Policy on Pak terror craven and confused

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    THERE SEEM to be some early signs of winds of change in Washington DC but maybe this is only early spring, and the breeze could be blown away after the US and Pakistan discuss joint strategies. Earlier this month, Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation in Washington said in an essay, “ Seeking to negotiate with the Taliban leadership ( primarily based in Pakistan) before U. S. and NATO forces gain the upper hand on the battlefield in Afghanistan would be a tactical and strategic blunder with potential serious negative consequences for U. S. national security.” This makes eminent sense because, as I have been saying all along, a state cannot negotiate with terrorists unless it has substantially defeated/ exhausted them; otherwise it is appeasement. She concludes her essay with the equally sane advice that “ U. S. over- anxiousness to negotiate with the senior Taliban leadership in Pakistan would likely undermine efforts to coax local fighters into the political mainstream, thus jeopardizing General McChrystal's counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan and prolonging instability throughout the region.”
    In his testimony to the US Congress on March 12, Ashley Tellis from the Carnegie Endowment for Peace made the following accurate observations:

    The Lashkar- e- Tayyeba ( LeT) is— with the exception of al- Qaeda— arguably the most important terrorist group operating from South Asia and was the mastermind of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. It remains the spearhead of the Pakistani military’s campaign against India.

    LeT remains primarily Pakistani in its composition, uses Pakistani territory as its main base of operation, and continues to be supported extensively by the Pakistani state, especially the Army and Inter- Services Intelligence ( ISI).

    LeT’s capability to conduct terrorism multi- nationally has increased: it does not need constant operational support from the ISI to be effective.

    LeT’s ambitions extend beyond India.

    The organisation’s close ties with al- Qaeda in Pakistan and its support for the Afghan Taliban’s military operations pose a direct threat to U. S. citizens, soldiers, and interests.

    Tellis’ recommendations to US policy makers are forthright. He urges that the US should be candid and stop pretending that LeT is an independent actor. A recognition that the organisation receives protection and support from Pakistan would go a long way towards solving the problem. Tellis also stressed the need for a greater India- US intelligence co- operation and joint counter terrorist operations.

    Finally, and this is the most important recommendation, the US should be prepared to take action if Pakistan is unable or unwilling. “ If Pakistan cannot or will not take decisive action against LeT, then the United States and its allies should be prepared to act in its place. Doing so may be increasingly necessary not simply to prevent a future Indo- Pakistani crisis, but more importantly to protect the United States, its citizens, its interests, and its allies,” says Tellis.
    All of us should read these two reports as they state what the US interests would be and if the US were to adopt the policies recommended, India would be the gainer. So would Pakistan, but its ruling elite is so caught up in its anti- Indian- ness which secures its continuance that it will not see the rationality of these arguments.
    Then we had US Congressman Gary Ackerman go even further when he said “ Public estimates suggest LeT operates some 2,000 offices in towns and villages throughout Pakistan, as well as maintaining ties with the Pakistani military. There is, in fact, no reason to doubt that Pakistan’s military is likely paying compensation to families of terrorists killed in the Mumbai attacks.” In what was widely reported in the Indian media Ackerman went on to say, “ LeT has been attacking US forces in Afghanistan almost from day one and their forces are present throughout Afghanistan. LeT has been slaughtering Indians by the score for decades. LeT has put the world on notice that they intend to escalate the carnage and spread it world- wide.”


    It is after many years that so many have spoken so strongly about developments that reflect our worries. There is greater interest in terrorist organisations like the LeT because they are now perceived as threatening US interests globally. However, the advice is that US interests should be protected and advanced. There is a danger of exulting in national self- congratulation as if the battle has been won. In the David Headley case, for instance, we will get precious little despite all the optimistic dossier talk in New Delhi. US attitude towards Pakistan is not going to change and we have to understand that these are the rules of the game. Nevertheless, it is in our interest to now press home the advantage with those opinion makers who see the dangers that lie ahead for US interests and to ensure that this trend in American thinking is not lost in the mist of Foggy Bottom. No one else is going to defend our interests unless we learn to seriously protect and enhance them ourselves.

    On the other hand, we seem to consider magnanimity as a policy option. Each time we do an Agra, Havana, Sharm el Sheikh or New Delhi, the Pakistanis presume we are caving in and simply get more adventurous and truculent. Besides it does not suit Pakistan to make peace with India at this point in time because doing so would mean that the Pakistan armed forces and intelligence would have to get more committed in Obama’s war in Afghanistan. All indications are that Pakistan is preparing the ground to raise the temperature across LOC as we hear of increased violations and encounters.

    The rest of India would remain a soft target and the periodic terror alerts that one hears are serious business.


    Pakistan has suddenly begun to use the water issue to whip emotions in Pakistan.
    There are two reasons for this. Pakistan is going to face a huge water deficit this summer, with its own domestic consequences, at a time when there is already unhappiness inside the Punjab as terror related violence continues. It would be difficult for any administration to use a Punjabi force against its own Punjabis without having a revolt on its hands. The steady outpouring of Rehman- speak in the past few months which blames India for all that is going wrong inside Pakistan is part of a fairly useful and successful exercise of make belief.

    Yet one of our foremost political analysts has recommended at this juncture, a day after we heard fulminations from Syed Salahuddin, that we should exhibit largeness of heart, grand strategy and breadth of vision by inviting Gen Kayani to India and give him comfort about India’s policy in Afghanistan. Never mind the thousands of Indians killed by terrorists trained, indoctrinated and equipped in Pakistan. We are a big country and can take these losses or an inert sponge that will continue to absorb because Indian lives are cheap, so runs this argument.
    The logic of this grand gesture is not understood. For decades we have been arguing that the LeT is a regional menace and is fast becoming a global menace, we have repeatedly argued that Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism. just when the world begins to accept this as the reality along comes this strange suggestion to extend hospitality to the person whose military doctrine is based on unmitigated hostility towards India.

    Thinking out of the box is fashionable but what is this one? Is this breadth of vision, height of folly or preemptive capitulation?

  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Brothers and arms

    In evaluating Pakistan’s relations with its major benefactors, we tend to consider only the United States and China and normally overlook Saudi Arabia’s role. The kingdom provides ideological succour and, nowadays, Wahhabi sustenance and financial support exert influence on Pakistan’s domestic politics. There has to be some mutuality of interests in this bilateral with Pakistan playing on the kingdom’s insecurities in relation to Iran and Israel, its own domestic dissidence and its vulnerabilities as an oil rich country in a turbulent neighbourhood.
    While the rest of the world talks of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the issue of Saudi-Pakistan nuclear tie-ups never got proven but never quite disappeared. Suspicions remain, especially because Pakistan, a Sunni country, sold nuclear secrets to Shia Iran with whom its relations were never on the same plane as with Saudi Arabia. Logically, Saudi Arabia should have been Pakistan’s market of first choice and gratitude. Although concrete evidence on Saudi intentions to acquire nuclear weapons’ capabilities is not there, the story continues to attract international commentary.
    The ‘father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb’ Abdul Qadeer Khan was back in the news when we heard earlier this month that the Pakistan government had sought permission to ‘investigate’ his clandestine nuclear bazaar. It made sense to announce it on the eve of the visit of a high-powered Pakistani delegation to the US where they planned to seek (and in fact did so) a civilian nuclear deal (CNE) of the India-US kind. Pakistan could not be seen to be seeking CNE while one of its national heroes remained an unpunished clandestine peddler of nuclear weapons secrets to an unrepentant Iran.
    However, Khan’s travel itinerary during his days as the merchant of Armageddon was very instructive. In the ten years till his network was ‘discovered’ in 2004, Khan visited Dubai more than 40 times, apart from visiting 18 other countries. Among the destinations were Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and, probably, most often Saudi Arabia. The role Saudi Arabia paid in the development of the Pakistani bomb in the 1970s is well known. A grateful Zulfiqar Bhutto renamed Lyallpur, Pakistan’s third-largest city, as Faisalabad to acknowledge the Saudi monarch’s generosity.
    The Saudis had established a nuclear research centre in al-Sulayyil, south of Riyadh, in 1975. By the mid-1980s, they were providing financial assistance to Saddam Hussein’s nuclear projects and offered funds to rebuild the Osirak reactor after the Israelis had destroyed it in June 1981. Saudi scientists were being trained in Baghdad. Apparently, the agreement between King Fahd and Saddam was that some of the bombs would be transferred to Saudi Arabia. But this agreement broke down after Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. It also seems that the Americans were aware of this transaction at some level. By 1986, the Saudis had also acquired 36 CSS-2 intermediate range ballistic missiles from China. It was presumed at that time that these were for delivery of nuclear weapons.
    In 1994, a Saudi UN diplomat, Muhammed al Khilewi, was defected with about 10,000 documents among which were some that showed linkages between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and a pact had been signed by the two countries that in case of a nuclear attack on Saudi Arabia, Pakistan would retaliate against the aggressor. It was during the 1990s that the Saudis began to provide financial assistance to Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programme when North Korean missiles were traded with the financial backing from Saudi Arabia. The Saudis also came to Pakistan’s rescue after the 1998 nuclear tests when they provided Pakistan with 50,000 barrels of oil per day free, to overcome the effect of sanctions.
    In May 1999, Saudi deputy premier Prince Sultan bin Abdel al-Aziz, on a visit to Pakistan, was shown the Kahuta uranium enrichment plant — a privilege that was not granted by Pakistan’s military to their Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto some years earlier. A.Q. Khan had briefed the visiting Saudi minister. Prince Sultan also visited the Ghauri missile factory. Later in the year, during his visit to Saudi Arabia, Khan discussed possibilities of cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear energy in agriculture and genetic engineering.
    The withdrawal of the US forces from Saudi Arabia, for relocation in Qatar, in August 2003, led the Saudis to seek to strengthen their strategic relations with Pakistan and welcome Pakistani troops in replacement. There was probably a strategic review by the Saudis, which examined the need to acquire nuclear capability as a deterrent and forge an alliance with an existing nuclear power that would offer protection. This was denied officially in September. But there were also reports that the Saudis were considering replacing their outmoded CSS-2 with the nuclear-capable 500 km range CSS-5 missile in an oil-for-missile deal with China.
    In October 2003, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz led a huge delegation to Pakistan. At the end of the visit, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said in a press conference that India-Israel defence cooperation would inflame the region, escalate the arms race and trigger instability. It was clearly left unsaid that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were going to react to this ‘threat’. A few years later, German magazine Cicero in its April 2006 edition alleged that Pakistan had been collaborating with Saudi Arabia for several years to build a “secret nuclear programme”. Citing western experts, the report stated that Pakistani scientists had travelled to Saudi Arabia for the last three years, disguised as Haj pilgrims and then disappear for weeks to work on this programme. Further, that the al-Sulayyil missile base was being upgraded and that there was a “secret underground city” with silos to house Ghauri missiles.
    According to assessments in 2008 and 2009, Saudi Arabia, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is unlikely to move towards open nuclearisation for the fear of international reactions. But, at the same time, should Iran go nuclear, Saudi Arabia may do likewise. Meanwhile, Pakistan would remain the main proliferator in a non-proliferation era.
    A great deal will depend on how the US reacts to these developments. Adverse US reaction against a Saudi nuclearisation, following an Iranian nuclearisation, is not a given. Pakistan, as a cash-strapped country, could sell its lethal goods to an insecure regime and acquire nuclear depth.
    Vikram Sood is former Secretary, Research & Analysis Wing.
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Indian-American group asks US to declare Pak a terrorist state

    Arguing that Islamabad is using terrorism as a tool for its foreign policy, especially against India, an Indian-American group asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday to declare Pakistan as a terrorist State and seize all its nuclear weapons.

    "Instead of penalizing Pakistan for its support to the notorious terrorists and spreading global terrorism, US, unfortunately, is rewarding this country with the deadly weapons and billions of dollars of hard cash," Narayan Kataria, head of New York-based Indian American Intellectual Forum, said in a letter to Clinton.

    Similar letters have also been written to several influential lawmakers.

    "We should recognize in unambiguous terms that Pakistan is the root cause of terror and instability in that region. In order to win the war in Afghanistan it is essential that American war strategy should be focused on Pakistan. In the next 18 months, American troops will be leaving Af-Pak region," Kataria said.

    The letter said, Indian American Intellectual Forum believe that it is inappropriate for the US to prop up Pakistan and balance its strategic partnership with India by selling deadly F-16 to Pakistan Air Force together with other advanced weapons and avionics for air-to-air combat that appear to us unnecessary for counter-insurgency operations in mountainous area against Taliban.

    "This is being done in spite of the admission by General (Pervez) Musharraf that Pakistan is modifying the arms, which are meant to fight the terrorists, for use against India," the letter said.

    "Intelligence inputs received by Indian officials indicate that Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba has acquired as many as 50 para-gliding equipments from China for the potential use to launch suicide attacks in India. This, obviously, could not be accomplished without Pakistan's active connivance, complicity and tactical support," it said.

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