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14 July 2012

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zanzibar

"Moving billions of dollars worth of U.S. equipment out of Afghanistan through 700 miles of Pakistan to Karachi will now be far too dangerous. The northern route through former Soviet republics and Russia to Baltic and German ports is safer -- and costlier." de Borchgrave

It would be well worth heeding this advise. Additionally, it seems accelerating our withdrawal from Afghanistan makes a lot of sense.

Reading de Borchgrave's article it looks like Pakistan is in for some significant turmoil. I wonder if people like Hafiz Saeed, gain more political prominence, the probability of military conflict with India would increase. When I was recently in India the local media headlines were all about the extradition from Saudi Arabia of one of the organizers of the Mumbai terrorist attack who claimed ISI personnel were in the control room during the attack.

Other than terrorist attacks what could Sami ul-Haq and Hafiz Saeed accomplish to wreak vengeance on the US? How would our political leadership respond other than to bomb to rubble? What happens when US money dries up - would the Saudi's pick up the slack?

FB Ali

"...the Pakistanis, in a phony burst of wounded pride salved, allowed truck convoys to inch forward..."

De Borchgrave, unfortunately, dumbs down the issue to the usual level of public discourse in the US. His piece is short on analysis and long on emotive description.

“Wounded pride” had little to do with it, though the anti-US feelings he refers to (which also pervade the military) affect all dealings with the US. The Salala incident precipitated the crisis in US-Pakistan relations that had been building for some time. On the Pakistani side, its main causes were anger and anxiety at US attempts to cut Pakistan out of the Afghan endgame, and delays in the coalition support funding being provided by the US.

In resolving this crisis the Pakistani establishment (both the military and politicians) had to appear “tough”, but really needed some satisfaction on these underlying issues. The resumption of funding has been announced; it is being said that some assurances have also been given on the issue of including Pakistan in the negotiations to end the Afghan war.

jonst

This crowd in DC (both Parties)listen? They listen to their social media advisers,their marketing people, and their pollsters. That's it. They are all wise enough without advice from 'experts', thank you very much. Oh, and they listen to their ghost writers extol their virtues. I'm sure I've left some group out...but I trust you get the picture I'm trying to paint?

jonst

There is ALWAYS some crisis ongoing in Pakistan....and why not? It always leads to some pay on our part to assuage their injured pride. And many times their "injured pride" is real...as a result of some action of ours. Don't get me wrong. But it is always the same....some pay off that only encourages the next incident.

My lament has been the same since 2002....get out of the entire area, and buddy up to India. Big time...whatever India wants, give it to them.

FB Ali

Zanzibar,

Historically, the Islamist parties have done badly in elections. I doubt if they'll fare any better in the next one (due within about 8 months). Their religious platforms don't provide them with much political traction, while all parties espouse the anti-US rhetoric to varying degrees.

My opinion is that the government will not allow these Islamists to disrupt the supply (and exit) route unless there is another Salala type incident, or some other rift with the US.

YT

Je suis d'accord, monsieur.

turcopolier

jonst

I agree. We should leave the area. Now we have HC in Cairo to make the kowtow to Mursi and to threaten the generals. Dealing with us for the locals is like dealing with a very large 14 year old who has little common sense.pl

turcopolier

FB Ali

I seem to recall that you recently wrote here that the Pakistan government is not charging a tariff on US forces bound vehicles crossing their border with Afghanistan. The author of this article says that Pakistan is charging a toll of 300-500 dollars a vehicle and not allowing the shipment of ammunition. pl

J

Colonel,

Check out the beauty contained in the court dancing scene of the 2006 Hindi movie Kisna Chilman Ki Utegi. Sigh, such beauty dancing......ahhh.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vzpybm04po

bth

FB Ali in reading the article which references the various disgusting speakers at the rally, this one stood out.
Hafiz Saeed, chief of the banned Jamaat Ud Dawa, the most-wanted terrorist planner for the 2008 Mumbai massacre (209 killed and 700 injured), was the star attraction. He lived up to his billing with an outburst berating the government for "giving in to the American diktat" and pledged to take the fight against "U.S. hegemony to the finish."

The question I have is there any indication that Pakistan's government will bring this man to justice with regard to Mumbai?

I note with some interest OBL and Omar had spoken in 2001 at Sami ul-Haq's university who was one of the other speakers at this rally.

FB Ali

Yes, I had read that in a report. This one is probably more accurate. The new conditions imposed by Pakistan include the use of the route only for the transport of 'non-lethal' shipments. Presumably, they will continue to wink at overflights with such equipment (which apparently continued during the route closure).

This toll is not the only charge involved. I believe the US pays some security companies a fairly hefty amount to 'protect' the shipments. They, in turn, ensure 'security' by paying off the Taliban and sundry other organized predators. Some time ago there was a report in the papers that the Taliban were quite upset at the prolongation of the route shutdown as it was badly denting their income.

I believe the same thing happens in Afghanistan. I recall reading that the Afghan Defence Minister's son owns the security company which the US pays in Afghanistan. (Defence Minister Wardak is a US favourite).

Babak Makkinejad

Indians will take you for a ride and laugh at you all the way.

Just look at how they shafted Enron.

And the sabotage of the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal.

turcopolier

FB Ali

This post is not about American/Afghan graft in the context of the Afghan kleptocracy. pl

jonst

Shafting Enron only increases my admiration of them. Anyway....I will go for the "ride" with India...and we'll see who has the last laugh. India might be malicious, Pakistan is pathological, and hopeless.

FB Ali

bth,

I have seen no indication of Hafiz Saeed being held accountable for Mumbai. (He probably knows where many skeletons are buried).

mbrenner

The United States has only one interest of major consequence in Pakistan: to minimize the chances of political stabilization of a kind and of a magnitude that could compromise the security of their nuclear weapons. Everything that we have done, and are doing, works in direct contradiction of that objective.

As to Afghanistan, the official (opaque) Washington Line is that our aim is a stable, pro-American regime. That is puerile nonsense. The best we can hope for is the avoidance of an implosion - either while we are leaving or immediately afterwards. We should be trying to get the Pakistanis help in facilitating that task and to discourage them from thinking in terms of themselves exercising a controlling influence (something they seem to have cast aside.

In short, our goal there is to restore the country to as close an approximation to 1970 as current circumstances permit Then forget about it and concentrate on what really counts and the dramatic revisions in the American foreign policy mindset which is the sine qua non for exercising a constructive influence in the world - for ourselves and others..
mbrenner

Babak Makkinejad

You wrote:

"..to restore the country to as close an approximation to 1970 as current circumstances permit.."

That is not possible - at any price.

FB Ali

The US does not, per se, have a "policy" for either Pakistan or Afghanistan. Its dealings with them are part of its wider policy to achieve a position of dominance in the region, including Central Asia.

For the US, both countries are merely a means to a bigger end. Thus it tends to deal with them on a purely pragmatic basis to serve its own purposes. It does not have any "aims" with respect to the fate of either country, nor does it really matter to it what that fate is, except in the larger context in which it is operating.

zanzibar

FB

What role do Sami ul-Haq and Hafiz Saeed play in Pakistani politics? It seems that both the political and military establishment find them useful to some degree as they are accorded some deference considering their role in jihadi activities.

It also seems that the Pakistani electorate is a lot more sophisticated as they don't readily fall for the religious platforms of the Islamist parties. Or does it have to do with the organizational scale of the establishment parties who also make both religious and jingoist appeals?

zanzibar

"Indians will take you for a ride and laugh at you all the way." - Babak

This has not been my experience. And I have been investing in India for nearly 2 decades. In private and public companies, start-up companies and commercial real estate projects. There are many honorable business people in India who have to cope with an extremely corrupt political system. But which political system is not corrupt these days?

It is of course easy to make sweeping generalizations based on some headlines. There are many nuances to the Dhabol power project deal and Enron did not have clean hands either.

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