Pakistan: Will the Army Allow Politicians to Rule?

Military Reform in Pakistan: Will the Army Allow Politicians to Rule?

EVENTS – November 2011 – AEI, Twelfth Floor, 1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Post-Event Summary – Pakistan’s deep state, the military establishment and Inter-Services Intelligence are playing a double game with the United States and do not appear to have any intention of handing over power to the civilian government, a panel of experts concluded Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute. Kamran Shafi of Pakistan’s Express Tribune drove home the distinction between Pakistan and the military-run “deep state.” He stressed that a vast majority of Pakistanis are against the concepts of jihad and nuclear proliferation and argued that the U.S. needs to engage the civilian government rather than the military establishment. The U.S. has failed to craft a Pakistan policy consistent with American goals in Afghanistan, asserted Georgetown University’s Christine Fair. Despite evidence that Pakistan has undermined U.S. interests and acted as a U.S. enemy, she said, Washington continues to placate the military establishment, undermining U.S. leverage. Eli Lake of Newsweek and The Daily Beast argued that the U.S. does have a strategy in Pakistan: funding, through the CIA, an alternative “deep state” within the Pakistani military that is sympathetic to U.S. goals and willing to collaborate on the fight against al-Qaida. The U.S. cannot disengage with Pakistan, emphasized AEI’s Thomas Donnelly. He argued that Washington needs to both recognize the fundamental difference in U.S.-Pakistan relations and develop a new set of carrots and sticks to incentivize Pakistan’s power brokers to act in line with U.S. interests. All panelists asserted South Asia’s vital importance to U.S. national security interests and argued for continued engagement, noting that there are no short-term solutions to the conundrum Pakistan presents. — Kanishk Mishra

Read more » American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Ally or not Ally: ISAF airstrike across the border

Ally or not Ally – By Abbas Daiyar

Excerpt;

…. The ‘peace plan’ suggested by Pakistani military for the endgame in Afghanistan is simply not acceptable for Afghans and the international community. They want a big share in power for Haqqanis and Quetta Shura saying militants represent Pashtuns. Pakistan’s main objective is full withdrawal of US troops. They are against the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership agreement that allows presence of US troops long beyond 2014. Pakistani military has its reasons. They fear US military intervention from Afghanistan against their nuclear capabilities.

It’s time for both countries to stop lies and deceit and decide they are allies or not. The US should ensure Pakistani military that their presence in Afghanistan is not a threat. Washington should offer Rawalpindi a vital role in the peace process with Taliban exclusive among the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan should persuade the Taliban to come to table talks and give up violence and help the US and Afghanistan to eliminate those who continue terror. Similarly, the US and Afghanistan should assure Pakistan about their legitimate security and strategic concerns on the endgame in Afghanistan. But for this, General Kayani would have to compromise his current ‘peace plan’.

Read more » Kabul Perspective » Daily Outlook Afghanistan

NYT: President Obama won’t say sorry for Pakistan soldier deaths

Obama Refrains From a Formal ‘I’m Sorry’ to Pakistan

By HELENE COOPER and MARK MAZZETTI

WASHINGTON — The White House has decided that President Obama will not offer formal condolences — at least for now — to Pakistan for the deaths of two dozen soldiers in NATO airstrikes last week, overruling State Department officials who argued for such a show of remorse to help salvage America’s relationship with Pakistan, administration officials said.

On Monday, Cameron Munter, the United States ambassador to Pakistan, told a group of White House officials that a formal video statement from Mr. Obama was needed to help prevent the rapidly deteriorating relations between Islamabad and Washington from cratering, administration officials said. The ambassador, speaking by videoconference from Islamabad, said that anger in Pakistan had reached a fever pitch, and that the United States needed to move to defuse it as quickly as possible, the officials recounted.

Defense Department officials balked. While they did not deny some American culpability in the episode, they said expressions of remorse offered by senior department officials and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were enough, at least until the completion of a United States military investigation establishing what went wrong.

Some administration aides also worried that if Mr. Obama were to overrule the military and apologize to Pakistan, such a step could become fodder for his Republican opponents in the presidential campaign, according to several officials who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

On Wednesday, White House officials said Mr. Obama was unlikely to say anything further on the matter in the coming days.

“The U.S. government has offered its deepest condolences for the loss of life, from the White House and from Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta,” said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, referring to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, “and we are conducting an investigation into the incident. We cannot offer additional comment on the circumstances of the incident until we have the results.”

The American and Pakistani accounts of the NATO strikes vary widely. A former senior American official briefed on the exchange said Wednesday that the airstrikes came in the last 15 to 20 minutes of a running three-hour skirmish, presumably with Taliban fighters on one or both sides of the border. That is at odds with the Pakistani account that its troops were in a two-hour firefight with the Americans.

Pakistan, rejecting the American account, has blocked all NATO logistical supplies that cross the border into Afghanistan, given the Central Intelligence Agency 15 days to vacate the Shamsi air base from which it has run drone strikes into Pakistani tribal areas and announced that it will boycott an international conference on Afghanistan’s security and development next week in Bonn, Germany.

With everything at stake in the relationship with Pakistan, which the United States sees as vital as it plans to exit from Afghanistan, some former Obama administration officials said the president should make public remarks on the border episode, including a formal apology.

“Without some effective measures of defusing this issue, Pakistan will cooperate less rather than more with us, and we won’t be able to achieve our goals in Afghanistan,” said Vali Nasr, a former State Department official who specialized in Pakistan.

But David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and the author of “Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power,” said Pakistani officials need to understand that in the next year, the Obama administration will be less accommodating to Pakistani sensibilities.

“I do think that it’s important for them to recognize that political dynamics in the United States will lead to a hardening of U.S. positions, and the president will have less and less flexibility to accept the kind of behavior that he has in the past,” Mr. Rothkopf said. “The prognosis for U.S.-Pakistani relations is bleak.” …

Read more » THE NEW YORK TIMES