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08 February 2011

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FB Ali

Zanzibar,

I was quoting the speculation in the Pakistani media. The destabilization (of the country, not the government) theme is related to the presumed US desire to ‘grab’ Pakistan’s nukes.

There is a widespread belief in Pakistan that there are numerous US agents (American and local) roaming around the country up to all sorts of nefarious business. There is some basis for this. It is possible that the tough stand taken by the military is meant to send a signal to the USA to stop this (quite apart from the issue of whether the men killed were connected to the ISI or not).

It is significant that the military is being so hard-nosed. They obviously believe that they are in a stronger position than the US, i.e, that it needs them more than they need it. It will be interesting to see who blinks first.

If the US does, the issue may well be settled through a prisoner exchange: Davis for Dr Aafia Siddiqui (the young Pakistani neuroscientist sentenced by a US court in 2010 to 86 years in prison for the attempted murder of her US interrogators in Afghanistan; see Wikipedia). This would do much to blunt the anger that Davis’s repatriation would cause in Pakistan.

Davis’s case is another demonstration of the limits of US power in the world today.

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