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Thread: The US & others working with Pakistan

  1. #121
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default GoP needs to do stuff...

    S-2, the Paks are for over two years or more now using primarily air, artillery, and limited special forces instead of large numbers of troops on the ground where it counts.

    The Pak-Afghan border is huge and rugged as the devil, I have been primarily in the Khyber Pass area myself.

    As the Taliban are by blood Pakthuns they rely, successfully, on the Pakhtun unwritten code or constitution to seek sustainment and cover from being found out.

    My sopa box again here: Huge Voice of America radio and TV broadcasts to demean and show how unIslamic the Taliban, and AQ, actually are...then there is some hope to stopper parts of the rugged border, provided the tribesmen there seek Pak military long term, not in and out, military support for permanent security.

    Lack of trust in the GoP is a huge problem, but doing their duty, long term, could at least start to restore future trust in the GoP.

    My two cents.

  2. #122
    Council Member S-2's Avatar
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    Default George Singleton Reply

    "...doing their duty, long term, could at least start to restore future trust in the GoP."

    George,

    "...doing their duty, long term,..." would win the damned war, IMHO. Again, this insurgency has no traction in the absence of sanctuaries. If mutual trust is the by-product of that action I'm all for it.

    I don't see it though. Pakistan's army is wired for India. Sustaining their modest success in Buner and SWAT will challenge their stamina in ways they've heretofore not needed to face- policing their own.

    Already the slain bodies are showing up in the streets of Mingora and its effect on the military (i.e. down at the squad/section level) shall be morally corrosive.

    Further, every troop west is one less troop in the east. I'm convinced this grates on their leadership and each reinforcement sent west is done so with the most grudging acknowledgement.

    There's a long P.R. investment in fighting the Indian bogey-man. That stuff pays the bills and then some. They'd like to keep it that way in my view.

    No profit in fighting themselves from the army's POV.

    To "do their duty", nearly all of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan and most of eastern Baluchistan await their army. That includes the "good" taliban were they to carry through fully.

    There's easily a decade's work there. Maybe they realize it. Maybe not. I don't know. I only wonder if I'll see them start in my lifetime.

    I'm 53...
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

  3. #123
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    Default Question, maybe in the wrong place...

    I posted this comment on "land of 10,000 wars": http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/200...of-10000-wars/ and was wondering where I would post such a query on this discussion board?

    "I am curious to know if most people here agree with boatspace? What "accomodation" would allow the US to leave?

    In my personal opinion (based on zero inside information), the real issue is not Afghanistan, its Pakistan. Lets imagine that the US leaves Afghanistan in disarray, right down to the iconic helicopter takeoff from the Kabul embassy roof (maybe with Karzai hanging on to the rope ladder); even in that scenario, the real loss is loss of face. There is no oil in Afghanistan and no easy way to have a functional modern country in the foreseeable future. Taliban ruled Afghanistan would become a haven for the world's adventure seeking jihadis, but the taliban would not have peace. The Northern alliance has been revitalized and will continue to get Indian and Iranian (and probably Russian and American) support and will hold the North. The rest will be one big mess, Somalia X 10, occasionally bombed and cruise-missiled as the need arises. How many international terrorist plots have been launched from Somalia? probably zero. Without Pakistan, the jihadis have nothing except endless brutal war in the world's poorest country.

    The real prize is Pakistan.

    My question to you is this: do you think the US has finally flipped the Pakistani army or can the Pakistani army go back to training and arming jihadis?

    If they dont go back to being jihad central, isnt the job in that region pretty much done? (And I will admit I am trying to start a conversation and learn, these are not necessarily my final views). The Pakistani army could be fighting the jihadis for decades, but as long as they hold the major cities and control the ports and airports, how is that any worse than what is happening now?

    It will probably be very bad for the Afghans if the US leaves soon, but is it really that bad for the US?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-19-2009 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Add spacing to make this easier to read. Add link and move elsewhere.

  4. #124
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pakistani Aremy flipped?

    Omerali

    My question to you is this: do you think the US has finally flipped the Pakistani army or can the Pakistani army go back to training and arming jihadis?
    No, my opinion is that the Pakistani Army has not been flipped by the USA, who have tried repeatedly to achieve a change in policy and implementation. There are other threads that indicate a number of internal factors led to the Pakistani Army to fight the internal Taliban i.e. Swat Valley and less dramatically in the FATA. Take a peek at these recent threads: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5023 and http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7222

    For a variety of reasons parts of the Army and ISI may still pursue supporting militant factions. Hopefully this desire and perceived national interests at stake will change.

    Remember Pakistan has had hundred of soldiers, let alone civilians killed by militants and Jihadis - before 2009.

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-19-2009 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Add links and finaly place in right thread!

  5. #125
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default

    Having served long ago in Pakistan (then West Pakistan) with side trips to the old US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, mixing in events since 911 I do not favor walking away from Afghanistan when a new plan and policy for there takes one to two years to complete forming and testing.

    Premature and very questionable judgement to even suggest such, implying a pro-Taliban and al Qaida bias on the part of the writer of this question in my mind.

  6. #126
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    Default lets not judge so quickly..

    I am the farthest thing from an alqaeda or taliban sympathizer, so lets not jump to conclusions here!
    I will say that from several years experience on other email groups, I do expect massive misunderstanding in the first few exchanges. We all use heuristics that are generally useful but may be totally wrong in particular cases. Patience is the only real solution since no single email can present all the assumptions that underlie a particular position. Things will get clearer with time.
    In any case, as I said upfront, the main purpose was to start a discussion and try to get a clearer sense of what people think the US is doing in afghanistan and what may or may not be its essential interests in that region. If the conversation continues, we will get there.....

  7. #127
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by George L. Singleton View Post
    Premature and very questionable judgement to even suggest such, implying a pro-Taliban and al Qaida bias on the part of the writer of this question in my mind.
    Far from being a biased question, its actually a very good one, identifying the policy alternative that rarely gets properly aired (even, I might add, in Ex's excellent week-long AfPak blogfest at Abu Muqawama): can the threat of a resurgent Taliban and al-Qa'ida be contained in other ways than thousands of US and NATO boots on the ground?

    Omarali50 identifies one way this might be done: pulling back, supporting local proxies, and throwing some occasional drones/cruise missiles/airpower/SF/covert operations into the fray of what would likely become a full-scale civil war. It is a horrible thing to condemn the Afghan people to, and might generate massive refugee flows anew (that alone possibly destabilizing for Pakistan). However, it is a strategy which kind-of-works in Somalia: the place is a tragic, bloody, and sad morass, but it hasn't proven to be a place from which AQ has been able to build a particularly productive or effective sanctuary in recent years (despite past efforts to do so)

    I don't favour the approach myself. It is odd, however, that it receives so little airing in polite company (although I imagine things are a little different in less polite company, or even at "The Company").

    Interestingly, the specter of this sort of Plan B is one way to nudge the Pakistanis into more robust action against the Taliban, since they certainly don't want to see Washington to switch to Somalia-like containment on their doorstep.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  8. #128
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post

    I don't favour the approach myself. It is odd, however, that it receives so little airing in polite company (although I imagine things are a little different in less polite company, or even at "The Company").

    Interestingly, the specter of this sort of Plan B is one way to nudge the Pakistanis into more robust action against the Taliban, since they certainly don't want to see Washington to switch to Somalia-like containment on their doorstep.
    I guess its time for me to add that I dont favor it myself either. Mostly because it would be hell for the Afghans and probably for ordinary Pakistanis and Indians (I am guessing a Pakistani military deprived of its American subsidy would turn around and reactivate the jihadi option against India). But I think its good to know what the options are to get a clearer picture of what we should or should not do. In actual fact, I am modestly optimistic that the US WILL succeed in some recognizable shape or form.

  9. #129
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default We certainly hope so

    I guess its time for me to add that I dont favor it myself either. Mostly because it would be hell for the Afghans and probably for ordinary Pakistanis and Indians (I am guessing a Pakistani military deprived of its American subsidy would turn around and reactivate the jihadi option against India). But I think its good to know what the options are to get a clearer picture of what we should or should not do. In actual fact, I am modestly optimistic that the US WILL succeed in some recognizable shape or form.

    We certainly hope so!

  10. #130
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    Default America's "Pakistan problem"

    I was just sent this article (
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Conten...6/917tltdv.asp) and I think it gets the background right and correctly points out that the biggest reason for staying and winning in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Such a victory would force a complete overhaul of "national security thinking" in Pakistan, while US defeat in Afghanistan would confirm to the generals that their assessment was correct and having beaten their second superpower, they can go back to plan A (you would be surprised at the speed with which the supposed "revenge to the tenth generation" business evaporates and corps commanders are again hugging taliban commanders on TV).
    Some of the other suggestions are weak tea. They are also (in my opinion) misdirected. The US (or any superpower) with interests in the region is not going to win hearts and minds by doing good deeds and paying journalists to highlight them. They should still DO good deeds, but the expectation that you can spend X dollars on some hospitals and "everyone" will love you in return is not correct. They will love you in return IF their perceived national interest is aligned with yours OR if they have NO "strategic issues" to do with you. Thus, its easy for, say, Cuba to buy goodwill. Its operating on neutral ground and 8 doctors and a mobile hospital earned it tons of goodwill in 2005. But India cannot earn similar goodwill with 800 doctors. ..and so on.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Conten...6/917tltdv.asp

  11. #131
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Sec Clinton brings love and hate to Pakistan

    I'd like to know what everyone thinks about Sec Clinton's remarks in Pakistan. Personally, I think it is a good thing. She is being direct about the (or lack of) responsibility and accountability of the Pakistanis to secure areas of their nation-state and hunt down al Qaeda.

    Highlights include:

    “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are, and couldn’t get to them if they really wanted to,” she said to a group of Pakistani journalists on her second day here. “Maybe that’s the case; maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know.”

    “Slowly, but insidiously, you were losing territory,” Mrs. Clinton said. “If you want to see your territory shrink, that’s your choice. But I don’t think that’s the right choice.”

    “I am more than willing to hear every complaint about the United States.” But she said the relationship had to be a “two-way street.”
    Best

    Mike

  12. #132
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default

    Pretty good article Mike thanks for posting. She did the best she could I suspect, she had a lot guts to keep to her schedule no matter what was happening and I like guts.

  13. #133
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Change the words please

    Mike F refers to Mrs Clinton's remarks
    She is being direct about the (or lack of) responsibility and accountability of the Pakistanis to secure areas of their nation-state and hunt down al Qaeda.
    First big mistake is the wording; it should have read: She is being direct about the lack of Pakistani military and state responsibility and accountability to all Pakistani. To secure areas of their nation-state and hunt down our common enemies (al Qaeda, Pakistani Taleban and 'foriegn militants).

    Was this really the advice of the State Dept. to make such remarks in Pakistan? Given the common public view that the USA is the enemy, her remarks are rude, even critics of the Pakistani state and military will be bewildered - and silent.

    Then add: We share a common enemy and that is why we offer our help. Not for hi-tech weapons, simple things for the police and others in the fight.Our help is for non-military change too.

    davidbfpo

  14. #134
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Rude Redux

    David,

    I disagree. When I receive my monthly bills in the mail, I don't consider that it is rude for the bank to demand in such an informal tone that I pay the required amount.

    We've given billions to Pakistan (avg $50 Billion/yr I think) since 9/11. They squandered most of it on building a conventional army to defend against Pakistan. This is not an equal partnership. Regardless of how xenophobic or anti-American some of the Paks may be, they still absorb our money. That's not an equal partnership.

    v/r

    Mike

  15. #135
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default

    $50 billion a year? Not that much ... more like $11 billion total from 9/11 to 2008, I think.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issu...d_numbers.html

    The vast majority of it is to the military. Most Pakistanis, of course, never see any American aid.

    The Kerry-Lugar bill, which sought to rebalance some of this, caused the Pakistani military to throw a massive bitch fit, supposedly because this impinged on Pakistani national sovereignty.

    It's emotionally satisfying for me to hear Sec. Clinton give the Pakistanis a little bit of honesty given the military's duplicity, but I'm a bit afraid that this will only feed the Pakistani political sphere's basic anti-Americanism.
    Last edited by tequila; 10-30-2009 at 01:55 PM.

  16. #136
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    $50 billion a year? Not that much ... more like $11 billion total from 9/11 to 2008, I think.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issu...d_numbers.html

    The vast majority of it is to the military. Most Pakistanis, of course, never see any American aid.
    Are Tequilla's numbers correct? If so, we're spending pennies in Pakistan compared to Iraq or Afghanistan. That's strange. Moreover, that report cited that only 2% of the funds went to education or development.

    Mike

  17. #137
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Additional figures from the Congressional Research Service via FAS:

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/pakaid.pdf

    From 2002 - 2008, this adds up to 12.087 billion.

    The FY 2009 request is for 3.352 billion.

  18. #138
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Additional figures from the Congressional Research Service via FAS:

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/pakaid.pdf

    From 2002 - 2008, this adds up to 12.087 billion.

    The FY 2009 request is for 3.352 billion.
    I gotta rethink my comments now. I guess that I had some assumptions wrong . For an area that we consider the center of gravity or main effort, we are not pushing a lot of effort there.

    Mike

  19. #139
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Well, you gotta figure the vast majority of money we spend in Afghanistan is spent on combat operations and our own forces. Plus we don't have to build a state or an army or a police force from nothing in Pakistan, only assist what's already been there for decades. Yes, none of those institutions are in spectacular shape, but they're decades ahead of what's in Afghanistan.

  20. #140
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Hillary Clinton urges openness

    Here's an interview where she explains her actions.

    I did this on a very micro-level (just one village). I'd acknowledge the US failures during the initial years of the Iraq war, but I would follow it up quickly that our missteps did not give the villagers the right to:

    - Behead/murder/displace their neighbors.
    - Steal from each other.
    - Blow up their roads.
    - Refuse to vote and then complain that they were not represented in the government.

    It was a different tactic, but it worked.

    Here's what the Sec had to say:

    She referred to the experience of former President Bill Clinton. "I watched in the '90s as my husband just kept pushing and pushing and pushing, and good things happened. There wasn't a final agreement, but fewer people died, there were more opportunities for economic development, for trade, for exchanges. It had positive effects, even though it didn't cross the finish line. So I think that being involved at the highest levels sends a message of our seriousness of purpose."

    Clinton said it's time to "clear the air" with a key U.S. ally. She added, "I don't think the way you deal with negative feelings is to pretend they're not there."

    "I think it's important, if we are going to have the kind of cooperative partnership, that I think is in the best interest of both of our countries, for me to express some of the questions that are on the minds of the American people,"

    "No, no," she said. "What I was responding to is what I have been really doing on this trip, which is there exists a trust deficit, certainly on the part of Pakistanis toward the United States, toward our intentions and our actions. And yet we have so much in common, we face a common threat. We certainly have a common enemy in extremism and terrorism, and so part of what I have been doing is answering every single charge, every question."

    Trust "is a two-way street," she added. While Pakistan's military operation has been "extremely courageous in both Swat and now in South Waziristan, success there is not sufficient," she said. "... I just want to keep putting on the table that we have some concerns as well. And I think ... that's the kind of relationship I'm looking to build here."

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