September 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
The current war of words between the U.S. and Pakistani governments is just the latest installment of the soap opera that is U.S.-Pakistani relations. The pattern is typical, predictable, and actually quite stable: the U.S. makes demands on Pakistan; Pakistan rebuffs the demand; the U.S. responds with “evidence” of Pakistani complicity in fomenting terror (usually in Afghanistan but also in India); Pakistan negotiates on the initial demand, giving in to some of what the U.S. wants but still rejecting some part of the demand.
So too is the case with the latest “revelation” last week by Admiral Mike Mullen and other U.S. officials that the Pakistani government is actively sponsoring terror in Afghanistan via the Haqqani clan. According to this formulation, the Haqqani network is a state asset that is activated by the ISI in order to maintain leverage against Afghanistan and, by extension, the United States. That is seemingly explosive stuff, but predictably, as early as the next day, we were seeing statements by U.S. and Pakistani officials that they were still interested in “working with each other.” And today, we see that the U.S. State Department spokesperson has stated that “State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said that the US government was committed to its relationship with Pakistan and wants to work constructively with Pakistan on the Haqqani Network.” Ah yes, “work constructively” – that lovely phrase that hides the ugliness of just how much pressure is applied to other countries in order to coerce them to do the bidding of the U.S.
On the same day, Republican Senator Mark Kirk did his part to play the role of bad cop by stating that the U.S. government should “cut military assistance to Pakistan in the light of the allegations made by the US administration and military about Pakistan having links with the Haqqani network.” We have lost count of the number of times that Some Important Person or the other has called for cuts to U.S. aid to Pakistan in the last couple of years. It’s amusing to note that despite such threats and protests, the aid continues to flow, mostly in very generous proportions (Pakistan still remains the second largest recipient of U.S. aid, after Israel). Maybe, just maybe, there’s something in it for the Americans?
All of this is certainly not to minimize the sheer venality and, frankly, stupidity of the Pakistan establishment, in its attempt to manipulate various domestic and foreign actors and try to maintain leverage against the U.S. The Army, the ISI, Zardari and the other civilian politicians – they would sell their own mothers down the river before they would do what’s right for the Pakistani people. And sadly it’s the Pakistani people who continue to pay the price of this absurd but very costly soap opera.
August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Another day, another drone strike:
A US drone attack has killed at least 21 militants in north-western Pakistan, local intelligence officials said. The drone fired two missiles, destroying a vehicle and a compound near Miranshah town in North Waziristan tribal district, on the Afghan border. The dead militants include some foreigners and are believed to be part of the Haqqani network, officials say… “The dead included local Taliban as well as some Arabs and Uzbek nationals,” news agency Reuters quoted an unnamed intelligence official in North Waziristan as saying.
The Obama administration has stepped up the rate of drone strikes considerably. As the article notes, just last month, drones killed more than 30 people within 24 hours in North Waziristan. And of course, the dead are always, by definition, “militants.” Who needs to check, right?
October 13, 2009 § 5 Comments
Below is the text of the talk given by APP member Adaner Usmani, on October 7th, 2009 (at the event advertised in the previous post). Audio of the full discussion, including a very helpful Q & A session, is available here.
Because I only have a few minutes to speak on the issues I’ve been assigned, I want to start by saying that I won’t be able to represent to you all of the complexities that characterize the situation in Pakistan–and specifically in the NW. What I want to do, though, is to begin from what I think are the simple, and in some sense most important points that the anti-war movement must be prepared to assert–and then start to outline some of the more specific issues.
July 29, 2009 § 4 Comments
Turn on captions to see English subtitles
June 16, 2009 § 11 Comments
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May 13, 2009 § 2 Comments
After the recent scrapping of the “peace deal” in Malakand, the Pakistani military launched a massive offensive in order to clear Swat, Dir, and Buner of the Taliban. As a direct result, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee the war zones (with independent reports also indicating that many thousands are still trapped in the areas under bombardment).
All this has triggered serious, protracted debate over the legitimacy of the war. Below is an email written by an APP member to the People’s Resistance listserv, a Karachi-based group that led civil society efforts during the lawyers’ movement. It comes in response to emails sent by the war’s reluctant advocates, who argue that the antiwar argument is “impractical,” as the State must today choose between (1) peace deals that embolden the forces of reaction, and (2) a war that might well claim the lives of thousands of civilians.
dear a—–, f—–, others,
different people have been having this back-and-forth for months and months now, so i don’t want to simply repeat what’s already been said enough. but i understand that you two, in particular, are asking for direct, constructive answers, so let me do my best.
i apologize for the length. as you will see if you reach the end, i got a bit carried away.
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