Tag Archive | "Pakhtunkhwa"

Preparing the American Invasion of Pakistan

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Gareth Porter has an interesting article detailing the CIA’s own misgivings about the drone program in Pakistan. He reports [emphasis mine]:

“Some of the CIA operators are concerned that, because of its blowback effect, it is doing more harm than good,” said Jeffrey Addicott, former legal adviser to U.S. Special Forces and director of the Centre for Terrorism Law at St Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, in an interview with IPS. [...]

Because the drone strikes kill innocent civilians and bystanders along with leaders from far away, they “infuriate the Muslim male”, said Addicott, thus making them more willing to join the movement. The men in Pakistan’s tribal region “view Americans as cowards and weasels”, he added. [...]

The complaints by CIA operatives about the drone strikes’ blowback effect reported by Addicott are identical to warnings by military and intelligence officials reported in April 2009 by Jonathan Landay of McClatchy newspapers. Landay quoted an intelligence official with deep involvement in both Afghanistan and Pakistan as saying al Qaeda and the Taliban had used the strikes in propaganda to “portray Americans as cowards who are afraid to face their enemies and risk death“.

It’s easy to see this as only the ten thousandth reason why the drone strikes are a terrible idea, but the CIA’s complaints here could actually hint at something even more dangerous. The Taliban and Al-Qa’eda recruit heavily from propaganda about American cowardice, that’s the blowback. The CIA is not questioning fundamental assumptions about the War on Terror, like whether or not extra-judicial executions of suspected criminals is actually a real solution, rather than an escalation of senseless political violence. No, let’s be very clear about what the CIA complaint is: we’re far away, and that’s bad. There’s more: Continue Reading

Posted in Anti-war

US-Pakistan negotiations leave out Pakistani people

On Monday, we discussed some of the recent negotiations happening in Afghanistan between President Karzai and representatives of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-i-Islami militia. But these aren’t the only negotiations on the AfPak war taking place this week. In Washington, Pakistan and the US are meeting for a strategic dialogue. NPR reports:

Senior U.S. and Pakistani officials meet Thursday in Washington for the second round of a so-called strategic dialogue aimed at a better long-term relationship.

Few people expected any big breakthroughs in the first round of talks between the two sides Wednesday. The nations’ complicated relationship has been marked by a deep sense of mutual distrust for many years. Still, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is hosting the two-day event, said some headway was made — especially on security.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi is meeting with Secretary Clinton, but he’s not the one really leading the Pakistani delegation. Sue Pleming tells us who is:

Pakistan’s foreign minister heads his country’s delegation to Washington this week for high-level talks, but there was no mistaking who was the star at a reception at the Pakistani Embassy on Tuesday night: Army General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Guests crowded around Kayani at the annual Pakistani National Day party at the embassy, posing for photos and jostling for the military leader’s ear. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, also drew those eager for photographic souvenirs of the occasion, but not such a feeding frenzy as that around Kayani.

U.S. senators and Obama administration officials lined up to speak to the slim and dapper general, who Pakistani media say rules the roost back home but is also central to U.S. relations with Islamabad.

Our elected representatives are swooning over the Chief of the Pakistani Army, who supposedly “rules the roost back home.” Great, another US-backed military dictator in Pakistan. What about the civilian leaders though, didn’t Pakistan just have an election in 2008? Our last pet general in Islamabad, Pervez Musharraf, was forced to resign and the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) were swept into power by popular vote. The PPP and PML-N formed a coalition government, with Yosaf Gillani as Prime Minister and Asif Ali Zardari as President. What happened to those guys? Continue Reading

Posted in News


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