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Thread: Pakistani Army commentary

  1. #41
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Try this for balance?

    I have read a number of Pakistani military leadership articles and the retired Admiral writes so well you'd think Pakistan was on the springboard to success.

    For a more balanced viewpoint try this IISS commentary:http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...-implications/

    Yes, the Admiral failed to notice the floods!
    davidbfpo

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    Default He's right about one thing

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11385214

    He's right about India's leadership, they're under seige by numerous insurgencies due to poor governance, and they're close to falling on their face even before the Common Wealth Games starts (see news at the link).

    I think from his point of view Pakistan is ascending, and the U.S. is looking for an honorable exit from Afghanistan, which sadly he gives Pakistan credit for, and even worse he's probably right.

  3. #43
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Yes, the Admiral failed to notice the floods!
    He also seemed to forget the bloody insurgencies waged by the TTP and the Balochs against the Pakistani Army, as well as resurgent party/ethnic violence in Karachi. The savage bombings of Pakistani religious minorities probably count as victories in the good Admiral's mind --- strikes against Indian co-conspirators by "patriotic" elements, perhaps?

    If the United States really wanted the end of Pakistan, you'd think we'd start by cutting off the aid pipeline.

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    about Indian incompetence, I have a slightly different view. its not based on any notion of Indian patriotism (I am not even Indian, I am a Pakistani) but on the empirical observation that state failure is actually rather rare and success is coming to all sorts of previously totally incompetent countries provided they dont start a huge war or slip into civil war...in other words, the threshold for real disaster is much higher than the 24 hour news cycle implies. things change. I think India has a real chance of becoming a serious mid-level power (not a superpower) in 10 years or so, but its not a done deal. The joker in the pack is Pakistan. if Pakistan explodes and takes India down with it, end of story. But if Pakistan survives and has barely normal relations with India, then I dont think any of the other problems in India are insoluble. I cannot "prove" my view anymore than anyone else can "prove" theirs....in these matters, its always a guess based on a whole pyramid of other assumptions about human societies in general and this society in particular.
    As William Burroughs put it, "in India, the man is always late"....

  5. #45
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Generals in Pakistan Push for Shake-Up of Government

    No great surprise, although I expect closer-in observers may have seen the signs beforehand:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/wo..._r=2&ref=world

    Opens with
    The Pakistani military, angered by the inept handling of the country’s devastating floods and alarmed by a collapse of the economy, is pushing for a shake-up of the elected government, and in the longer term, even the removal of President Asif Ali Zardari and his top lieutenants.
    Near the end:
    The alarm about the economy was first sounded by Mr. Shaikh, a former officer of the World Bank, who told a meeting of political and military leaders last month that the government had enough money to pay only two months’ salaries. The economy was “teetering on the brink” before the floods but was now heading for the “abyss,” Mr. Shaikh was quoted as saying.
    davidbfpo

  6. #46
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pakistanis Are Tough Patrollers...Gold Medal In UK

    From a Pakistani report, based on the UK Forces TV story:
    Beating hundreds of soldiers from major armies of the world, Pakistan Army has won the coveted Gold Award at the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise held in Wales with participation from armies of India, Australia, Canada, United States and France among others.

    750 soldiers from across the world descended on the Brecon Beacons in Wales to suffer through one of the toughest exercises ever devised. The Cambrian patrol tested the soldiering skills of the teams as they crossed some of the most arduous terrain one can imagine.

    During the marches, the teams had to complete challenges including observation and reconnaissance of enemy forces, cold-river crossings in full kit without access to boats, first-aid and defensive shooting under attack.
    TV clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVh-E...yer_embedded#!
    davidbfpo

  7. #47
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    Default Kayani and His Generals

    Indian Express has an excellent take on Kayani's "consolidation"

    The three-year extension given to Kayani did block off avenues of promotion to several aspirants, most of them Punjabis. Nevertheless, he seems reasonably well ensconced in power and has brought in officers of his choice and proven loyalty in key slots, both at the level of Corps Commands and Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), assuaging, in the process, the discontented lot of Punjabi Generals.

    Lt.Gen Khalid Shamim Wyne had been brought in as Chief of General Staff only a few months earlier after a successful stint as Corps Commander in Quetta. Logically, this could have been seen as a stepping stone to the chief’s post. He has now been accommodated as a Four-Star General in the largely ceremonial post of Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), giving a go-by to the convention of rotating this post between the army, navy and air force. Wyne will retire in October 2013, just before Kayani’s term ends. Another highly rated and well-connected officer, Lt Gen Sikander Afzal Burki has been sidelined in an extended foreign peace-keeping tenure in Liberia, which would take him to retirement in March 2011.The next senior, Lt Gen Javed Zia, has been sent to the XII Corps Command in Quetta, from where he should retire in September, 2011.

    Like every other army chief before him, Kayani is proving no exception to the convention of favouring officers of his parent ‘arm,’ the Baloch regiment.

    A clansman, Maj Gen Naushad Ahmed Kayani (Infantry) appears to have been favoured as the new Director General, Military Intelligence.
    With almost three years still to run, it may be rather premature to assess who may emerge as a potential successor to Kayani. One of the most important Kayani appointments will be that of DG, ISI, in March 2011. Whoever comes in at this slot is likely to be a trusted acolyte, on the high road to further important positions.

    After Kayani retires, the following Generals will be senior most — Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik, currently XI Corps Commander, Peshawar, whose retirement date is March 31, 2014.Much would depend on how he handles the war against terror in FATA and what the Americans think of him.After him are the April 2014 retirees — Lt.Gen Waheed Arshad (Armoured Corps) who is highly rated and presently holding the crucial Chief of General Staff slot, and the Corps Commander, Lahore, Lt Gen Rashad Mehmood. Lahore has had a jinx associated with it as no Corps Commander from there has made it as Chief so far!
    http://expressbuzz.com/opinion/op-ed...ls/232158.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-24-2010 at 10:03 AM. Reason: Fix quote
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  8. #48
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default Pakistan Army recent experience with counterinsurgency

    Below is a link to an Atlantic Council report about the Pakistani Army's recent experiences with counterinsurgency. It includes a very interesting audio presentation by the author.

    http://www.acus.org/event/learning-d...nterinsurgency

    One of the things mentioned was that in a Pakistan Army military academy, there was an easel with a picture of mullah on it, where in the past there would have been a map of India. The author suggests this is indicative of a changing focus on the part of the army. This may be a hopeful sign.
    Last edited by carl; 02-03-2011 at 03:55 AM. Reason: typo
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  9. #49
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Historically, taking one's eye off of external threats to deal with internal discontent is the trip before the fall...

    Far better for the Pak government to address the concerns of the Pashtu and Baluch populace, and for the military to stay focused on the military matters of national defense.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Historically, taking one's eye off of external threats to deal with internal discontent is the trip before the fall...

    Far better for the Pak government to address the concerns of the Pashtu and Baluch populace, and for the military to stay focused on the military matters of national defense.
    Bob's World:

    The paper was interesting. The primary thesis being that after a bad start the Pakistan Army has very quickly learned to be more effective in a small war conducted within its' national borders. It has mostly learned on the fly and is incorporating what is has learned into unit training and various schools. Kind of interesting too when you think of it as indicating the organizations ability to learn like Nagl covered in his book.

    I got the sense from the paper this concern with small war is especially evident at the lower levels of the army because all the casualties they've suffered in the past few years have been suffered in FATA and Swat. Fear not though, the senior generals are keeping their steely gaze fixed on the Hindu hordes to the east.

    Since we are on the subject of the Pak Army and in the correct thread, I wish to ask about your following comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I believe that Pakistan's position is reasonable, as is their position in regards to the Durrand line. Most military professionals doing a basic assessment of the terrain and the threat would probably come to the same conclusion. If Pakistan is reduced down to just the Indus river valley a quick push by India could foreseeably take their entire country. They would cease to exist as a nation. A fearful, nuclear armed state with its back up against the Hindu Kush and a rival nuclear state to their front is NOT a healthy situation for anyone. I think there are workable solutions, but before the US can get to sitting down and discussing workable solutions we to first be willing to recognize their reasonable perspective in regards to what their national interests are and how highly they prioritize them.

    Second, to rephrase your question a bit: Is sustaining a set of conditions that supported a workable situation of deterrence between India and Pakistan one that I think is more important than disrupting that balance to grant India a clear advantage? I have to go with sustaining the status quo. Like our own Cold War with the Soviets, it was sometimes a bit dicey, but it worked. I can't imagine if some external power would have come along and ceded Canada into the Warsaw Pact, allowing the Russians to positions military forces all along our northern border, that we would have said "oh, ok."
    First off, you say above most military professionals would say that Pakistan needs territory east of the Indus valley to fall back on to preclude defeat by a quick Indian push, the implication being that territory includes Afghanistan. So my question is this, what is the defeated army going to fall back on? There is nothing much in those mountains and there is nothing much in Afghanistan. What are they going to use to resupply and build up troop strength? It seems to this forever civilian that even if they used this sovereign country as their fallback, it wouldn't do them any good. There is nothing there for them to use. If they got pushed to the west of the Indus valley, it would be over regardless. I may be reading this wrong and if I am, please tell me but it seems to me that unless you have some kind of resource base to fall back on, you may as well be falling back into the ocean.

    As to your second paragraph quoted above, I think I prefer you answer my question as I originally stated it. Your rephrasing changes the sense of my original question. Or you maybe could answer your rephrased question if you swapped the words "India" for "Pakistan" and vice versa. But I would prefer you answer my original question as originally stated-is the Pak Army/ISI's desire to exert control over Afghanistan one we should honor any more than India's desire that they don't?

    Also you state above you believe the Pak Army/ISIs position is reasonable, yet in the past you stated that you didn't believe they had a right (or something like that, I will get lost if I go retrieve the quote, but I can if you want) to exert control over Afghanistan. Those two statements seem contradictory.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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  12. #52
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    Default Under pressure

    Since a certain event there have been a number of threads and posts that have touched upon the role of the Pakistani Army.

    There are now increasing signs that the army is having problems externally with civil society and this WSJ article covers it all:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...orld_LeadStory

    Opens with:
    Pakistan's army leadership, under mounting domestic pressure since a U.S. strike team infiltrated its soil to kill Osama bin Laden, issued a rare defensive response to domestic critics Thursday, offering to reduce its reliance on U.S. military aid and training and setting strict limits on American intelligence operations within the country....

    The roughly 1,000-word statement—at various points apologetic, belligerent and strident—was the clearest indication to date that in striking a balance between the competing demands, Pakistan's military leaders are looking to first assuage their own people, even if that means scaling back ties to the U.S.
    davidbfpo

  13. #53
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    Belfer Center, 27 July 2011: An Introduction to Pakistan's Military
    The Pakistani military remains an opaque entity, both inside and outside of the country. Few publicly available reports exist for those seeking a basic understanding of its leaders, functions, or allegiances. An Introduction to Pakistan's Military is the first of two Belfer Center reports examining the Pakistani military. To assemble this report, the authors interviewed over two-dozen retired Pakistani military officers, principally in Islamabad and Karachi. The authors also conducted nearly forty additional interviews with Pakistani politicians, civil society actors, journalists, and military experts, as well as with US and European military, diplomatic, and intelligence officers and analysts.

    The first report examines Pakistan’s:

    • Overall strategic security and threat environment;

    • Military history since 1947;
    • Conventional military capabilities;
    • Nuclear strategy and security posture;and

    • Current counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts (briefly).
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 08-07-2011 at 03:59 PM.

  14. #54
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    This report looks rather lame. How does it provide any new insight into the "opaque" side of the army? All it tells you is boilerplate strategic theory and numbers of weapons and so on. Hamid Hussain's occasional articles are far superior if you really want to know something about the Pakistani army.

  15. #55
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Is Pakistan's Army as Islamist as We Think?

    Hat tip to FP Blog and an article by Christine Fair, which is sub-titled:
    New data suggest it may be even more liberal than Pakistani society as a whole.
    I find no systematic evidence that conservative areas are producing more officers than other areas as late as 2002....In the absence of ideal data on officers, I did the next best thing: provide insights into the kind of areas that produce officers.

    (Ends with and my emphasis) Admittedly, these conclusions are tentative, and these measures of social liberalism are no doubt imperfect. This study, moreover, cannot be conclusive as it can only speak to the districts that produce officers, not the worldview of officers themselves. Given the high stakes involved, this subject requires more thorough data collection and analysis. Understanding these dynamics is vital for the United States, but it's perhaps even more important for Pakistan and Pakistanis who rely on their military to protect their country.
    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...think?page=0,0
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Hat tip to FP Blog and an article by Christine Fair, which is sub-titled:



    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...think?page=0,0
    I guess so. Just like most non western countries (or not) , Pakistan Army recruits it's enlisted troops from the rural regions. Bar the officer corps, they are not exactly well versed in world affairs. Since the education system has long been Islamized, it hardly matters if you study in a madarassa or a private or government school, books are mostly same and they don't really provide a very good picture of non Muslim world. Officers may or not be radicalized but most of the troops are very much influenced by the hardliners.

    A Pakistani I know, mentioned that Musharraf tried to reverse the Zia effect but as soon as soldiers reached their villages or towns and attended a sermon by the local Mullah they get back to square one.

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    The focus on "madressas" and "conservative areas" is useful as an academic exercise but should not "reassure" or "scare" anyone either way. Christine Fair is much more sensible than the previous retarded attempt at connecting lifestyle with political views (he drinks whisky and soda so he must be pro-western), that has a long history in US-Pakistan affairs by now...but this is still misleading.
    The problem with GHQ is its tunnel-vision version of "paknationalism"..everything else proceeds from that. Reliance on Islamists is a result of that obsession, not a cause of it. Afghan policy is derived from that obsession, not from Islamic solidarity. And so on...
    But, at this point, I think the best thing for NATO would be to throw up its hands and give up. They clearly dont understand what is going on and will continue to throw good money after bad. Let the Indians and the Chinese sort it out, or not sort it out.

    The officer corps has become more formally Islamic with time (as have other sections of the middle class) and this newfound "Islam" is not without its problems, but there is a very long journey from being a more orthodox Muslim to supporting the Haqqani network..and many generals can make that journey without passing through Islam on the way.
    Last edited by omarali50; 09-27-2011 at 01:45 PM.

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    I was unhappy with the first attempt at a reply this morning and edited it again and am still unhappy. The point may be moot anyway. Events may be moving in a direction where liberal and "conservative" Pakistani officers will all look equally problematic to American analysts because the pendulum is now swinging from "our army in South Asia" to "our enemy in South Asia", with God knows what results to follow.
    And we have an election year coming up.
    If I was an academic specializing in research papers about the recruitment patterns of the Pakistani army and the school networks in Chakwal, I would start thinking of grant ideas in a different direction. When the money spigot is finally turned off, it wont be done very rationally. Nobody wants to study a disaster until at least 20 years have passed.

  19. #59
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Inside the Pakistan Army: book review

    This is a review of Carey Schofield's new book:http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/720...y-within.thtml

    Like other writers who know the country well, she regards it as the only institution which is able to transcend the religious and tribal divisions that rend the country apart. ‘A Christian or a Parsi or a Sikh can serve in the Pakistan army,’ writes Schofield. ‘Atheists do. But all are bound together by a willing submission to discipline and a battle for self-improvement that is in itself doctrinal in character.’

    This is the reason Schofield is optimistic that the army has not been heavily infiltrated by the Taleban...

    She paints a convincing picture of the army as an honorable, indeed moral institution, dedicated to the security of the Pakistan nation. But what is this nation to which the army is loyal?
    A slim bio:http://ccw.modhist.ox.ac.uk/people/bios/schofield.asp
    davidbfpo

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    I see that the army is still the great white hope in Pakistan. There is an Urdu verse that fits here:
    Meer kya saada hain, beemar huey jin key sabab
    Ussi attar key londey sey dawa letey hain..

    How naive is Mir, going to get his medication,
    from the same physician who made him sick in the first place..

    Who knows. Next time around, it may work.

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