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Thread: Pakistani politics (catch all)

  1. #81
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Can anyone point me to any products (perhaps an NIE of sorts) that details Pakistan's nuclear capabilities? I'm thinking that despite hearing a lot about it, I don't know crap about yield, packaging, or delivery vehicles in the inventory.

  2. #82
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Default Kinda Skimpy on Some of the Details, But. . .

    . . .better than nothing. I read a CRS report on it last summer when I worked in Congress, I just found it online from another source:

    "Indian and Pakistani Nuclear Weapons" http://www.ndu.edu/library/docs/crs/...37_17feb05.pdf

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

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    Gracias.

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    With Bhutto gone, one wonders exactly how Washington will react. The policy of using Bhutto and elections as a cloak of legitimacy for Musharraf was already largely wrecked by Bhutto and Musharraf being unable to come to terms, leading directly to the declaration of the SoE and the movement of Bhutto into opposition. Now with Bhutto dead, this strategy is completely gone --- what are American options? Back Musharraf to the hilt? Who else?

    Some very heavy sweating going on in McLean, Foggy Bottom, and the White House right now.

  5. #85
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    With Bhutto gone, one wonders exactly how Washington will react. The policy of using Bhutto and elections as a cloak of legitimacy for Musharraf was already largely wrecked by Bhutto and Musharraf being unable to come to terms, leading directly to the declaration of the SoE and the movement of Bhutto into opposition. Now with Bhutto dead, this strategy is completely gone --- what are American options? Back Musharraf to the hilt? Who else?

    Some very heavy sweating going on in McLean, Foggy Bottom, and the White House right now.
    Question for you, Tequila. Do you think Washington has any other options? We were wary of Bhutto in large part because of her poor relationship with Pakistani security services, and what we really seem to be cultivating is the cooperation of the security services, and particularly trying to keep the ISI out of bed with the extremists. I feel like the cooperation with Bhutto was a veneer of supporting legitimate democracy - and as you said - was a ploy for Musharraf's legitimacy.

    A few months ago an author in Foreign Affairs wrote that the ISI and others in the security services maintain their ties with fundamentalist groups not for ideological reasons but because they think eventually the US will side with India and bail on Pakistan. They're hedging their bets, essentially. And so the solution for the US, instead of embargoing F-16s and such to try to force democracy, is to continue to support Musharraf and the security services while gently pushing towards democracy.

    Given that, what other options do we have? I don't know that this changes Washington's policy at all, given that even when espousing cooperation, we supported Musharraf.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  6. #86
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    This is not an original question as I read the bits on another board. Am I, however, the only one who sees some parallels with the Shah of Iran, who also at one point had a handle on his military?

    Are there things to be learned from his capitulation that can help folks at Foggy Bottom avoid repeating history? Or are these issues to much a matter of apples-oranges?

  7. #87
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Nothing simple here

    For the West, principally the USA & UK, Ms Bhutto's murder is a loss and for Pakistan makes the forthcoming national parliamentary elections even more difficult to envisage as a contest for popular support. I remain convinced the West needs to see how the Pakistani electorate vote - before making any long-term decisions.

    For Pakistanis their focus will be on how the Army react, to the murder and holding the elections in January 2008.

    Other nations have a vital interest in Pakistan's future. China is Pakistan's longstanding ally and it was reported that when the Red Mosque militants seized a van of Chinese workers that was "the straw that broke the camel's back". Then there is India, who clearly wants stability and restrictions on cross-border activity in Kashmir.

    We tend to overlook the Saudi influence, with their clear support for Nawaz Sharif and their reported brokering of political deals. How much does real politic influence Saudi policy compared to religion? I assume India's growing economy relies on Saudi oil supplies too. Anyone seen a good analysis of the Saudi factor?

    Do not overlook that the Rawlpindi rally was necessary to keep Ms Bhutto in the public eye, as restrictions remain on local press & TV reporting.

    Given the previous attack on Ms Bhutto and the risk with any public appearance her personal security seems odd. From the photos I've seen the public was allowed too close, why did she emerge from the sunroof to wave etc at people outside the venue?

    What happens in the more militant areas will be interesting to watch. Will the Pakistani Taleban celebrate publically, will a militant group claim responsibility for the murder? Any public celebration or claim in NWFP or FATA could provide Musharraf with a public event to base a national security / stabilization campaign instead of the usual "stop & go".

    Pakistan needs to see the Pakistani Army and locally recruited forces out of their forts and roadblock bunkers. With a propaganda campaign similar to "This murder was wrong and all Pakistan condemns it. Where do you stand?"

    The NWFP, FATA and Baluchistan have a small population compared to the rest of the country. The religious parties were strongest in those areas.

    I am not fearful about the security of Pakistani nuclear weapons, internal Army authority and discipline is not an issue (very different from confronting militants in the FATA often by locally recruited forces). Those who call for a SF raid - as seen in some comments - are crazy.

    What impact upon Pakistani women will the murder have? I simply do not know, it is a male dominated society and very few, if any women appear in film footage of Bhutto's rallies. The western orientated class is tiny, mainly middle class professionals in the cities.

    For those called into work today, as others suggest, I'd go home. The decisions necessary remain in Pakistan and not Foggy Bottom or Whitehall. If anything on reflection Ms Bhutto's murder reduces any immediate and short term Western influence.

    davidbfpo

  8. #88
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Bhutto obituary

    From the (London) Daily Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...702.xml&page=3

    davidbfpo

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    Default Parallels with Iran under the Shah?

    From JCustis

    This is not an original question as I read the bits on another board. Am I, however, the only one who sees some parallels with the Shah of Iran, who also at one point had a handle on his military?

    Are there things to be learned from his capitulation that can help folks at Foggy Bottom avoid repeating history? Or are these issues to much a matter of apples-oranges?
    In reply we, in the West, find it hard to understand how a society like Iran can chose a theocratic dictatorship - which is what Ayatollah Khomeni clearly offered. This comment was made at a Whitehall conference recently by Prof. Christopher Andrew, an intelligence historian.

    It is a long time since I read about the Iranian revolution.

    What I do recall is that the West, in particular foreign policy experts, did not realize how unpopular the Shah's rule was. That we relied on the intelligence relationship with Savak (secret police), a relationship fraught with problems. The flow of propaganda from Ayatollah Khomeni in Paris, mainly audio tapes, which radicalized many missed out by the Shah's reign. Even the Imperial Guard at the end failed to support the Shah, although my recollection is that the Iranian Army did not have an internal security role like the Pakistani Army. The Shah's reforms only too late we found were without a foundation for such a conservative and religious society.

    Pakistan is very different and despite all its problems has a strong national desire to be democratic. Secondly, it is far more open society, more diverse and many live abroad (not just in the UK). Finally they play cricket!

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by Steve Blair; 12-27-2007 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Added quote

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    MattC86 - Unfortunately our policy since the 1970s in Pakistan has always been the shortsighted one of supporting the military, even when it lined up against the rest of Pakistani society. The Pakistani military likes to promote the idea, which it likely believes, that it is the only truly effective institution that holds Pakistan together. Of course the fact that it often hobbles any other institution that could present a threat to its dominance may have something to do with the truth of that statement.

    Short-term, I would push Musharraf to continue with elections, to release all political prisoners, and reinstate the fired Pakistani Supreme Court and all judges. In essence, reverse course on the State of Emergency. Ensure that he does not re-declare another State of Emergency in the wake of today's riots and violence.

    Work to ensure that the upcoming elections are seen as genuinely legitimate.

    Ask the Pakistani military to choose between a President Musharraf and continued U.S. support. Push Musharraf to resign and retire to the U.S. or the UK and appoint a genuine caretaker government to run elections and then give way once elections give rise to genuine civilian rule. Reward Kiyani and the corps commanders with lavish modernization programs for their conventional arms, COIN training, and as many slots at Leavenworth and CGSC and all the other American schools as we can find. Build up the Frontier Corps and the Special Services Group, with American Special Forces trainers embedded if possible with the SSG. The more long-term links we can build between Pakistani and American officers, the better - we need a Pak military that is linked with the U.S. Do whatever's necessary to wean Pakistan's military from the civilian economy, to which it is increasingly wedded to the detriment of both the economy and the integrity of the officer corps.

    At the same time, increase massively the amount of aid that the U.S. gives to Pakistani civilian and secular institutions. Do what we can to help professionalize and modernize Pakistani secular education and civil service, push through preferential trade for Pakistani textiles and industrial products to increase employment. The civilian sector in Pakistan should be built up to the point where its institutions can effectively counterweight the military and the Islamists, who draw most of their institutional strength from the former - that is the ONLY way out of this vicious cycle of continuous crisis in South Asia.

  11. #91
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    David/JCustis:

    Oh, btw, JCustis, I sent you a pm the other day.

    I agree completely with what David said. Pakistan's human rights record may not be enviable, but I don't think it really compares with the abuses of SAVAK - an organization that had near-complete, Gestapo like powers of arrest and torture by the end of the Shah's regime. Plus the Shah was not just widely thought of as an American collaborator - it was known the US kept him in power. The US and Britain had deposed PM Muhammed Mosaddiq in 1953 in Operation Ajax, and the Iranian people remembered that we had eliminated a legitimate, democratizing figure (although he was a socialist) and reinstated the Shah (who had taken a conspicuous vacation during the whole affair).

    Plus, the last Shah (Muhammad or Muhammad Reza, can't remember) was the latest Pahlavi dynasty Shah, and none of the Pahlavis had much legitimacy at all except from the barrel of a gun - the original Pahlavi was a military usurper from the Cossack Brigade.

    And, frankly, before the Pahlavis the Qajars were illegitimate and could not control the decentralized countryside population, and the Safavids before them. . . Iran/Persia has a long history of governments that cannot truly control the countryside; something we should (but appear not to) take into consideration in our policy-making towards them. . .

    . . .the point being that I think the situations are historically quite different. Musharraf has his legitimacy problems, his human rights issues, and his unpopularity, but I think they all pale in comparison to that experienced by the Shah. Another issue is that there really isn't a central resistance figure for the population to rally around, which immensely benefits Musharraf - the opposition is fractured among itself; the old divide-and-conquer maxim. The importance of the Khomeini in the Iranian Revolution cannot be overstated. Not only was he a real living counter to the Shah, but he was careful to accommodate the moderates, fundamentalists, and even liberals in his opposition to the Shah (before purging them in the aftermath). There's no such figure right now in Pakistan, and I don't think Bhutto will accomplish that as a martyr (nor do I think she would have had she survived and become PM again).

    Plus there's the considerable differences in the historical power of the ulama in Iran versus Pakistan, etc., etc.

    Tequila: To play devil's advocate, I think the reason we have and will continue to support the military is fear of the unknown. I think the US is fairly confident that the Pakistani military is less prone to instability and perhaps less likely to generate conflict with India or anyone else (as opposed to the occasionally belligerent Indian military leadership: "If we go to war - jolly good," one Indian CoS commented during the Operation "Brasstacks" nuclear standoff) than fickle democratic governments, and there is a real fear of what a true democracy in Pakistan might do. Devil we know versus the one we don't kind of thing.

    Pakistan is really in a bad spot. As India modernizes and integrates into the global economy, with major possibilities for the future (economically and politically, as the country becomes a regional power), Pakistan continues to stagnate. Economically and politically, it resembles the foundering Middle East rather than developing South Asia. The population will become more hostile both towards India (and even its erstwhile ally China) as they modernize and Pakistan goes nowhere, and they fear the US still really supports India.

    Granted, none of that offers an alternative solution. I think your idea is the right one, but fear of what could happen if democratization is really carried out will keep scaring US policymakers into supporting the military and hoping for stability.

    We'll see.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  12. #92
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Dr. Barnett Rubin has an excellent post on Pakistan here. Worth reading in full, with I think a fully accurate diagnosis of Pakistan's problems. I think he hits the nail on the head w/regards to the disintegration of the military's legitimacy in the Pakistani public sphere. Sadly, I think his words about American policy towards Pakistan are also on point.

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    ICG, 2 Jan 08: After Bhutto’s Murder: A Way Forward for Pakistan
    Gravely damaged by eight years of military rule, Pakistan’s fragile political system received a major blow on 27 December 2007, when former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Her murder, days before the parliamentary elections scheduled for 8 January 2008 and now postponed to 18 February, put an end to a U.S. effort to broker a power-sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf which the centre-left Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader had already recognised was unrealistic. Her popularity and the belief Musharraf and his allies were responsible, directly or indirectly, have led to violent countrywide protests.

    Stability in Pakistan and its contribution to wider anti-terror efforts now require rapid transition to legitimate civilian government. This must involve the departure of Musharraf, whose continued efforts to retain power at all costs are incompatible with national reconciliation; an interim consensus caretaker government and a neutral Election Commission; and brief postponement of the elections to allow conditions to be created – including the restoration of judicial independence – in which they can be conducted freely and fairly.

    Bhutto’s death has drawn the battle lines even more clearly between Musharraf’s military-backed regime and Pakistan’s moderate majority, which is now unlikely to settle for anything less than genuine parliamentary democracy. Many in Pakistan fear that the federation’s very survival could depend on the outcome of this struggle....
    Complete 12 page ICG Policy Brief at the link.

  14. #94
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I like the Bush Administration's push here, but we should not be reaching out to Musharraf so much as trying to convince Kiyani and the corps commanders that billions in American aid without Musharraf is better than Musharraf in control, Pakistan in ashes, and no American aid.

    The Bush administration has launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to persuade Pakistan to free democratic activists and lawyers, lift press restrictions and allow international observers into polling stations to ensure that the delayed parliamentary election is deemed credible by Pakistanis and by the international community, according to U.S. officials.

    In their first conversation since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called President Pervez Musharraf on New Year's Day to discuss the importance of the election next month as a means of restoring stability in a nuclear-armed country that is also on the front line of fighting extremism. Other U.S. officials and diplomats in Islamabad are engaged in an intense diplomatic push this week, officials said ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Finally they play cricket!

    David:
    Bravo (or should I say hear, hear). It should not be overlooked that the British Empire survived for along time and this was the gold-standard litmus test. Ball tampering and political assasination both fall squarely into the 'just not cricket' catagory and the sooner the rest of the world re-introduces the cricket test the better.
    Last edited by JJackson; 01-03-2008 at 04:09 PM.

  16. #96
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    Default Pakistani opinion poll

    Pakistanis Want Larger Role for Both Islam and Democracy

    Majority Reject ‘Talibanization’ and Favor Reform of Madrassas

    Growing Perception that US Threatens Islam

    An in-depth survey of Pakistani public opinion reveals majority support for a moderate and democratic Islamic state, though a small but significant minority shows sympathy for Islamist militant groups.

    Most Pakistanis want Islam to play a larger role in Pakistani society. However, a majority also favors a more democratic political system, rejects ‘Talibanization,” and supports recent government efforts to reform the madrassah system by focusing more on science and mathematics. Majorities have little sympathy for Islamist military groups and most would like to see the Federally Administered Tribal Areas integrated into Pakistan.

    The survey also found that Pakistani attitudes toward the United States are negative and that there is a growing perception that the United States is hostile toward Islam.

    The survey was conducted from Sept. 12-18, just before President Pervez Musharraf declared a six-week state of emergency and before the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The sample included 907 Pakistani urban adults, selected using multi-stage probability sampling, who were interviewed at home in 19 cities. The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percent.

    It was conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org in collaboration with, and with financial support from, the U.S. Institute of Peace.

  17. #97
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    Default Worrying survey

    The PIPA report linked to by Rex above is on the whole much what I expected on most points but is rather scarier for US foreign policy that you might glean from the quote box.

    Given that the US Administration views Pakistan as a ‘strong ally in the war on terror’ it must be disconcerting to learn that
    Q:
    How much do you trust the following countries to act responsibly in the world…the US?
    A:
    A great deal 7
    Somewhat 16
    Not very much 15
    Not at all 49

    Q:
    Thinking now about US actions around the world, please tell me if you think the following are or are not US goals. To weaken and divide the Islamic world.
    A:
    Is a goal 86
    Is not a goal 5


    Three out of four even believe that it is a US goal to “spread Christianity in the Middle East.” Seventy-five percent said this was definitely (53%) or probably (22%) a US goal, while only 10 percent said that it was not.

    Views of the Taliban’s activities are remarkably mixed and poorly defined.
    When asked about the Taliban’s attacks on NATO troops, approval rose to 30 percent (12% strongly), disapproval dropped to 15 percent (9% strongly), and 18 percent expressed mixed feelings. Once again a large 37 percent did not take a position.
    Probably the worst of the bunch is the following question, there were 15 threats in total (I have omitted those that are domestic - please follow Rex’s link for the full table). Given Pakistan is a nuclear power because of India’s bomb and has been to war with them with major tensions as recently as 2003 it is worrying to see them ranked 3rd with the US in the top two slots.

    Here is a list of possible threats to the vital interests of Pakistan in the next ten years. For each one, please select whether you see this as a
    critical threat, important but not critical or not an important threat at all.

    The US military presence in Asia 72-12-6 (Crit-Imp-N/Imp)
    The US military presence in Afghanistan 68-15-6
    Tensions between India and Pakistan 53-26-12
    Closer relations between India and the United States 53-24-11

    India’s growing influence in the world 44-27-18
    Activities of al Qaeda 41-21-14
    Tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan 40-27-21

    Closer relations between India and China 23-37-25

    The possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons 16-34-37
    The development of China as a world power 10-32-51
    And then you have this

    “Which do you think is more likely to be true: Osama bin Laden is somewhere in Pakistan; somewhere in Afghanistan; or in some other country?” Only 2 percent said they thought he was in Pakistan, while 18 percent picked Afghanistan. Thirteen percent supposed he was in some other country, and another 8 percent volunteered that he was in the United States. A majority declined to venture a guess.

    Next, respondents were asked to “suppose the Pakistani government learned that Osama bin Laden was in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and found his exact location.” Even under these circumstances, a 39 percent plurality thought the government should not attempt his capture; only 24 percent thought the government should.

    All in all the US government do not seem to have fully won over the Pakistani people. Other parts of the survey show them strongly in favour of democracy and the rule of law – albeit a more Islamic type of law than present – which again is not a good sign if they ever manage to get free and fair elections with candidates reflecting their true views (or at least those expressed in this survey).

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    CACI, 25 Jan 08: Pakistan's Crisis: Incremental Steps Toward Sustainable Democracy
    The following recommendations are issued:

    • Prepare for a possible international rescue operation in cooperation with the World Bank to avoid failure of the Pakistani economy due to the present unrest.

    • Support any Pakistani government’s effort to eradicate militant groups not only in the NWFP and FATA, but also in Punjab and elsewhere across the country.

    • Support cautiously any measure of a symbolic nature, which aims at and seems viable as a contribution to conciliation, like establishing an independent commission for investigating the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

    • Promote an agreement between the political actors in Pakistan, including, if necessary, the military, if it can lead to an orderly election procedure.

    • If Musharraf goes ahead with his plans for elections on February 18, foreign disapproval should be cautious and withheld if it does not seem inevitably to lead to faulty elections.

    • Create preparedness for financial support but also demand the emerging government to initiate a policy of reforms and structural changes of the existing feudal system.

    • Prioritize the building of state institutions instead of focusing narrowly on the electoral process.

    • Not focus one-sidedly on border security. It is becoming increasingly evident that Quetta and Karachi are also becoming safe-havens for Al-Qaeda and other militants.

    • There is a need to change the “strategic mindset” on border security and start viewing the Afghan-Pakistan border as an opportunity rather than a problem. The economic synergy that exists across the Durand Line between Afghan and Pakistani traders is the key to the development of FATA and neighboring communities.
    Complete 22 page paper at the link.

  19. #99
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Nice plan, no takers!

    This report is a good summary of the situation in Pakistan and the problems faced by those who need to help. Note no mention is made of any role for the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia, but China is included.

    The final remarks are odd, suggesting the EU can act quicker than the USA, as that would involve Congressional hearings on any aid package.

    I simply cannot see any likely Pakistani government seeking such an aid package from the West or a coalition, in all it's forms. The West needs to regain a far better image, footage of the aid to Azad Kashmir after the earthquake comes to mind.

    Would any Pakistani politician accept such a proposed aid package in principle now? I suggest no. Nor the Army.

    davidbfpo

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    Default Musharraf issues warning to West

    Musharraf is in London and addressing the RUSI.

    BBC story http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7209611.stm

    The RUSI has a link to an .mp3 of the speech and Q&A - but it did not work for me - http://www.rusi.org/events/past/ref:E4794DB1E93E7C/

    Analysis here http://www.rusi.org/research/studies...479AEE81E8F91/

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