[Dehai-WN] Opendemocracy.net: The United States and Pakistan - beyond the verbal division

[Dehai-WN] Opendemocracy.net: The United States and Pakistan - beyond the verbal division

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Wed, 5 Oct 2011 14:39:00 +0200

The United States and Pakistan - beyond the verbal division

 <http://www.opendemocracy.net/author/humayun-saleem> Humayun Saleem, 5
October 2011


The United States and Pakistan engage in a war of words. Iraq to strengthen
air sovereignty with the acquisition of 18 F-16 jets. Protests continue in
Andra Pradesh as demands increase for Telangana state. Unguarded weapons
depots in Libya cause concerns. Anwar al-Awlaki is killed, but his legacy
remains. All this in today's briefing.

About the author

Humayun Saleem graduated with an MSc in Global Politics from the London
School of Economics and Political Science. His work focuses on South Asia,
East Asia and South East Asia.

The United States and Pakistan - beyond the verbal dimension

Over the last two months the relationship between the United States and its
nuclear armed South Asian partner, Pakistan, have supposedly deteriorated
against the background of Pakistan's alleged support of the Haqqani network,
which was held responsible for a series of attacks on the American embassy
in Kabul, a CIA compound, and more recently the assassination of
/index.html?hpt=hp_t2> Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul. These incidents led to
a verbal war of words between top US officials such as the retired Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
<http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/28/us/mullen-pakistan/index.html> Admiral
Michael Mullen and Pakistan's military and political leadership. Admiral
Mullen has publically called the Haqqani network a
<http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/28/us/mullen-pakistan/index.html> 'veritable
arm' of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Pakistan's
highest-ranking man in uniform, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has
-as-baseless/> rejected the claims made by Mullen suggesting that they are
'unfortunate' and 'not based on facts'.

The verbal assault by American officials has since been toned down. At the
end of last week, Pentagon officials suggested to the Washington Post that
the language used by Admiral Mullen and his attitude towards the ISI had
ies.html> 'overstated'. The anonymous Pentagon official also underlined that
intelligence showed little link between ISI and the Haqqani's. But this is
not to say that the ISI has never supported the Haqqani network, or that
there is no contact between the two. The ISI, along with the CIA probably do
maintain contact with the Haqqani network for strategic reasons. In fact,
the founder of the network, <http://www.economist.com/node/21531042>
Jalaluddin Haqqani, a successful guerilla commander, has in the past been
commended by the Americans for services to the CIA-backed mujahedeen
campaigns against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Today, the same group of men
are fighting the US and as far as their followers are concerned, they are
stopping America from occupying Afghanistan.

openSecurity verdict: Following the high tension verbal discourse, the US
> sent its special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, to a
tour of numerous Gulf and Asian countries. The series of visits is
officially designated to brief political leaders of the respective countries
ahead of major conferences on Afghanistan and its future. But it seems that
part of Grossman's job will be to clarify Admiral Mullen's remarks about
Pakistan's links to the Haqqanis and engage in damage control, given that
the official White House line on this issue
<http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/28/us/mullen-pakistan/index.html> differs
rather profoundly from Mullen's remarks.

Whilst the US may be growing increasingly frustrated over continued attacks
in Kabul, the rumors of a great rift between the two allies are overstated.
What is behind the aggressive rhetoric is a carefully planned and
multi-faceted relationship between the US and Pakistan. Even if the ISI has
some form of contact with the Haqqani network, they are also the very agency
that made it possible to facilitate a
<http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2011/10/02/169802.html> secret meeting
between the Americans and a Haqqani elder. The US wants Pakistan to be part
of the process which sees the likes of the Taliban and Haqqanis being
isolated so that they will come to the negotiating table to find a political
settlement, which President Obama has highlighted as one of his key aims.
The diplomatic spat over the last few weeks does not affect the overall
relations between Pakistan and the US. If anything, it shows a growing US
frustration over failures on part of the Pakistani authorities to act on
available intelligence information and prevent
<http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2011/10/02/169802.html> potential
terrorist attacks. For now it seems the US will continue to push Pakistan
towards bringing rogue groups to the table. This is the only way the US will
be able to actually pull troops out of the region as planned.

Iraq to strengthen its Air Force with 18 F-16s

Iraq has begun to modernize its air force by making an initial payment to
<http://australianaviation.com.au/2011/09/iraq-orders-18-f-16s/> Lockheed
Martin for the acquisition of 18 F-16C fighter jets. The sale is valued at
illion-each/> $3 billion total. This is welcome news for the country's air
force which seeks to
tml> rebuild its capability and allow the country to
<http://www.f-16.net/news_article4436.html> safeguard its air space. The
sale comprises the first batch of fighter jets for Iraq, as it
16s.html> plans to purchase a total of
tml> 36 aircraft pending US approval. Against the background of US plans to
withdraw the rest of its 45,000 troops from Iraq by December, this sale
comes at a time when the US requires Iraq to handle its own security,
especially given the growing domestic opposition against the US engagement
in Iraq. The sale is also likely to act as a counter to Iranian power in the
region, with Iraq acting as a long term partner for the (currently unlikely)
scenario of a US conflict with Iran.

Protestors demonstrating for a new state in the Telangana region cause

In Andra Pradesh, southern India, nearly
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15121119> 800,000 individuals
ranging from government employees to students are protesting for a separate
Telangana state comprising the 10 districts of Andra Pradesh, including the
state capital, Hyderabad. The violent civil unrest has resulted in
s/Article1-752946.aspx> severe disruptions of traffic, and even the closure
of offices, schools and education institutions. On Sunday, an 18 year old
f-ablaze-for-Telangana-cause/articleshow/10213123.cms> burned herself to
death for the cause, and on the same day a public transport employee hung
himself. The crisis in Telangana not only presents a serious security
concern, but also a challenge to the Congress led government. Andra Pradesh
is currently controlled by the Congress party, and regional politicians
affiliated with the party have made it clear that if voters' demands are not
met, they will have to resign. This has led to extensive consultations with
senior party officials over the issue, including Sonia Gandhi and Pranab

Unguarded arms depot in Libya increases concerns about the proliferation of

Near the Sirte-Waddan road an unguarded weapons depot has been discovered.
The depot <http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20111003_7583.php> contains guided
missiles, rockets, artillery shells and small arms. While the depot is
currently being used by opposition forces and contractors, basically anyone
who can transport them away has access to the arms. The real worry here is
likely to be about weapons being smuggled into conflict ridden zones, or
falling into the hands of terrorists. The US has started to work in close
cooperation with Libya's National Transitional Council and plans to spend
nearly $10 million to aid the interim leadership in
pons-stockpiles-20110927> destroying shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles,
which in particular pose a significant threat to civil aviation. However,
protecting weapons supplies is likely to be a difficult job given that no
force exists in official capacity to do this. One key area of contention is
the argument over rumours that a mustard gas storage site, named the Bunker,
had been

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan killed in a US drone strike in Yemen

On <http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110930_8243.php> Friday morning, Anwar
al-Awlaki, one of the leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
was killed in a
esident-have-unchecked-authoriy/> joint CIA/Military air and drone strike
ica-finally-caught-up-with-Anwar-al-Awlaki.html> (Operation Troy), along
with some of his key confidants. Awlaki was travelling in a convoy in the
Yemeni province of Jawf when this incident occurred. The Yemeni based
American national has allegedly been involved in a number of attacks,
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11658920> including the Twin
Tower bombings, the shootings in Fort Hood in 2009 and in helping to recruit
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who attempted to blow up an airliner en route to
Detroit in late 2009. The modus operandi by which the CIA caught up with
Awlaki was similar to that of Osama bin Laden. After weeks of surveillance,
the CIA was able to apprehend a junior courier in Awlaki's trusted circle.
The courier provided key details of Awlaki's movements and whereabouts,
which helped the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command track him down. It
is also important to note that prior to the strike, the US has been building
its capability in the region by installing Predator drones at bases in Saudi
Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti.

Whilst the strike on al-Qaeda's
<http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/10/03/169908.html> charismatic
and technologically savvy leader was a success for the American political
and military leadership, several questions have been
esident-have-unchecked-authoriy/> raised by the likes of Ron Paul, Jon
Huntsman and the ACLU regarding the legality of the killing under
international law and the US constitution. While this may be of lesser
concern to the White House and the Department of Defense, the chances of
revenge attacks over Awlaki's killing have increased. The
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15140198> FBI and the Department
of Homeland Security released a
ml?hpt=wo_c2> warning bulletin for American nationals travelling abroad, and
against attacks by homegrown terrorists, the key recruitment constituency of
Anwar al-Awlaki. Locally, unrest against the American armed forces is likely
to be a concern, especially given the anti-American sentiment that may grow
out of Awlaki's killing. This problem is exacerbated by the growing
deterioration of the security situation in Yemen. Within the current
political vacuum, al-Qaeda has been able to seize territory inside the
country in a bid to carve a path towards building an
Shg?docId=2819668e56b4423e94f263c00f690974> Islamic caliphate.

Nevertheless, Awlaki has been considered more of a spiritual leader than an
operational commander of AQAP. His influence, even after his death, remains
strong through 'Awlakism', a personality cult he used to guide followers in
the western world. Awlaki was a master of using Islamic sources and
transforming them into
ot_forgotten> 'gripping and emotional' stories to display heroic values.
Thus, while Awlaki is gone, his legacy remains.


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