[Dehai-WN] Foreignpolicy.com: The Generals Have No Clothes

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 23:02:21 +0100

es> The Generals Have No Clothes

Islamabad's generals have been sponsoring the deaths of Americans for years,
and yet Obama does nothing. Why?


Pakistan is indignant about the killing of 25 of its troops in a NATO air
raid on Saturday. The circumstances that led to the assault are still
unknown, but Washington and Europe have expressed contrition and promised an
investigation. Pakistan has every reason to feel angry. But after a suitable
period of mourning, shouldn't the United States, in the interests of
fairness if nothing else, ask the Pakistani army if it plans ever to
apologize for -- or, at bare minimum, acknowledge -- its role in the deaths
of hundreds of coalition forces and many more Afghan civilians?

At the start of the 21st century, the United States offered Pakistan a very
straightforward ultimatum: Join us in the war against terrorism inaugurated
by al Qaeda's attacks on 9/11 -- or find yourself bombed to the Stone Age.
In the decade since, Pakistan has arguably been responsible for more
American deaths than any other state on earth. Yet Pakistan has not only
evaded prosecution for its crimes. In a staggering turn of events, its army
has found its program of sponsoring the slaughter of American troops in
Afghanistan by the Taliban and al Qaeda amply subsidized by Washington.

One of the most principled voices against the Pakistani army during this
time belonged, ironically, to Islamabad's ambassador to Washington. Husain
Haqqani was, to repurpose Nirad Chaudhuri's phrase about Pandit Nehru, not
only Pakistan's representative to the United States but also the West's
ambassador to Pakistan. His resignation, offered and accepted on Tuesday,
was ostensibly precipitated by an
<http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5ea9b804-f351-11e0-b11b-00144feab49a.html> op-ed
last month in the Financial Times by Mansoor Ijaz, an American businessman
of Pakistani descent who claimed that an unnamed Pakistani diplomat -- whom
he later identified as Haqqani -- had conscripted him in a grand scheme to
curb the Pakistani military's power. Together, he alleged, they
n_us_memo_revealed_ijaz_calls_amb_haqqani_architect_of_sche> crafted a memo
in which a series of dramatic offers were made to Washington -- among them,
the promise to end state patronage of terrorism -- in return for the Obama
administration's help in reining in the generals. (Haqqani vigorously denies

Inexplicably, Ijaz, the courageous anti-military conspirator, transformed,
without a hint of irony, into the army's canary, imperilling Pakistan's
besieged civilian government by volunteering transcripts of his alleged
exchanges with Haqqani. Pakistan's rightwing media served as his bullhorn,
devoting their pages and program to his endless revelations. (Hardly anyone
in the West accorded serious attention to Ijaz -- a clownish Croesus
addicted to self-elevating fantasies. If only the Clinton administration had
given attention to his "deal" with the Sudanese government to extradite
Osama bin Laden to the United States, he once bragged, 9/11 would have been

The author of a devastatingly frank history of Pakistan, Haqqani has the
virtue of clarity: He is known to view the army as an impediment to progress
in the region. Still, it is stupefying to imagine that a diplomat and
scholar of his sophistication would have recruited a pestilent popinjay like
Ijaz to deliver a message that he could quite competently have communicated
through other channels, or in person. The rapidity with which Ijaz has
switched sides,
o-evidence-mansoor-ijaz/> meeting the ISI chief in London last month to
handover "evidence" implicating his co-conspirator, strongly suggests that
it is Haqqani who is the victim of a conspiracy.

kers?page=0,35#thinker47> Sherry Rehman, a formidable politician from Sindh,
has now replaced Haqqani. But his forced resignation puts an end to the
pretence of civilian rule in Pakistan -- and heralds the unapologetically
solemn re-takeover of the country by the military-intelligence camorra that
spawned the forces of destruction in Afghanistan. So it is astounding that,
rather than treating Haqqani's departure as a setback, officials in the
Obama administration see it as something of a boon. Haqqani's private
criticisms of the Pakistani army led, according to a
-as-probe-of-predecessor-begins.html> report in the New York Times, "to a
diminishing of his influence in Washington, especially in the White House."

Why would the White House choose to belittle a man championing civilian rule
in Pakistan? Isn't that also the objective of the Obama administration? The
answer increasingly appears to be no.

Since the 1950s, when Gen. Ayub Khan mounted the first military coup,
Pakistan's army has etiolated the country's evolution in every imaginable
sense. Rooted in a culture of grievance and malevolence that is the
foundational basis of Pakistan, the army has waged wars against India,
suffused young minds with a fervor for jihad, sponsored terrorism, spread
xenophobia and racism, carried out genocide against millions of its own
citizens, stolen and smuggled nuclear secrets, foisted the vile Taliban
regime upon the defenseless people of Afghanistan, and assumed complete
ownership of Pakistan.

For wars and terrorist violence in South Asia to abate, Pakistan will have
to resemble something approaching a normal state. The equation for that is
simple: The army must return to the barracks.

Obama had an almost providential opportunity to squeeze the army in the
immediate aftermath of bin Laden's discovery in May in the garrison city of
Abbottabad. The khakis were at their weakest in four decades. That was the
time to bolster civilian rule, to corral the army with fresh ultimatums.
Instead, Obama seemed more anxious about pacifying Pakistan for having
breached its sovereignty than holding its army to account for harboring bin
Laden -- which explains the White House's
s-about-pakistan.html> rush to finesse Amb. Mike Mullen's candid testimony
to the Senate Armed Services Committee in September.

Then, in a craven abdication of American responsibility to the citizens of
Afghanistan, Obama talked about the need for nation-building at home. For a
man who attained the presidency by invoking Martin Luther King, Jr. and
Mahatma Gandhi, Obama has rarely displayed any compunction in retreating
from battle with men who, given the opportunity, would have lynched King and
Gandhi -- indeed men who have presided over the slaughter and torture of too
many potential Kings and Gandhis of our age. Could there be a more forceful
testament to the failure of Obama's foreign policy in South Asia than the
sight of terrorist leader Sirajuddin Haqqani
istans-protected-partners.html> operating with impunity in Pakistan six
months after bin Laden's killing?

Rehman, the new Pakistani ambassador, is a socially liberal pro-democracy
politician. But disturbingly, and unlike her predecessor, she subscribes to
the Pakistani army's view of Afghanistan: Any government in Kabul
ts-new-ambassador-to-US> must be pro-Pakistan. This should hardly seem worth
worrying about -- except that "pro-Pakistan," in the context of Afghanistan,
means anti-India, anti-America, and, more troublingly, anti-Afghan. Bluntly,
it means a Pakistani colony of the pre-2001 variety that hosted bin Laden,
not a sovereign state with independent policymaking prerogatives. This
explains why an overwhelming majority of Afghans, whenever given the chance
<http://abcnews.go.com/images/PollingUnit/1083a1Afghanistan2009.pdf> ,
express only the deepest contempt for Pakistan.

The Pakistani army has responded to the NATO attack by blocking supply
routes to the coalition forces. It has also issued a notice to close down
the U.S.-run airbase in Shamsi. The proportional response to Pakistan's
denial of its territory to the United States would be to limit Pakistan's
role in Afghanistan. It is the United States that has secured Afghanistan;
if Pakistan wants a role, it had better pay its dues. Instead, Washington
grovels before Islamabad even as American soldiers die at the hands of
Pakistan's clients.

Faced with a re-election campaign, Obama is seeking to obtain a cosmetic
"end" to the mission in Afghanistan by cutting deals with the Pakistani army
and its clients in the Taliban. This will involve a reduced presence of
American troops on the ground, a heightened use of targeted drone strikes,
and, to keep this arrangement, bribes to the Pakistan army in the form of
vaguely conditional aid. Relations between the United States and Pakistan
will return to "normal" in short order. A poltroon deal will be struck with
the Taliban chieftains. As the fighters currently enjoying Pakistani
hospitality in the country's northwest make their way back into Afghanistan,
the gains made over the last decade will wither away. Thus will the
tremendous sacrifices, of both American troops and Afghan civilians, be
honored. For the citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan, this will signal the
start of yet another prolonged period of violence. President Obama will call
it victory.


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Received on Tue Nov 29 2011 - 17:02:25 EST
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