Tag Archives: Aid

Britain’s foreign aid has fallen into hands of al-Qaeda, DfiD admits

Almost half a million pounds of British taxpayer-funded aid and equipment has fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda, the Department for International Development has admitted.

By Andrew Gilligan

The terror group’s Somali franchise, al-Shabaab, “confiscated” the equipment from DfID contractors in multiple incidents over at least three months before any action was taken.

The admission is contained in the small print of the department’s latest accounts, which say that £480,000 worth of “humanitarian materials and supplies” was written off following repeated “confiscations” by al-Shabaab.

The confiscations are one of a series of developments disclosed by the department, which will increase controversy over the British aid budget, the only item of government expenditure that is rising sharply in an era of cuts.

British aid is due to reach about £11billion by 2015, to meet the Government’s promise that aid spending should be 0.7 per cent of gross national income. Critics say the 0.7 per cent figure encourages wasteful spending to meet the target.

Investigations by The Telegraph show a number of areas of questionable spending and results that are open to question, including how:

Read more » the telegraph.co.uk
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/somalia/10235384/Britains-foreign-aid-has-fallen-into-hands-of-al-Qaeda-DfiD-admits.html

If Pakistan does not release Dr Shakil Afridi, Senator Rand Paul will hold up the US Senate to deny Islamabad all aid.

Paul may hold up Senate over Pakistan

By MANU RAJU and TOMER OVADIA

Freshman Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to bottle up the Senate if he doesn’t get a vote on his plan to dramatically cut foreign aid to Pakistan.

In an extraordinary step, the Republican freshman is warning that he may file a motion to shut down debate and push a vote on his proposal, a right typically granted strictly to the Senate majority leader. But Paul is angry that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to give him an up-or-down vote on the proposal, and now appears poised to use arcane Senate procedures to force a vote even if it ties up the Senate for days.

Paul’s bill would halt billions of dollars in foreign aid that the United States provides Pakistan until the country frees a doctor jailed for providing Americans information that helped lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden. And it could put some of his colleagues in a tricky diplomatic spot, as they rail against government spending but also fear provoking tensions with a country whose relations with the United States have frayed.

“I have worked consistently to bring awareness to Dr. [Shakil] Afridi’s plight, and I have offered legislation to deny any current or future foreign assistance to the Pakistani government until they reverse course and free Dr. Afridi,” Paul wrote in the letter. “In pursuing a resolution to this situation, I have gained the necessary number of signatures on a cloture petition to force a vote on my legislation on the Senate floor. If Dr. Afridi is not released upon appeal, I will seek such a floor vote at the earliest opportunity.”

Continue reading If Pakistan does not release Dr Shakil Afridi, Senator Rand Paul will hold up the US Senate to deny Islamabad all aid.

Democrats and Republicans unite around criticism of Pakistan

By Josh Rogin

In a rare moment of bipartisan unity in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans joined together to admonish Pakistan for its treatment of the doctor who helped the United States find Osama bin Laden.

At a Senate Appropriations Committee markup this morning, senior senators from both sides of the aisle took turns accusing Pakistan of supporting terrorism, undermining the war in Afghanistan, extorting the U.S. taxpayer, and punishing Shakil Afridi, the doctor who worked with the CIA to find Bin Laden and was sentenced this week to 33 years in jail for treason. One senior senator predicted the Pakistani government was about to fall.

Continue reading Democrats and Republicans unite around criticism of Pakistan

Elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans

US Congress introduces Pak ‘terrorism accountability’ bill

A far-reaching legislation has been introduced in the US Congress that would deduct $50 million from the aid to Islamabad for every American killed by terrorists operating from the safe havens in Pakistan with the ”support” of ISI.

“Pakistan has for decades leveraged radical terrorist groups to carry out attacks in India and Afghanistan,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said introducing the ‘Pakistan Terrorism Accountability Act of 2012′.

Continue reading Elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans

[US Congress] House panel cuts foreign aid, UN and military aid to Pakistan

House panel cuts foreign aid, UN and military aid to Pakistan

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A House panel on Wednesday moved to cut the foreign aid budget by some 9 percent, targeting economic aid and contributions to the United Nations and the World Bank.

Despite the cuts, the legislation won bipartisan backing from the Appropriations foreign aid panel, though it’s sure to draw a White House veto threat because it’s in line with a broader GOP spending plan that breaks faith with last summer’s budget and debt pact with President Barack Obama.

The panel maintains aid to Israel and Egypt at the administration’s requests but denies $800 million that was requested for a special fund for training and equipping Pakistan’s military in counterinsurgency tactics. The move appears to reflect wariness on the part of lawmakers toward the government of Pakistan, which failed to find Osama bin Laden for years until the U.S. military killed him a year ago.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., accused Pakistan of “harboring a fugitive” and likened the U.S.-Pakistan relationship to a “bad marriage.”

Given the animosity toward Pakistan, the $800 million request for counterinsurgency efforts was an easy target, though the measure would permit transfers from other accounts to make up for some or all of the shortfall. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Via – Wichaar.com

Khalil Dale – the courageous aid worker who was gunned down in Pakistan

The courageous aid workers who fear no evil

He’d already been kidnapped and tortured – so what drove murdered aid worker Khalil Dale back to the danger zone?

By Sarah Rainey

Asked to describe his job as an aid worker for the Red Cross in some of the world’s most dangerous locations, Khalil Rasjed Dale compared it to a Mad Max film. “You’ve got people driving around in cars with machine guns,” he said in an interview in 1998. “There’s no government infrastructure, no law and order and we were trying to help vulnerable people nobody else seemed to care for… You just didn’t know what was going to happen next.”

Two days ago, Dale was found dead. Stationed abroad for more than 30 years, he had been taken hostage by suspected pro-Taliban terrorists on January 5. His decapitated body, wrapped in a plastic bag, was dumped by the side of a road in Quetta, the capital of the Baluchistan province, one of the most troubled regions of Pakistan.

Dale’s murder left many stunned by the brutality inflicted on such a gentle-mannered man. But as his family grieves, his death has brought into the spotlight the role of British aid workers, stationed in some of the world’s most volatile countries. His loss is not the first, nor will it be the last.

Read more » telegraph.co.uk

Extremist in Pakistan have been given a free hand to bash Americans, under support of ‘certain quarters’ – says Bushra Gohar a parliamentarian

Aid to Pakistan: $2.6 billion spent, little ability to show it

Anti-US sentiments and foreign policy squabbles are thwarting good US public relations from reaching turbulent, poor border regions of Pakistan.

By Taha Siddiqui

Islamabad, Pakistan – Khalil Afridi recently survived a fatal attack by militants when a hand grenade was hurled at him. “They want me to quit development work, because of my association with Western donors,” he says.

Continue reading Extremist in Pakistan have been given a free hand to bash Americans, under support of ‘certain quarters’ – says Bushra Gohar a parliamentarian

Pakistan heading towards anarchy, cautions author

By: Reuters

Excerpts;

…. Pakistan’s escalating problems are rooted in its reliance on US aid, its complex politics, the government’s lack of control over both its military and intelligence service and its failure to protect minorities and secure regions controlled by the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups, the book maintains. That spells more trouble for Washington if such groups gain further control in a nuclear-armed country where the military now largely controls foreign and security policies and has taken the lead in relations with the United States, he said. “Pakistan has all the potential of becoming a failing state,” Rashid, 63, said in an interview, explaining the title of the book that follows bestsellers including “Taliban” and “Descent Into Chaos” that were translated into dozens of languages. “I feel very much that the lack of state control, the lack of state authority is going to mean there is going to be increasing anarchy in many different parts of the country,” said Rashid, who has received numerous death threats and was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Toronto Sun – Pakistan’s the problem, not Taliban

National Defence Minister Peter MacKay speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

By Peter Worthington

Whatever one thinks of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s penchant for taking military helicopters on fishing trips, the country should support him chiding elements in Pakistan for helping the Taliban.

While there’s nothing new in NATO leaks that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service and military are helping co-ordinate Taliban attacks on coalition forces, the fact these reports keep surfacing has to be upsetting.

Pakistani denials ring hollow — nearly 10 years of denials.

Good on MacKay for not brushing the NATO leaks aside. He said if such reports are reliable, and if Pakistan wants western allies to continue working for “peace and security” throughout the region, then Pakistan’s co-operation is not only required, but is demanded. And “demand” is what MacKay is doing. But is anyone listening?

That’s fairly tough talk. Ever since Navy SEALs took out Osama bin Laden at his Pakistani retreat, there’s been substantial evidence Pakistan is playing a double game.

There are even suggestions China hopes to exploit a rift between western allies and Pakistan — a possibility that makes traditional diplomats shudder. But, if true, Pakistan and China cuddling each other seems destined to be an enormous headache for both these hypersensitive, paranoid, nuclear states.

U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has made the curious observation that after next year, U.S. policy in Afghanistan will be one of “advise and assist,” rather than actually fighting. What on earth does that mean? One supposes it means that by 2014, Panetta hopes the Afghan National Army and National Police being trained by coalition troops, including Canadians, will be able to handle Taliban incursions.

Don’t bet on it.

By having a safe haven in Pakistan, and a seemingly endless supply of fighters, the future has got to look encouraging for the Taliban. They can lose battles indefinitely against American forces — and win the war once the Americans have had a bellyful.

Time is on the Taliban’s side. And patience is their virtue.

There’s not much that can be done. Clearly, coalition countries don’t intend to stay in Afghanistan, and the U.S. especially wants out with an election looming in November.

When Barack Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, was president and flailing away in Iraq, Obama made Afghanistan (relatively quiet at the time) the war he’d prosecute. Well, Afghanistan has turned bad for Obama. So he wants out, and has fired those generals who thought they could win the damn thing.

MacKay says he doesn’t give much credence to the so-called secret NATO report that says the Taliban are gaining confidence and are sure they’ll win in the end.

He thinks that’s what the Taliban would say no matter what — “an overly optimistic view of what’s happening on the ground … in battlefield skirmishes they always lose.” But the Taliban leadership is not in disarray — although coalition leadership may be approaching that state.

If the U.S. were realistic, it would consider cutting aid to Pakistan — $12 billion in military aid, $7 billion in economic aid over the last 10 years.

That may be the only way to get the attention of those who rule Pakistan.

Like hitting a mule on the head with a two-by-four.

The problem is not the Taliban, but the Pakistan leadership which seems hell-bent on wrecking relations with western allies, and gambling we are too timid to do anything about it.

Courtesy: Toronto sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/10/pakistans-the-problem-not-taliban?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Pakistan%27s+the+problem%2C+not+Taliban

Canadian aid for flood victims in Sindh

Canada provides funds for projects

Islamabad—Canada has announced $11 million for eight new projects in support for those affected by recent monsoon rains and ongoing flooding in southern Pakistan.

According to Canadian Embassy here, an announcement in this regard was made by Minister of International Cooperation Beverley J. Oda in Ottawa.

“Canada is greatly concerned for the people of Pakistan affected by recent severe flooding,” said Minister Oda.

“We are responding to emergency appeals by humanitarian organizations and will continue to monitor this evolving situation to ensure Canada is supporting those who need it the most.” Heavy monsoon rains that began in mid-August have led to extensive flooding in Pakistan, primarily in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. The United Nations reports that approximately 5.8 million people have been affected by the rains and ongoing flooding, with close to 1.8 million displaced and living in extremely difficult conditions. …

Read more » Pakistan Observer

Members of US Congress Pledge Support for Flood Victims in Sindh

– Several Members of US Congress Pledge Support for Flood Victims in Sindh – SAPAC Advocacy Campaign

By Khalid Hashmani

A two-day event dedicated to the flood victims in Sindh by Sindhi-American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was hugely successful. The event was held in Washington DC from October 13 and October 14, 2011. The activities were held in several locations around the US congressional offices. The Sindhi-American community was joined by their friends participated in this focused campaign to draw attention of the US government and the US legislature to the destruction caused by recent floods in Sindh province of Pakistan. They urged members of congress for immediate help to the flood victims. The campaign began with meetings with the staff of 100 Congress members and cumulated in a congressional briefing with testimony from several academicians and NGO officials with eyewitness accounts. …

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 16, 2011.

Millions at risk in Sindh

Millions at risk: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then seek aid says WFP

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then get the attention of the international community, stressed the World Food Programme’s Ramiro Lopes da Silva on Monday, while warning that millions of lives are at stake in Sindh unless more attention is paid to mobilising resources.

The situation is alarming but hasn’t received the attention it deserves, the deputy executive director remarked at a press briefing on Monday. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

Sluggish Response to Sindh Flood Victims – Oxfam Warns of Second Disaster

– Sluggish donor response to Pakistan floods is another disaster in the making: Oxfam

Islamabad – International aid agency Oxfam expressed alarm over the floods in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as only $1.30 has been committed per person by international donors in the first 10 days of the UN appeal as opposed to $3.20 committed in the same period during last year’s floods.

Oxfam calls on the Government of Pakistan and the international donor community to dig deep into their resources and rapidly increase their funding to prevent the disaster from deteriorating further. The agency warns that the situation of millions of people in Sindh and Balochistan will worsen unless more aid arrives.

According to the latest figures, more than 8.8 million people in Sindh and 14,000 people in Balochistan so far have been affected by the 2011 monsoon rains. The human impact of this disaster in terms of the number of people affected is more than the combined impact of the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. Reported losses are being estimated at $215 million, and that number is likely to increase as some areas are inaccessible, and the impact of the floods cannot be assessed. ….

Read more → Aboard the Democracy Train

Rain disaster in Sindh

– Pakistan floods leave hundreds of thousands without shelter

Pakistan has appealed to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for international humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of flood victims in the south of the country. At least 130 people have been killed as mud houses in remote rural areas collapsed in the heavy rain. Among the worst affected areas in the south’s Sindh Province are Badin and Nawabshah. Rains have damaged about 80% of the region’s crops.

Shoaib Hasan reports from Sindh.

Courtesy: → BBC

Turkish warships to escort any Gaza aid vessels: Erdogan

CAIRO: Turkey said on Thursday it would escort aid ships to Gaza and would not allow a repetition of last year’s Israeli raid that killed nine Turks, setting the stage for a potential naval confrontation with its former ally.

Raising the stakes in Turkey’s row with Israel over its refusal to apologise for the killings, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Al Jazeera television that Turkey had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources in the Mediterranean.

“Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorised to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Erdogan said in the interview, broadcast by Al Jazeera with an Arabic translation.

“From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla,” Erdogan said.

Referring to Erdogan’s comments, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “This is a statement well-worth not commenting on.”

Relations between Turkey and Israel, two close US allies in the region, have soured since Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010.

Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean in the escalating row. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

The New York Times Editorial – Holding Pakistan to Account

The Obama administration’s decision to suspend $800 million of its $2 billion in annual security aid to Pakistan inevitably raises the question of why the United States should continue to give Pakistan any military aid at all.

The White House acted after Osama bin Laden was found living near Pakistan’s leading military academy and Pakistan then expelled American military trainers. Islamabad should see this as a serious warning that Washington has all but run out of patience with its double games. Both sides will pay a high price if this goes on too long. ….

Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES

False nationalism

By S. Akbar Zaidi

THE comprador, clientelist military of a clientelist state has suddenly found its own sense of pride and nationalism. A military which has been critically dependent on US aid for far too many years has now turned around to say that it will ‘rely on domestic resources’ to make up for the $800m cut, or threat of a cut, by the Americans.

Given the nature of the political economy of Pakistan and of its military, at a time of a fiscal crisis in the state, this is a serious joke.

The amusing part of this newfound, false nationalism of Pakistan’s military is that the latter has not in the past ever said ‘no’ to US or any other aid, and nor has it said that it will ‘rely on domestic resources’. This has been said by all civilian governments, in jest of course, whenever they were denied financial assistance, but this is the first time that Pakistan’s armed forces have woken up to their own very compromised, comprador status. Moreover, just to underscore how false such statements are, one needs to be reminded that the $800m which might be cut is a mere one-third of what the US is to give Pakistan’s military this year. The remaining $1.6bn which Pakistan’s military (and not Pakistan’s government — a critical distinction) receives, will of course be utilised in the way the Americans demand of Pakistan’s military.

One needs to explain and emphasise the nature and extent of US military aid to Pakistan’s military to highlight how critical this has been to Pakistan’s army, a fact which will show why this newfound nationalism is so false and such a joke. For instance, just in the period since 2001, over the course of what was called the war on terror, the US gave the government (or the country) of Pakistan $12.14bn over 2002-09. Of this, as much as $8.91bn, or 73 per cent, was classified as ‘security-related’ aid to Pakistan, most of which was given as part of the services provided by Pakistan’s military, as part of the Coalition Support Funds. Clearly, the Bush-Musharraf relationship was largely the US providing aid to Pakistan’s military, and not to its people.

It was only after the change of government in both countries that the nature of the aid-giving relationship with Pakistan changed. Once the Obama administration took over and the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act was passed there was a considerable shift towards non-military aid to Pakistan. In 2009 and 2010, as much as $6.61bn was authorised by the US administration, although not all of it was disbursed. Of this, as much as 44 per cent was meant as non-military aid, for economic-related purposes, a huge, and critical, shift compared to the past.

What these numbers show is that a considerable part of assistance from the US to ‘Pakistan’, has actually come to Pakistan’s military. To emphasise this point further, if we look at the current fiscal year, the US is said to have earlier promised $2.4bn specifically marked as assistance to Pakistan’s military or military aid.

In the same year, the Government of Pakistan in the budget, allocated Rs495bn to the military. Hence, the US taxpayer was funding the equivalent of (or an additional) 41 per cent of what the Pakistani taxpayer was providing. By all accounts, a very considerable amount and a significant proportion of expenditure by, and on, Pakistan’s military. Pakistan’s military is still critically dependent on US aid.

The second consequence of the statement by the Pakistan military, of relying on ‘our own resources’, is equally troubling. First of all, ‘our’ resources are in particularly bad shape, thanks mainly to a huge military budget over the years ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Pakistan could “pull troops Afghan from border” if U.S. cuts aid

By Zeeshan Haider

Islamabad : (Reuters) – Pakistan could pull back troops fighting Islamist militants near the Afghan border if the United States cuts off aid, the defense minister said on Tuesday in an interview with Pakistani media.

The United States Monday said it would hold back $800 million — a third of nearly $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan — in a show of displeasure over Pakistan’s removal of U.S. military trainers, limits on visas for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants.

“If at all things become difficult, we will just get all our forces back,” Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said in an interview with the Express 24/7 television to be aired later on Tuesday.

The television aired excerpts of the interview Tuesday.

“If Americans refuse to give us money, then okay,” he said. “I think the next step is that the government or the armed forces will be moving from the border areas. We cannot afford to keep military out in the mountains for such a long period.”

In Pakistan, the defense minister is relatively powerless. Real defense and military policy is made by the powerful Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, and the head of the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Monday, the military said it could do without U.S. assistance by depending on its own resources or turning to “all-weather friend” China.

Mukhtar later told Reuters Pakistan wanted the money spent on the maintenance of the army in the tribal areas. “This is what we are demanding,” he said. “It is our own money.” ….

Read more → REUTERS

Pakistan Aid Withdrawl

After the US suspension of over $800 million in military aid to Pakistan, the Pakistani military has said that the action will not interfere with their ability to fight terrorism, but it still seems like a big move on the part of the Obama administration.

The Newsy video analyzes the story by comparing reports from different media outlets side-by-side. It’s a lot of information compacted into a brief video that gives viewers quick, diverse perspectives on global issues.

To watch video news analysis of the story → newsy.com

US Suspends $800 Million in Military Aid to Pakistan‎

– U.S. Suspends $800 Million in Pakistan Aid

WASHINGTON— (Associated Press) – President Barack Obama’s chief of staff confirmed that the U.S. is suspending $800 million in military aid to Pakistan.

William Daley said the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is “difficult” and must be made “to work over time.” But he told ABC television’s “This Week” that until “we get through that difficulty, we’ll hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers are committed to give” the U.S. ally.

Mr. Daley says the countries are trying to work through issues that have strained ties.

The New York Times reported that the U.S. is upset with Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and wants tougher action against the Taliban and others fighting American soldiers in Afghanistan.

Tensions between the countries have surged since U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May.

Courtesy: → THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Who will blink first?

– U.S. Is Deferring Millions in Pakistani Military Aid

By ERIC SCHMITT and JANE PERLEZ

Excerpt;

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is suspending and, in some cases, canceling hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Pakistani military, in a move to chasten Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and to press its army to fight militants more effectively.  …
….

And some is assistance like the reimbursements for troop costs, which is being reviewed in light of questions about Pakistan’s commitment to carry out counterterrorism operations. For example, the United States recently provided Pakistan with information about suspected bomb-making factories, only to have the insurgents vanish before Pakistani security forces arrived a few days later.

“When it comes to our military aid,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate committee last month “we are not prepared to continue providing that at the pace we were providing it unless and until we see certain steps taken.” …

…. Comments last week by Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also reflected a potentially more confrontational approach to Pakistan. Admiral Mullen, who is retiring in two months, became the first American official to publicly accuse Pakistan of ordering the kidnapping, torture and death of the journalist, Saleem Shahzad, whose mutilated body was found in early June. …

To read complete article → THE NEW YORK TIMES

The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.

– The Double Game

The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.

by Lawrence Wright

Excerpt:

…. India has become the state that we tried to create in Pakistan. It is a rising economic star, militarily powerful and democratic, and it shares American interests. Pakistan, however, is one of the most anti-American countries in the world, and a covert sponsor of terrorism. Politically and economically, it verges on being a failed state. And, despite Pakistani avowals to the contrary, America’s worst enemy, Osama bin Laden, had been hiding there for years—in strikingly comfortable circumstances—before U.S. commandos finally tracked him down and killed him, on May 2nd.

American aid is hardly the only factor that led these two countries to such disparate outcomes. But, at this pivotal moment, it would be a mistake not to examine the degree to which U.S. dollars have undermined our strategic relationship with Pakistan—and created monstrous contradictions within Pakistan itself. …

… Within the I.S.I., there is a secret organization known as the S Wing, which is largely composed of supposedly retired military and I.S.I. officers. “It doesn’t exist on paper,” a source close to the I.S.I. told me. The S Wing handles relations with radical elements. “If something happens, then they have deniability,” the source explained. If any group within the Pakistani military helped hide bin Laden, it was likely S Wing.

Eight days before Osama bin Laden was killed, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the head of the Pakistani Army, went to the Kakul military academy in Abbottabad, less than a mile from the villa where bin Laden was living. “General Kayani told the cadets, ‘We have broken the backbone of the militants,’ ” Pir Zubair Shah, the reporter, told me. “But the backbone was right there.” Perhaps with a touch of theatre, Hamid Gul, the former I.S.I. chief, publicly expressed wonder that bin Laden was living in a city with three army regiments, less than a mile from an élite military academy, in a house that appeared to have been built expressly to protect him. Aside from the military, Gul told the Associated Press, “there is the local police, the Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence, the I.S.I. They all had a presence there.”

To read complete article : ♦ The New Yorker

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/16/110516fa_fact_wright#ixzz1QU3ZbWsw

 

Anti-American Coup in Pakistan?

By Stanley Kurtz

The Washington Post and New York Times today feature above-the-fold front-page articles about the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Both pieces are disturbing, the Times account more so because it explicitly raises the prospect of an anti-American “colonels coup” against Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. With all the bad news coming out of this part of the world, and plenty of trouble here at home, it’s easy to ignore stories like this. Yet these two reports are among the most alarming and important we’ve seen in a long string of bad news from Pakistan and the Middle East.

Both articles make plain the extraordinary depth and breadth of anti-American sentiment among the commanders and the rank-and-file of Pakistan’s army. While America’s insistence on keeping the bin Laden raid secret, as well as our ability to pull it off without Pakistani interference, are the immediate causes of the anger, it’s obvious that a deeper anti-American sentiment as well as some level of sympathy for al-Qaeda are also at work.

Even now Pakistan’s army is forcing American operations out of the country. They have blocked the supply of food and water to our drone base, and are actively “strangling the alliance” by making things difficult for Americans in-country.

Unfortunately, it’s now time to at least begin thinking about what the United States should do in case of either an overt anti-American coup within Pakistan’s army, or in case Kayani himself is forced to effectively break relations. Although liberation from Pakistan’s double-game and reversion to honest hostility might come as a welcome relief to some, I see no good scenario here.

Should anti-American elements in Pakistan’s army displace Kayani, they would presumably hold our supply lines to Afghanistan hostage to a cessation of drone attacks. The step beyond that would be to cut off our Afghanistan supply lines altogether. Our minimum response to either of these moves would likely be a suspension of aid (on which Pakistan’s military is now dependent) and moves to provide India with technology that would give them major advantages over Pakistan. Pakistan may run eagerly into the arms of China at that point.

These developments would pose many further dangers and questions. Could we find new supply lines, and at what geo-strategic price? Should we strike terrorist refuges in Pakistan, perhaps clashing with Pakistan’s own forces as we do so? Would Pakistan actively join the Taliban to fight us in Afghanistan? In short, would the outcome of a break between America and Pakistan be war–whether low-level or outright?

There is no good or easy answer here. If there is any single spot it would be hardest for America to walk away from conflict, Pakistan is it. Bin Laden was not alone. Pakistan shelters our greatest terrorist enemies. An inability to strike them there would be intolerable, both in terms of the danger posed for terrorism here in the United States, and for the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.

Yet the fundamental problem remains Pakistan’s nuclear capacity, as well as the sympathy of many of its people with our enemies. Successful clashes with Pakistan’s military may only prompt sympathizers to hand nuclear material to al-Qaeda. The army is virtually the only thing holding Pakistan together. A military defeat and splintering of the army could bring an Islamist coup, or at least the fragmentation of the country, and consequent massive expansion of its lawless regions. These gloomy prospects probably explain why our defense officials keep counseling patience, even as the insults from Pakistan grow.

An important question here is just how Islamist the anti-American elements of Pakistan’s military now are. Is the current trouble primarily a matter of nationalist resentment at America’s killing of bin Laden, or is this a case of outright sympathy for al-Qaeda and the Taliban in much of the army?

The answer is probably a bit of both. The difficulty is that the precise balance may not matter that much. We’ve seen in Egypt that a secular the military is perfectly capable of striking up a cautious alliance with newly empowered Islamist forces. The same thing could happen in Pakistan in the advent of an anti-American military coup. Pakistan may not be ethnically Arab, but it’s continued deterioration may be the unhappy harbinger of the so-called Arab Spring’s outcome, I fear.

At any rate, it’s time to begin at least gaming out worst-case scenarios in Pakistan.

Courtesy:  National Review Online

Via Wichaar

US House panel OKs defense bill, limits Pakistan aid

WASHINGTON: The House Appropriations Committee has approved a defense spending bill that imposes limits on US aid to Pakistan and creates a special bipartisan group to review the US role in Afghanistan.

The panel gave the go-ahead to the bill on a voice vote Tuesday. The legislation would provide $530 billion for the Defense Department and $119 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill is $9 billion less than President Barack Obama requested.

The bill would withhold 75 per cent of the $1.1 billion in US aid to Pakistan until the administration reports to Congress on how it would spend the money. Reflecting the frustration with Pakistan’s effort in battling terrorism, the committee adopted an amendment that gives Congress even more power to review the spending.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

The success of the Sindh Caucus in US Congress

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

…. I feel proud that the Sindhis have chosen non-violent and democratic methods to promote their rights instead of going on the path of armed struggle like our Baloch brothers and sisters. …

…. Congressman Brad Sherman organized the first ever congressional hearing on the enormous loss suffered by Sindhis in recent floods and wrote formal letters to US Aid officials and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He urged them to ensure that the US aid also reached the flood victims in Sindh. At the urging of a Sindhi-American supporter, he confronted the Pakistani Ambassador in USA about why so few native Sindhis were employed at the Pakistani Embassy in the USA. He publicly acknowledged that he never received a satisfactory answer to this question from Pakistani ambassador.

Less than two weeks ago, Congressman Dan Burton wrote to the President of Pakistan expressing concern about the enforced disappearances and other forms of unlawful detention focusing on the disappearance of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto. The letter says “… I and my congressional colleagues are hearing more and more stories, particular centering on alleged human rights violations against Baloch and Sindh ethnic peoples, including numerous women and children.” …..

We are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and inferiority

Let’s stop blaming America

By DR. KHALID ALNOWAISER, ARAB NEWS

I AM a proud and loyal Saudi citizen, but I am tired of hearing constant criticism from most Arabs of everything the United States does in its relations with other countries and how it responds to global crises. No nation is perfect, and certainly America has made its share of mistakes such as Vietnam, Cuba and Iraq. I am fully aware of what happened when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the unprecedented abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. However, what would we do if America simply disappeared from the face of the earth such as what happened to the Soviet Union and ancient superpowers like the Roman and Greek empires? These concerns keep me up day and night. It’s frustrating to hear this constant drumbeat of blame directed toward the United States for everything that is going wrong in the world. Who else do we think of to blame for our problems and failures? Do we take personal responsibility for the great issues that affect the security and prosperity of Arab countries? No, we look to America for leadership and then sit back and blame it when we don’t approve of the actions and solutions it proposes or takes.

For instance, if a dictator seizes and holds power such as Egypt’s Mubarak and Libya’s Qaddafi, fingers are pointed only at America for supporting these repressive leaders. If the people overthrow a dictator, fingers are pointed at America for not having done enough to support the protestors. If a nation fails to provide its people with minimum living standards, fingers are pointed at America. If a child dies in an African jungle, America is criticized for not providing necessary aid. If someone somewhere sneezes, fingers are pointed at America. Many other examples exist, too numerous to mention.

I am not pro-American nor am I anti-Arab, but I am worried that unless we wake up, the Arab world will never break out of this vicious and unproductive cycle of blaming America. We must face the truth: Sadly, we are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and cultural inferiority. We have laid the blame on America for all our mistakes, for every failure, for every harm or damage we cause to ourselves. The US has become our scapegoat upon whom our aggression and failures can be placed. We accuse America of interfering in all our affairs and deciding our fate, although we know very well that this is not the case as no superpower can impose its will upon us and control every aspect of our lives. We must acknowledge that every nation, no matter how powerful, has its limitations.

Moreover, we conveniently forget that America’s role is one of national self-interest, not to act as a Mother Teresa.

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BHRC (Canada) Protests in Toronto and Vancouver

Toronto, May 27, 2011 – Toronto and Vancouver chapters of Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) staged demonstrations in front of the U.S. Consulates. …. The demonstrations held in Toronto and Vancouver, the two major cities of Canada, were jointly organized by Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada), International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IVBMP), and the International Centre for Peace and Democracy (ICFPD). The participants in the demonstration came from all walks of life, particular the Baloch Diaspora, Kashmiris, Sindhis, and the progressive and secular elements in society.

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US Aid is being used to Kill Secular Balochs and Sindhis in Pakistan

– ‘US Aid is being used to Kill Secular Balochs and Sindhis in Pakistan’. Protesters Gathered in Front of Pakistan Consulate in Houston

Report by: Sikander Baloch

HOUSTON, MAY 27, 2011: Several dozens of Americans of Sindhi and Baloch origin gathered on Friday to protest in front of the Pakistan consul-general in Houston condemning …., Islamabad’s support to terrorist outfits and state terrorism against people of Balochistan and Sindh. The peaceful but vocal protest was held on Jones Road in front of the Pakistan Consulate in Houston.

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