Friday, July 30, 2010

The United States Must Grow Up On Pakistan

By Michael Scheuer, The Diplomat, July 26, 2010

—Major efforts to slow the growth of Islamist radicalism and violence in the country’s economic, agricultural and industrial heartland in the Sindh and Punjab. This will require a modus Vivendi with the tribes on the western border that encourages them—with subventions of (probably US) money, weaponry and other support—to stop attacking in Pakistan proper and begin aiding their Afghan brethren against Karzai.

—Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI) will try to mend fences with Pashtuns on both sides of the border, and influence them to attack Karzai’s regime, NATO forces, and Indian targets, all in an effort to hurry NATO’s defeat and help the Islamists to retake power in Kabul. This is the only long-term result that meets Pakistan’s national security needs.

—The Army will reduce the lethality of its tribal-area operations as its contribution to ending the civil war Musharraf ignited. No doubt Kayani will keep the Army active in the tribal lands, but only with Potemkin operations meant to keep US aid flowing while not further alienating the Pashtuns. This tack also will start to ease the deep discontent in the Army over being tasked to kill Muslims for US infidels.

—Zidari and Kayani will seek promises from Riyadh to financially assist Pakistan if Washington cuts aid to Pakistan. Since Islamabad’s goal of replacing Karzai with a Taliban-like regime is compatible with Saudi and Gulf state foreign-policy goals—indeed, much of the Taliban’s funding is from the Gulf—such a pledge from Riyadh is likely. As a sweetener, the Pakistanis will help insert young Gulf jihadis returning from Iraq or graduating from so-called reeducation camps into Afghanistan to fight US-NATO forces.

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