– Graham Doesn’t Rule Out Military Action Against Pakistan if No Crack Down on Extremists
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday wouldn’t rule out U.S. military action if Pakistan’s intelligence agencies continue supporting terrorists who are attacking American forces.
Outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen last week accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of backing the Haqqani network, a terror group active in Afghanistan but based out of Pakistan who attacked the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and detonated a truck bomb that wounded scores of American soldiers.
Arguing that Pakistan has made a “tremendous miscalculation” in allowing the Haqqanis to operate without consequence, Graham said the U.S. won’t make the same mistake with Pakistan.
“The sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States and our ally Afghanistan that must cease. I will leave it up to the experts, but if the experts believe that we need to elevate our response, they will have a lot of bipartisan support on Capitol Hill,” the South Carolina senator told “Fox News Sunday.”
White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with their counterparts in Pakistan last week and made the point that safe havens and support for the Haqqani Network will not be abided.
But Plouffe wouldn’t say if the U.S. would cut aid to Pakistan if it didn’t crack down on the Haqqanis.
Graham, who’s on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the relationship with Pakistan is flawed but is not spoiled to the point of abandonment. However, he did suggest that the U.S. could “reconfigure” assistance to Pakistan.
“No longer are we to designating an amount of aid to Pakistan. We’re going to have a more transactional relationship,” Graham said.
via → Siasat.pk
After the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was murdered in May, suspicion fell on Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s powerful spy agency. Mr. Shahzad reported aggressively on the infiltration of militants into Pakistan’s military and had received repeated threats from ISI. Other journalists said they, too, have been threatened, even tortured, by security forces.
Now the Obama administration has evidence implicating the ISI in this brutal killing. According to The Times’s Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, American officials say new intelligence indicates that senior ISI officials ordered the attack on Mr. Shahzad to silence him. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed on Thursday that Pakistan’s government “sanctioned” the killing, but he did not tie it directly to ISI. The murder will make journalists and other critics of the regime even more reluctant to expose politically sensitive news. The ISI is also proving to be an increasingly dangerous counterterrorism partner for the United States.
After Mr. Shahzad’s killing, ISI insisted it had no role, contending the death would be “used to target and malign” its reputation. The ISI and the army, which oversees the intelligence agency, were once considered Pakistan’s most respected institutions. Now they are sharply criticized at home for malfeasance and incompetence.
There is evidence that they were complicit in hiding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and that the ISI helped plan the Mumbai attack in 2008. They failed to prevent the recent attack on a naval base in Karachi. Mr. Shahzad disappeared two days after publishing an article suggesting the attack was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces.
It’s not clear how high up the culpability for Mr. Shahzad’s murder goes — or whether there are any officials left in the ISI or the army who have the power and desire to reform the spy agency. President Asif Ali Zardari and his government, while not implicated in these heinous acts, have been a disappointment, largely letting the military go its own way. They need to find Mr. Shahzad’s murderers and hold them accountable. And they must find the courage to assert civilian control over security services that have too much power and are running amok.
Mr. Zardari needs to speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in pressing the security services to change. That can start by insisting on the retirement of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, and the appointment of a more credible successor.
The United States needs to use its influence to hasten Mr. Pasha’s departure. It should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures. The ISI has become inimical to Pakistani and American interests.
Courtesy: → The New York Times
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by Ian Black, Middle East editor
The Al-Khalifa family, who control Bahrain, has cracked down on dissent with little condemnation from the west
History and geography explain why Bahrain’s peaceful uprising was the early exception to the “Arab spring”, which began with high hopes in Tunisia and Egypt but now faces bloody uncertainties in Libya and Syria.
Sitting astride the faultline between the Shia and Sunni worlds, the small Gulf island state lies at the heart of a strategically sensitive region that is dominated by bitter rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia – both very tough neighbours. …
Read more: guardian.co.uk
WASHINGTON: Nato-led forces are making “tangible progress” in the Afghanistan war, with Taliban insurgents under pressure and forced out of key southern strongholds, the Pentagon said on Friday.
Although, the US military acknowledged battlefield gains over the past six months were tentative and “fragile”, it painted a more positive picture than the Pentagon’s previous reports to Congress.
The findings come at a crucial moment in the nine-year-old war as the United States prepares to begin a drawdown in July of its 100,000-strong force and as the Afghan government plans to take over security in some districts.
The Pentagon, however, warned that the insurgents still enjoyed a crucial lifeline through safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan, that the Afghan government was plagued by corruption and that a shortage of trainers for Afghan forces could hold back efforts to hand over security.
“Insurgent capacity continues to be supported by sanctuaries and logistical support originating in Pakistan, and insurgents will likely retain operational momentum in areas where these support structures exist,” it said. To consolidate progress in security, Pakistan needed to do more to eliminate the sanctuaries, the Pentagon said.
The presence of the safe havens threatens to undermine the war effort and has strained relations between Washington and Islamabad, with US officials frustrated at the Pakistan Army’s reluctance to crack down on militants based in North Waziristan. …
Read more : The News.com.pk