People burn the U.S. flag, calling for a ‘holy war’ against America, after

Washington offered a $10 million for the capture of Hafiz Muhammed

Saeed, a leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group responsible for the 2008

attacks on Mumbai, Apr. 6.



Pakistan and America: Preparing for a Timely ‘Divorce’ (Le Monde, France)


"The reordering of Pakistani diplomacy, which has decided to free itself from the American embrace in order to seek new partners, will alter the regional landscape. The seeds for a new geopolitical map of South Asia are being planted; one that is more diverse and complex, and probably more unpredictable."


By Frédéric Bobin


Translated By Jill Naeem


April 29, 2012


France – Le Monde – Original Article (French)

A little girl at a protest staged near the former hideout of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad holds a sign opposing drone attacks: Is there any hope of another U.S.-Pakistan reconciliation?  

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Pakistan's former ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, insists military didn't hide Osama bin Laden, May 2, 00:01:10RealVideo

Don’t be afraid of the word “divorce.” The union between Pakistan and the United States took place. The two countries, allies in the “war against terror” throughout the post-9/11 decade, are rewriting their agreements after “annus horribilis” (2011), during which the spiral of strife seemed endless. The newly-emerging relationship is not necessarily antagonistic. But it is no longer an alliance - that special friendship that led the U.S. to marry their security interests. Indeed, cooperation in the fight against al-Qaeda was profound, with Pakistan forces arresting dozens of the organization’s leaders who failed to seek sanctuary with the Afghan Taliban.


The current repositioning is important, because Pakistan is playing a key role in the Afghan theater - just as much in the dynamics of war as in the scenario for future peace. And also because the reordering of Pakistani diplomacy, which has decided to free itself from the American embrace in order to seek new partners, will alter the regional landscape. The seeds for a new geopolitical map of South Asia are being planted; one that is more diverse and complex, and probably more unpredictable. 


So - a horrible year. It started badly and ended worse. On January 27, 2011, CIA agent Raymond Davis, on the pretext of self- defense, shot two Pakistani civilians on the streets of Lahore. The case was never adequately explained. But it created the first jolt to the relationship between Washington and Islamabad. Nationalist and Islamist circles in Pakistan found this it be ample material to denounce the growing presence of the CIA on national soil - especially near the Pashtun tribal areas in the northwest, where the Afghan insurgents have established safe havens.



Pak Tribune, Pakistan: Raymond Davis and the American 'Indo-Zionists'
The Daily Jang: 'Frozen Mindsets' in the U.S. and Pakistan

Dawn, Pakistan: Pakistan Report - '851 U.S. Officials' Enjoy Immunity

The Frontier Post, Pakistan: If Davis is Freed, Islamabad Will Not Be Forgiven

Guardian, U.K.: Raymond Davis: This CIA Operative is No Diplomat

The Daily Jang: Ruling Party Spokeswoman Says Davis Enjoys Immunity

Frontier Post: Pakistan Courts Must Prosecute U.S. 'Killer' Raymond Davis

The Nation: Pakistan Should Prosecute Davis; 'Welcome' Cut in U.S. Ties

The Nation: Iran 'Sets Example' By Prosecuting Americans


The dust from this first incident had yet to settle before a new storm broke. In the inky night of May 1 and 2, a raid by U.S. Special Forces liquidated Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Abbottabad, a Pakistan garrison town north of the capital, Islamabad. The divergence of reaction triggered by this event in each country served as a caricature of the strategic misunderstanding on which their so-called alliance would stumble from then on; the unspoken had become brutally clear.


The mere fact that bin Laden had been able to take refuge in the shadow of Pakistani barracks confirmed America’s worst suspicions. Wasn’t this evidence of the lack of credibility on the part of the Pakistan Army’s secret services, already regularly blamed for the double game they play with jihadist groups (Taliban or others) to serve the geopolitical interests of Islamabad in regional theaters, (Indian Kashmir, Afghanistan)? In Pakistan, where a collective denial of such duplicity has always prevailed, the Abbottabad raid was denounced as an unacceptable “violation of national sovereignty.”


Asia Times, Hong Kong: Obama 'Puts the Heat' on Pakistan

Telegraph, U.K.: Osama bin Laden hiding place visited by Taliban
Global Times, China: Western Criticism of Pakistan is Wrongheaded and Unfair
La Jornada, Mexico: Afghan Official Asserts: 'Osama Blew Himself Up'
Tehran Times, Iraq: West Uses bin Laden's Death to Distract from Bahrain Atrocities
Diario Decuyo, Argentina: Bin Laden's Death is a 'Call to Arms' for the World's Clergy
El Pais, Spain: After bin Laden: West Must Reflect on Methods of Self-Defense
News, Switzerland: The Pope and the Terrorist: Two Misguided Beatifications
Tagesspiegel, Germany: Osama Photo Issue - Obama's Morally Superior to Bush
The Nation, Pakistan: Afghan Official Asserts: 'Osama Blew Himself Up'
Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Finally, It's Beginning of the End for al-Qaeda
Al-Seyassah, Kuwait: Osama Now Being Licked by the 'Hottest Flames in Hell'
DNA, France: Osama's Photo: 'The Impossible Truth'
Der Spiegel, Germany: Donald Trump and the 2012 'Campaign of Lunacy'
Excelsior, Mexico: Obama Quiets 'Right-Wing Witch Hunters' ... for Now
Izvestia, Russia: Osama bin Laden: From Abbottabad to Hollywood
Frontier Post, Pakistan: U.S. Raid Exposes Pakistan's 'Unnerving Vulnerability'
Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia: Osama Died, But those Who Gain from Terror War Live
Dar al-Hayat, Saudi Arabia: Osama and His Whole Way of Thinking - are Dead
Daily Jang, Pakistan: Operation Against Osama Spells Trouble for Pakistan
Kayhan, Islamic Republic of Iran: Obama Seeks to 'Vindicate Bush'
Outlook Afghanistan: U.S. Must Pursue Mullah Omar as it did bin Laden
Pak Tribune, Pakistan: Senators Call U.S. Operation a Breach of Sovereignty
Frontier Post, Pakistan: Osama Episode Puts Safety of Nuke Assets in Peril


The crisis was then out in the open. On September 22, Mike Mullen, the-then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, added salt to the Pakistani wound by making a very serious allegation. He asserted that the “Haqqani Network” - an Afghan insurgent group operating in Afghanistan from its safe haven in Pakistan’s North Waziristan - acted on some circumstances acted as a “veritable arm” of Inter-Services Intelligence, (the ISI) – secret service of the Pakistani army. The “Haqqani Network” was carrying out attacks against American interests in Afghanistan, meaning Admiral Mullen’s outburst implied that the ISI was in fact at war against the United States. And indeed, it was a battle at Salala on November 26, 2011, on the increasingly volatile Afghan-Pakistani border, that pitted the two armies against one another. On that day, fighting claimed the lives of 24 Pakistani soldiers. It was the final blow to the post-September 11 alliance. “For us the reaction was, ‘Enough is enough.’” says Fazal-Ur-Rahman, a researcher at the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies.




The Nation, Pakistan: Apologies Won't 'Wash Away' NATO's Crimes in Pakistan
The Nation, Pakistan: Cost of Friendship with America is Far Too High

Frontier Post, Pakistan: Pakistanis Pleased with U.S. Base Eviction, NATO Cutoff

The Nation, Pakistan: America Must Admit to Guilt in Afghan Border Post Killings

The Frontier Post, Pakistan: U.S. Gives 'Original Sinner' India a Nuclear Free Ride



From the Davis affair to the incident at Salala, victimization has given way to retaliation - and with disastrous consequences. Pakistan expelled American military advisors on counterinsurgency, prohibited American access to the Shamsi Air Base (Baloutchistan), which was a launching pad for a good number of drones, and more importantly, it blocked supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan that crossed Pakistani soil. For its part, Washington suspended nearly $800 million of financial aid to the Pakistani army. This sealed the split.


Now what? “The deterioration of the relationship is deep-rooted and lasting,” emphasized a European diplomat. In Pakistan, it is time for introspection regarding the reality of strategic convergence between the two countries beyond tactical accommodations. Pakistanis are very bitter about the way their country has always been used by Washington as part of its great planetary game, but without any actual sensitivity to Islamabad’s interests, particularly its angst against its rival, India.


Having faithfully served the United States during the Cold War, Pakistan believes quite frankly, that its loyalty has not been reciprocated. In Islamabad, they found it hard to put up with the American desire to handle India with such consideration, despite its pro-Russian leaning at the time. In the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian War in the heart of the Himalayas, won by Beijing, Washington then ostensibly drew even closer to New Delhi and granted it military aid to stem Mao’s China. And whenever war broke out between India and Pakistan (1965 and 1971), the Americans refused to take sides, going as far as to suspend deliveries of weapons to Islamabad. In the late 1970s, Pakistan’s nuclear program again poisoned relations and triggered U.S. sanctions.


But this drift away from Pakistan was suspended twice after major geopolitical events rehabilitated Pakistan in the eyes of the Americans, promoting it to “a frontline state.” The first was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979.


Forget concerns over a nuclear-armed Pakistan! American President Ronald Reagan renewed military aid to Islamabad - and it became massive - because the priority was to use Pakistani safe havens to bloody the Red Army in Afghanistan. Ten years later, the departure of Russian troops from Kabul signaled the end of the romance. Pakistan lost its strategic appeal to Washington, which imposed new sanctions, justified by the sudden rediscovery of its nuclear program. In Islamabad, the public was in shock.


The first ten year cycle was identical to that following the terrorist attacks of September 11. This time, Pakistan became a “frontline state” against al-Qaeda. George W. Bush wiped the slate clean over the nuclear disagreement and asked his counterpart, General President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, to make Pakistan available to NATO in the interest of eradicating jihadist centers in Afghanistan and along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Rewarded generously with aid, the Pakistanis pretended to go along. In reality, they continued to covertly support the Afghan Taliban insurgency, seen through their eyes as useful “fighters by proxy,” battling the return of Indian influence in Afghanistan. The strategic divergence with Washington became obvious: India - not Jihadism - is the main enemy of the Pakistan Army, the repository of real power to Islamabad. It is this fundamental contradiction, hidden under tactical arrangements for so long, which has just come suddenly to light. 


The heartbreak of annus horribilis 2011 should now come to an end. “The crisis has hit bottom, it cannot go any lower” explains Abdullah Khan, director of the Conflict Monitor Center. In Islamabad, the hour has come to overhaul the bilateral relationship. “We must review the terms of engagement,” explains Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director of the Center for Research and Security Studies. “They will no longer be dictated to by the United States.” On April 12, following months of lengthy debate, the Pakistan Parliament adopted a resolution establishing a framework for normalizing diplomatic relations. The government has said it will use this as a starting point, but so far has taken no action.


The parliamentary text opens the way for a lifting of the blockade on NATO, decided in the aftermath of the cross-border incident at Salala (November 26). Parliament members have just one condition: neither weapons nor ammunition should be included in NATO supplies in transit to Afghanistan (which was already the case before the blockade). The situation remains volatile as Islamist groups have already warned that they would physically oppose any re-opening of the supply route, irrespective of the nature of the goods conveyed. Another parliamentary demand is that the U.S. ceases drone attacks on safe havens in the tribal areas. This is a more delicate question, the Americans having no intention of abandoning the policy. This particular arm-wrestling match is destined to continue. 


But how long can Pakistan stand up to Washington in this way? How much room to maneuver does it really have? While its economy is a disaster, can it afford the luxury of shunning American assistance - civilian and military - valued by Washington on average at $2 billion per year in the decade between 2001 and 2011?  In fact, Pakistanis reject these figures, arguing that much of the funding has never been disbursed. “American aid to Pakistan is a myth,” stressed Fazul-ur-Rahman.



Be that as it may, the Americans weigh heavily on the Pakistani economy, not least through their links with the International Monetary Fund, from which Islamabad is desperately seeking loans. So it is therefore imperative for Pakistan to talk itself up when courting new partners. The Europeans - particularly the French with their friendly Gaullist tradition - have suddenly become interesting [to Islamabad]. Less politically correct, Iran (for its gas) is also much solicited by Islamabad. “Today Iran is a real temptation for Pakistan,” summarized one European diplomat. The relationship between the two states was once very tense, as militant Shiism exported from Tehran after the 1979 Khomeini revolution met with a violent reaction by Sunni extremists in Pakistan. But mistrust has dissipated over recent years.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


Less controversially, China is emphatically presented in Islamabad as a valuable alternative that could soften the blow of the crisis with the United States. Finally, and this takes the cake, the Indian “enemy” is now viewed with less hostility. Never, until recent weeks, has there been a question of lifting trade restrictions between the two neighbors – up until now straight jacketed for strategic reasons. But the paradox is only superficial. “Pakistan cannot fight on two fronts at once,” decodes the European diplomat. If the western border with Afghanistan is ablaze, the eastern border with India must be calm. No question about it, the end of Pakistan’s U.S. alliance is reshuffling the cards. Little by little, a new regional order is taking shape. 




opinions powered by
blog comments powered by Disqus



























































[Posted by Worldmeets.US May 4, 5:36pm]




Bookmark and Share