Saturday, August 02, 2008

Barking at the dog - Bush and Pakistan

I am seeing a lot of traffic on this blog and like-minded writers on the "confrontation" that Bush had with Gilani. I think we all need to breath hard and calm down. Nothing is going to come of this - besides Indians getting excited for a while.

Here is how I see the force configuration

1 - That the ISI is supporting Taliban is not news to the Yanks - they were doing it even when Musharraf was in power.

2- They cannot confront Musharraf - or rather the army - which is the real institution wielding real hard power in Pakistan. Even in this round of "dressing down" you hear of no American commander meeting the army brass and giving them hell

The Yanks remind me of the braggart who barks at the neighbors dog and then says that he kicked that "son of a bitch" (meaning his neighbor of course)

3- There will be escalation in violence now in Afghanistan and India (ceasefire violations, embassy bombings, serial bombings in Indian cities) - reason? Not too hard to see.
Once they are out of political office - the Army-ISI-wallahs wield power without responsibility. Gilani's first term will be ten time worst than Bhutto's first term. The Pak Army, ISI will "raise the tempo" (a Mirza Aslam Beg term) - leaving Gilani and the rest to face the music and take global blame.

Remember that Gilani failed in his attempt (some say he was set-up) to assert control over the ISI. The Army's interest is in keeping his government enfeebled.

This opinion piece is worth reading - though Irfan Hussain places too much faith in the Yanks than is warranted.

Weakening the Army-ISI is a very long term project and I doubt the Yanks have the staying power. The army-ISI controls most of Pakistan's economy as well as the drug trade. If Yankee dollars dry up - China will step in. The Yanks cannot see this happen - they need Pakistan to watch Central Asia and China.

The only thing that can happen is hot pursuit by the Yanks into FATA/NWFP or some predator based strikes. American options are limited.

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