Obama’s plan goes out the window

By Waqar Kauravi

26th Nov 2011 may be a turning point in US involvement in the Afpak region where the CIA guided operation against Pakistani posts of Salala has changed the strategic environment with an operation lasting for three hours only. What were the aims and objectives of this strike against the brave soldiers of the ally of the allies Pakistan and who gave the green signal for this shoddy but earth shaking raid. Had Mr Obama been forewarned that this raid could turn his election winning promise of bringing back GIs home into a non starter or there is a mid course correction being done to address the sensitivities of General David Patraeus who has shifted from Bagaram to Langley. So far no one has ventured to look into possibility of CIA playing it through a game of chaos to develop new opportunities in this losing war, and gamble the Afpak issue to create a stalemate and convert Pakistan from a whipping boy to the ultimate spoiler.

We have to go back to 2nd May and 20th Sep this year when two unfortunate incidents were orchestrated to put Pakistani military and Afghan peace makers on the defensive.OBL raid happened on 2nd May and was projected as the final shot in Obama’s strategy to get Al Quaida out, declare victory and start bringing the Yankees back, actually it created almost the reverse of what was desired by Barack Hussain Obama, it created the ultimate fissure between the US military and the Pakistani Military. The Pentagon Info war machine against Pakistan Army and ISI went into full throttle by media blitz of BBC,FOX,CNN with equal support from their proxies in Pakistani Media.

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2nd Phase of this scuttling strategy unfolded on 20th Sep, exactly fourteen days after General David H. Petraeus became the 20th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; the unfortunate assassination of Ustad Burhanuddin Rabbani. Jon Boone exclaimed in the Guardian as “Hopes of ending the war in Afghanistan through a negotiated settlement appeared in tatters.. after insurgents assassinated Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former president of Afghanistan appointed by Hamid Karzai to begin peace talks with the Taliban”. Burhanuddin Rabbani’s killing plunged Afghanistan peace effort into crisis, Pakistan and ISI were squarely blamed and the Pentagon Info Ops machine made so much noise that the crows of Ravi looked absolutely white.

With the grand finale yet to unfold, this scuttling strategy of General David Patraeus appears to be entering another phase. The timings of 26 Nov raid on Salala were well chosen, start of new Islamic year, end of first large scale military exercise between Pakistan and China and the battle noises against Iran. However the hpw Pentagon Info Ops machine opened her megaphone from Bush House a month before the raid on Salala. In this infamous BBC documentary entitled ‘Secret Pakistan,’ a number of middle-ranking Taliban commanders were trying to reveal that Pakistan’s security services provide weapons and training to the Taliban fighting US and British troops in Afghanistan. Mr Bruce Riedel called for an accountability of Pakistan Army and ISI and almost repeated Mike Mullen mantra of Haqqani Network as veritable arm of the ISI. Salala raid was a foxy venture on part of CIA and the US military to tell the world that Pakistan army and ISI were the ultimate culprits in this otherwise noble Long War and they needed some harsh treatment, irrespective of the consequences.

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What are the consequences, Pakistan has responded with grit and courage, Bonn Conference has become a joke, Russia has threatened to stop the northern route completely choking the NATO logistics, Iran found the courage to throw the MI6 cohorts out of Tehran and Obama’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan has been thoroughly scuttled. The GIs hoping to meet their families in the coming Charismas will have to do it through e mails, skyping and twitting, thanks to ego satisfying venture of General David Patraeus. Someone needs to do psychoanalysis of the retired General who has been collapsing in public a number of times before.

Advising someone like Obama and General David Patraeus is not my purview, what I can do is to quote a white man, may be an African American in the White House and a White American in Langley pay heed to it. Former CIA station chief ,Robert L. Grenier wrote an objective Op Ed ‘Pakistan Going Rouge’ in Al Jazeera on 1st December, few extracts from his piece are posted here, “The United States has some fundamental choices to make in South Asia, and they will not be easy. The US may be on a glide path to a proportionate and sustainable presence in Afghanistan, but the two years between now and 2014 is longer than anyone can afford to wait. The US is hoping that during those two years it can achieve through a political settlement something close to the maximal goals that force of arms could not, and it expects Pakistan to help deliver it. These are not only vain hopes, but ones whose stubborn pursuit threatens disastrous consequences…Pakistan is, at best, a maddening and frustrating ally. Its combination of poor leadership and social and political weakness make it far more capable of harming US interests than of constructively contributing to them. But the current course is leading to disaster. In the end, by any objective measure, the US has far more at stake in Pakistan than it does in Afghanistan. This is the central, organising policy principle which Washington must grasp, before it is too late.”