28 November 2011

BUB: Pakistan

So Pakistan - described by The Atlantic as The Ally From Hell - is claiming that NATO troops ignored its pleas during the cross-border attack that killed 24 people.

The NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers lasted almost two hours and continued even after Pakistani commanders had pleaded with coalition forces to stop, the army claimed Monday in charges that could further inflame anger in Pakistan.

Somehow, there's a limit to how bad I can feel about this, given that Pakistan has been ignoring pleas - and outright countering attempts - to close their border to tribal fighters hiding behind and arbitrary line on the map. At some point, when you've got the Pakistani ISI shutting down peace talks because "their" Taliban aren't invited, you start worrying less and less about how "allied" the guys across the wire are.

All this is coming on the heels of a "Memogate" scandal that revealed some interesting Pakistani splits in policy.

Publication of a secret memo asking Washington for help reining in the Pakistani military further ignited a scandal Friday threatening Pakistan's U.S. ambassador and exposing the rift between its shaky government and the country's powerful generals.
The ambassador, Husain Haqqani, has denied having anything to do with a memo delivered to the U.S. military chief asking for help with the military because of the domestic turmoil triggered by the U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden.
The "memogate" scandal is adding to pressures on the already deeply unpopular government. Some analysts have speculated that President Asif Ali Zardari himself could be in danger if charges that he signed off on the memo gain traction.
"The target is not me, the target is President Zardari and Pakistani democracy," Haqqani said.
Though Pakistan has a civilian president, the military retains vast political and economic power. It has ruled Pakistan, directly or indirectly, for most of its six-decade existence, and fiercely resisted attempts by civilian leaders to curb its role.
Haqqani is alleged to have written a memo to Adm. Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer at the time, asking for his assistance in installing a "new security team" in Islamabad that would be friendly to Washington.

... and resulted in the naming of a new envoy to the US.

Pakistan appointed a democracy activist who has faced militant death threats as its new ambassador to the United States on Wednesday, moving quickly to replace the old envoy who resigned after upsetting the country's powerful military in a scandal dubbed "memo-gate."
Sherry Rehman will likely be well-received in Washington, though she will have a tough task representing Pakistan amid widespread suspicion in the U.S. that nuclear-armed Pakistan is not a sincere ally in the fight against Islamist extremists.
"We all have to forge a progressive, dynamic Pakistan out of the ashes that are often left to us by the fire of terrorism, by the fire of extremism," Rehman said during a speech Wednesday.
The 50-year-old former information minister is an important and respected player in Pakistan's ruling party and a vocal proponent of civilian supremacy in the country. She resigned her post in March 2009 amid controversy over whether President Asif Ali Zardari had ordered cable operators to block a private TV channel that had been critical of him — an allegation he denied.

However, any wedges in Pakistani political life are likely going to get papered over in the unanimous shouting down of NATO over the shooting.

Now Pakistan is saying they're going to "permanently" close their borders to NATO.

The announcement came as the Pakistan army claimed the attack lasted almost two hours and continued even after commanders at the bases pleaded with coalition forces to stop.
Closing the crossings will choke off almost half of all supplies destined for the Nato-led force — including British troops.
Accounts still differ about what happened in the early hours of Saturday when American aircraft attacked two border posts inside Pakistan.
But the fallout is clear: a deep diplomatic crisis threatening co-operation against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.
Pakistan immediately shut its borders to convoys taking fuel and supplies to forces in Afghanistan and says it is reviewing all military and diplomatic ties with the US and Nato.

The excellent Defence and Freedom has a thought-provoking on "A minor border incident", but one that fails in it's comparison because there are several significant parallels unaccounted for - such as the supposed-allied-yet-double-dealing nature of one of the main actors.

By: Brant

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if we nuke the shit out of pakistan, how long before the rest of the world really cared?

Mike P