WikiLeaks aftermath

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Shuja Nawaz
    The Boston Globe

    WikiLeaks aftermath

    By Shuja Nawaz
    August 6, 2010

    IN STAND-UP comedy and politics, timing is critical. There was nothing “funny ha-ha’’ about the recent leak of US documents about the Afghanistan war implicating Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence agency. But there was plenty of what the British call “funny peculiar’’ for sure.

    The leaks followed a period of growing confidence of the ISI and Pakistan in their quest to work with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to rebuild relationships marked by severe historical distrust. How Afghanistan and Pakistan overcome the challenge posed by intelligence reports linking the ISI to hostile events in Afghanistan will determine Pakistan’s relations in the neighborhood and with the United States, as well as the trajectory of US withdrawal from the region. President Karzai’s press conference following the leak indicates that some damage has been done already to the nascent Pakistan-Afghan entente.

    Until the leaks, recent high-level exchanges between Afghanistan and Pakistan resulted in a renewed commitment to security collaboration and trade relations, with a transit trade agreement signed under the watchful eye of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There was also the firing of two key members of the Afghan security establishment, who were seen as anti-Pakistan: interior minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and head of the National Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh.

    Many analysts saw Karzai playing the Pakistan card in the face of a sudden US withdrawal. Pakistan saw this as an opportunity to reassert its comparative strength as a neighbor of Afghanistan, tying the two countries closer together for the first time in their fractious 62-year shared history and independent states. It also saw itself displacing India inside Afghanistan as a key ally.

    Pakistan sees a pro-Pashtun stance as most useful and convenient in this strategy. After all, it has more Pashtuns than Afghanistan inside its own borders. But in doing so it risks alienating the non-Pashtuns as it did during and after the Soviet occupation. It also risks fueling internal ethnic division that will only lead to instability in Afghanistan. An unstable Afghanistan always has a contagion effect on neighboring Pakistan.

    Now the flood of material unleashed by WikiLeaks has fed Pakistan’s insecurities and Afghanistan’s fears about the sanctuary available to the Taliban in Pakistan’s border regions. Pakistan is a country that has been stung so many times by bad relationships that historian Ayesha Jalal recently called it “paranoidistan.’’

    Many in Pakistan suspect the recent leaks are a conspiracy to damage its budding relationship with Afghanistan and established aid links to the United States. It will take many a cool head in its civil and military hierarchy to ride out the storm that is building over the leaked information linking the ISI and retired ISI chief Lieutenant General Hamid Gul to the Taliban, which Pakistan is meant to be fighting on behalf of the United States.

    The ISI has gone through many different purges in the past, but somehow the system fails to remove all the vestiges of the period when the agency held the lead position in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and had unfettered access to resources and power. Its senior ranks are routinely rotated. But field work may well be the weak spot when contractors are brought back to operate in border regions areas, such as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas abutting Afghanistan, where you need connections, memory, and experience.

    Adding to the difficulty of severing those ties is the possibility that Pakistan continues to hedge in favor of Pashtun groups that it knows well against the possibility that the United States will depart sooner than expected from the region. Pakistan wants to ensure that it has a friendly group in power in Kabul. In recent weeks, it seemed it had plumped for President Hamid Karzai and he for Pakistan.

    If they can ride out the storm unleashed by WikiLeaks, a stable relationship may emerge. If not, the final battle for Afghanistan may have begun sooner than expected, thanks to WikiLeaks.

    Shuja Nawaz is Director of the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council and author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within’’ and “Pakistan in the Danger Zone: A Tenuous US-Pakistan Relationship.’’

    Wilileaks Aftermath

    Can Pakistan ride the storm?

    How will it affect the US strategy in Afghanistan?

    How will it affect the US strategy with Pakistan?

    Will these leaks shake Pakistan into controlling the terrorism exported by Pakistan to its neighbourhood? It maybe noted that Pakistan is trying to move the 26/11 case by wanting the Indian Police testifying in their court.

    Will the clout of the ISI diminish?
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Pakistan: Are we facing a flood of Jihadists?

    One afternoon, in the aftermath of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, I was sitting in the lounge room of my house in the North West Frontier Province. I shared it with half a dozen Pakistani friends. After a perfunctory knock on the front door, the room was suddenly filled with four well dressed Americans, identifying themselves as 'from the embassy" and smilingly asking us about 'the terrain'. What did we know, who did we know, and how did we know it? The female American showed particular interest in me - the lone westerner seemingly out of place in a house full of Pakistanis. She asked me about 'activities' I had witnessed. After distributing their name cards and entreaties to call if we had any interesting information ("anything at all"), they piled into their SUV and were gone.

    We concluded, of course, they were CIA. The earthquake had created open routes in and out of Kashmir and previously off-limits areas, and thousands of people were daily trekking in and out, over rubble and ruins and suffering. It seemed that not only aid workers but those in the battle for hearts and minds were swarming in and assessing the lie of the land.

    Late one afternoon in Kashmir, we clambered up a hill to visit a make shift radio station. In a flimsy one-person tent a bloke transmitted religious sermons and songs and barked out a bit of ideology. We had tea. My local colleagues cracked up laughing when he asked me to teach him interviewing skills. "He's Taliban," they said as we slid down the hill in the dark.

    Poor old Pakistan is again in torment. Floods have destroyed the homes, livelihoods and health of millions of its most vulnerable citizens. The majority of Pakistanis are helpless in the face of their self absorbed and corrupt government, an army and secret service that have their own agenda, and their country's western allies who can be ham fisted in their attempts to negotiate the landscape of South Asian politics and culture, and are often thwarted by the treachery of the government they are trying to assist.

    There is now great concern about jihadi groups moving in to fill in humanitarian holes left by apathetic countries unwilling to stump up dollars and resources for flood aid. They will take over the hearts and minds, goes the reasoning, as their hand out medication and clean water. This may be a good fear tactic to motivate the tardy, but the Taliban, it's splinter groups and unrelated Islamist groups have been active throughout Pakistan for decades, and the flood while giving them an opportunity to assist their fellow citizens (instead of just brow beating them) is not actually creating jihad groups.

    The hard line Islamist groups were some of the most efficient during the 2005/2006 earthquake crisis. All over north Pakistan, camps and workers funded by jihadi organisations provided shelter, food and health care. It was not unusual to hear loud speakers blasting out anti-western rhetoric in the crisis areas urging people to refuse "western aid". But in reality, the UN co operated with many of those groups, who were far more efficient than the hide bound UN, which fussed over distribution lists and created complicated vehicle rosters. In an interview with Australian TV, UNICEF's chief of mission at the time said he wasn't aware that that such groups were 'political' while at the same time UNICEF HQ was voicing concern about madrassa schools popping up everywhere.

    The International Crisis Group analysed the situation in 2006 and reported the same issues that are causing deep concern now.

    Jihadi groups are moving into the flood areas with a ruthless efficiency, providing basic needs for the population. Is this new? No. Is it cause for concern? Absolutely. But it is neither a flood nor an earthquake that is giving the groups opportunities for their own brand of psy-ops. The problem is far greater than that, and right in front of our noses, all of the time. Until Pakistan's government destroys the treachery within its own ranks, delivers on its endless broken promises to its allies and makes educating and feeding its citizens as a priority, the ruthlessly efficient ideologues will continue to recruiting successfully, come hell or high water.

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