04/26/2009 10:27:35 AM PST
Pakistan is rapidly approaching failed state status. Pumping new infantry troops into Afghanistan can not stem the tide and will only provide additional targets for newly created terrorists. Pakistan’s military has their nuclear arsenal under control for now, but the video below provides ample reasons for President Obama to reformulate his position:
Thinking The Unthinkable http://agonist.org/sean_paul_kelley/20090423/thinking the unthinkable
One of these mornings we are all going to wake up to a nightmare. It’s going to happen. It already is. And there isn’t anything we can do to stop it. And when it does happen I have no idea what the answer will be but it will probably require vast amounts of violence, blood and treasure. It will embroil China and India and the United States. It will be ugly. And it will happen. The creeping but almost inexorable expansion of the Pakistani Taliban continues and the Pakistani central government is either unwilling or incapable (I’m siding with the latter) to put a stop to it:
Pushing deeper into Pakistan, Taliban militants have established effective control of a strategically important district just 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, officials and residents said Wednesday.
The fall of the district, Buner, did not mean that the Taliban could imminently threaten Islamabad. But it was another indication of the gathering strength of the insurgency and it raised new alarm about the ability of the government to fend off an unrelenting Taliban advance toward the heart of Pakistan.
This is the true legacy of George W. Bush and it will more than likely be the single most potent crisis Obama faces.
Throw western troops in the mix as well
I think the most important point is they will not stop, they will not
talk (unless they have a need for delay)they will break any deal, they
are determined to make the world muslim. If these few points are agreed upon, then even the most reluctant can focus on the solution, what ever that solution may be. Most certainly all must agree, why we are there, how this started, what their guests did and have been doing for years prior to 911. If this is realized the choice is clear;
attack, seize, control, rebuild, protect and protect. Train and strengthen a central government, create real institutions based on law and then in maybe 50 years we can leave.
I agree with raised concerns and moreover I should note that US and NATO needs to be more proactive in diplomacy with surrounding states in the region including Iran.
There is a real threat to the whole region with escalation of political situation in Pakistan.If India gets involved you have a catastrophic geopolitical mess which I hope is not going to happen.Nuclear Pakistan under extreme religious fundamentalist groups could be a disaster with far going consiquences beyond imagination
prove that proactive diplomacy with these people is not helping?
Pakistan seems to be safe for now but moving troops into afghanistan might change that.
Proactive diplomacy with neighbouring states such as Iran,China,Central Asian republics,Russia,India as well as other players.
US and NATO have to put more efforts together with regional players.
Of course,diplomacy with religious fanatics won’t work in Pakistan which is becoming a breeding ground for more Taliban supporters.Besides in order to understand the politics behind these religious groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan it needs to be well analysed what really Taliban is and how they do operate in that environment? Where do they get their ammos and supplies from? Who is funding Taliban? etc.
Some info on that is here
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/?bcpid =4464161001&bctid=20954 227001
of justice in the wild-west days of Tombstone and the OK Corral (Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Hanging Judge Roy Bean), and later during prohibiton and gangland murders like St. Valentines Day massacre (Al Capone and Bugs Moran), or at the end of the Civil War when William Quantrell led his band of raiders into Lawrence, Kansas, and murdered the whole town, but it all boils down to pyschopathic serial-killers usually acting in the name of god (voices in their heads) avenging their faith (hatred).
Interview: Afghanistan scholar Thomas Barfield on Pashtun rebels, a nuclear Punjab, and how Islamabad played Americans for suckers.
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Published: May 4, 2009
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said Monday that he was "gravely concerned" about Taliban advances in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as President Obama prepared for meetings here this week with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan in an atmosphere of crisis.
Recent militant gains in Pakistan have so alarmed the White House that the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, described the situation as "one of the very most serious problems we face." Pakistan, he said Monday, "has to survive as a democratic nation."
There were new signs of uneasiness on Capitol Hill about United States involvement in the region. The Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee pronounced himself as "very doubtful" that Mr. Obama’s plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan could succeed. The chairman, Representative David Obey, of Wisconsin, said he would allow only one year for the White House to show concrete results, and repeatedly likened Mr. Obama’s approach to President Richard Nixon’s plans for Vietnam in 1969.
Mr. Obama is under pressure not only to defuse a sometimes-hostile relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also to show some progress against extremists from the Taliban and Al Qaeda who are using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks on American troops in Afghanistan. The meetings in Washington will also include President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.
American officials say that the gains by Taliban militants in Pakistan threaten the existence of Mr. Zardari’s government and also endanger American interests in the region and security at home.
Administration officials, who spent part of Monday in a National Security Council meeting, sought to temper recent sharp criticism of Mr. Zardari as they completed their preparations for the meeting on Wednesday.
"It’s a week to be positive publicly, to not stir up a hornet’s nest," said a Defense Department official who has been involved in the planning for the meetings.
"There’s been a lot of mistrust between us and the Pakistanis," the official said, speaking anonymously to discuss internal deliberations.
Mr. Zardari comes to Washington with one major item on the top of his agenda: getting the Obama administration to turn on the funding spigot to begin the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of military and development aid to his government.
Pakistani officials said that the White House had done little to use American aid to shore up Mr. Zardari’s support base, and have said that Washington was far more supportive of Pakistan when it was run by a military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, than it has been since a civilian government took over in Islamabad.
Between 2001 and 2008, the Bush administration sent more than $10 billion in economic and military aid to Pakistan. According to a senior Pakistani official who did not want to be identified discussing Pakistan’s strategy ahead of the meeting, the flow of funds has largely dried up since the middle of last year. Islamabad is still waiting for Washington to reimburse the Pakistani government for $1.5 billion it has spent in military operations against militants, the official said.
President Obama has given support to an economic aid package of $7.5 billion over five years, but he faces sharp opposition from Mr. Obey and others who are seeking to put strict conditions on aid to Islamabad.
Mr. Obey, whose committee oversees all federal discretionary spending, said Monday that in the supplemental war-funding bill the House Democrats plan to require the White House to report to Congress next year with measurements of progress from Afghanistan and Iraq in five specific areas: political consensus, government corruption, counterinsurgency efforts, intelligence cooperation and border security.
And he hinted strongly that he would move to cut off funds if the progress was not robust. "I am not going to be looking at those standards like I am the permanent president of the optimists’ club," Mr. Obey said.
Although administration officials have reached out recently to Mr. Zardari’s chief rival, Nawaz Sharif, they said Monday that they had not given up on Mr. Zardari.
"We aren’t distancing from Zardari," Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said in a telephone interview. "If we were, why would President Obama invite him to Washington this week?"
Mr. Holbrooke acknowledged that he and other administration officials were in contact with Mr. Sharif, but only, he said, because Mr. Sharif was the chief opposition leader.
"We do of course want to have a close relationship with Nawaz Sharif and his brother," Mr. Holbrooke said, referring to Shahbaz Sharif, the powerful chief minister of Punjab Province.
For their part, Pakistani officials said they intended to portray Mr. Sharif during the meetings this week as beholden to the government of Saudi Arabia and someone the United States would have difficulty working with.
"The Americans have no leverage over Sharif, only the Saudis have leverage over Sharif," said the Pakistani official.
Reporting was contributed by Helene Cooper, David D. Kirkpatrick, Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt.
and the loss of control of the Pakistani nuclear weapons is also cited:
Strife in Pakistan Raises U.S. Doubts Over Nuclear Arms
By DAVID E. SANGER http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/world/asia/04nuke.html?ref=asia
Published: May 3, 2009
WASHINGTON — As the insurgency of the Taliban and Al Qaeda spreads in Pakistan, senior American officials say they are increasingly concerned about new vulnerabilities for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, including the potential for militants to snatch a weapon in transport or to insert sympathizers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities.
The officials emphasized that there was no reason to believe that the arsenal, most of which is south of the capital, Islamabad, faced an imminent threat. President Obama said last week that he remained confident that keeping the country’s nuclear infrastructure secure was the top priority of Pakistan’s armed forces.
But the United States does not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located, and its concerns have intensified in the last two weeks since the Taliban entered Buner, a district 60 miles from the capital. The spread of the insurgency has left American officials less willing to accept blanket assurances from Pakistan that the weapons are safe.
Pakistani officials have continued to deflect American requests for more details about the location and security of the country’s nuclear sites, the officials said.
Some of the Pakistani reluctance, they said, stemmed from longstanding concern that the United States might be tempted to seize or destroy Pakistan’s arsenal if the insurgency appeared about to engulf areas near Pakistan’s nuclear sites. But they said the most senior American and Pakistani officials had not yet engaged on the issue, a process that may begin this week, with President Asif Ali Zardari scheduled to visit Mr. Obama in Washington on Wednesday.
"We are largely relying on assurances, the same assurances we have been hearing for years," said one senior official who was involved in the dialogue with Pakistan during the Bush years, and remains involved today. "The worse things get, the more strongly they hew to the line, `Don’t worry, we’ve got it under control.’ "
In public, the administration has only hinted at those concerns, repeating the formulation that the Bush administration used: that it has faith in the Pakistani Army.
"I’m confident that we can make sure that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure," Mr. Obama said Wednesday, "primarily, initially, because the Pakistani Army, I think, recognizes the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands." He added: "We’ve got strong military-to-military consultation and cooperation."
But that cooperation, according to officials who would not speak for attribution because of the sensitivity surrounding the exchanges between Washington and Islamabad, has been sharply limited when the subject has turned to the vulnerabilities in the Pakistani nuclear infrastructure. The Obama administration inherited from President Bush a multiyear, $100 million secret American program to help Pakistan build stronger physical protections around some of those facilities, and to train Pakistanis in nuclear security.
But much of that effort has now petered out, and American officials have never been permitted to see how much of the money was spent, the facilities where the weapons are kept or even a tally of how many Pakistan has produced. The facility Pakistan was supposed to build to conduct its own training exercises is running years behind schedule.
Administration officials would not say if the subject would be raised during Mr. Zardari’s first meeting with Mr. Obama. But even if Mr. Obama raises the subject, it is not clear how fruitful the conversation might be.
Mr. Zardari heads the country’s National Command Authority, the mix of political, military and intelligence leaders responsible for its arsenal of 60 to 100 nuclear weapons. But in reality, his command and control over the weapons are considered tenuous at best; that power lies primarily in the hands of the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the former director of Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s intelligence agency.
For years the Pakistanis have waved away the recurring American concerns, with the head of nuclear security for the country, Gen. Khalid Kidwai, dismissing them as "overblown rhetoric."
Americans who are experts on the Pakistani system worry about what they do not know. "For years I was concerned about the weapons materials in Pakistan, the materials in the laboratories," said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who ran the Energy Department’s intelligence unit until January, and before that was a senior C.I.A. officer sent to Pakistan to determine whether nuclear technology had been passed to Osama bin Laden.
"I’m still worried about that, but with what we’re seeing, I’m growing more concerned about something going missing in transport," said Mr. Mowatt-Larssen, who is now at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Several current officials said that they were worried that insurgents could try to provoke an incident that would prompt Pakistan to move the weapons, and perhaps use an insider with knowledge of the transportation schedule for weapons or materials to tip them off. That concern appeared to be what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was hinting at in testimony 10 days ago before the House Appropriations Committee. Pakistan’s weapons, she noted, "are widely dispersed in the country."
"There’s not a central location, as you know," she added. "They’ve adopted a policy of dispersing their nuclear weapons and facilities." She went on to describe a potential situation in which a confrontation with India could prompt a Pakistani response, though she did not go as far as saying that such a response could include moving weapons toward India — which American officials believed happened in 2002. Other experts note that even as Pakistan faces instability, it is producing more plutonium for new weapons, and building more production reactors.
David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security wrote in a recent report documenting the progress of those facilities, "In the current climate, with Pakistan’s leadership under duress from daily acts of violence by insurgent Taliban forces and organized political opposition, the security of any nuclear material produced in these reactors is in question." The Pakistanis, not surprisingly, dismiss those fears as American and Indian paranoia, intended to dissuade them from nuclear modernization. But the government’s credibility is still colored by the fact that it used equal vehemence to denounce as fabrications the reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan, one of the architects of Pakistan’s race for the nuclear bomb, had sold nuclear technology on the black market.
In the end, those reports turned out to be true.