Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lal Masjid: The US attempts to support itself

I am getting a lot of emails about the US talk of attacking Pakistan.

I feel the US is trying to tell everyone in Pakistan that they have to be mindful of US interests in their internal drama that will soon be staged.

To demonstrate its endorsement for Musharraf, the US has offered the use of air and artillery support in FATA. There is an unwritten unspoken quid pro here..."we will back you up when you need it in there, but you let us walk in and kill whoever we want".

And therein lies the rub, allowing the Americans killing rights in the FATA area is precisely what Musharraf cannot allow. Sure there are people in the Pentagon who are tired of being killed by Pakistani infiltrators in Eastern Afghanistan, and quite frankly having them occasionally jump across the border for a little fun and games of their own isn't such a bad way to keep them off your back. No.. I mean it... seriously by the time they realise that their hot pursuit is a waste of time, they will be dead anyway. But... if something they do in the zeal undermines the entire fabric of cooperation with Musharraf... then it is going to be all Pakistani fun and games in Afghanistan.

Do you all understand this? there is a big difference between when an Indian military officer talks of "hot pursuit" and when the American military officer talks about it.

Quite simply the Indian military officer is intelligent enough to know that all his critical supply LOC/MSRs don't lie inside Pakistani held territory. An American military officer who sits in Kabul sipping American coffee that has been transported all the way from Karachi by Pakistani trucks, is not being terribly smart if he insists on cross border strikes to "avenge" the odd patrol being erased.

I would not care to stop someone who insists on biting off more than they can chew but given how this Afghanistan-Pakistan-India system is actually coupled, I am compelled to speak.

There must be a more sensible way of doing the US bolstering its own posture in Pakistan. Given that I think it has to prepare the Pakistani audience for an eventual American invasion of Iran, I think something this aggressive - i.e. cross border strikes into FATA... may be ... shall I say.. overkill? Shirin has already taken to hammering out the line that the entire ummah is under attack. Now if you find that surprising I ask you.. wtf were you expecting her to say? what do you think that the "silent majority" Pakistanis are going to say?

We all know that force has to be applied to solve problems of such a nature... but there is such a thing as overdoing it and I think the need of the hour to avoid overdoing it.


At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey m,

"but given how this Afghanistan-Pakistan-India system is actually coupled, I am compelled to speak."

Would you please elaborate on this coupling?

Also i don't understand why convincing Pakistani audience for a future attack on Iran should matter in present situation?

At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
pakistani leadesrhip in particular the ISI insists on pakistani leadership of the Islamic world. They will never like any other islamic nation from acquiring nuclear weapons as it challenges there leadership. Here we have a shia nation, a next door neighbour of pakistan declaring itself a nuclear power. Pakistan will never tolerate it. We had discussed it before
1) How does Saudi Arabia tolerate a nation like Pakistan when it aids a shia nation(next door neighbour of SA) in acquiring WMD?
Will SA not be mad at Pakistan?
2)There is something more than an eye can see w.r.t to SA-Pakistan-Iran-USA relationship. Look at the complexities
A) SA does not tolerate Iran(a shia nation) and that it will never keep quite if Iran acquires a WMD.
B) But SA's steadfast friend pakistan goes ahead and supplies Iran( a bitter enemy of SA) with the knowhow of making WMD's!! SA keeps quite, never ever lodges a protest with Pakistan!!! Everything is fine
C) But Pakistan is an islamic power, it will never like another Islamic nation acquiring WMD's
D) In between USA joins melee and threatens to attack Iran. Pakistan & SA should have been delighted but pak protests thinking that it will be next stop on war on terror.
Wheels with wheels !!!

At 8:21 AM, Blogger maverick said...


If the Musharraf regime becomes dramatically unstable due to American interference in the FATA, there will be no stability in India-Pak ties either.

Following America's suggestions we have indulged in a vastly expensive peace process that has kept Musharraf at the centre. You take Musharraf out of the equation. The entire thing becomes unstable and even more expensive.

There is no point is chasing after Iran if you lose Pakistan in the bargain.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Saudi Arabia may support Iran going nuclear if it is a stepping stone towards Saudi Arabia gaining strategic autonomy from the US.

As things stand Saudi Arabia and the US are bound at the hip on the big-picture level. Given the way opinions in Saudi society are turning, i.e. against anyone who wants to be too close to America, it would not be unusual for the Saudis to want some sort of strategic autonomy from American actions. I am not saying the Saudis want to stop being America's oil-daddys but rather if America does something phenomenally stupid in the world, the Saudis would want to be able to keep an arm's length betweem them and the Americans. I call this the real lesson of 1979 which every US propped dictator has learnt by heart... never get too closely identified with American actions.. else you suffer the Shah's fate.

Even if Saudi Arabia or Iran go nuclear, Pakistan's position in the scheme of things does not change. Saudi Arabia is incapble of projecting anything nuclear without Pakistani help. The Iranians may be capable of doing this alone, but in order to keep the Pakistanis from flying into Saudi arms, they will court the Pakistanis as well.

What may emerge from this may be a kind of trilateral alliance between Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Such an alliance would serve as a forum for communicating disputes and controlling escalations.

Needless to say the US would be quite unhappy about this, but if all three of them decide the US has done too much to collectively tick them off... then this alliance seems an inviting possibility. Perhaps that is what Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg really suggests? Ofcourse China would be more than happy about it.

I was never able to conceptualise a Sino-Pakistani strategic counter-move to the US-India nuclear deal. Such an alliance would be quite a counter stroke.

Ofcourse it is unclear if the present Pakistani leadership is capable of supporting such an initiative. Or perhaps they were counting on opprobrium within the US to the deal to destroy it. Who knows... I guess I will just have to wait and see.


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