has imposed conditions on disbursal of money under the fund.
“The FY 2018 budget proposal seeks USD 800 million in CSF for Pakistan. The CSF authority is not security assistance, but reimbursements to key cooperating nations for logistical, military, and other support provided to US combat operations,” Adam Stump, Defence Department spokesman for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia told PTI yesterday.
For 2016 fiscal year, Pakistan was authorised to receive up to USD 900 million under CSF.
“The deputy secretary of defence signed the authorisation to disburse USD 550 million in fiscal year 2016 coalition support fund to Pakistan for logistical, military, and other support provided to the US operations in Afghanistan for the period of January-June 2015,” Stump said.
“The Department recognises the significant sacrifices the Pakistan military has made in the fight against terrorism, and appreciates Pakistan’s continued support for transit of materiel to coalition forces in Afghanistan,” he said in response to a question.
“Disbursement of the remaining USD 350 million requires the Secretary of Defence to certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network. The Secretary has not yet made a decision on certification,” Stump said.
For the first time in 2016, then Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter had declined to certify that Pakistan met the certification requirement, resulting in the loss of USD 300 million fund for it.
This amount was reprogrammed by the Pentagon for Department of Defence’s Overseas Contingency Operations Funding, a second defence department official said.
In its latest budget, the Department of Defence has attached no conditions for disbursement of CSF to Pakistan.
However, it was only the Congress which imposes such strict conditions on giving CSF money to Pakistan.
Justifying the need to give such a huge money to Pakistan, the Pentagon said Pakistan has served as a key ally in operation ‘Enduring Freedom’ since 2001 and will continue to play a key role in maintaining stability in the region.
“Pakistan’s security forces regularly engage enemy forces, arrest and kill Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, and provide significant support to US forces operating in Afghanistan. Pakistan continues to meet the enemy insurgency and has made enormous sacrifices in support of these operations,” it said.
“The expenses Pakistan incurs to conduct operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces include providing logistical support for its forces, manning observation posts along the Afghanistan border, and conducting maritime interdiction operations and combat air patrol,” the Pentagon said.
#China media warns of 'Catastrophic Results' Of #India-#US 'Cozying Up' to Counter #China's Rise #ModiInUS http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/catastrophic-results-possible-from-india-us-cozying-up-chinese-media-1717561 … via @ndtv
"Washington and New Delhi share anxieties about China's rise. In recent years, to ratchet up geopolitical pressure on China, the US has cozied up to India," said an article in China's state-run newspaper, the Global Times.
Underlining that India is not a US ally like Japan or Australia, it said, "To assume a role as an outpost country in the US' strategy to contain China is not in line with India's interests. It could even lead to catastrophic results."
The newspaper said that if India becomes a "pawn" for the US in countering China, new geopolitical friction will be triggered in South Asia.
After their meeting at the White House last night, PM Modi and Mr Trump, who bear-hugged, agreed that a close partnership between the United States and India is central to peace and stability in the region.
With an eye on China and its growing military ambitions in the Asia-Pacific area, both sides called for freedom of navigation and resolving of territorial and maritime disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, a reference to Beijing's aggression in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
President Trump also endorsed India's objections to the new economic corridor that China is building through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as part of its gigantic initiative to unlock new land and sea routes to Central Asia. India says the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, being developed at a cost of at least $54 billion, violates its territorial sovereignty.
Thought President Trump has sought to curb China's regional clout, in part by questioning the "One China" policy employed by the US for decades, he has been courting China to persuade it to do more to rein in North Korea.
Deutsche Welle interview with US South Asia analyst Michael Kugelman:
DW: Is the US government finally taking a hard line against Pakistan?
Michael Kugelman: A tougher policy is certainly a strong possibility. If there is one US administration likely to take a hard line against Pakistan, it's the Trump administration. Trump projects himself as tough on terror and takes a very principled and strident approach to terror - it needs to be wiped out, wherever it is and in whatever form. It would seem that Trump would have zero patience for Pakistan's policy of going after some terrorists while letting others be.
There has been speculation that the US could expand the drone war and cut Pakistan funds. The harshest critics of Pakistan believe that the US government should revoke Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally or even declare it as a state sponsor of terror. These extremely tough policies may well be in the policy tool-kit, though my sense is that the aid cuts and drone strikes would be more likely.
Do you think the Trump administration could force Pakistan to act against the Haqqani Network and other Islamist organizations Washington considers a threat to its interests?
I'm not sure they could. In fact, the Pakistani security establishment may respond to more sticks and less carrots from the US by doubling down and tightening its embrace of militants like the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
If the US revoked Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO partner state in the war against terror, how would it affect the situation in Afghanistan?
This would actually be quite devastating for the Pakistani military, because it would probably translate into major reductions in military assistance and arms sales. Pakistan can depend on the largesse of other countries like China and Saudi Arabia, but Islamabad really values the military support it has received from Washington over the years. Revoking Pakistan's status as a non-NATO partner would put this support in doubt and worry quite a few people within the Pakistani security establishment.
The question, however, is if the US would actually go through with such a drastic policy shift. Frankly, I think it's unlikely, at least in the immediate to mid term. The US continues to have troops in Afghanistan, and in fact the Trump administration is poised to send more. So long as the US has troops in Afghanistan, it will need to depend on Pakistan to provide supply routes for US troops. Taking a harder line against Pakistan would likely prompt Islamabad to shut down these supply routes, obliging America to use more circuitous and expensive routes. This could make the US war effort in Afghanistan even more difficult than it already is.
Pakistan is important because of its geographic location and its geopolitical relationship, there's no doubt about that. There's no way that the US will consider Pakistan unimportant, given that it borders Afghanistan, where Americans are fighting their longest ever war, and given that it has deep ties to the world's next superpower (China) and growing ties with one of the world's most dangerous revisionist powers (Russia).
If cornered by the Trump administration, can Pakistan tilt more toward China and Russia?
Certainly a harder US line would send Pakistan deeper into the embrace of China and Russia. But I don't think we should overstate this risk. For one thing, Pakistan is already moving closer to Russia, and especially China. For another thing, the interests and objectives of Russia, and especially China in Afghanistan, are actually closer to those of the US than to those of Pakistan. China and Russia both want a stable Afghanistan and have no interest in Taliban rule. Pakistan, of course, has major ties to the Taliban and arguably benefits from an unstable Afghanistan in that it complicates efforts by India to have a deep presence there.
Cornell West published a critical short essay in The Guardian on Sunday. In one passage, West characterizes Coates’ perspective as “narrow racial tribalism” and “myopic neoliberalism”.
West accuses Ta-Nehise Coates of “fetishizing” white supremacy and “profiteering” off of “fatalism about white supremacy.” Coates, West claims, is essentially writing moralizing-guilt-porn for white neoliberals “who have no intention of sharing power or giving up privilege.”
West also turns the screws on Coates’ hero-worship of former President Barack Obama. “Coates praises Obama as a ‘deeply moral human being’ while remaining silent on the 563 drone strikes, the assassination of US citizens with no trial, the 26,171 bombs dropped on five Muslim-majority countries in 2016 and the 550 Palestinian children killed with the US supported planes in 51 days etc.”
Ultimately, West accuses Coates of having a defunct understanding of black history. His evidence includes Coates’ comparison of Malcolm X and Barack Obama.
“This gross misunderstanding of who Malcolm X was – the greatest prophetic voice against the American Empire – and who Barack Obama is – the first black head of the American Empire – speaks volumes about Coates’ neoliberal view of the world.”
After this piece was published, Coates took to Twitter to defend himself against the criticisms of the sexagenarian. Ultimately he wrote “Peace y’all. I’m out. I didn’t get in it for this.”
West has published many books, recorded an album that featured Andre 3000, Prince, and members of the Wu-Tang Clan, and has taught at Harvard and Union Theological Seminary. Dr. West cites Coltrane and Checkov as the greatest artistic influences in his life.
Strategic Insights by #India's Sunil Sharan : #Pakistan, a rising power
https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/strategic-insights/pakistan-a-rising-power/ … via @TOIOpinion
Yet, one nation is a rising power, ready to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, while the other is deemed a global pariah, a jelly state if not a failed state. Huh? How did this happen?
The reality is different. The world pays lip service to India for its large middle class and its ability to buy arms on a large scale. India seems to consider this courting as its emergence on the world stage.
Scratch the surface, and you will find something else. The US is denying Indians H1-B visas. The US has delinked the Haqqanis, who they want, from Hafiz Saeed, who they couldn’t care less about, so that they can give dollops of aid to the Pakistanis.
Today the Yanks hector the Pakistanis, but that is empty bluster. The Pakistanis have trumped them; the Yanks’ wails appear like crocodile tears. The Yanks forgot when they invaded Afghanistan and enlisted the Pakistanis’ help by threatening to bomb them into the stone age that the Pakistanis had been there once before.
That time they trumped the Russians, with significant money and arms from the Americans and the Saudis. But the Americans never took to battle in Afghanistan the first time round. Sure they had read that Afghanistan was a graveyard for empires, from the British to the Soviet, but they believed, foolishly, that they themselves would win out.
They struck a Faustian bargain with the Pakistanis, without ever realizing that they were dealing with the devil. In the nineties, the Pakistanis used Afghanistan to hijack Indian planes and launch jihad in Kashmir. Afghanistan had become both strategic depth as well as a launching pad for them. How were they expected to give up this twin treat?
Once the Yanks entered Kabul, the Taliban vanished. Into thin air? Oh no, many of them disappeared into Pakistan. The Yanks forgot about Afghanistan, until first the Iraqis, and then the Taliban, started knocking their teeth out. One by one their Nato brethren fled Afghanistan, until the Yanks realized that they had to flee as well.
Go to Kabul today, and you will find disdain for Pakistan everywhere. But the Pakistanis don’t care. The real people who matter in Afghanistan are the Taliban, and you don’t find many of them in Kabul. The writ of the government of Afghanistan extends over only Kabul, much as the later-day Mughals were derided as the mayors of Delhi.
The Taliban control over sixty percent of the country. The Talibs don’t like the Pakistanis, referring to them often as blacklegs. But the Talibs need Pakistan to capture Kabul, much as the Pakistanis need the Taliban to capture Afghanistan.
The Pakistanis are disdainful of the threats emanating from the Yanks. The Yanks need Pakistani territory to transport supplies to their legionaries in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis blocked their land routes once, and all hell broke loose then. It’s almost impossible to transport goods from the west of Afghanistan.
Today Pakistan stands on the cusp of victory in Afghanistan. It spurns the Americans for the Chinese, and lo and behold, the Russians, the very people it had helped kick out of Afghanistan. Politics, or rather realpolitik, sure does make for strange bedfellows.
Pakistan is able to stymie India at every international forum, be it the UN or the nuclear suppliers group. There have even been strong rumours about the Obama administration offering the Pakistanis their own nuclear deal. Trump yells and curses at the Pakistanis, but is the first one to give it gobs of military aid.
Pakistan sure doesn’t seem like a loser. It appears to have come out of Afghanistan smelling of roses. It can blackmail America to its heart’s content, and what is more, happily get away with it. Does it seem like a failed state? A terrorist state? A terrorized state? At least not now. For now it seems that Pakistan’s star, that star in their beloved crescent, is rising. And rising.
#IlhanOmar slams #Obama's message of 'hope and change' as a 'mirage'. With ‘caging of kids’ at U.S.-#Mexico border, ‘droning of countries around the world’ Obama "operated within the same fundamentally broken framework as his Republican successor” https://fxn.ws/2tYH0Y2 #FoxNews
Omar is then quoted as saying: “We can’t be only upset with Trump… His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was.
“And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”
The comments came after the passage Thursday of a broad anti-bigotry resolution prompted by Omar's prior comments about Israel. The resolution and the drama surrounding its passage exposed chasms in the Democratic caucus regarding Israel and marked a coup of sorts for a tight-knit band of House freshmen who – in a matter of hours – were able to shift the spotlight away from Omar’s allegedly anti-Semitic remarks and refocus on issues like Islamophobia and pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
“The week was supposed to start off with a rebuke of Omar's anti-Semitic comments and it ended up turning into a long list of other hateful actions,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told Fox News on Friday, saying the final product “fell short of addressing the real problem.”
But the broadside delivered at Obama is highly unusual for any Democrat, especially one who has been in the House for two months and has already ticked off party elders with her outspokenness.
DEM FROSH TURN TABLES ON ANTI-SEMITISM REBUKE, SHIFT SPOTLIGHT TO ISLAMOPHOBIA AND AIPAC POWER
The House resolution, following a week of Democratic infighting over the language, was approved on a 407-23 vote. The measure originally was drafted in response to Omar, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, suggesting last week that Israel supporters want U.S. lawmakers to pledge “allegiance” to the Jewish state – which was widely condemned as echoing the age-old “dual loyalties” smear against Jewish politicians.
Yet after Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced a rebellion in the ranks amid concerns the resolution would unfairly single out Omar, a Muslim, and increase security threats against her (she was recently the subject of an inflammatory poster at the West Virginia capitol falsely tying her to the 9/11 attacks), the resolution was overhauled.
The result was a broad rebuke of bigotry, including anti-Semitism as well as “anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities” perpetrated by white supremacists and others. The resolution condemned “dual loyalty” accusations, but did not mention Omar by name.
The fight exposed deep divisions in the party. But on the 2020 campaign trail, heavyweights came to Omar's side. Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was raised Jewish, defended Omar, arguing that “we must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel.
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