Monday, November 30, 2009

Obama’s new Grand bargain: More aid & intelligence cooperation & a few threats

Details are leaking out about the President Obama’s new strategy on Afghanistan and new plans for Pakistan. Gone is the Bruce Riedel’s AfPak linkage, at least the acronym is dead semantically. Foreign Policy—a Pro-Republican think tank (formerly known as Plan for a new American Century—PNAC) which reflects Conservative thinking and the Christian right’s point of view. The Foreign Policy article is based on the leaked letter from President Obama to President Zardari delivered to Islamabad by the US National Security Advisor James L. Jones. According to the letter, the US wants Pakistan to go beyond South Waziristan and attack the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan. The Haqqani Network is part and parcel of coalition of forces fighting the US occupation in Afghanistan. According to US analysts many of the Haqqani fighters are imbedded in the rugged region of North Waziristan. In return the US will attack the TTP.

Obama's speech Tuesday night at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., will address primarily the Afghanistan aspects of the strategy. But despite the public and political attention focused on the number of new troops, Pakistan has been the hot core of the months-long strategy review. The long-term consequences of failure there, the review concluded, far outweigh those in Afghanistan.

"We can't succeed without Pakistan," a senior administration official involved in the White House review said. "You have to differentiate between public statements and reality. There is nobody who is under any illusions about this."

This official and others, all of whom spoke about the closely held details of the new strategy on the condition of anonymity, emphasized that without "changing the nature of U.S.-Pakistan relations in a new direction, you're not going to win in Afghanistan," as one put it. "And if you don't win in Afghanistan, then Pakistan will automatically be imperiled, and that will make Afghanistan look like child's play." Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

In return for storming the Anti-US forces out of Pakistan, the US is ready to offer more military and financial aid to Pakistan.

On the Pakistani side, the U.S. and the Pakistani government have worked out a deal that would commit Washington to additional military aid, economic assistance, and intelligence cooperation as part of an expanded effort to combat extremists elements residing in Pakistan, according to the source.

What's not settled is exactly what the Pakistanis would have to do in return for the added support. The two sides are in negotiations over what the source called a "grand bargain" that would involve Obama administration support for any of a number of Pakistani asks in exchange for the Pakistani government actually going after all extremist groups in Pakistan -- including those focused on creating havoc in Afghanistan.

The outlines of this offer were communicated in a letter from Obama to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in a letter delivered personally by Jones. Zardari has yet to formally respond, according to the source.

"Obama is saying to the Pakistanis, if you commit 100 percent we will commit 100 percent," the source explained, adding that the details of exactly what will go on between the Obama administration and the Pakistani government will take weeks or more to iron out.

For that reason and because the White House is extremely aware of Pakistani sensitivities in the wake of the botched rollout of the Kerry-Lugar Pakistani aid bill, Obama is likely to "soft pedal" the Pakistani side of the new strategy during the new strategy announcement, the source said.

Also, the administration is expected to drop the use of the abbreviated term "Af-Pak," which angered many in both countries, while still maintaining the linkage of the U.S. approach to both nations as part of one comprehensive issue.

Top administration officials are already scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill beginning Wednesday.

The White House declined to comment on the details of the strategy as outlined by the diplomatic source. Details leak out ahead of Obama’s big Afghanistan speech, Mon, 11/30/2009 - 11:15am

According to the Washington Post, some of the US carrots will be considered as “Greek Trojan’s bearing gifts”. Pakistanis view “regional cooperation with India” with deep suspicion. If this is the lynchpin of the new US policy, it might as well be Dead on Arrival (DOA).

Proffered U.S. carrots, outlined during Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's October visit to Islamabad, center on a far more comprehensive and long-term bilateral relationship. It would feature enhanced development and trade assistance; improved intelligence collaboration and a more secure and upgraded military equipment pipeline; more public praise and less public criticism of Pakistan; and an initiative to build greater regional cooperation among Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

Some US analysts and policy makers do not know the fact that US pressure on Pakistan doesn’t always produce the desired results (from a US point of view).

Expansion of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship will require overcoming significant public and political mistrust in both countries. Officials said that they recognize the difficulty in delivering on either U.S. promises or threats, and that "our leverage over Pakistan is very limited," the senior administration official said.Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

There were about three decades of massive US-Pakistani collaboration. Neither Ayub Khan, nor Zia Ul Haq or Pervez Musharraf fully met US expectations and all three periods led to “divorce”/”extended separation between the US and Pakistan—all three left with huge Anti-American feelings on the ground, which made it more, not less difficult for the US to deal with the Pakistanis. President Ayub Khan threw out the Americans, and closed down the US air base at Badabar. General Zia Ul Haq took the aid, and built the Pakistani Nuclear bomb. President Pervez Musharraf used US aid but according to the Americans did not fully chase the militants in Pakistan. The latest threats by President Obama may also backfire—with dire consequences for the American policy in Afghanistan.

At the same time, although the administration's goal is to demonstrate a new level and steadfastness of support, short-term U.S. demands may threaten Pakistan's already fragile political stability.

"It's going to be a game of cat-and-mouse with them for a while," another official said, adding that "what we're trying to do is to force them to recalculate" where their advantage lies,… Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

If Pakistan agrees to the “Grand bargain”, it will ask the US to roll back Bharati (aka Indian) presence in Afghanistan, halt support for anti-Pakistan insurgents by CIA/RAW/Mossad, stop criticism of Pakistan in public, a FTA with the US, and the proliferation of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in most of Pakistan. These are the basic requirements. Actually the Pakistanis should ask for an real aid package of $100 per annum, wiping off the debt, construction of National Highways from Karachi to Torkham along with speed trains. Pakistan should ask the US to wipe off the $50 Billion debt, build 5000 American sponsored schools, construct 50 new US universities and create 1000 brand new hospitals.  These should be the basic requirements from the Pakistani side

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