Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Pakistan Troubles

The distraction in Iraq has allowed the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation to seriously deteriorate.

Now the Pakistanis have effectively decided to deny the US permission to enter their country without risking a serious diplomatic incident because of our past interventions.

U.S. raids have embarrassed and angered Pakistan's military, and stirred widespread public outcry. The reported comments by Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas underlined the tensions.

"The orders are clear," Abbas was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "In case [US troops cross the Pakistan border] happens again in this form, that there is very significant detection, where it is very definite, no ambiguity across the board, on the ground or in the air: open fire."...

Privately, Pakistani analysts said they did not expect Pakistani troops to shoot at U.S. forces, with whom they have been closely -- if uneasily -- allied against Islamist extremists since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Moreover, Pakistan's military has received roughly $6 billion in U.S. aid during that time...

[The recent cross-border incursion by US forces] has brought into focus the conflicting agendas and mutual frustrations that have plagued the U.S.-Pakistan military partnership since inception.

Concern also has intensified in Washington and other capitals over whether Pakistan, a nuclear power that is experiencing increasing violence by Islamist extremists, will remain a firm ally under the civilian leadership that this year replaced longtime military ruler Pervez Musharraf...

"Every country has certain red lines. The army wants to have good relations with the U.S., but it cannot tolerate operations on its turf," said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general, speaking from Islamabad. "These American operations have caused a lot of collateral damage. . . . Some Pakistanis think the Americans may want to stabilize Afghanistan at the cost of destabilizing Pakistan." |Mullen Visits Pakistan as U.S. Raids Stir Tensions - WaPo|


Last January I blogged about Barnett Rubin's evaluation of Bush's mishandling of Pakistan, I'll just quote a snippet:

[R]ecent events demonstrate even more clearly is that the Bush administration's policy of relying on a personal relationship with a megalomaniac manipulator like Musharraf to fight al-Qaida has strengthened that organization immeasurably and perhaps fatally damaged the U.S.'s ability to form the coalition it needs to isolate and destroy that organization. |Link|


Now Musharrag is gone and we've very little pull in Pakistan.

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