Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Clinton's three day tour of Pakistan, the response to which was
lukewarm at best. Interviews with diplomatic sources in Washington,
D.C. and media coverage of Clinton's visit demonstrate growing
frustration with the Obama administration, which may result in a
reassessment of its Pakistani interlocutor.
Although American officials publicly praise military operation in
South Waziristan, in private they sing a different tune; their
assessment of "alignment" is rather pessimistic. Stories leaked to
media consistently allege that al-Qaeda leadership is still enjoying
safe haven in Pakistan.
American TV networks looped a statement by Secretary Clinton's over
and over, which almost accused Pakistan's government of providing this
protection to al-Qaeda leadership."Al-Qaeda has had safe haven in
Pakistan since 2002….I find it hard to believe that nobody in your
government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really
wanted to," Mrs. Clinton told a gathering of Pakistani newspaper
editors. This statement reflects the best possible opinion of Pakistan
available in Washington, D.C.; other government sources and media
influencers confidently contend that the Pakistani establishment is
Clinton's statement may have been a justified expression of
frustration with an ally that has not delivered adequate results. But
Pakistanis are equally disappointed with the United States and for the
first time in six decades are demanding accountability.
In a very condescending act of "tough love diplomacy," the White House
backed the Secretary Clinton's blunt statement, questioning Pakistan's
willingness to hunt down al-Qaeda terrorists even as it moves against
other extremist groups in its tribal areas.
When asked if Secretary Clinton's remarks were "appropriate," White
House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today: "Obviously the United States
has great concern about extremists in Pakistan. And we will continue
to — continue to discuss with them what can be done. And those remarks
A section of the American media is commending Secretary Clinton for
taking the gloves off and delivering a no-holds-barred message to
Pakistan that it must step up its efforts to apprehend al-Qaeda
terrorists and demonstrate a real commitment to democracy. Those who
support her directness argue that this gives Pakistan's leaders a
much-needed dose of reality.
Pakistan-U.S. relations have not been this tenuous before, and the
Obama administration is frustrated with the outcome of the Kerry-Lugar
bill. "No one had anticipated such negativity," said an American
official who did not want to be identified. "We thought Pakistanis
[would] celebrate the passage of this bill. This is what we were told
by representatives of Pakistani government."
Pakistani government representatives from President Zardari to Foreign
Minister Qureshi and Ambassador Hussain Haqqani further down the chain
assured Americans that Pakistanis would be jubilant; KLB was suppose
to heal all wounds, rectify all wrongs and erase memories of the past
from the consciousness of the masses.
I remember when President Obama announced the Senate had passed
Kerry-Lugar bill at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in September. Attendees
cheered so loud we could hear the thunderous applause from outside.
Later that same day, Richard Holbrooke told Pakistani journalists at
the Roosevelt Hotel's media center that the House will approve the
bill within a week. A Pakistani anchor who was visiting with President
Zardari screamed "Insha Allah" so loudly it was embarrassing. She
acted like a bagger waiting for alms.
But as we have subsequently learned, Pakistanis are inherently
anti-imperialist and if the Pakistani army can find a leader like
Chavez, everything could change overnight.
The Kerry-Lugar Bill's failure has been the Obama administration's
biggest setback thus far; its development has been very similar to
what happened in Iraq.
In 2003 Americans were expecting roses as they walked victoriously
into Baghdad. They thought the Iraqis would welcome freedom from the
tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein. Bush's administration did not
anticipate the scale and speed of hostility so soon after the fall of
During her trip, Secretary Clinton repeatedly said the U.S. wants to
partner with Pakistan on more than just the military front, but
qualified that statement by saying the government in Islamabad will
have to be America's partner in tracking down and capturing the
terrorists who masterminded the September 11 attacks, among so many
others throughout the world.
Clinton herself defended the bluntness of her remarks in an interview
Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America," saying, "Trust is a two-way
street. There is trust deficit."
She is absolutely right. Americans will not so easily believe
Zaradari, Qureshi and Haqqani's words in the future.
American analysts are asking President Obama to drop the "democracy"
mantra and work directly with Pakistan's army. Obama is also being
asked to provide economic support and help strengthen Pakistan's civil
institutions simultaneously conveying an inflexible and clear message
that there are no free lunches.
Pakistanis have options too: They can storm, form, norm and perform.
After venting frustration over KLB and drone attacks they must
normalize and start delivering what America wants.
Or they can find a left-leaning leader within Pakistan's army and
bring about peaceful and secular revolution without foreign aid.
The third and easiest option, to maintain the status-quo, letting
Mullahs and extremists take over our lives, is NOT an option.
Monday, November 2, 2009
suicide bomb attack in Pakistan.
Car Blast Near Army HQ In Pakistan Kills 34
9:09am UK, Monday November 02, 2009
Graham Fitzgerald, Sky News Online
At least 34 people have been killed and dozens injured in an apparent
suicide bomb attack in Pakistan.
The blast, in Rawalpindi, happened outside a four-star hotel not far
from the army's main headquarters.
The explosives were planted in a vehicle in a car park.
"We believe that it was a suicide attack and our initial investigation
also endorses this," said a local police official.
Emergency services told Sky News there were 34 people dead and 32 injured.
Rawalpindi is just a few miles away from the capital, Islamabad.
The blast came as the United Nations suspended development work in two
key areas along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan because of security
It follows a wave of attacks in the country which have claimed around 250 lives.
The attacks have apparently been in retaliation for a military
offensive to seize control of Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan.
The UN plans to reduce the level of international workers in Pakistan
and restrict itself to emergency, humanitarian relief and security
In a statement it said it would also carry out "any other essential
operations as advised by the secretary-general".
A UN spokeswoman said the organisation was still deciding which
programmes will be suspended and how many staff will be withdrawn from
Those that remain will be given additional security.
"We have had 11 of our colleagues killed because of the security
situation," said the spokeswoman. "All of the decisions are being made
in light of that."