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Thread: Pakistani Army commentary

  1. #61
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    Good review, of all places, in huffpo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aparna..._b_995933.html

  2. #62
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    Default A press release, not a book on the Pakistani Army

    Omarali50,

    We must have read a different review! As you said:
    Good review..
    The reviewer was blunt, for example:
    Here again, Ms. Schofield unquestioningly accepts the Pakistan army narrative on Afghanistan, on the Afghan war, and on U.S. policy towards Pakistan. Like the Pakistan army, she repeatedly states that the Pakistan army does not lack intentions, only capabilities, in fighting the militants. There is no attempt to address U.S. concerns about Pakistan's links with the Taliban and the Haqqani network, or Pakistani Jihadi groups. The prescription is simple: Americans need to help build Pakistan's capabilities and resources if they want Pakistan to do more.
    Finally:
    Otherwise you end up with simply portraying what the propaganda machine asks you to do, taking away any shred of credibility. ... Her latest book is not an academic work on the Pakistani army, but a long press release written by a foreigner.
    davidbfpo

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    If its blunt, it cannot be good?

    I will be the first to admit it, I think the Pakistani army high command (for all sorts of reasons) has adopted a strategic worldview that is fundamentally flawed and leads to repeated disasters and missed opportunities. And I also think that a lot of Western commentators take it for granted that all modern looking armies must have the same fashionable modern notions of strategic necessities and problems, so they tend to take the Pak army view as a reasonable starting point and take it from there. I think that is a mistake.
    I also think the Pakistani army is not impossible to reform. They are pragmatic at heart and if more of their "allies"and advisers had told them so and been a bit more upfront, they might have been induced to rethink...."enabling" their pathologies is not helping them.
    having said that, I also suspect it may be too late now. Mistrust and accumulated mistakes make it hard to imagine the US or NATO playing too constructive a role any more. Maybe Uncle Chin will have to do what Uncle Sam could not..

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    for a look at how the strategic geniuses are thinking, go to http://rupeenews.com/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-06-2011 at 09:31 PM. Reason: URL added

  5. #65
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    Default 1971 India-Pakistan war

    we have a bit of a discussion going about the 1971 war and I wondered if anyone here (especially Ray) can shed some light on Indian operations in East Pakistan. The discussion is at: http://www.brownpundits.com/2011/12/...west-1971-war/

    btw, I have seen that military men can be rather suspicious of people who seem disloyal to their own military...but I hope you dont judge too harshly
    we mean well.

  6. #66
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Inside the Pakistan Army: book review

    We have had at least two reviews of Carey Schofield's book 'Inside the Pakistan Army: A Woman’s Experience on the Frontline of the War on Terror', pub.London: Biteback Publishing, 2011; 232 pages.

    Here is one by a contributor to SWC, Hamid Hussain, who is a USA-based analyst and this is a slightly edited summary
    The most valuable part of the book is summary of some of the military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)....This book gives an impression of a favorable narrative about Pakistan army and it is not surprising. Pakistan army was author’s host and it is very difficult to criticize one’s host...Despite its shortcomings, book still has its value for those interested in Pakistan army.

    At length
    Carey Schofield’s book on Pakistan army is another addition to the work done on Pakistan army. Carey was given unprecedented access by then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and President General Pervez Mussharraf. She made several trips to Pakistan over five years time period and was given access to several senior generals and visited many formations; a privilege not granted to any Pakistani or foreign writer.

    Carey has tried to put a complex story of Pakistan and Pakistan army in two hundred and thirty two pages which is a very difficult task. In chapter three, she starts the story from the time of Prophet Muhammad in seventh century going through various dynasties of the subcontinent, linking it with British Empire and then via Afghanistan all the way down to Baitullah Mahsud of the tribal badlands fame. These events spread over centuries and wide geographic areas are not related to the story of Pakistan army.

    Carey is intelligent enough to pick up some of the nuances of inner dynamics of senior officer corps as well as civilian elite. However, her sweeping comments about criticism of army as pastime of ‘chattering classes’ is not correct. In general, army still retains respect and even admiration from general public; however a wide spectrum of the society wants army to stay in its own lane. Large segments of Pakistani society as well as many non-Pakistani well wishers of Pakistan are fully cognizant of the enormous sacrifices made by the soldiers and officers of Pakistan army. Fresh graves continually added to the army graveyard in Rawalpindi are a constant reminder of the sacrifices of Pakistan army. The casualties suffered by senior brass of Pakistan army are unprecedented for any army in recent times. During my recent visit to army graveyard, it was sad to see four graves of senior officer’s right next to each other. Major General Amir Faisal Alvi and Brigadier Moinuddin Ahmad; both assassinated in Islamabad are buried next to each other and immediately below them are buried Lieutenant General Mushtaq Ahmad (assassinated by a suicide bomber in Rawalpindi) and Brigadier Anwarl ul Haq Ramday (killed during attack on army General Head Quarters). In addition to death, countless soldiers have been disabled by the current conflict. Criticism of senior brass is in the context of some seriously flawed decisions regarding national security policy as well as encroachment on areas not related to military affairs.

    Carey links some of the preparations made by senior officers in 1999 prior to the coup with potential threat of breakdown of law and order. Evidence does not support this assertion and it is quite clear now that these preparations were made to counter any move by then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his confrontation with General Mussharraf. The cast in the play, their relationship with Mussharraf and subsequent meteoric rise of almost all of these officers makes it quite clear that by the middle of 1999, army was securing all its bases against Sharif. Then Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lieutenant General Muhammad Aziz Khan summoned a meeting with presumed threat of possibility of attempt of overrunning Prime Minister and President House. Those in attendance included Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Major General Shahid Aziz, Director Military Operations Brigadier Haroon Aslam, Special Services Group (SSG) Commander Brigadier Amir Faisal Alvi, 111 Brigade commander Brigadier Salahuddin Satti, SSG Zarrar Company commander Major Haroon ul Islam and Commanding Officer (CO) of the battalion guarding Prime Minister House Lieutenant Colonel Shahid Ali. It turned out later that the group actually overran the Prime Minister and President House although they were pretending to prevent such an outcome by someone else.

    Muhammad Aziz was later given the fourth star and served as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Shahid Aziz and Satti were promoted to Lieutenant General rank and both served as CGS and Corps Commanders, Haroon Aslam was promoted Major General and appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) SSG (he is now Lieutenant General and Corps Commander), Faisal promoted to Major General rank (although he later fell out with Mussharraf and unceremoniously removed) and Haroon ul Islam became Lieutenant Colonel and died during Lal Masjid operation. Lieutenant Colonel Shahid did not go further in the army but for different reasons. On the day of the coup, Shahid had restrained newly appointed COAS Lieutenant General Khwaja Ziauddin and his guard and Ziauddin’s escort had pulled guns at each other coming close to a shootout. He also later confronted Lieutenant General Salim Haider and prevented him from entering the Prime Minister House. Shahid followed the orders of his superiors but no army Chief can be comfortable promoting an officer after such encounters. In contrast, Shahid’s counterpart commanding the battalion at President House Lieutenant Colonel Javed Sultan was given choice postings and promoted to Major General rank (he died in a helicopter crash in 2008).

    Carey has highlighted some of the differences among senior brass regarding ongoing operations. No army is monolithic and Pakistan army is no exception. In war, there are differences between various branches of the armed forces as well as senior officers. There was and probably still a clear divide between intelligence agencies and fighting formations as far as conduct of operations is concerned. It is also very difficult for an outsider to navigate the minefield of personal and professional rivalries and jealousies among the senior officers.

    Carey has given a detailed account of the controversy surrounding the unceremonious removal and death of the former GOC of SSG Major General Amir Faisal Alvi. Carey knew him well and he shared many details with her therefore the account is quite credible. Carey was criticized by many army officers when she published Alvi’s letter after his death. Many charged that the letter was fabrication to discredit Pakistan army. However, there is no reason to believe that the letter was a fabrication. It was Alvi’s own view in the context of his deep anger towards some senior officers. Carey provides her take on the issue and gives the readers all sides of the story and they can reach their own conclusions.

    Alvi was forcibly retired and he suspected that then Director General Military Intelligence (DGMI) Major General Mian Nadeem Ijaz and then CGS Lieutenant General Tariq Majeed conspired to remove him. It is quite clear now that Alvi was removed for passing some remarks against General Mussharraf that were recorded by MI and played to Mussharraf. Alvi’s affair with a woman got entangled with his removal as remarks were passed during telephone conversation with this lady. Alvi was furious as many other officers also had affairs and he didn’t hesitate to announce this to many. However, later Alvi tried to put disagreement regarding policy matters (peace deals with militants) as cause of his dismissal and accused some officers including Tariq Majeed in this regard. This gives the impression that somehow these officers were not committed to the fight against militants or worse they were running their own show; both assumptions not correct. Negotiations and payouts to militants were part of the general policy that proved to be disastrous as later events showed. However, officers (formation commanders and intelligence operatives) involved in these efforts were following a policy decision and not acting independently. Tariq’s own son-in-law has been abducted by the militants and in their custody for the last eighteen months. They have demanded release of some high value detainees and huge ransom and it is to Tariq’s credit that he has held his ground.

    The most valuable part of the book is summary of some of the military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) although author could have provided more details in view of her access to several senior officers involved in the operations. There are few minor typo errors in the book. On page 100, Hizb-ul-Tahrir; a London based Islamist group championing Caliphate is named incorrectly Hezb-e-Islaam and on page 137, tribal police khassadars is written Hasildars.

    This book gives impression of a favorable narrative about Pakistan army and it is not surprising. Pakistan army was author’s host and it is very difficult to criticize one’s host. Such relationship invariably affects the perspectives and if one is using titles such as ‘unimpeachable’, ‘glamorous’, ‘outgoing’, ‘scrupulous’, ‘clever and kind’, ‘darkly brilliant’, ‘neat’, ‘honorable’, ‘guileless’, ‘principled’, ‘gutsy’and ‘gentle and thoughtful’ for senior officers, it is very hard to criticize the same individuals. Despite its shortcomings, book still has its value for those interested in Pakistan army.
    The review has appeared in a regional defence journal, but no link could be found without warnings by my IT defences.
    davidbfpo

  7. #67
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    we, in the chattering classes, have a name for this condition. Its called Lieven Syndrome, in honor of respected author Anatol Lieven. Extreme cases may also be labelled "Cloughley syndrome", for obvious reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    Admiral Fasih Bokhari is a former chief of naval staff and a respected and upright officer (fired in 1999 for demanding a court of inquiry into Pervez Musharraf's botched Kargil operation). He now writes for newspapers and here is his latest. I urge you to read it very carefully, since a better summary of the default Pak army strategic view cannot be found:

    http://paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?231678
    I love the Pakistanis 'intelligentsia'!

    In their frustration of not being able to prove that as a Muslim majority nation as they claimed would give them the power to be free and independent and powerful they have failed so badly and so miserably.

    India have 'overhauled' Pakistan many times over and has no regret that those who felt that they would be better off with a new country based on religion left.

    Therefore, only dreams and hallucination is all that they can cling to!

    But this is wonderful and humorous:

    To emerge as an international economic power India will one day beg Pakistan for reach into Iran, Central Asia , and beyond to Russia and Europe. India will beg Bangladesh for reach into South East and East Asia.
    Check who is begging!
    Last edited by Ray; 06-29-2012 at 10:37 AM.

  9. #69
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    Default Changing the guard: the October 1999 coup

    The occasional SWC contributor, Hamid Hussain, a USA-based analyst has written an article for a regional defence journal and provided a copy (slightly edited by me).

    This coup brought General Musharraf to power and the paper details what happened. What I found interesting was the inter-action within the army leadership and the future careers of those involved - with several suicides.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    davidbfpo

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    Omar,

    I am responding since you asked me to.

    On the contrary Pakistan army’s war plan centered on launching a counter-offensive with one armored and two infantry divisions on the Western front in case of Indian attack on East Pakistan. At what point in time would the attack be launched, however, remained undecided. On December 3, 1971 Pakistan’s 12 Div attacked Poonch but lack of surprise, poor quality of generalship by GOC Akbar Khan (a candidate for COAS in 1976), insufficient logistics and a determined Indian resistance led to the failure of the offensive and Pakistani troops had to withdraw.
    Usual reasons given for not succeeding.

    In his piece Defeat in the West, Waseem Altaf appears to indicate that practically all the Pakistani military were staffed by incompetent brass and that is why Pakistan made no headway.

    If that is true, which I am sure it is not, then there is some real systemic problem in the Pakistani military.

    I am sure this article denuded the Arabian Sea of sea salt since much of it was consumed while reading this piece.

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    Default The Growth of Islamism in the Pakistan Army

    The Growth of Islamism in the Pakistan Army

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-30-2013 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Copied for reference only

  13. #73
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    Default After Kayani who is next?

    Once again it is time for a Pakistani decision on who will Army Chief of Staff, so the occasional SWC contributor, Hamid Hussain, a USA-based analyst has written an article on the choices and more. Attachment no longer works - my fault.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-27-2013 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Attachment not working
    davidbfpo

  14. #74
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    Default Kiyani to go

    Last week the Army Chief of Staff for six years, General Kiyani announced his retirement; effective on the 29th November 2013, link to his official statement:http://ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=...date=2013/10/6

    FP.com has an optimistic article on the implications, although from this faraway vantage point his successor has quite a lot to do:
    The next army chief will have his work cut out for him. In addition to convincing the reluctant civilian government to continue the fight against the Pakistani Taliban, he will have to help manage the Afghanistan endgame as U.S. troops withdraw and a presidential election take place next year.
    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...stan?page=full

    The civilian government have not announced their choice of Kiyani's successor; FP.com does comment on their contenders.
    davidbfpo

  15. #75
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    Default Kiyani's successor(s)

    Announced today, the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS) will be Lt Gen Raheel Sharif and the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) will be Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood. Taken from:http://dawn.com/news/1058927/pm-meet...cjcsc-expected

    FP in the last post thought:
    Raheel Sharif....is possibly the safest choice politically for Nawaz Sharif, as Raheel Sharif enjoys a close relationship with one of the prime minister's confidants.
    davidbfpo

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    He appears to have picked the two least aggressive generals for the two jobs. May not be the best decision for an army at war...

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    He appears to have picked the two least aggressive generals for the two jobs. May not be the best decision for an army at war...
    Omarali,

    The BBC's slim profile suggests COAS LTG Raheel has been preparing the army for an internal war:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25122054

    The Daily Telegraph's comment uses that fatal adjective 'moderate':http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...commander.html
    davidbfpo

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    Hamid Hussain's profiles are a good guide: http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/09/...f-in-pakistan/

    Raheel is a gentleman but almost all agree that for a peacetime army, it would make no difference but he is probably not suited to lead an army engaged in a war. I think Raheel himself knows it, but Lieutenant General ® Abdul Qadir may whisper some good words about him in Sharif’s ears.
    General Tariq Khan stood out among the candidates but Sharif was probably scared of promoting someone known to be aggressive and headstrong. Good for Sharif, but maybe not so much for the army.
    Per army scuttlebutt, he is a good man, but not an aggressive leader. Will do fine if politicians above him take tough decisions and people on the frontlines (corps commander Peshawar, IGFC, SSG chief, etc) are up to the job..but hard to believe that he will make tough decisions on his own.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-27-2013 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Fix quote

  19. #79
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    Default Hamid comments

    Attached after light editing are Hamid Hussain's comments on the appointment and the next year.

    I have altered my method of saving Hamid's contributions so they will remain available.
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    davidbfpo

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    Default COAS: hands full?

    Stephen Tankel has a slightly optimistic comment on the new COAS, part of a forthcoming series on 'War on the Rocks' assessing General Kayani's legacy:http://warontherocks.com/2013/12/gen...ouse-in-order/

    He'll have his hands full:
    The anti-state insurgency has made the security establishment even less likely to part with its pro-state proxies for the time being, not least because they do not attack Pakistan and in some cases provide utility against those militants who do. At the same time, the existence of a militant infrastructure and ongoing support for proxies creates myriad operational and ideational challenges for those seeking to counter the jihadist insurgency.
    davidbfpo

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