US has often indulged in a diatribe against her trusted ally Pakistan, in the war of terror. Repeatedly, it has accused Pakistan of playing a double game, maneuvering, going behind USA’s back to serve her interests, etcetra etcetra etcetra. The recent has been the most hard hitting of all, Mullen accusing Haqqani of being a veritable arm of ISI and being responsible for not only the attack on US Embassy in Kabul but also the murder of Rabbani. While leveling such accusation, US, however, conveniently tends to forget, on some tangents, interests of Pakistan & US may diverge in the interest of national security. It expects Pakistan to risk her national security at the expense of US’s!
SECURING AMERICA AT PAKISTAN’S EXPENSE
by Yasmeen Ali
USA has often indulged in a diatribe against her trusted ally Pakistan, in the war of terror. Repeatedly, USA has accused Pakistan of playing a double game, maneuvering, going behind USA’s back to serve her interests, etcetra etcetra etcetra.
The recent has been the most hard hitting of all, Mullen accusing Haqqani of being a veritable arm of ISI and being responsible for not only the attack on US Embassy in Kabul but also the murder of Rabbani. USA conveniently tends to forget, on some tangents, interests of Pakistan & USA may diverge in the interest of national security. USA has expected Pakistan to risk her national security at the expense of USA’s. Pakistan has done this repeatedly. Allowing drone attacks, causing the deaths of thousands of innocent lives, according to Economic Times suffered a loss of $68 US billion dollars since becoming an ally to US in “War of Terror”, in return getting 15 to 17 US billion dollars including reimbursements of 8.2 billion dollars through the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). This amount is not assistance but a payback of monies incurred according to the Economic Survey 2010-11. However, in all this period of being allies against “War on Terror”, not once, do I recall, USA endangering her national security, her economy, for Pakistan. Kindly correct me if I am wrong. As for suspicious activities, USA herself is guilty of many acts. Only one I quote here, as it is recent. In the Urdu paper “Express News” owned by the Express Group (http://www.express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspxnewsID=1101343116&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20111001), an under construction warehouse in Sector I/9/3 Islamabad, owned by US Embassy was sealed by CDA. The reason stated is suspicious activities of some foreigners in the stated place and discrepancy in the papers of the property.
However, in this article I want to share thoughts on the possible” motive” aspect of USA’s stance.
There are many theories and reasons being given. Let us explore them one by one.
The first theory is that USA has always wanted to get to Pakistan’s nukes. World renowned writer for the region, Eric Margolis wrote to me, ”Charges by Washington that Pakistan’s intelligence agency was behind anti-US attacks in Afghanistan do not make sense to me-as a long time observer of the region. More likely, the accusations may herald US Social Forces attack inside Pakistan-and attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear installations. Frustrated by it’s losing war in Afghanistan, the Obama Admin. is lashing out in revenge, on it’s old ally Pakistan”.
The point here I find surprising and must question; is USA leadership so immature to be given to childish reactions as stated by Eric? If this is a reaction, it spells disaster for world peace. As a super power, the ONLY super power after the fall of the USSR, USA’s statements and actions must be tempered by rationalization, not emotions.
Though this assessment may be possible, there are others that hold greater force.
The second theory is that with a weakening economy, America wants to use it’s military industry to bolster her flagging economy. This may be partially true. Just as USA and India’s interests converging on this issue to make Pakistan take a back seat in future power dispensation in Afghanistan and bring forth India with a stronger role in Afghanistan, completely ignoring Pakistan’s legitimate fears of India’s greater involvement in Afghanistan. Karzai’s visit to India to cement relationship to counter ”cross border terrorism” from Pakistan is a strategic shift in USA’s policy regarding this region. Let us not insult intelligence by trying to pretend Karzai capable of the move without USA’s blessings. However, both are means to an end, not the end itself! A friend of mine wrote,”Not a day passes by without US sabre-rattling and military leaks to media groups recalling past instances of Pakistani double-crossing while appearing to cooperate with the US in combating terror. For instance, The New York Times reported overnight of a brazen attack in May 2007 by Pakistani forces on US military officers and Afghan officials following a dispute mediation effort in which Pakistanis were themselves participants.
Geostrategist and columnist C Raja Mohan, for instance, notes that:
“Since the mid 1950s, one of India’s biggest national security challenges has been the US alliance with Pakistan. It now appears that the breakdown of that alliance might have even bigger consequences for India”.
The third theory, which I think makes tremendous sense, is spelled out by Tom Englehart in his article,”Details of Secret Pact Emerge: Troops stuck in Afghanistan till 2024″ carried by Alternet on August 23rd, 2011.http://www.alternet.org/story/152146/details_of_secret_pact_emerge%3A_troops_stuck_in_afghanistan_until_2024?akid=7466.141763.9Xs_BN&rd=1&t=12
Englehart quotes Ben Farmer of British Telegraph that Obama Administration is negotiating a “pact” with the Afghan government, to leave American “trainers”, thousands of them, as well as Special Operation Forces,and the US Air Forces settled in Afghanistan Air Bases that Pentagon has built-till 2024.
With USA fighting a war Obama promised in his election campaign to reverse, and bring the boys home. A promise that was not only never kept but things have gone from bad to worse with the escalating war and it’s cascading effect. With elections in USA racing towards timeline, Democrats need to reason why they failed to deliver on the most important promise. Replacing Al-Qaeda with Haqqanis, involvement and complicity of ISI with the Haqqanis is the card to be played.
The only way out of this quagmire of accusations, counter accusations, lies and deceit is an early withdrawal of American and NATO forces from Afghanistan and an end to this war. Saner heads in Washington must rule and drive home the point, the problem is the occupying forces, not Pakistan.
The writer is a lawyer & University Professor based in Lahore. She can be reached at email@example.com)
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