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Thread: The US & others working with Pakistan

  1. #641
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Army rethink or "more of the same"?

    It is curious that General Kayani's Independence day speech back in August was missed by my "radar" and I think others here. In the last week I've read short references to it and so a FP Blog article acted as a reminder:
    the Pakistani military's deadly tryst with jihadists began when Obama was a college student. Rawalpindi remains wedded to using jihadists, even as they point a gun at their own heads, though the Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, recognizes the existential threat they pose and could be looking for a way out. In August, in his Independence Day address, Kayani condemned rising religious extremism and warned that jihadi militants could push Pakistan toward civil war.
    A very brief report on his speech:http://tribune.com.pk/story/421855/m...ns-gen-kayani/
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    Too little too late?
    The army (and the ruling elite in general) is stuck. They promoted Islam as a unifying and motivating force, but "Islam" is not a blank slate on which GHQ can write what it wants and not a word more. There is enough out there to make control difficult. Its not a conundrum that the braintrust at Paknationalists.com can solve, so they end up falling back on another round of faux-Islamization and deals with mullahs...all under the delusion that once the hated Americans leave, we will be back to the happy 90s. Its not likely to succeed.

    btw, on current events of interest: http://www.brownpundits.com/2012/09/...r-the-prophet/

    earlier posts on this topic: http://www.brownpundits.com/2012/09/...does-this-end/

    http://www.brownpundits.com/2012/09/...y-can-you-see/

  3. #643
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Again you'd have to look at the comparative scale. China consumes 10mbpd of oil a day, most of it imported, and even a very large pipeline would supply only a small fraction of daily consumption.

    Similarly, even a rail and highway to port link via the KKH that was in use 24/7/365 would carry only a tiny fraction of China's merchandise exports. Again, you have to look at infrastructure capacity relative to the overall scale of Chinese imports and exports, which are extremely large. Compare the size and capacity of Gwadar port to, say Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Quingdao and you get an idea of the scale. The 2nd stage of development at Gwadar is supposed to expand it to 12 berths. China's coastal ports have 650 berths for ships 10k tons and above, over 2500 in all.

    I don't think it makes sense to look at any single transport link as a critical strategic element that China would rely on if, say, the SE Asian transit route through Indonesia and the Philippines (VLCCs and ULCCs don't use the Malacca Strait, not deep enough) were closed. It would be more accurate, I suspect, to say the Chinese are trying to diversify their access routes by developing as many alternatives as possible. In sum those alternatives are significant, though no single one of them would really be strategically vital. In energy terms, of course, the most significant would be the oil pipelines to Kazakhstan and to Siberia.

    I don't really buy the contention that a Gwadar-KKH-China pipeline would reduce the risk of China's oil supply being cut off in the event of conflict with the US, as the port, shipments bound for the port, and the pipeline itself would remain vulnerable. In the event of a purely regional war (say with Vietnam or other SE Asian countries) it could be significant, but if the US (or for that matter India) were determined to cut off China's energy supply, they could still do it. The Kazakhstan and Siberian routes would be much more difficult to interdict.
    I pretty much agree with everything. If you look at the Chinese economic topography in context of the Asian geography and the location of much needed economic ressources like oil it is hard to imagine that the highway and pipeline link with Pakistan will play and important role in times of peace or bigger wars.

    I guess it is partly to keep the Pakistani happy and partly to diversify the economic supply lines of military interest.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

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    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  4. #644
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    Default Friday in Pakistan


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    and what actually happened http://www.brownpundits.com/2012/09/...ved-by-idiots/

    (my predictions were not too far off the mark)

  6. #646
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Russia-Pakistan relations

    This article opens with:
    Vladimir Putin was due to visit Pakistan this week, but has postponed his trip indefinitely and given no reason for his decision. Sadhavi Chauhan believes, however, that this setback is no threat to increased Russian cooperation with Pakistan and other Central and South Asian countries.
    It ends with:
    The postponement of Putin’s visit is undoubtedly a symbolic blow to Pakistan's efforts to diversify its strategic allies and do away with its image of bandwagoning with America.... However, it needs to be stressed that Putin has postponed his trip and not cancelled it. ...... There is a definite rapprochement between the two, even though their current bilateral engagement continues to be limited.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/sadhavi...p-to-islamabad

    In a curious twist of timing the Pakistani Army go to Moscow:
    ...the Russian capital is set to welcome General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on 3rd October. It is worth noting that his trip continues to be on course despite the cancellation of Putin’s visit.
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    My take on US WOT as mother of all terrorism in Pakistan:

    http://www.viewpointonline.net/us-oc...terrorism.html

  8. #648
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Pakistan Challenge for India and America

    A short article by Bruce Reidel, hat tip to the Lowy Institute:http://casi.ssc.upenn.edu/iit/bruceriedel

    Nothing too startling, although the title suggests some expectation that India will become more engaged.

    A few short excerpts:
    Since 9/11, the U.S. has disbursed over $25 billion in military and economic aid to Islamabad....No other country except Israel has received so much American aid since 2001.
    I'm not sure what economic aid means, budget support?

    As SWC recognises the role of the Pakistani Army/ISI, this is of value (edited):
    Finally, there is a shadow of Abbottabad haunting American-Pakistani relations. Days after the SEAL raid that killed the al Qaeda amir, a Pakistani journalist wrote that “of course the generals knew and they knew they could get away with it.” It was either ISI incompetence or complicity, neither of which is comforting.
    On reading the article again I do wonder if the impact of drone attacks on radicalisation within Pakistan could alter India's calculus to avoid, along with other factors:
    An American-Pakistan proxy war could become an Indo-Pakistan proxy war.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-15-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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    Since 9/11, the U.S. has disbursed over $25 billion in military and economic aid to Islamabad
    Pakistan claims that they have spent way more than what they got fighting US' War of Terror.

    SLAMABAD:
    Pakistan’s economy can no longer sustain the cost of war as the money so far disbursed by the US to compensate the damages the country has suffered while fighting the war on terror is only 14% of the total losses, says a leading economist.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/462472/p...r-says-expert/

    http://www.defence.pk/forums/pakista...ys-expert.html

  10. #650
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Af-Pak: reversing the reverse strategic depth?

    Well sometimes things change, worth a read. Hat tip to Ryan Evans. the author ends with:
    Without Pakistan reversing the reverse strategic depth it has given to the jihadists, this talk of ‘paradigm shift’ will remain hogwash.
    Link:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default...-11-2012_pg3_2
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  11. #651
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    Default Talking not co-operating

    From FP Situation Report (in an email) and not a great surprise I'd wager:
    But Lt. Gen. Mike Barbero, the head of JIEDDO, tells Situation Report he struggles with one thing that is much harder to control: stopping the flow of ammonium nitrate, used to make the overwhelming majority of the home-made explosives used against troops in Afghanistan, from entering the country from Pakistan.

    Home-made explosives account for 83 percent of IED "events," defined as found, cleared or detonated, and of that, 72 percent is made with ammonium nitrate. One bag of it can produce seven or eight IEDs, he said. "It's a supply issue," Barbero said.

    The problem is not new. But there is increasing frustration among American officials that the Pakistanis seem unwilling to help do anything about the problem. "They can and need to do more....The bottom line is, I know they could do more, it is an area so open for cooperation."

    Among other efforts to slow the flow of the ammonium nitrate, Barbero has asked Pakistani fertilizer supplier FATIMA to add dye to their product, a relatively low-cost additive that will help border guards between Afghanistan and Pakistan identify the bags as bomb-making material. Even with an extremely porous border, that could make it harder for insurgents to transport the material, Barbero says. But efforts to get the Pakistani government to push the firm into adding the dye have not been successful, Barbero says.
    "On the network and IED cooperation point there has been a lot of talk about cooperation with us, but there hasn't been any real cooperation," Barbero said of the Pakistanis.
    davidbfpo

  12. #652
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    7 soldiers were kidnapped in Jand today. Thats about 50 miles from GHQ on the road to Kohat. Its in Punjab, not KP. Its East of the Indus.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...9010JB20130102

    The most telling quote in the story is this:

    ..."Taliban commander Tariq Afridi, who has forces in the area, was not available for comment and no Taliban spokesman returned calls seeking comment."

    In frigging Jand, there is a "taliban commander who has forces in the area".
    This is close to real Pakistan. Actual middle class Punjabis could die one of these days.

    Naturally I will plug my piece again: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksd...tan-.html#more

  13. #653
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Omar:

    How much time do you figure Pakistan has?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    and what actually happened http://www.brownpundits.com/2012/09/...ved-by-idiots/

    (my predictions were not too far off the mark)
    Omar, does seem like the terrorists are increasing their activities again, but it still isn't near as bad as it was a few years back. It is accurate to say that Pakistani military will eventually clamp down like the did before after a long delay where they just admire the problem instead of doing something about it? Or are things different now in your view?

    Could it be that they think they already won in Afghanistan and are now shifting their efforts to the Pakistan government? If so I suspect (maybe just hope) they're miscalculating.

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    Carl, I dont think Pakistan is going anywhere. I think the state is still stronger than any terrorist group. I just regret that they themselves, needlessly and blindly, created most of the problems facing them today. And I regret that in their obsession with India they have prolonged things and delayed things until the rot was worse and harder to clear out. But in spite of all that, I think the state's odds of survival are still in positive territory. I am not as optimistic as I was 2 years ago, but I still find it hard to imagine Pakistan falling apart.
    But it will be ugly. And will probably get much worse before it gets better. Not just terrorism but general law and order and everyday politics and infighting and the endless hate-fest with India. I think MANY problems (and not just the terrorist threat) are worse than our army wants to admit (even to themselves) and that many of their assumptions (like things improving once America pulls out) are flawed. But again, even with flawed assumptions and bad ideas, they can still pull through.
    Maybe its wishful thinking on my part, but I base this back-handed optimism on the fact that very pathetic states have won out over determined insurgencies and massive internal disorder more often than insurgencies and disorder have defeated even pathetic states (long stalemates and decades of bad governance are another matter).
    Bill, I think (based on nothing more than guesswork and reading the news) that the "bad jihadists" may feel that GHQ has sold them out for sure and its do or die time.
    btw, there seems to be a feeling of "strategic victory" in GHQ alongside all the doom and gloom. Its hard to figure out why, but all my paknationalist friends seem to think a great victory parade is going to happen rather soon...

  16. #656
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Talking not co-operating: update (Post 651)

    From FP's Situation Report: From JIEDDO, good news on the flow of bomb-making materials from Pakistan. In December, Situation Report reported on the frustrations of Lt. Gen. Mike Barbero....Well this week, he issued a statement: things have gotten better.

    While I stand by my testimony [in December], in recent weeks I've seen positive developments in discussions with the Fatima Group, the Pakistan-based producers of calcium ammonium nitrate. Fatima confirmed to me in writing that it has suspended sales of [calcium ammonium nitrate] fertilizer products in the border provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, affecting 228 dealers in those areas. I'm encouraged by their actions and remain hopeful this step will have positive and significant near-term impacts with respect to diminishing the IED threat not only to U.S. and coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan, but to Pakistan's civilians and security forces as well." Fatima has also agreed to create a "reformulated product" that renders calcium ammonium nitrate "more inert and less explosive," Barbero said, and thereby "diminishing its effectiveness as an IED precursor material," calling such a long-term solution a "true scientific breakthrough.
    Working with allies and friends clearly takes time!
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  17. #657
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    Default A costly war for naught.

    In the midst of a very long FP article 'The Inside Story of How the White House Let Diplomacy Fail in Afghanistan' by vali Nasr, are a few gems:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...stan?page=full

    IN OCTOBER 2010, during a visit to the White House, General Kayani gave Obama a 13-page white paper he had written to explain his views on the outstanding strategic issues between Pakistan and the United States. Kayani 3.0, as the paper was dubbed (it was the third one Pakistanis had given the White House on the subject), could be summarized as: You are not going to win the war, and you are not going to transform Afghanistan. This place has devoured empires before you; it will defy you as well. Stop your grandiose plans, and let's get practical, sit down, and discuss how you will leave and what is an end state we can both live with.

    (Then). Kayani's counsel was that if you want to leave, just leave -- we didn't believe you were going to stay anyway -- but don't do any more damage on your way out. This seemed to be a ubiquitous sentiment across the region. No one bought our argument for sending more troops into Afghanistan, and no one was buying our arguments for leaving.
    He ends with:
    They know the truth: America is leaving Afghanistan to its own fate. America is leaving even as the demons of regional chaos that first beckoned it there are once again rising to threaten its security.

    America has not won this war on the battlefield, nor has the country ended it at the negotiating table. America is just washing its hands of this war. We may hope that the Afghan army the United States is building will hold out longer than the one that the Soviet Union built, but even that may not come to pass. Very likely, the Taliban will win Afghanistan again, and this long, costly war will have been for naught.
    davidbfpo

  18. #658
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    From FP's Situation Report: From JIEDDO, good news on the flow of bomb-making materials from Pakistan. In December, Situation Report reported on the frustrations of Lt. Gen. Mike Barbero....Well this week, he issued a statement: things have gotten better.

    Working with allies and friends clearly takes time!
    A Pakistani company said they did something and the US military issued a statement that things are well now.

    I don't mind us being fools as much as I mind our insistence on bragging about it.

    (The "true scientific breakthrough" part is a nice touch. It should put some real pop into a power point presentation.)
    Last edited by carl; 03-04-2013 at 02:09 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  19. #659
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A costly war for naught: a comment

    A taut critique by Sarah Chayes, which includes:
    What this account is missing -- what so many such accounts are missing -- is the humility and intellectual honesty to take a candid look inward, to strive for a nuanced assessment of our shared missteps, in what I, like Nasr, believe will be a grim outcome for Afghanistan, and ultimately for international security.
    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...stan?page=full
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  20. #660
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    Breaking Up Is Not Hard to Do - Why the U.S.-Pakistani Alliance Isn't Worth the Trouble, by Husain Haqqani. Foreign Affairs, March/April 2013.
    With the United States and Pakistan at a dead end, the two countries need to explore ways to structure a nonallied relationship. They had a taste of this in 2011 and 2012, when Pakistan shut down transit lines in response to a NATO drone strike on the Afghan-Pakistani border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. But this failed to hurt the U.S. war effort; the United States quickly found that it could rely on other routes into Afghanistan. Doing so was more costly, but the United States' flexibility demonstrated to Islamabad that its help is not as indispensable to Washington as it once assumed. That realization should be at the core of a new relationship. The United States should be unambiguous in defining its interests and then acting on them without worrying excessively about the reaction in Islamabad.

    The new coolness between the two countries will eventually provoke a reckoning. The United States will continue to do what it feels it has to do in the region for its own security, such as pressing ahead with drone strikes on terrorist suspects. These will raise hackles in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani military leadership is based. Pakistani military leaders might make noise about shooting down U.S. drones, but they will think long and hard before actually doing so, in light of the potential escalation of hostilities that could follow. Given its weak hand (which will grow even weaker as U.S. military aid dries up), Pakistan will probably refrain from directly confronting the United States.
    A provocative article from Pakistan's former Ambassador to the US. Some context about the author:

    Commentary: Geopolitical conundrum
    , by Arnaud de Borchgrave. UPI.com, Feb. 22, 2013.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

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