Mar 7, 2011

Pakistan - No Longer Our Ally

Behind The Raymond Davis Fiasco
By Ali K. Chisti
7 March 2011

Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor, was in Lahore on his way back from a routine reconnaissance mission when he was intercepted by ISI operatives. Davis has said that he thought he was being robbed and he shot the gun-toting operatives in self-defense. The issue, which could have been one of simple diplomatic immunity has escalated to the point that Senator John Kerry had to come to Pakistan to in an attempt to rescue Davis.

But all efforts seemed to have gone in vain where; Raymond Davis is still in Pakistan's custody and faces a possible death sentence. Things shifted for the worse as a CIA Station Chief in Islamabad was forced to leave Pakistan for security reasons after the country's foreign office deliberately leaked his name in an unprecedented show of animosity towards the US. And another American security official was recently arrested in Peshawar for visa violations and is awaiting trial.
So why is Pakistan, supposedly one of America's biggest allies in the region, turning against the U.S.?

The increase in drone attacks by the CIA has the biggest turn off for the Pakistani military, which is also aggressively pushing for cooperation with the al Qaeda linked Haqqani network as part of their plan of Strategic Depth in Afghanistan. In Oman, where both nations' military chiefs met last week, the Pakistanis asked for drone technology and the list of all CIA staffers in Pakistan in return for seeing to the release of Davis, which shows the widening trust deficit between the two "allies."

Unfortunately the issue cannot easily be resolved. The underlying fact is that Pakistan and the United States have interests in the region that collide. Pakistan, in many ways a proxy of China, is concerned with India more than anything else, while the U.S. is increasingly stepping up against China (the biggest investors in Pakistan's defense industry) by opting to support India.

Al Qaeda may be history in terms of logistical and operational clout, however there are emerging terror threats. Tahreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistani are growing along with the Pakistani Taliban, which orchestrated the recent CIA forward base suicide bombing. While the war might be in Afghanistan the war rooms are in sovereign and nuclear Pakistan where anti-Americanism stands at 70-80 percent.

In the meantime the U.S. has to deal with the blackmailing Pakistani security establishment while trying to support whatever stabilizing force in the country that can be packaged as "democracy."


1 comment:

Chuck Grau said...

It's been plain the Pakistanis are no friends of ours. Their strategic objective always has been a weak Afghanistan to their west let them focus on their enemy India to the east. Hence the Taliban is and always was their true ally. If that meant harboring al Qaeda, so be it. What we do about it is more problematic, and I have no glib solution to offer.