Tag Archives: strategic

China’s hypersonic strike vehicle ‘in 3d test flight’

China has reportedly conducted a third flight test for its new ultra-high speed strike vehicle – capable of travelling at up to eight times the speed of sound, in what experts suspect is part of the development of its strategic nuclear program.

Read more » RT
Learn more » http://rt.com/news/211575-china-hypersonic-missile-test/

China Flight Tests New Stealth Jet During Obama Visit

White House calls on China to halt cyber espionage

BY:

China’s military upstaged the Asian economic summit in Beijing this week by conducting flights tests of a new stealth jet prototype, as the White House called on Beijing to halt its cyber attacks.

Demonstration flights by the new J-31 fighter jet—China’s second new radar-evading warplane—were a key feature at a major arms show in Zhuhai, located near Macau, on Monday.

The J-31 flights coincided with President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. In a speech and meetings with Chinese leaders, Obama called on China to curtail cyber theft of trade secrets.

China obtained secrets from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through cyber attacks against a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin. The technology has shown up in China’s first stealth jet, the J-20, and in the J-31. Both of the jets’ design features and equipment are similar to those of the F-35.

The Chinese warplanes are part of a major buildup of air power by China that includes the two new stealth fighters, development of a new strategic bomber, purchase of Russian Su-35 jets, and development of advanced air defense missile systems. China also is building up its conventional and nuclear missile forces.

Read more » THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON
See more » http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-flight-tests-new-stealth-jet-during-obama-visit/

Chinese president likely to sign major deals in India

By Reuters

NEW DELHI: China will pledge to invest billions of dollars in India’s rail network during a visit by President Xi Jinping this week, bringing more than diplomatic nicety to the neighbours’ first summit since Narendra Modi became prime minister in May.

The leaders of Asia’s three major economies — China, India and Japan — have crisscrossed the region this month, lobbying for strategic influence, building defence ties, and seeking new business opportunities.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1132042/

The military will not decisively act against its own strategic assets unless an ideological shift occurs at mass level

OUR VIEWPOINT ON ZARB-E-AZB

Written by  Redaktion

Yet another military operation has been launched in Waziristan Agency. Post-9/11, this will be fifth operation in the Agency.

While Viewpoint is staunchly opposed to the Taliban and considers them the biggest immediate threat to working classes in Pakistan, we refuse to lend support to the ongoing military operation for the following reasons:

1.       Amputating cancerous hand, preserving cancer: A military operation in Waziristan Agency implies that terrorism in Pakistan is geographically located. This is a fake beginning. Hence, it will only prolong the fight against puritan terror. Fact of the matter is, taproot of terrorism is located elsewhere. To be precise, terrorism in Pakistan emanates from Islamabad/Rawalpindi. It is grounded in the official policy-making, anchored in military doctrines, and situated in foreign office. Viewpoint has repeatedly pointed out: unless a paradigm shift displacing the Doctrine of Strategic Depth takes place, the Taliban terror cannot be decisively defeated. Furthermore, without abandoning the Jihadi infrastructure [ consisting of Punjab-based, Kashmir-specific, and anti-Shia outfits as well as mosque-and-madrassa networks], terrorism cannot be successfully fought back. Likewise, only by deradicalising the entire state and society (military, judiciary, constitution, media, education system and so on) we can expect a beginning of terrorism’s end. There is no piecemeal solution. In the absence of such radical paradigmatic shifts, the Waziristan operation will be tantamount to amputating cancerous hand while preserving the cancerous arm. Therefore, it is an absurd position to take if one supports or opposes amputation of a cancerous hand by khaki messiahs without operating upon the source of cancer.

Read more » View Point Online
http://www.viewpointonline.net/2014/06/our-viewpoint-on-zarb-e-azb/3828-our-viewpoint-on-zarb-e-azb#.U6niUJmUsGk.facebook

The Pakistan-China Corridor

A new project will give Pakistan the tools of globalization. Will it use them?

By Christopher Ernest Barber

Historian Daniel Headrick made the crucial connection between means and ends in the projection of global influence. For instance, Headrick argued that the Suez Canal, which opened in 1869, acted a tool of empire for the great powers of the nineteenth century. The building of a canal through the Sinai Peninsula not only  made trade and empire in Asia faster by avoiding the Cape of Good Hope, but more economical too. This was particularly the case for the world’s superpower, Great Britain. For Britain, the Suez was an important strategic consideration in its imperial outlook, making the transport of goods, officials and soldiers to Bombay and other key colonial hubs easier and affordable. At the same time, the canal aided the wider globalization process of the nineteenth century, which opened Asia up to the advent of Western adventure capitalists with exploitation and domination never far from the surface. The Suez Canal acted as a “tool of empire,” as Headrick put it, and in a small but important way, the world became that much more global—all to the benefit of those Western nations that could harness of the power of the sea.

Headrick’s argument turns on a profound if easily overlooked point: those with easy access to the sea-lanes of the world invariably have the tools for global power and trade. Even today, the laws of economic scale dictate that air and rail, while important in their own right, will always be poor cousins to the efficiency and capacity of container ships and waterborne trade.

Despite the fact that the free trade zone port of Gwadar in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan has been an unprofitable enterprise with operational control now in Chinese hands, its potential remains. If anything, the development of the deep ocean port and an associated international airport, as well as the creation of a transport corridor connecting Gwadar to China’s easternmost province of Xinjiang, is a game changer for the Central Asian region. In Beijing this February, President Mamnoon Hussain and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a series of agreements designed to breathe life to the corridor project. In the coming years, the once sleepy fishing enclave of Gwadar will become a staging ground for the geopolitical reorganization of the region.

Continue reading The Pakistan-China Corridor

China commits $6.5b for Pakistani nuclear project

Project to have two reactors with a capacity of 1,100 megawatts each I Construction to be completed by 2019

By: Reuters

ISLAMABAD – China has committed $6.5 billion to finance the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi as it seeks to strengthen ties with its strategic partner, Pakistani officials said.

Read more » Reuters
http://www.nation.com.pk/islamabad/25-Dec-2013/china-commits-6-5b-for-pakistani-nuclear-project

Chinese Troops Set Up Post 10km Inside Ladakh – India Times

By IndiaTimes

NEW DELHI: In yet another deep incursion into Indian territory, Chinese troops apparently made inroads into the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector of eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post there this week.

Indian Army officials were, however, not too perturbed about the incursion, holding that it was a common occurrence. “In that area, patrols do have a face-off every now and then due to differing perceptions of where the Line of Actual Control lies. We resolve it through existing consultative border mechanisms,” said a senior officer.

As per reports, a platoon-strength contingent of about 50 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside Indian territory in Burthe in the DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15.

Troops from Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), which mans that stretch of the border, have also established a camp approximately 300 metres opposite the location, the sources said.

ITBP has asked for a flag meeting with the Chinese side but there has been no response till now.

The Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army that specializes in mountain warfare, has also moved towards the area where the situation was described as tense.

DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is an historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China. IAF has in recent years activated advanced landing grounds at DBO and two other places in eastern Ladakh as part of the policy to build military infrastructure along the LAC, in a belated move to counter strategic moves by China in the region.

Courtesy: India Times
http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/chinese-troops-set-up-post-10km-inside-ladakh-73150.html

China to provide support in constructing a regional railway hub

By Imaduddin

PESHAWAR: China is to provide all kind of financial and technical support in the construction of a regional railway hub for Pakistan, said Director Pakistan Study Centre Sichuan University Chengdu China Dr Chen Jidong.

Speaking as a key note speaker at the one day seminar on prospects of Pak China Relations at University of Peshawar (UoP), Dr Chen Jidong said the active promotion of construction of the railway project will connect Pakistan with Xinjiang region in China and will enhance the capacity of transportation between two countries not only by land but also add to a new outbound transportation line for western China.

He said that the project is the greatest advantage of Pakistan, and will build trade and transport corridors by connecting South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and Western China owing to the country’s geographical advantages.

Dr Chen said that Pakistan has a railway network not younger than the year 1861, aging by the day and needs arduous upgrading.

Some external powers are creating serious law and order situation in Balochistan, with the evil design to halt the expected development of the area through Gwadar port operations, said the Chinese strategic analyst Prof. Zhon Rong.

He added the taking over of operations of Gwadar Port by a Chinese company in the recent past to go with the railway project, can transform Pakistan into economic giant of the 21st Century. Let me tell the Pakistani people that Gwadar Port is first for the development of Pakistan and then any other country, he added.

Continue reading China to provide support in constructing a regional railway hub

A political economy of communalism in south Asia

Hyderbad: “You Strike & We will Strike back”.

The message of ‘21/2 Hyderabad serial terror attack

By Feroze Mithiborwala

The strategic& political target of the terror attack, is the historic 2-day Strike of the Working classes, where more than 12 core or 120 million workers both from the organized & unorganized sectors participated & brought India to a halt.

This working class strike surmounted all calculations due to the scale at which the enraged working classes participated. This strike has shaken up the corporate-political elite & that is why they have struck back with a serial terror attack, where now more than 15 citizens have died & 50 grievously injured. The terror attack was orchestrated in Dilsukh Nagar, where there is a busy market & many cinema halls.

If the working class unrest takes the proportions which we witness in many nations across the world such as Greece & Spain, the ruling elite will witness a massive crisis, due to the growing burdens of price-rise, decreasing wages, increasing scams, spiraling inflation, the growing insecurity of the peasantry, workers& laboring classes, as well as the ever-widening rich-poor divide.

Continue reading A political economy of communalism in south Asia

No Expectations – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The state simply sees the Baloch aspirations and their demand for rights as an obstacle to their strategic and economic plans

The Supreme Court (SC) hearings on the missing persons in Balochistan are ending inconclusively without having done anything for the majority of the missing or reducing the agony of their relatives. Moreover, it seems that these hearings may become a reason for further aggravating the already bad conditions for the Baloch because the Chief Justice’s statement ‘there is a constitutional breakdown in Balochistan’ has serious implications. It implies that a constitutional breakdown requires special and emergency measures. Already one Baig Raj, president of Punjab Forum, in a national daily demanded that the government give it serious consideration and suggested that the situation in Balochistan be normalised by initiating a massive military operation after imposing governor’s rule. The Baloch are wondering if all these hearings were for laying the groundwork for justifying just this eventuality.

These hearings have been marked by the stubborn adamancy of the Frontier Corps (FC) in rejecting what the SC terms incontrovertible evidence against it. During the last hearing, the SC ordered it to produce the missing persons, but in a written statement, the FC submitted that it had conducted “internal inquiries” and found the group of missing people “was not held in the custody of FC”, adding that in many cases, insurgents dressed in FC uniforms committed “high profile acts of terrorism and heinous crimes…thus bringing (a) bad name to this federal organisation”. Period. End of story. They do not have the missing persons; moreover, imposters dressed in FC uniforms do evil to give the ‘saintly’ FC a bad name. Surprisingly, it also sought police powers to conduct a door-to-door search for the missing as if their vast arbitrary powers were not enough. Resorting to denial helps them because here no authority has the authority to verify and disprove their bogus denials.

Ironically, the FC’s claim that insurgents don their uniforms to kidnap people belies their other claim that insurgents have no influence in Balochistan, amply showing how inefficient the FC and police actually are. These unbelievable childish fairy tales are an insult to human intelligence. Simply put, the army and the FC want to persist with the policy of repression and brutality to subdue the Baloch. It seems that all these claims and disregard of law are aimed at prompting the SC to come up with a verdict about the need to right the situation created by the constitutional breakdown. It needs to be emphasised that as far as the Baloch are concerned, they are being ruled by emergency powers that the army and FC enjoy. The ‘constitutional breakdown’ verdict may just formalise the emergency powers but these will neither bring back the missing persons nor end the frequent sectarian attacks.

Continue reading No Expectations – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Pakistan’s strategic assets at work

Strategic Assets hard at work …

By: Omar

“Taliban militants”, riding a car and three motorbikes, drove up to a hostel where 30 under training policemen were living (this is in Lahore, capital of Punjab), walked in, said the usual Allah O Akbar and started shooting whoever they could. Killed 10 or so, injured a few more. Got on their car and motorbikes and drove away. The chief of police said “its retaliation for NATO supplies”, thus conceding that in his capital city, there are armed men who can get into their cars and come shoot up random poor soldiers and leave anytime they want if they are upset over NATO supplies. Where did they come from? where did they go? Can they be stopped? Apparently we have no idea… other than Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif appealing to the Taliban to please not attack Punjab province because HIS govt doesn’t agree with the “pro-NATO” policies of the federal govt (he actually said this, look it up).’

Meanwhile, in Bajaur, which has been “cleared” of militants several times, the taliban came in their hundreds and took practically a whole village hostage. Pakistan will blame Afghanistan (and by extension, NATO) but who missed the chance to work WITH Nato to fix this problem?

If any ruling elite deserves to be screwed with sharp edged instruments it has to be the Pakistani ruling elite, but its mostly its poor soldiers and poor people who get killed. Which is par for the course in this world, but still painful. I have known a couple of these Pakhtoon soldiers and my father and my uncle have served with many many more and they are just outstanding human beings. They are dirt poor but they are proud and honorable and they are incredibly tough. And they are being sacrificed with abandon while the ruling elite plays its double games with America and dreams of strategic depth and other bullcrap. Its too sad for words.

Continue reading Pakistan’s strategic assets at work

Ashley Tellis: Pakistan’s Impending Defeat in Afghanistan – Rawalpindi refuses to see the writing on the wall.

Pakistan’s Impending Defeat in Afghanistan

By: Ashley J. Tellis

Pakistan’s Enduring Aim

Ever since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan has had one simple strategic goal on its western frontier: ensuring that Afghanistan remains a stable but subordinate entity deferential to Pakistan’s sensitivities on all matters of national security. Such deference was sought for a host of reasons. Islamabad wanted a guarantee that Kabul would not reignite the dispute over the countries’ common border (the Durand Line) and would not seek to mobilize the region’s Pashtun populations in support of either absorption into Afghanistan or the creation of a new nation. The Pakistani leadership also aimed to ensure that Afghanistan would not enter into close geopolitical affiliations with other, more powerful countries, such as the United States or India, in order to increase Kabul’s autonomy from Islamabad.

Amid the chaos that emerged after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan settled on supporting the Afghan Taliban as its strategic instrument for securing Kabul’s compliance with its objectives. Although the Taliban were not always dependable surrogates on these matters, they appeared better than other Afghan rivals, and hence Islamabad—despite its denials—has stuck by them to this day.

Whatever the intended benefits of this strategy, it has alienated both the broader Afghan populace and the government in Kabul, which now views Pakistan as a habitually hostile neighbor. It has also undermined the U.S.-led international stabilization effort in Afghanistan, as well as hopes for a peaceful security transition—not to mention infuriating Washington, which now views Pakistan as a perfidious partner. And it has provoked heightened regional rivalry involving Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Iran, India, the Central Asian republics, and Russia, all of whom are determined to prevent a Pakistani-supported Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Worst of all, Islamabad’s strategy promises to fundamentally undermine Pakistani security. Every one of the three possible outcomes of the Afghan security transition leaves Pakistan in a terrible place.

Destined for Failure

Read more » http://m.ceip.org/publications/?fa=48633

When is the full coup? – by Mazhar Arif

The decision is being seen as the ‘decision by the Punjabi court’. The disqualification was celebrated and sweets were distributed only in Punjab

At last, the judicial coup!

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has finally been toppled. By whom? By the opposition parties with the support of ‘independent’ judiciary or by the ‘Supreme Judicial Party’ with the facilitation of opposition parties which challenged the National Assembly Speaker’s ruling through petitions? This is still under discussion. Some people say the court had the blessing of the army to do the task which the army itself could not do, though it has much experience of the sort, because of perhaps unfavourable strategic and geo-political conditions.

Others, however, are of the opinion that the apex court is a crucial part of the Pakistani establishment, which hardly believes in the supremacy of the parliament, and the verdict is outcome of its own loyalty towards the ideology of the state and the establishment. In this regard, they quote a recent observation made by Mr. Justice Jawad S Khwaja while hearing the contempt of court case against Mr. Gilani. Justice Khwaja remarked: “the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people not the parliament.” This is, however, not clear how the judges are answerable to the people when they are not elected by them. People hardly know how and by whom they are chosen, selected and nominated.

The disqualification of the prime minister by the apex court is under criticism by a part of the lawyers’ community and a section of the media. The Express Tribune in its editorial under the headline “A Judicial Coup?” on June 20 says, “The Supreme Court, in claiming to represent the will of the people, has removed from power the people’s representative saying that he stood disqualified from being a member of parliament and hence the office of the prime minister since April 26 — the day he was found guilty of contempt. Support for the decision may not be unanimous mainly because of recent developments, especially where the Honourable Court was dragged into the Arsalan Iftikhar matter

Continue reading When is the full coup? – by Mazhar Arif

Alarm bells in the U.S.

Alarms are ringing as negative trends come together in a perfect storm. Is the United States sleepwalking into economic and geopolitical decline?

By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor at Large

WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) — Gen. David Richards, the British chief of staff, in the understatement of the week, says the strategic landscape is “worrying” and the outlook “bleak.”

The United States as the world’s strongest geopolitical player has become ungovernable, saddled with a dysfunctional Congress. House and Senate together, with 535 members, maintain 250 committees and subcommittees and micromanage muscular government decisions into unworkable policy directives.

No fewer than 108 committees have oversight jurisdiction on Homeland Security.

The latest book of Edward Luce, the Financial Times’ chief U.S. commentator, and former FT Washington bureau chief (2006-11), is titled, “Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent.”

America, he says, is sleepwalking into economic and geopolitical decline.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2012/05/29/Commentary-Alarm-bells-in-the-US/UPI-42381338299783/#ixzz1wIdSUlVl

Why Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan

By: Nitin Pai

A strong, independent Afghanistan is perceived as an existential threat to Pakistan

Just why is Pakistan interested in installing a friendly regime in Afghanistan? If you read books and articles written over the last couple of decades, you will come across arguments such as the need for “strategic depth” to counter India, to prevent a pro-India regime in Kabul that will result in the Indian encircling of Pakistan and, even more grandly, to create an Islamic centre of power that stretches from the shores of the Arabian Sea to the Caucasus mountains. Going by the statements of members of the Pakistani establishment and some of its commentators, these are indeed the reasons why Pakistan wants to dominate Afghanistan.

Continue reading Why Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan

‘Pakistani’ driving truck bomb arrested in Afghanistan

By: AP

KABUL: Afghanistan’s intelligence agency on Thursday said it had prevented a large terrorist attack in the capital, arresting a Pakistani national driving a truck packed with explosives in Kabul.

The agency said in a statement that the man was arrested Thursday on a major road in the east of the city. It said the man was going to use the truck bomb in a suicide attack.

The agency did not say what the suspected target was. It said it would release more details as they became available.

The arrest comes a day after a suicide attack on the same road killed seven people. In that attack one militant detonated his car bomb outside a compound where foreigners live, while two other attackers fought their way inside before being killed.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

How PM conviction hysteria overshadows real security challenges

Has the threat diminished?

By: Huma Yusuf

POLITICAL hysterics resulting from the prime minister’s conviction and an equivocal Supreme Court sentence are currently overshadowing discussions about Pakistan’s security challenges.

Continue reading How PM conviction hysteria overshadows real security challenges

Why India can’t give up Siachen

By: Vikram Sood

The nation cannot afford to repeat the strategic mistakes of the past — like halting our advance at Uri in 1948 or not capturing Skardu; or giving up Haji Pir in 1966; or returning 93,000 troops and territory in 1972

The strategic advantage accruing to India in Siachen should not be given up for apparent short-term political gains. Giving up Siachen as a gesture of friendship would also mean that its recapture would be extremely expensive to India in men and material, says Vikram Sood.

Continue reading Why India can’t give up Siachen

Persecution – Connivance at a cost

Targeted killings of Shias this time is not business-as-usual. It follows the pattern that is evident countrywide and it is linked to the Taliban finding new havens and areas of control

By Raza Rumi

It seems that Pakistan is heading towards another purge — this time a violent process of cleansing the Shia population. There is a mysterious wave of terrorism that is killing Hazara population on a daily basis in Balochistan, Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan, Kurram Agency and elsewhere.

In the last one-month, dozens of Shias have been targeted and killed as if Pakistan was a medieval land, practicing witch-hunting. The ‘banned’ organisations have taken responsibility for most of the attacks in Balochistan.

The case of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), on the other hand, has faced a virtual media blackout. Not long ago, GB was touted as the fifth province but when it comes to the vital question to protecting its population, the state is miserably failing.

The most gruesome incident took place when 15 passengers of the Shia community were taken off the buses in Chilas, Diamer district, and shot. People from the region say that GB is under attack by the Taliban insurgents from Malakand division and Waziristan. The Darel and Chilas Valleys provide them refuge. The stronghold of Salafis and Wahabis on Pakistan’s Afghan and, consequently, Taliban policy cannot be delinked from the ongoing massacre.

Continue reading Persecution – Connivance at a cost

India’s strategic policy – By Haider Nizamani

Excerpt;

…. In order to have comfortable relations with other countries, it is crucial for the state to have internal legitimacy, and democracy is the best tool with which to foster legitimacy ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

The ‘iron hand’ mentality – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The iron hand mentality has been the bane of the establishment and rulers and it is not something inadvertent, spontaneous or random; it is the natural consequence of the deeply etched religious and racist bias

The Balochistan Cabinet, reports say, in order to maintain the writ of the government, has decided to clamp down on anti-Pakistan elements “with an iron hand”. This ‘earthshaking’ decision implies that previously the Baloch people were being dealt with with velvety hands and utmost compassion. The art of dissembling and deceit should be learnt from this ‘establishment’; they should open another university similar to their ‘strategic depth university’, which teaches the finer points of terrorism in its ‘strategic assets’ department.

Continue reading The ‘iron hand’ mentality – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Zardari, ‘sab par bhari’

By Khaled Ahmed

Excerpts;

President Zardari has survived against all odds and is expected to take the PPP to the end of its tenure in 2013 or earlier if he chooses. In this period, everybody has expressed his dislike of him. He is the wrong man for the party, for the presidency and for the country. He is without principles; will make a deal where he is required to stand up for the country’s honour and protect its ‘ghairat’; he will sell the country to India; he will sell it to the US; and he will sell out to the MQM, which is a terrorist organisation. …..

…. Wikileaks said Zardari was friendly towards the US. India after Mumbai thought Zardari was friendly towards India. Pakistan sensed it and was angry. Why was Zardari happy when the Americans killed Osama in Abbottabad? Why was Zardari trying to subjugate the ISI after Mumbai? He was going against the textbook but the textbook for once was wrong because it was based on the unwisdom of confrontation. Those who oppose him are overcome with dubious passions. Zulfiqar Mirza is his friend but has made a spectacle of himself, scaring his colleagues into running for cover behind Zardari. In the fullness of time Mirza will, equally emotionally, beg for forgiveness. Zardari, ever flexible, will pardon him. Nawaz Sharif couldn’t ever do that.

Zardari wins because he has no principles in a country where principles – strategic depth, two-nation doctrine – are morally dubious and harmful to the state. There is wisdom in survival; there is martyrdom in honour. Zardari chooses survival.

To read complete article : The Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20110923&page=3

Challenges for the new DG ISI – Dr Moeed Pirzada

Did General Pasha and his colleagues ever realise that their mid-20th century organisation, built on ‘paradigms of control and fear’ and buttressed through old fashioned notions of ‘national security’ and ‘patriotism’ needs a strategic rethink to face the challenges of a new interactive age? …

Read more » Daily Times

Chinese bank pulls out of Pakistan-Iran pipeline project

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China won’t help finance the natural gas pipeline to Pakistan, apparently because of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

By Paul Richter and Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington and Islamabad, Pakistan—

China’s largest bank has backed out of a deal to finance a proposed Iran-to-Pakistan gas pipeline that is opposed by the United States, a potential sign of the lengthening reach of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

Pakistani officials confirmed Wednesday that Industrial and Commercial Bank of China had withdrawn from plans to head a consortium that would finance the $1.6-billion Pakistani portion of the cross-border pipeline, apparently over concern that the bank could be excluded from the U.S. economy.

Continue reading Chinese bank pulls out of Pakistan-Iran pipeline project

American strategy in Afpak

About the US soldier going postal in afghanistan…

By Omar Ali

I wrote this comment on the SWJ site and I just thought it would be interesting to see what people here think of the American “strategy” (or lack of one) in Afghanistan.
The killings today, while tragic and awful, are themselves indicative of nothing new beyond one soldier going nuts…could and does happen in most wars and more likely when a war has stretched on for a while and more likely with soldier and locals being different people (not necessarily different nationalities..pakistani soldiers in Bangladesh or even some Indian soldiers in Kashmir could feel equally surrounded by aliens). It will have a huge propaganda effect though. Anyway, my comment is more about the US strategy: what is it? what should it be? What would it be if you were president?

Continue reading American strategy in Afpak

Drones & Ababeels

Declaring sanity

by Nadeem F. Paracha

In March 2010 animated conspiracy theorist, TV personality and poster-boy for stylised sofa-warming-jihad, Zaid Hamid finally met his nemesis at the Peshawar University.

Hamid, who till then, had been enjoying a virtual free run on certain TV channels and on privately-owned campuses, was chased away by large sections of the audience that turned up to listen to him speak at the state-owned Peshawar University.

As Hamid’s speech began being booed at, Hamid made a quick exit from the premises only to face another crowd of students outside who shouted slogans against him, and pelted his car with stones.

Suddenly a man who was lovingly being courted by TV channels and student bodies and administration of private educational institutions, was angrily courted out by the students of a state-owned university.

Continue reading Drones & Ababeels

Time to get rid of ‘strategic depth’ hangover: Khar

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, March 2: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said she hopes for a relationship with Afghanistan based on trust and called for leaving behind the past associated with interference in that country and support for Taliban.

“Recognise what we are doing now without overshadowing it with whatever has been Pakistan’s historical baggage. We are moving out of that hangover,” Ms Khar said at a meeting with a group of journalists at her office a week after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani launched an appeal for all Afghan groups to join an intra-Afghan process for peace and reconciliation. ….

Read more » DAWN

Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

By Praveen Swami

Pakistan’s civilian rulers seem to have averted a possible coup with a little help from inside the army itself.

Eight weeks ago, as rumours of an imminent coup swirled around Islamabad, few seemed to doubt democratic rule in Pakistan would soon be marched before a firing squad.

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States, had been recalled to face charges of conspiring to sack top military officials. There was even talk of a treason trial targeting President Asif Ali Zardari himself — with Mr. Haqqani as the Army’s star witness.

Events since, however, haven’t quite panned out as hardline Pakistani generals might have anticipated: instead of capturing power, the army has found itself in retreat.

Mr. Zardari, Pakistani media have reported, is almost certain to deny the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, an extension to serve until 2013 — a blow directed at Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and a sign of civilian confidence.

In November, Pakistan’s military had shut down the Shamsi airbase, used to stage United States drone attacks against Islamist insurgents: actions intended to distinguish them from political rulers too-willing to please the United States. Last month, though, drone strikes resumed — directed by United States intelligence officers located at the Shahbaz airbase near Abbottabad.

Politicians have become increasingly defiant of ISI authority: even Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who has long shied away from controversy, warned against efforts to run “a state within a state”.

The Generals’ consensus

LONG held together by a Generals’ consensus on the direction Pakistan ought to head in, the army now seems divided as never before. Last month, at a January 13 meeting of the corps commanders conference, where Gen. Kayani briefed generals on the evolving political crisis , he ran into unexpected in-house resistance, leading to a 10-hour debate.

The toughest questioning, a Pakistani government source privy to the discussions told The Hindu, came from Lieutenant-General Tariq Khan — the commander of the Mangla-based 1 corps, and a veteran of counter-insurgency operations who is considered among the most competent of the army’s commanders

Gen. Khan, the source said, made clear the army was unprepared to take power, and demanded to know how the army chief intended to resolve the still-unfolding showdown with the civilian governments. He noted that the army had no coherent plan to address its increasingly-fragile relationship with the United States, too. Backed by other key officers, like Gujaranwala-based XXX corps commander Raheel Sharif, Gen. Khan pushed for the army to pull back from the brink.

Ever since the killing of military ruler Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1998, the corps commanders conference has been a key instrument of what Mr. Haqqani once described as “military rule by other means”. The resistance faced by Gen. Kayani within the institution is, therefore, of great significance.

Ever since he took office, Pakistan’s army chief had worked to rebuild the army’s relationship with the jihadist groups it had patronised for decades. Terrorism in Pakistan, he argued, had come about because the country had become enmeshed in the United States’ war against jihadists in Afghanistan. Building peace, he argued, necessitated reviving this relationship — even at the cost of ties with the United States.

In 2008, Gen. Pasha delivered an off-the-record briefing to journalists, where he described Tehreek-e-Taliban commanders Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Muhammad Fazlullah — responsible for hundreds of killings in Pakistanas “patriots”.

Following the raid that claimed Osama bin Laden last year, Mr. Pasha put the case for an aggressive anti-United States line to Pakistani legislators: “At every difficult moment in our history”, he said “the United States has let us down. This fear that we can’t live without the United States is wrong.

Gen. Kayani’s line, the government’s decision not to allow his spymaster to serve on suggests, no longer represents the army’s institutional consensus.

The path to peace he envisaged involved costs the army isn’t willing to pay.

Political resurgence?

Continue reading Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem

Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem isn’t just the government. It’s the people

By Jonathan Kay

Since the Taliban resurgence began gaining force in 2005, a common refrain in the West has been that Pakistan must “do more” to rein in the jihadis who are drawing support from bases in the borderlands of Balochistan and Waziristan. American officials have made countless visits to Pakistan to deliver variations on this message — with nothing to show for it.

Earlier this year, the BBC disclosed a secret NATO report, based on 27,000 interrogations with captured Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees, concluding that jihadis operating in Afghanistan continue to receive support and instruction from Pakistani military handlers. One interrogated al-Qaeda detainee quoted in the report declared: “Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can’t [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching.”

The usual Sunday-Morning-talk-show explanation for this is that Pakistan is hedging its strategic bets: Pakistani military leaders doubt the United States military can tame Afghanistan before American combat forces’ scheduled exit in 2013. And rather than see the country degenerate into absolute chaos (as occurred in the early 1990s, in the wake of the Soviet departure), Pakistani military leaders want to be in position to turn Afghanistan into a semi-orderly Pashtun-dominated client state that provides Islamabad with “strategic depth” against India. And the only way for them to do this is to co-opt the Taliban.

Continue reading Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem

Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks

By Najam Sethi

The Pakistan army’s vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years.

On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.

On the other, it reflects poorly on the ability and willingness of the army’s leadership to understand the far-reaching nature of this change and adapt to it seamlessly.

Pakistan’s future as a viable nation-state now depends on how the generals read the writing on the wall and quickly come to terms with it. Here is a checklist of recent failures that have downgraded the Pak army’s rating with Pakistanis.

(1) The army’s policy of nurturing anti- Americanism in Pakistan for leveraging its strategic relationship with the US has backfired and left it stranded in no-man’s land. It can’t let go of the US privately for purposes of economic rent and military aid extraction but it can’t embrace it publicly because of the rampant ‘Ghairat’ brigade of extremist Islamic nationalists that it has brainwashed.

(2) The army’s policy of nurturing the Afghan Taliban in private while appeasing the Pakistan Taliban in public has also backfired.

The Afghan Taliban are now negotiating directly with America while the Pakistan Taliban are waging an ‘existential’ war against the Pak army and civil society. PAK army’s relationship with the government, opposition, and media is at an all-time low.

The government has meekly folded before the army on every issue; but the army’s arrogant, intrusive and relentlessly anti government propaganda and behaviour is deeply resented.

The media is also wiser and critical about its manipulation by the army and ISI viz its Drone policy, the Raymond Davis affair and Memogate.

Question marks remain over its incompetence or complicity in the OBL affair, especially following recent revelations by former DG-ISI Ziauddin Butt that General Pervez Musharraf ‘hid’ Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, followed by running threats to a clutch of independent journalists, is laid at the ISI’s door.

The ease with which terrorists have breached military security, as in the attacks on GHQ, ISI offices, military Messes, Mehran Naval Base, etc also rankle deeply.

Finally, the media is now speaking up and asking disturbing questions about the role of MI in the disappearances and torture of Baloch activists. Consequently, the media is loath to blindly follow the army’s ‘line’ on any issue any more. The PMLN, meanwhile, has gone the whole hog, openly demanding that the intrusion of the military in politics must be curtailed and the army’s overweening power cut to size.

If its ratings are falling, the army’s ability to manipulate politics to its ends is also diminishing. In the old days, the army chief was the most powerful member of the ruling troika that included the president and prime minister. Now the office of the president has lost its clout and there are two new and powerful contenders for say.

The first is the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry that has unprecedentedly pushed politicians into a corner for corrupt practices and the military on the defensive for being unaccountable (the Mehrangate affair of 1990, disappearances and murder of Baloch and Taliban extremists in captivity).

The second is the electronic media that is reaching tens of millions of Pakistanis and courageously raising their consciousness. Neither will countenance any direct or indirect military intervention in politics. Recently, in a bid to salvage some wounded pride, the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that defense expenditure is a mere 18 per cent of the budget and not over 50 per cent as alleged by critics like Maulana Fazlur Rahman. But the truth is that defense expenditure is about 25 per cent of the budget after hidden ‘defense’ items in government expenditures like the military’s salaries and pensions, special project allocations, etc are unveiled and supplementary grants in any budgetary year are accounted for.

More to the point, it is about 50 per cent of all tax revenues in any year, which puts a big burden on the fiscal deficit. Gen Kayani also insists that the army is not involved in quelling unrest in Balochistan. But the fact remains that the Rangers and Frontier Corps who are in charge of ‘law and order’ in the province are directly commanded by army officers who report to GHQ even though they are formally under the interior ministry.

Continue reading Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks