Pakistan: Ally or Enemy?

Pakistan yesterday blocked NATO's primary supply line into Afghanistan in retaliation for an air strike that killed three Pakistani paramilitaries. Are the two countries truly allies?

Pakistan yesterday blocked NATO’s primary supply line into Afghanistan in retaliation for an air strike that killed three Pakistani paramilitaries.

As I note in my New Atlanticist piece on the subject, “Pakistan Blocks NATO Supply Lines, Testing Fragile Relationship,” it’s getting increasingly difficult to maintain the notion that Pakistan is America’s ally in the war in Afghanistan.  And vice-versa.

The reason, as [Marvin Weinbaum, formerly of the State Department and now with the Middle East Institute] explains, is that the two sides have a very different view of the situation. “The heart of the problem here is that the very people who we have seen as our enemies, like the Afghan Taliban, the so-called Haqqani network, the Hezb-i-Islami, these are all insurgent groups that were fighting in Afghanistan, that these very people are not viewed as the enemy by the Pakistan government.”  Instead, he explains, “The Pakistan government has for some time seen these people as a surrogate force in Afghanistan, particularly as they expect the Americans and their allies won’t be there over the long run.”

Weinbaum distinguishes, as do most experts in the region, the Afghan Taliban from the Pakistani Taliban, with whom the Pakistani government sees themselves “in a death struggle.”  But, from the standpoint of the United States, all these groups are the enemy and part of the same amorphous phenomenon.   And it’s getting very hard to keep pretending that we’re on the same page.

Complicating matters further, the democratically government continues to serve at the pleasure of the military, which  Weinbaum thinks will continue pulling the strings from the outside rather than retaking the reins in a coup.  “There’s really no reason for the military to want to regain formal power. At this point in time, the military gets just about everything it needs. It controls foreign policy. It controls – has a veto over domestic policy that in any way affects its interests. Why at this juncture would it want to take on the formal responsibility, particularly in a country where things have been going so badly?”

At the same time Zardari is getting pressured from the army, he must worry about public opinion, which is increasingly hostile to American strikes that flouts Pakistan’s sovereignty and kill its civilians.   Indeed, General Kiyani can rightly claim the mantle of popular support when pressuring Zardari on these matters.

In this morning’s Washington Post, Karen DeYoung and Karin Brulliard quote a senior Pakistani official on the view of the relationship with the United States fron Islamabad, “On the one hand, there is a genuine comfort level and a feeling of partnership – at least on the surface. But the Pakistan government and military are feeling very frustrated. They feel they are doing all they can in a very complicated domestic setup – a fragile democracy, more fragile after the floods – and that the U.S. doesn’t really care about anything besides [its own] needs. They are not true partners.”

And the Pakistani parliament issued a unanimous proclamation condemning yesterday’s attacks and Interior Minister Rehman Malik proclaimed, “we will have to see if they are allies or enemies.”

The answer, of course, remains Both.   But it’s getting increasingly hard to play that double game.

National War College professor Bernard Finel believes that, “if Pakistan fails to whole-heartedly support our efforts in Afghanistan it is game over.”  If that’s right, it was over from the start.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, World Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I think the best description is “belligerent, non-combatant”. The Pakistani government has always had its own interests and those include maintaining Punjabi dominance over the other groups. They’ve always been willing to accept our money as long as we’ve offered it.

    As I’ve documented previously without the land supply route through Pakistan, waging war in Afghanistan, already very expensive, becomes prohibitive.

    Here’s my question. Absent transit through Pakistan, does a return of the Taliban in Afghanistan or the feared return of Al Qaeda there pose a threat to us? If not, maybe we’re making war on the wrong enemy.

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    “If that’s right, it was over from the start.”

    Er yes.

    Pakistan is most definitely not our ally in any real sense. It’s a paid mercenary. The most analagous situation I can think of is that of the Condottiere in 15th century Italy. As long as the checks keep arriving they’ll go through the elaborate charade of besieging cities (the Swat valley), marching and counter marching, killing or capturing the odd rebels, and engaging in “negotiations.” But at bottom their own interests come first and when we occasionally do something stupid like firing rockets and miss then charity definitely begins at home. Quite apart from these basic dynamics the entire drone incursions program is totally self defeating. What self respecting nation is going to allow another to have drones entering their air space and dropping bombs. Would we? Now large checks might keep the totally corrupt Pakistani govt on board for part of the time but for the average Pakistani it’s intolerable (and there’s 175 million of them). In areas affected they can all hear them at night buzzing overhead and are frightened their house may be next; they regularly miss and produce own goals that embarass us and the corrupt govt which has to be seen to take some stand. It’s not a viable policy. I don’t totally blame the Pakistanis who have all sorts of problems of their own. The beginning of wisdom is for us to stop thinking we can impose our ideas on these places.

  3. Tano says:

    “Pakistan is most definitely not our ally in any real sense. …..But at bottom their own interests come first …”

    What is your concept of an “alliance”? That Pakistan would put our interests ahead of their own? Do we put their interests ahead of ours?
    All countries, all the time put their own interests first – unless they are truly subservient colonies.

    They are upset that we have been making it very obvious that they have given us permission to fight on their territory – an extremely delicate subject that raises issues of sovereignty and that their internal opponents can use to paint them as traitors and lackeys to the Americans. They are also upset at the frequency with which mistakes are made and the wrong people get killed.

    They block transportation for a day or so as a little protest, and it seems that people forget that they have allowed us to use their country as a staging ground for the last nine years. That they have allowed us to pursue the enemy on their territory. That they have taken serious casualties fighting successfully in the Swat valley and elsewhere.

    Yes, it is a bit more complicated than say, the US – UK alliance As a democracy, and a fragile one – as everyone notes – they have to navigate some very tricky domestic political waters. And it is true also that they had historical ties to the Taliban, just like we both had historical ties to the Mujahideen.. Unlike us though, they had to maintain relationships with these groups – they operate on Pakistani territory or just over the border, so they can’t be ignored. Nonetheless it is pretty clear that they are on our side of the battle. If there are complications in the Pakistani’s relations with the US, they pale in comparison to the enmity which has grown up between Pakistan and the Taliban/al Q forces.

    Do you really think that the Pakistanis can fight this “death struggle” with the Pakistan-based Taliban, and then see the Taliban just over the border in Afghanistan as allies?

  4. john personna says:

    It’s reminiscent of Mexico, right next door. We depend on the actions of semi-failed states.

  5. ratufa says:

    If our goal in Afghanistan is for that country not to be openly used as a base for terrorists to launch attacks against us, then Pakistan can be a lukewarm ally.

    If our goal in Afghanistan is for it to have an independent government that’s not heavily influenced by Pakistani interests such as, for example, policy towards India, then Pakistan cannot possibly be an ally in that goal and it’s folly to think it can.

    Sadly, the US has conflated the first goal with the second.

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    “What is your concept of an “alliance”?”

    That one should share the same basic goals and be willing to suspend or adjust certain national priorities in pursuit of achieving those shared aims. The Allies in WW 2 were hardly a marriage made in heaven but it worked because there was a central over riding goal that was ultimately based on self interest. The problem with the “alliance” between Pakistan and the US is that it is not based on mutual self interest. We’re paying them (or at least their totally corrupt leadership) to be a proxy in OUR fight against a) the Taliban over Afghan suzerainty and b) somewhat more loosely with Al Quaeda who share far more mutual beliefs with the mass of Pakistanis than we ever will.

  7. john personna says:

    Before you ask if the government in Pakistan (or Mexico) is fully in line with our interests, you should ask yourself if that government has full control of their country for their own interests. If the answer is no, it’s kind of ridiculous to expect consistently aligned action.

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:28
    “Before you ask if the government in Pakistan (or Mexico) is fully in line with our interests, you should ask yourself if that government has full control of their country for their own interests.”

    The marriage of conveniece between the Zardari govt and the military that governs Pakistan has totally effective control of the country including the borderlands with Afghanistan. The problem is that our interests are not aligned, it isn’t that their borderlands have fundamentalist elements (who are probably being covertly funded and controlled by the Pakistani military anyway). What exactly is the mutual national self interest that unites the US and Pakistan?

  9. PD Shaw says:

    The difference between a few years ago is that the U.S. has increased it’s use of the Northern supply routes. The U.S. used to send 80% of supplies through Karachi, now it’s 50%. Efforts are underway to open routes through China and Turkmenistan in the future. Source:

    http://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-comments/past-issues/volume-16-2010/august/northern-route-eases-supplies-to-us-forces-in-afghanistan/

    One problem though is this: “However, such is the volume of supplies that Peshawar has seen the shipments it handles more than double in 2010.”

  10. john personna says:

    There you go with one of your pronouncements, Joe.

    The marriage of conveniece between the Zardari govt and the military that governs Pakistan has totally effective control of the country including the borderlands with Afghanistan.

    Too bad I can’t believe it. Pakistan is currently ranked 10th on this failed states list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_state

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    “One problem though is this: “However, such is the volume of supplies that Peshawar has seen the shipments it handles more than double in 2010.”

    Well that would be because for seven years we had 30,000 troops in the country and it’s now 100,000.

  12. ponce says:

    “Efforts are underway to open routes through China…”

    yeah, right.

    Everybody knows the U.S. military and the C.I.A. have been playing a very stupid game in Pakistan for years.

    But seeing as the same fools created al Qaeda and the Taliban with their previous meddling in the region we shouldn’t be surprised, should we?

    This time it could have nuclear consequences though.

  13. Brummagem Joe says:

    john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:56
    “There you go with one of your pronouncements, Joe.”

    I wonder if you can function without personalizing stuff. The fact that Pakistan is a largely failed state doesn’t conflict at all with the fact its govt/military exercises effective control over the country. In fact such situations are very often the cause of the problem. Is North Korea a failed state? Does the govt of Kim Jong Il exercise total control over the country? But then you do have a penchant for believing your own speculations rather prima facie evidence.

  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Too bad I can’t believe it. Pakistan is currently ranked 10th on this failed states list:”

    BTW JP instead of as usual trying to prove something it’s too bad you didn’t look at the list of twenty failed states on the list you provided. They may be failed but a quick eyeball suggests that in many of them there’s no doubt the regime is in control.

  15. Tano says:

    “The Allies in WW 2 were hardly a marriage made in heaven but it worked because there was a central over riding goal that was ultimately based on self interest. ”

    Right, We had a common enemy, Germany. That was the ONLY basis for the arrangement.

    “…the “alliance” between Pakistan and the US is that it is not based on mutual self interest. We’re paying them (or at least their totally corrupt leadership) to be a proxy in OUR fight against a) the Taliban…”

    I don’t believe this to be true. As was quoted in James’s piece above, the Pakistani government is engaged in a “death struggle” with the Taliban. That sounds an awful lot like having a common enemy with us. And no, I do not think there is much of a real difference between the Taliban that are based in Pakistan and those over the border. Its all Pashtunistan and the two groups are far closer to each other than either is to anyone on our side.

    “The marriage of conveniece between the Zardari govt and the military that governs Pakistan has totally effective control of the country including the borderlands with Afghanistan.”

    What is the basis for that assertion? it flies in the face of almost everything I have ever read about the situation.

  16. PD Shaw says:

    From mid-August:

    “Pakistan’s main spy agency says homegrown Islamist militants have overtaken the Indian army as the greatest threat to national security, a finding with potential ramifications for relations between the two rival South Asian nations and for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. ”

    “A recent internal assessment of security by the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s powerful military spy agency, determined that for the first time in 63 years it expects a majority of threats to come from Islamist militants, according to a senior ISI officer.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703908704575433433670192748.html

  17. john personna says:

    Joe, I remind you of the consensus, you flatly assert that the consensus is wrong.

    More than that, you really try to paint the consensus as my problem somehow. That’s not the way you make a reasonable argument. You should argue the facts. And not, LOL, solve the problem by dismissing consensus out of hand.

    “Since 2005, the index has been published annually by the Fund for Peace and the magazine Foreign Policy” … but if Brummagem Joe says Foreign Policy is wrong, it must be!

    lol

  18. Brummagem Joe says:

    john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 12:30

    “Joe, I remind you of the consensus, you flatly assert that the consensus is wrong.”

    1) I said the govt/miltary of Pakistan are in control of their country

    2) you said this was unbelievable because they are listed as a failed state and produced a list of failed states most of whom are firmly under the control of their govts

    3) I pointed out there (and your own list proved) that because a state is failed it doesn’t mean their govt is not in control

    4) Cue: JP weaselling where he starts trying to move the goalposts and talking about vague “consensuses”. I don’t dispute Pakistan is a failed state (in fact I never mentioned it because it’s not germane to the point under discussion) but that does not mean that their govt is not in control of the country any more than say the govt of Burma is in control of their country which is also a failed state.

  19. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 12:26

    “I don’t believe this to be true. As was quoted in James’s piece above, the Pakistani government is engaged in a “death struggle” with the Taliban. ”

    Tano dear boy, did you read this in the above piece because if you did, you might want to read it again.

    “The reason, as [Marvin Weinbaum, formerly of the State Department and now with the Middle East Institute] explains, is that the two sides have a very different view of the situation.The heart of the problem here is that the very people who we have seen as our enemies, like the Afghan Taliban, the so-called Haqqani network, the Hezb-i-Islami, these are all insurgent groups that were fighting in Afghanistan, that these very people are not viewed as the enemy by the Pakistan government.”

    Tano:
    “What is the basis for that assertion? it flies in the face of almost everything I have ever read about the situation.”

    Since apparently you have difficulty understanding what you read I’m not surprised.

  20. john personna says:

    Joe, if you are going to hold minority views you should do so with a little more introspection, and self-knowledge.

    I started by saying Pakistan was a failed state, I ended saying Pakistan was a failed state.

    I feel totally safe in that, I don’t need to “weasel.”

    You see, when you try to move me to other positions, or featly reject what I’ve backed with good sources, you are only doing yourself harm.

  21. john personna says:

    Oh, wait did you claim that they could be failed but in control?

    Let’s read the actual definition:

    The term failed state is often used by political commentators and journalists to describe a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government. In order to make this definition more precise, the following attributes, proposed by the Fund for Peace, are often used to characterize a failed state:

    – loss of physical control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein,

    – erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions,

    – an inability to provide reasonable public services, and

    – an inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community.:

  22. Tano says:

    Brummagem Joe,

    What kind of a response was that? Calling me “dear boy” and trying to insult me? What is your problem?

    I made reference to the part of the quote that states that the Pakistan government is in a death struggle with the Pakistani Taliban. Nothing in the quote that you provide is contrary to that. It is part of the same quote, coming just before the part I posted.

    Weinbaum’s argument is that while the Pakistani government is fighting the Pakistani Taliban, they are not fighting the Afghani part over the border. And we, the US, see both parts as our enemy.

    You seem not to recognize or acknowledge the first part of that – namely that the US and Pakistan have a common enemy – the Pakistani Taliban, at the very least.

    And I explicitly challenge the notion that the Afghan Taliban is significantly distinguishable from the Pakistani Taliban. I do not believe that the Pakistani government sees the Taliban that are over the border as friends or allies.

    Now, if you disagree, then state the reasons why.

    And you could also try again at defending your assertion regarding the Pakistani government having control of all the border regions. Insulting me is not an argument.

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 13:21

    For those not awfully interested in keeping track of JP’s tedious weaselling this is what you actually said:

    1)john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:28
    Before you ask if the government in Pakistan (or Mexico) is fully in line with our interests, you should ask yourself if that government has full control of their country for their own interests.

    *********

    2) john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:56
    There you go with one of your pronouncements, Joe.

    The marriage of conveniece between the Zardari govt and the military that governs Pakistan has totally effective control of the country including the borderlands with Afghanistan.

    Too bad I can’t believe it. Pakistan is currently ranked 10th on this failed states list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_state

    *********

    As usual when I demonstrate that your points are without substance( in fact you actually proved it yourself) I’m urged to fall back on “introspection and self knowledge.” Yeah right. I’ll stick with the facts if you don’t mind.

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 13:31

    “And I explicitly challenge the notion that the Afghan Taliban is significantly distinguishable from the Pakistani Taliban. I do not believe that the Pakistani government sees the Taliban that are over the border as friends or allies.”

    Well the experts don’t agree with you. And I’m going to take their word for it over yours.

    “Weinbaum distinguishes, as do most experts in the region, the Afghan Taliban from the Pakistani Taliban, with whom the Pakistani government sees themselves “in a death struggle.”

    Apparently you only agree with the bits of this analysis that support your viewpoint the rest is wrong.

  25. ponce says:

    “Too bad I can’t believe it. Pakistan is currently ranked 10th on this failed states list”

    And Afghanistan is number 6
    And Iraq is number 7

    Well done America’s nation-builders.

    Medals all around.

  26. Brummagem Joe says:

    john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 13:26

    None of these generalisations means that the Pakistani military/govt aren’t in physical control of their landspace and population. They very definitely are in control and you said they weren’t. Your floundering is entertaining but not persuasive I fear.

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    ponce says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 13:56
    “And Afghanistan is number 6
    And Iraq is number 7”

    While I wouldn’t disagree that most belong on the list some of the rankings seem rather odd. I think I’d much rather live in Iraq or Pakistan than North Korea.

  28. John Personna says:

    Joe, holes. Digging.

  29. Brummagem Joe says:

    john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 13:26

    BTW JP the only one of these where Pakistan really doesn’t get a check mark is three.

    – loss of physical control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein,

    – erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions,

    – an inability to provide reasonable public services, and

    – an inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community.:

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    John Personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 14:11
    Joe, holes. Digging.

    Since this is what you call a well reasoned response, I’ll treat it with the respect it deserves.

  31. James Joyner says:

    None of these generalisations means that the Pakistani military/govt aren’t in physical control of their landspace and population. They very definitely are in control and you said they weren’t.

    I don’t believe anyone contends that the central government is in anything like effective control of the tribal areas.

  32. John Personna says:

    Joe, I started with a simple and moderate position. I knew that Pakistan was ranked as a failed state, and I knew what that meant. I’ve ended in that same position. I trust that group and Foreign Policy magazine.

    I don’t think it is outlandish to trust those sources, and yet you have been abusive.

    Seriouly, do you go off on everybody who believes that source and their criteria?

  33. Brummagem Joe says:

    John Personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 14:24
    “Joe, I started with a simple and moderate position.”

    You started off by claiming that the Pakistani govt/military were not in control of their country. Viz.

    “john personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:28
    Before you ask if the government in Pakistan (or Mexico) is fully in line with our interests, you should ask yourself if that government has full control of their country for their own interests.”

    And when I pointed out that they were you immediately personalized it as you always do when your questioned.

  34. John Personna says:

    What was criteria #1 Joe?

  35. Brummagem Joe says:

    “I don’t believe anyone contends that the central government is in anything like effective control of the tribal areas.”

    Jim, The truth is I don’t think we really know. These areas have always been restive from before Churchill rode out with Malakand field force. It’s also been known for years that these tribal groups and the Afghan Taliban are in the pay of the Pakistani military (I’ve actually visited the area about 18 years ago when things fairly quiet). These tribes remain jealous of their privileges and suspicious of govt interference but they always have been. There’s nothing new about that. What’s stirred things up is we’ve leaned on, bribed, the Pakistani govt /military with money and arms to go after anyone sheltering the Taliban insurgents who take sanctuary across the border in Pakistan. In the wider sense no one questions that military/political axis that governs Pakistan isn’t in control of it landspace, population and nukes. Or why was the PM of Pakistan sitting in Leon Panetta’s office yesterday? The Karzai admin is not in control of Afghanistan but that’s certainly not true of the Pakistani military political establishment. The fundamental problem with the “alliance” as the piece you posted makes absolutely clear is that the US and Pakistan don’t share the same mutual interests and that is a very shaky basis for collaboration.

  36. Brummagem Joe says:

    John Personna says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 14:33
    What was criteria #1 Joe?

    “- loss of physical control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein,”

    Well the fact is the Pakistani military/govt has NOT lost physical control of its territory or the legitimate use of physical force therein. Just because there are disturbances in areas where there have always been disturbances doesn’t mean the govt has lost control or otherwise you could have said the same about the UK and Northern Ireland for thirty years.

  37. Tano says:

    “…fact is the Pakistani military/govt has NOT lost physical control of its territory ”

    Technically true, but only in the sense that they never had effective control of parts of their territory.

    “you could have said the same about the UK and Northern Ireland for thirty years.”

    A ridiculous analogy.
    The tribes are not in revolt against an established oppressive governmental force. They have never been under effective control of the government in the first place.

  38. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 15:06
    “…fact is the Pakistani military/govt has NOT lost physical control of its territory ”

    Technically true, but only in the sense that they never had effective control of parts of their territory.The tribes are not in revolt against an established oppressive governmental force.”

    Yes they did have effective control. I’ve been there. There was a thriving small arms industry, schools were open, buses were running. No one was murdering policemen, blowing up buildings or particularly challenging authority as far as I could see. If it was “technical” then that’s true of just about every democracy which only functions with the consent of the governed. We’ve bribed or bullied the central govt of Pakistan to interfere in local affairs and it’s pissed off a lot of the locals. Rather as it would if the federal govt took over the state govt of Texas. And yep that’s exactly what there in revolt against. Things only blew up once the Pakistani govt sent in troops at the urging of the US to root out militants . You need to familiarise yourself with the sequence of events I think.

  39. Tano says:

    “Yes they did have effective control. I’ve been there”

    Where exactly were you?

  40. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 15:06

    Here’s a 101 on the area we’re talking about. All was basically quiet until we stuck our nose in after the invasion of Afghanistan. I’m quite sure the last thing Musharraf wanted to do was stir up this hornets nest.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waziristan

  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Where exactly were you?”

    Just an innocent businessman with an interest in the NW frontier visiting Pakistan. The area had a lot of foreign visitors in the early 90’s which alone demonstrates things were quiet. I’d heard about the small arms industry in Peshawar and the surrounding areas and someone took me for a look. They were still making Lee Enfield 303 ammunition. This whole area started coming apart coming apart in the mid 2000’s after the invasion of Afghanistan when firstly the Taliban took sanctuary and then the Musharraf govt was diplomatically pressured and bribed with money and arms to go into these tribal territories and shut down them down.

  42. Tano says:

    “No one was murdering policemen, blowing up buildings or particularly challenging authority as far as I could see.”

    That speaks to the area being under control It does not mean central government control.

    We’ve bribed or bullied the central govt of Pakistan to interfere in local affairs…”

    Ahm yeah…..to attempt to exert their control over an area that they never had effective control over.
    That was my point.

    “And yep that’s exactly what there in revolt against”

    Obviously.

    “Things only blew up once the Pakistani govt sent in troops at the urging of the US to root out militants . ”

    You don’t see to understand the whole thrust of this discussion. No one is arguing that the tribal lands were a conflict zone before the recent past. To some extent they were, but it is irrelevant. They may have been peaceful, but they were outside of the central government’s control. Your statement that the central government has/had effective control of these areas is false. You seem to be the only person who believes it is true.

  43. Tano says:

    “the Musharraf govt was diplomatically pressured and bribed with money and arms to go into these tribal territories”

    Once again – exactly the point. You dont need to “go into these….territories” if you are there all along – like say the British were in Ulster all along. What Musharraf did was more akin to mounting an invasion of a foreign land.

  44. ponce says:

    “the Musharraf govt was diplomatically pressured and bribed with money and arms to go into these tribal territories”

    NPR this morning said Musharraf is in the process of forming a new political party.

  45. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 16:27

    “Your statement that the central government has/had effective control of these areas is false. You seem to be the only person who believes it is true….What Musharraf did was more akin to mounting an invasion of a foreign land…. like say the British were in Ulster all along.”

    Probably because I’m the only person commenting here whose ever been there. These tribal territories were part of Pakistan and had been been since independance in 1947. Period. How they were administered IS a technicality not dissimilar from say the relationship of Puerto Rico and the US, or Hawaii before it became a state. And I can see you know as much about Northern Ireland as you do about Pakistan. Until 1972 NI was virtually another country within the UK with it’s own parliament at Stormont, PM, cabinet, police force etc. The Westminster govt’s responsibilities were limited to defence and external relations. When unrest got out of control the British govt had to shut down Stormont and take direct control (the exact phrase used at the time) of Northern Ireland. You might want to learn something about NI as well as Waziristan because it’s fairly obvious you don’t know diddly squat.

  46. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Friday, October 1, 2010 at 16:27

    “Your statement that the central government has/had effective control of these areas is false. You seem to be the only person who believes it is true”

    BTW Tano I think it would have been news to every Pakistani president from Mohammed Ali Jinnah to Musharraf that these territories were not part of Pakistan and that Musharraf was invading a “foreign land.”

  47. Brummagem Joe says:

    “NPR this morning said Musharraf is in the process of forming a new political party.”

    Personally I think it’s a pity Musharraf was ousted since he was probably the best of a bad bunch but the US panicked when Bhutto returned to Pakistan and effectively withdrew its support so he fell from power.

  48. Tano says:

    “that these territories were not part of Pakistan…”

    Huh? What on earth are you trying to do here? Who said they were not part of Pakistan? What kind of games are you trying to play. I said that the central government has never had effective control over the area.
    Its not a controversial opinion y’know – its one that is shared by everyone who knows anything about the area.

  49. Tano says:

    “You seem to be the only person who believes it is true….”
    “Probably because I’m the only person commenting here whose ever been there. ”

    I was not restricting my claim to only those people commenting here. You seem to be the only person I have ever heard of who believes that.

    “These tribal territories were part of Pakistan and had been been since independance in 1947.”

    Who ever said differently?

    “How they were administered IS a technicality not dissimilar from say the relationship of Puerto Rico and the US, or Hawaii before it became a state. ”

    Yes is is technically completely different. Puerto Rico and Hawaii had no ability whatsoever to defy the wishes of Washington. We exerted as much political control there as we wished to do.

    “Until 1972 NI was virtually another country within the UK with it’s own parliament at Stormont, PM, cabinet, police force etc.”

    Another country, eh? Once again – totally ridiculous. Northern Ireland was an inherent part of the United Kingdom. People would go back and forth like a New Yorker goes to Chicago. The laws of the UK fully applied in NI and were enforced to the same extent that they were in London.

    And this is in contrast to a region where the central government had no effective control whatsoever. Where the laws passed in Islamabad had no relevance and were unenforcable. Where attempts to extend central government control were undertaken a few times, always in the form of an invasion of army troops, and always unsuccessfully.

    If that reminds you of Northern Ireland or Puerto Rico, well, I think I am at a loss for any further words. Maybe you should run for the Senate for the Tea party or something….

  50. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 02:36

    “The laws of the UK fully applied in NI and were enforced to the same extent that they were in London.”

    Why do you keep demonstrating how little you know about these places?

    The Northern Ireland legislature passed many laws that applied only to NI while the outrageous and illegal electoral and other discriminatory abuses against minority catholics wouldn’t have been tolerated for a moment in mainland Britain.

    “Who ever said differently?”

    Er…You… as in “Musharraf (was) invading a foreign country”

    ” And this is in contrast to a region where the central government had no effective control whatsoever. ”

    This is simply incorrect. Pakistan administered these territories largely without serious incident for nearly sixty years after the British left. The first major troop incursions didn’t happen until the mid 2000’s. They may have sent small numbers of troops to quell minor disturbances from time to time (certainly nothing like happened after the Afghan invasion) but then so have we to places like Little Rock.

    You really need to do some homework on these places. In the meantime I’ll go and work on my Tea Party candidacy. Are you a member?

  51. Tano says:

    BJ,

    Why do you keep digging your hole deeper instead of say,,,,,coming up with some evidence for your absurd claim (aside from claiming that you made a short visit to the region 18 years ago)?

    “The Northern Ireland legislature passed many laws that applied only to NI ”

    Yeah, just like the California legislature passes many laws that apply only to CA. Does that mean that the federal government has no sway in CA?
    Geez, this is just dumb….

    “Pakistan administered these territories largely without serious incident for nearly sixty years after the British left”

    Here, I’ll get you started with the low hanging fruit – Wiki. Then you are on your own….
    good luck.

    ‘The region is only nominally controlled by the central and Federal government of Pakistan. The President of Pakistan has the authority only to implement the rules in [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] FATA.

    He appoints and nominates the Governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa who exercises the power of the president.

    The Constitution of Pakistan Governs FATA through the same rules which were left by British in 1901 as Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).

    The Jurisdiction of Supreme Court and High Court of Pakistan does not extend to FATA and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), according to Article 247 and Article 248, of existing 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.

    The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly has no power in FATA, and can only exercise its powers in PATA that are part of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The assembly cannot implement the law directly as it can do in other parts of the province or Settled Areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

    This has created a political vacuum in FATA, Frontier Regions and PATA, which serves the interests of terrorists very well, as there is absence of various government departments like police, judiciary, local governments, and civic amenities. There are no High Courts and Supreme Courts of Pakistan in Tribal Areas.”