Category Archive 'Pervez Musharraf'
03 Jan 2008
George Friedman‘s latest from the Stratfor subscription service.
The endgame of the U.S.-jihadist war always had to be played out in Pakistan. There are two reasons that could account for this. The first is simple: Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda command cell are located in Pakistan. The war cannot end while the command cell functions or has a chance of regenerating. The second reason is more complicated. The United States and NATO are engaged in a war in Afghanistan. Where the Soviets lost with 300,000 troops, the Americans and NATO are fighting with less than 50,000. Any hope of defeating the Taliban, or of reaching some sort of accommodation, depends on isolating them from Pakistan. So long as the Taliban have sanctuary and logistical support from Pakistan, transferring all coalition troops in Iraq to Afghanistan would have no effect. And withdrawing from Afghanistan would return the situation to the status quo before Sept. 11. If dealing with the Taliban and destroying al Qaeda are part of any endgame, the key lies in Pakistan.
U.S. strategy in Pakistan has been to support Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and rely on him to purge and shape his countryâ€™s army to the extent possible to gain its support in attacking al Qaeda in the North, contain Islamist radicals in the rest of the country and interdict supplies and reinforcements flowing to the Taliban from Pakistan. It was always understood that this strategy was triply flawed.
First, under the best of circumstances, a completely united and motivated Pakistani armyâ€™s ability to carry out this mission effectively was doubtful. And second, the Pakistani army was â€” and is â€” not completely united and motivated. Not only was it divided, one of its major divisions lay between Taliban supporters sympathetic to al Qaeda and a mixed bag of factions with other competing interests. Distinguishing between who was on which side in a complex and shifting constellation of relationships was just about impossible. That meant the army the United States was relying on to support the U.S. mission was, from the American viewpoint, inherently flawed.
It must be remembered that the mujahideenâ€™s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan shaped the current Pakistani army. Allied with the Americans and Saudis, the Pakistani army â€” and particularly its intelligence apparatus, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) â€” had as its mission the creation of a jihadist force in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. The United States lost interest in Afghanistan after the fall of the Soviet Union, but the Pakistanis did not have that option. Afghanistan was right next door. An interesting thing happened at that point. Having helped forge the mujahideen and its successor, the Taliban, the Pakistani army and ISI in turn were heavily influenced by their Afghan clientsâ€™ values. Patron and client became allies. And this created a military force that was extremely unreliable from the U.S. viewpoint.
Third, Musharrafâ€™s intentions were inherently unpredictable. As a creature of the Pakistani army, Musharraf reflects all of the ambivalences and tensions of that institution. His primary interest was in holding on to power. To do that, he needed to avoid American military action in Pakistan while simultaneously reassuring radical Islamists he was not a mere tool of the United States. Given the complexity of his position, no one could ever be certain of where Musharraf stood. His position was entirely tactical, shifting as political necessity required. He was constantly placating the various parties, but since the process of placation for the Americans meant that he take action against the jihadists, constant ineffective action by Musharraf resulted. He took enough action to keep the Americans at bay, not enough to force his Islamist enemies to take effective action against him. …
the United States now faces its endgame under far less than ideal conditions. Iraq is stabilizing. That might reverse, but for now it is stabilizing. The Taliban is strong, but it is under pressure and has serious internal problems. The endgame always was supposed to come in Pakistan, but this is far from how the Americans wanted to play it out. The United States is not going to get an aggressive, anti-Islamist military in Pakistan, but it badly needs more than a Pakistani military that is half-heartedly and tenuously committed to the fight. Salvaging Musharraf is getting harder with each passing day. So that means that a new personality, such as Pakistani military chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, must become Washingtonâ€™s new man in Pakistan. In this endgame, all that the Americans want is the status quo in Pakistan. It is all they can get. And given the way U.S. luck is running, they might not even get that.
Read the whole thing.
09 Nov 2007
George Friedman of Stratfor suggests that Western readers get past the simplistic sloganeering of the Western bien pensant press, and look at the realities of the situation in Pakistan in the light of History.
The British withdrawal created a state called Pakistan, but no nation by that name. What bound its residents together was the Muslim faith — albeit one that had many forms. As in India — indeed, as in the Muslim world at the time of Pakistan’s founding — there existed a strong secularist movement that focused on economic development and cultural modernization more than on traditional Islamic values. This secularist tendency had two roots: one in the British education of many of the Pakistani elite and the second in Turkish founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who pioneered secularism in the Islamic world.
Pakistan, therefore, began as a state in crisis. What remained of British rule was a parliamentary democracy that might have worked in a relatively unified nation — not one that was split along ethnic lines and also along the great divide of the 20th century: secular versus religious. Hence, the parliamentary system broke down early on — about four years after Pakistan’s creation in 1947. British-trained civilian bureaucrats ran the country with the help of the army until 1958, when the army booted out the bureaucrats and took over.
Therefore, if Pakistan was a state trying to create a nation, then the primary instrument of the state was the army. This is not uniquely Pakistani by any means, nor is it unprincipled. The point that Ataturk made — one that was championed in the Arab world by Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser and in Iran by Reza Pahlavi — was that the creation of a modern state in a traditional and divided nation required a modern army as the facilitator. An army, in the modern sense, is by definition technocratic and disciplined. The army, rather than simply an instrument of the state, therefore, becomes the guarantor of the state. In this line of thinking, a military coup can preserve a constitution against anti-constitutional traditionalists. …
Although the British tradition of parliamentary government fell apart in Pakistan, one institution the Britons left behind grew stronger: the Pakistani army. The army — along with India’s army — was forged by the British and modeled on their army. It was perhaps the most modern institution in both countries, and the best organized and effective instrument of the state. As long as the army remained united and loyal to the concept of Pakistan, the centrifugal forces could not tear the country apart.
Musharraf’s behavior must be viewed in this context. Pakistan is a country that not only is deeply divided, but also has the real capacity to tear itself apart. It is losing control of the mountainous regions to the indigenous tribes. The army is the only institution that transcends all of these ethnic differences and has the potential to restore order in the mountain regions and maintain state control elsewhere.
11 Aug 2007
CNN reports an intriguing Intel leak:
U.S. military intelligence officials are urgently assessing how secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons would be in the event President Gen. Pervez Musharraf were replaced as the nation’s leader, CNN has learned.
Analysts wonder how secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons would be if President Pervez Musharraf were replaced.
Key questions in the assessment include who would control Pakistan’s nuclear weapons after a shift in power. The United States is pressuring Musharraf, who took control in a 1999 coup, not to declare a state of emergency as he faces growing political opposition.
Three U.S. sources have independently confirmed details of the intelligence review to CNN but would not allow their names to be used because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The sources include military officers and intelligence community analysts.
This story presumably represents a message to the Pakistani government indicating US desire for a mutual understanding on the custody, security, and disposition in case of regime change, of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
12 May 2007
Eight people have been killed and 25 wounded in Pakistan ahead of a protest over the recent sacking of the country’s top judge, according to reports.
Pakistani authorities have deployed 15,000 troops in the city of Karachi in a bid to stem violence between supporters of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and pro-government groups ahead of a rally to be held there by the ousted chief justice.
Today’s planned protest will be the latest in a series of rallies held across Pakistan by supporters of Mr Chaudhry, who was sacked by the nation’s president Pervez Musharraf in March amid allegations that he had abused his position.
However those backing the suspended head of Pakistan’s supreme court claim that army general Mr Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, is seeking to replace him with a less independent-minded judge ahead of potential legal challenges to his continued rule.
12 Oct 2006
Time Magazine reports that US officials have confirmed Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s account that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the actual murderer of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
several U.S. officials tell TIME that KSM’s role in the Pearl murder appears more direct than previously acknowledged — and that the Bush Administration plans to try him for it. The officials tell TIME that KSM confessed under CIA interrogation that he personally committed the murder. Moreover, when he faces a military tribunal at Guantanamo, perhaps as soon as next year, the U.S. plans to charge him not only with the 9/11 plot, but also with direct responsibility for Pearl’s death.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) was one of 14 “high value” prisoners recently moved to the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from secret CIA prisons overseas. In announcing the transfer on Sept. 6, President Bush also promised to try some of the most important captives in military tribunals, a plan that Congress approved last month.
One former U.S. national security official tells TIME there is no doubt that KSM personally wielded the knife that killed the Wall Street Journal reporter. This official says that Ahmad Omar Saed Sheik insisted under interrogation that taking Pearl’s life was not at first part of the kidnap plot — though Sheik also told his questioners that Pearl’s kidnappers could never have released him because he was Jewish. But as the scheme unfolded, someone senior to him in the al-Qaeda hierarchy, known as “the fat man,” took control of the operation and beheaded Pearl.
Sheik never identified KSM as the actual killer, however. The FBI deduced KSM’s role only after analyzing a video of the crime, in which only the perpetrator’s hands are visible. That video was released by Islamic militants soon after Pearl’s murder and then widely shown on Arab television and the Internet. Eventually, the FBI obtained its own version of the original video, as well as the camera used to photograph the murder.
Once KSM was taken into custody in March 2003, a comparison of the hands shown in the video and KSM’s own hands, along with other evidence, confirmed the FBI’s suspicions. Then, under interrogation, KSM confessed, national security officials told TIME, admitting without remorse that he personally severed Pearl’s head and telling interrogators he had to switch knives after the first one “got dull.”
26 Sep 2006
The London Times quotes Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf‘s account of how Pakistani authorities found Daniel Pearl‘s body and apprehended some of his killers, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is believed to have been Pearl’s actual executioner.
In May 2002 we arrested someone named Fazal Karim, a militant activist. When we interrogated him we discovered that he was involved in Pearl’s slaughter. He also told us that he knew where Pearl was buried.
He was asked how he knew. Chillingly, he said he knew because he had actually participated in the slaughter by holding one of Pearl’s legs. But he didn’t know the name of the person who had actually slit Pearl’s throat. All he could say is that this person was “Arab-looking”.
He led us to the small house in a neighbourhood in Karachi where Daniel Pearl had been held captive. He then took us to a plot of land near by and told us where he was buried. We exhumed the body and found it in ten badly decomposed pieces. Our doctors stitched the pieces back together as best as they could.
The man who may have actually killed Pearl or at least participated in his butchery, we eventually discovered, was none other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, al-Qaeda’s No 3. When we later arrested and interrogated him, he admitted his participation.
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