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View Full Version : Geopolitical shift in South Asia - Fallout from Bin Ladens death.



Wayfarer
04 May 11,, 14:08
This is the biggest thing to international relations in a while. Mostly concerning American-Pakistan relations. Now lets see a few things. Why will the American-Pakistan relationship collapse first?

- Pakistani complicity regarding Osama Bin Laden.

The Mansion

Lets review the facts before we speculate. Osamas mansion was 700 metres away from a Pakistani military academy akin to West Point, AND was located in a cantonment residential zone reserved for ex-Army officers and ex-intelligence officers. I'll provide sources very soon, but bear with me. Now, of all people, I'd expect army officers and intelligence officials to be curious of the purpose of a mansion amidst an upper-class district. Particularly one with fenced walls and one that burnt trash regularly. The mansion itself was constructed by the ISI in 2005. The property was checked ONCE by the Pakistanis, and apparently no red flags were raised because they didn't return.

From the neighbours.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... bours.html

Note Pakistani opinion on Bin Laden.


The operation

4 M-64 Pavehawks (modified versions) loaded with Delta-6 Navy Seals headed off to the compound. It is
1) technologically feasible, Pavehawks have an operational range of 445 kilometres, added to this is the in-flight refueling capability and ability to mount external fuel tanks. American air bases in eastern Afghanistan, the closest is around 300 kilometres away
2) Pakistani radar and detection CANNOT detect helicopters flying 20 metres above the ground - see physics, the doppler effect and the ability of radar to detect it. It would have the same signature as a parked car.
3) The majority of Pakistani air-defense and EWS (Early Warning systems) are aimed at India, a major strategic concern for Pakistan.
4) Pakistani SAM batteries and missile defense would be hard pressed first, to identify and distinguish between a PAF Chinook and a U.S Pavehawk in the middle of the night. Radar signatures identical, assuming they even manage to get a signal. Relying the okay for a strike would require approval from the Chain of Command - a long process.
5)Repeated incursions of Pakistani airspace have been reported, an Indian UAV managed to stay aloft around 2 hours before notice. In addition, PAF scrambled jets only 30 MINS AFTER THE US forces had left the compound.

The Reaction
1) Obama denied Pakistani involvement
2) Al-Zardari denied Pakistani co-operation.


Which would lead us to believe

1) The U.S doesn't trust Pakistan.
2) Pakistan had no hand in providing information to the U.S on Obamas whereabouts, and given the picture I painted earlier about his location... well do I have to spell it out? I'll do so.

Either Pakistani intelligence is so inept that they couldn't locate Osama right under their noses, given the nature of the ISI I highly, highly doubt that.
Or Pakistani intelligence aided and abetted Osama and either turned a blind eye to his existence, or actively aided his position.

Lets go back to the original point. The impact of this on relations with Pakistan. Congress is fuming. Fuming. Now, at current, aid will not be withdrawn. Lets look on a larger timescale and frame. Post-Afghan withdrawal. We can assume safely that all aid will stop and be cut off. In light of this event anyway. The U.S has been hard-pressed to justify its aid to Pakistan, but given this, they will have to seriously reconsider this position. There are calls for slashing aid. After the Afghan withdrawal we are looking at an end to the U.S-Pakistan relationship and can and will see a resumption in Indo-US relationship, albeit more vigorously. In addition to shifting the game in South Asia, the potential for Pakistan to become a failed state is present.

A) Will the U.S allow Pakistan to become a failed state, and threaten Afghani stability bought at a very high price (and still not certain)?
B) Will Pakistan forsake the U.S as an ally (or vice-versa) and seek aid from China, and will China consent or profit from such an arrangement (Note chinese acquisition of resources, particularly lithium, in Afghanistan, and Pakistani PM Gilanis claim that South Asia should be Sino-centric and abandon American support.
C) If B) happens, the U.S and India will be forced together, and a convergence of interests (Chinese encirclement of India and the U.S inclinement to see China strategically penned in)
D) Are we looking at South Asia being the proxy strategic battleground between U.S and America, as opposed to the Taiwanese straits that everyone is keen to raise?


South Asia may well become the hotbed for the proxy strategic jousting between China and the U.S. Camps being India and the U.S, China and Pakistan.

Comments released by Gilani (Pakistani PM)point to this, when he mentioned that China would be welcome in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and derided constant American inteference.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/0503/ ... 8page%29/2

Yousuf Gilani might accept Manmohan Singh?s invite for India-Pak semifinal #wc11 (http://www.west-bengal.com/world/yousuf) ... 03982.html

Sources for previous statements.

(Pakistan ruling out Pakistan)http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/03/pakistan-says-had-no-knowledge-of-us-bin-laden-raid.html
(bullshit magnet piece here)Pakistan intelligence official admits failure in Osama saga as suspicions deepen - International Business Times (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/140763/20110503/pakistan-isi-qaeda-osama-us.htm#ixzz1LJ7bSnjC)
(Jets scrambled) Political Punch (http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch) ... -team.html
(US ruling out Pakistan)CIA Chief on Osama Raid: U.S. Ruled Out Involving Pakistan | Swampland (http://swampland.time.com/2011/05/03/cia-chief-breaks-silence-u-s-ruled-out-involving-pakistan-in-bin-laden-raid-early-on/?hpt=T2)

Most recently, from Tajikistan :

Wikileaks doc: Tajikistan warned U.S. that Pakistan was protecting Bin Laden « Hot Air (http://hotair.com/archives/2011/05/02/wikileaks-doc-tajikistan-warned-u-s-that-pakistan-was-protecting-bin-laden/)

Mihais
05 May 11,, 10:53
Gents,since the other thread has turned into a mess,with acusations,excuses etc... rational talk is not possible.
OBL was not an asset wrt Pakistani activities and prospects in Afghanistan and for all we know it was not possible to be used in other operations of their own.Even if Pakistani establishment or elements from it were interested in cooperating with the islamists,OBL was not useful since he ceased being an actor.AQ has turned into a franchise.For all its purposes,OBL had outlived his practical utility.The only thing that he had was the emotional impact upon the American people and that in itself can be used to change geopolitical games.From any other pov keeping OBL alive and well is like holding a hot potato.
We agreed here that the US won't stay for long in A-stan and that the Pakistanis will eventually try to get a proxy gov. in Kabul,be they the Taliban,Karzai or the Klingons.No Pakistani will say this officially,but there it is.
The US however will not retreat unless some sort of victory(even an imaginary one)is achieved.

While I agree that nothing of substance connects US and Pakistan any longer,they are however linked in the effort to keep face.Aid will be cut anyway.
The Pakistanis have to play stupid.To say anything else is to admit they are either criminals or to show their true interests,neither which looks good(looking stupid is less damnable).Thus,if my view is correct,the present mood an US and the subsequent pressures will lead to Pakistani ''reforms'',''changes'',etc...Pak will turn into a ''real'' partner and play the good guy with a new found ''conviction''.Hence,US will have its ''victory'',Pakistan will have its own,according to their view(the price will be a few guys from the Army or ISI).

If I am wrong,we'll see the B-2's wiping out PAF.

rj1
05 May 11,, 15:05
OBL was not an asset wrt Pakistani activities and prospects in Afghanistan and for all we know it was not possible to be used in other operations of their own.Even if Pakistani establishment or elements from it were interested in cooperating with the islamists,OBL was not useful since he ceased being an actor.AQ has turned into a franchise.For all its purposes,OBL had outlived his practical utility.The only thing that he had was the emotional impact upon the American people and that in itself can be used to change geopolitical games.From any other pov keeping OBL alive and well is like holding a hot potato.

We agreed here that the US won't stay for long in A-stan and that the Pakistanis will eventually try to get a proxy gov. in Kabul,be they the Taliban,Karzai or the Klingons.No Pakistani will say this officially,but there it is.
The US however will not retreat unless some sort of victory(even an imaginary one)is achieved.

Fine and dandy, two issues.

1.) If bin Laden had no useful purpose, why would elements apparently be hiding him nearby? Wouldn't they instead cash him out as one poster here put it?
2.) Who is actually running the country of Pakistan? This entire situation is down to power struggles I think and the Pakistani left hand not knowing what the Pakistani right hand is doing. So who is choosing the proxy government in Afghanistan, the left hand or right hand? One's good and the other's bad.

Mihais
05 May 11,, 16:02
1.Most of the hooha right now is Pak was harboring OBL.My view is that he was their prisoner.A luxury prisoner,even with some allowance to talk a bit with his network,but a prisoner nonetheless.Anything else makes no sense(except if the Pakistanis as a whole or even of the factions are suicidal).Pak elite is playing a game with the 2 forces,the US and its internal fundamentalism.Pakistani forces getting OBL could not bring any real benefit with the US,but it would have been detrimental in their effort to ride the fundamentalist faction.US forces doing the job on the other pleases the US and covers Pak's rear end.If the US really got OBL on its own,IMO it did so to prevent being indebted to Pakistan in a near future.
2.Even if Pak had a hand in the US killing of OBL or not,Pakistani blood will flow.Some guys will be sacrificed.That is the power game inside Pakistan.Who's who in this mess is yet to be revealed.Most probably some guys at mid level will be presented as rogues etc... IMO,its duly deserved for their messing up with our effort in A-stan(but has too little relevance).

Of course,that's my view given the current intel.

rj1
05 May 11,, 18:19
1.Most of the hooha right now is Pak was harboring OBL.My view is that he was their prisoner.A luxury prisoner,even with some allowance to talk a bit with his network,but a prisoner nonetheless.

Is the difference between harboring him and keeping him a "luxury prisoner" a bit of semantics? If they kept him prisoner and didn't tell the U.S. as he lived fairly well off, how's that not harboring?


Anything else makes no sense (except if the Pakistanis as a whole or even of the factions are suicidal).

I've been reading some Pakistani-focused defense boards, wouldn't necessarily rule that out. :D


Pak elite is playing a game with the 2 forces,the US and its internal fundamentalism. Pakistani forces getting OBL could not bring any real benefit with the US, but it would have been detrimental in their effort to ride the fundamentalist faction. US forces doing the job on the other pleases the US and covers Pak's rear end. If the US really got OBL on its own, IMO it did so to prevent being indebted to Pakistan in a near future.

Can't say I blame them. Although the sooner the American soldiers are gone, i.e. pacification in Afghanistan and bin Laden dead, Pakistan can return to normal whatever they consider normal to being. So why would Pakistan's elite want to delay that since us being there is by no means popular?

But honestly though, why would the Pakistanis choose to look so incompetent? If you're the Indian army and intelligence forces today and you're focused on the Pakistanis, aren't you looking across the border this week and laughing?

citanon
05 May 11,, 19:35
From the American perspective I think there are three big questions:

1. Do we need to reorient against Pakistan or is it better to continue the complex status quo?
2. Should our developing relationship with India now expand to emphasize closer military and intelligence cooperation, in part against Pakistan?
3. Does the two steps above necessitate a pull out from Afghanistan?

InExile
05 May 11,, 21:49
What if the US extends it nuclear umbrella to cover India as well?? Make it clear to Pakistan that if they launch a nuclear missile at India in a first strike, or are even caught assembling their nukes (which are in component forum) the US will use all means necessary to secure or destroy all of Pakistan's nuclear assets, including if necessary a nuclear strike.

Ofcourse something like this is hugely advantageous to India; but it is the nuclear bluff that enables Pakistan to take risks that even countries like Iran or North Korea would not take; like perhaps harboring OBL and other most wanted terrorists. Without its nuclear blackmail Pakistan would have much lesser leverage; and would be forced to be more careful of terrorist attacks planned from their soil.

Double Edge
05 May 11,, 22:30
What if the US extends it nuclear umbrella to cover India as well?? Make it clear to Pakistan that if they launch a nuclear missile at India in a first strike, or are even caught assembling their nukes (which are in component forum) the US will use all means necessary to secure or destroy all of Pakistan's nuclear assets, including if necessary a nuclear strike.
What is the price India has to pay for this umbrella ?

InExile
05 May 11,, 22:51
A military alliance, something like countries that do have the US nuclear umbrella.

But other than that; it seems that the US will leave Afghanistan without defeating the Taliban sooner or later. When that happens, if India could act more freely against terrorist threats in the region without the fear of nuclear blackmail; it might be in the US interest. Maybe wishful thinking; but current policy is not working very well for both the US and India I think.

Double Edge
05 May 11,, 22:52
Why will the American-Pakistan relationship collapse first?
When ?


The Reaction
1) Obama denied Pakistani involvement
2) Al-Zardari denied Pakistani co-operation.
All in Pakistan's interest.


Which would lead us to believe

1) The U.S doesn't trust Pakistan.
2) Pakistan had no hand in providing information to the U.S on Obamas whereabouts, and given the picture I painted earlier about his location... well do I have to spell it out?
Hillary has already acknowledged Pakistani assistance in getting OBL. Now what exactly the nature of that assistance was is an open question. But you do not find a needle in a haystack as large as Pakistan without their help. Late as it is in the day, like it or not, OBL was caught and they delivered him.


Either Pakistani intelligence is so inept that they couldn't locate Osama right under their noses, given the nature of the ISI I highly, highly doubt that.
Or Pakistani intelligence aided and abetted Osama and either turned a blind eye to his existence, or actively aided his position.
yes & yes


There are calls for slashing aid. After the Afghan withdrawal we are looking at an end to the U.S-Pakistan relationship and can and will see a resumption in Indo-US relationship, albeit more vigorously. In addition to shifting the game in South Asia, the potential for Pakistan to become a failed state is present.
And this is why the US will not sever connections with Pakistan. They did that in the 90s and had to come back 10 years later to fix the mess. Should history repeat itself or is it just historians.


A) Will the U.S allow Pakistan to become a failed state, and threaten Afghani stability bought at a very high price (and still not certain)?
no


B) Will Pakistan forsake the U.S as an ally (or vice-versa) and seek aid from China, and will China consent or profit from such an arrangement (Note chinese acquisition of resources, particularly lithium, in Afghanistan, and Pakistani PM Gilanis claim that South Asia should be Sino-centric and abandon American support.
No, because then they would be completely at the mercy of the Chinese. All eggs in one basket. Look at the way they played the game so far, one party against the other, all about balance.

fundies vs US
US vs China
China vs India
Taliban vs Karzai
Taliban vs US
Fundies vs moderates
Sunni vs Shia
Muslim vs non-muslim

See the pattern. They'd make excellent lawyers, very capable at profiting out of the fights of others.


C) If B) happens, the U.S and India will be forced together, and a convergence of interests (Chinese encirclement of India and the U.S inclinement to see China strategically penned in)
See previous answer


D) Are we looking at South Asia being the proxy strategic battleground between U.S and America, as opposed to the Taiwanese straits that everyone is keen to raise?
N/A

You want to ask how India can exploit this rift. To do that you have to first gauge the size of this rift. Too early to say for now.

Dago
05 May 11,, 23:05
Pakistani ISI have had far greater contacts with the Taliban, and thus AQ, than any other Government in the World. There is a history here of previous support between the ISI and the Taliban. It's not unlikely to think of complicity of elements within the Pakistan government in fact it's very difficult to think that there was none when you have the most wanted terrorist in the world living in one of most noble neighborhood's of Pakistan. It's also safe to assume, any previous contacts or support, these officials could be residing here now. As they, in the time of there power would be active when they had extremely close relationship.

Double Edge
05 May 11,, 23:19
A military alliance, something like countries that do have the US nuclear umbrella.
For that to happen India has to be ready to expend blood & treasure for the US.

We're growing closer, friends sure, but what you are talking about is becoming allies.

Do you recall how close the nuke deal came to passing and that was only about buying american reactors.


But other than that; it seems that the US will leave Afghanistan without defeating the Taliban sooner or later. When that happens, if India could act more freely against terrorist threats in the region without the fear of nuclear blackmail; it might be in the US interest. Maybe wishful thinking; but current policy is not working very well for both the US and India I think.
I can see the goal you are trying to achieve just having difficulty finding the path to get there.

Double Edge
05 May 11,, 23:38
Pakistani ISI have had far greater contacts with the Taliban, and thus AQ, than any other Government in the World. There is a history here of previous support between the ISI and the Taliban. It's not unlikely to think of complicity of elements within the Pakistan government in fact it's very difficult to think that there was none when you have the most wanted terrorist in the world living in one of most noble neighborhood's of Pakistan.
Right, and all the squirters end up in Pakistan at some point. Why ? because there are sympathisers.

Am getting the impression that too much is being made of the fact he was in this or that neighbourhood. Musharraf said they had handed over 100s of Al-Q operatives as well as lower leaders over the years. They were all found in Pakistan. Where was the hoo-ha with that. Haqqani's & Quetta Shura are there so is Zawahiri.

The question that matters is whether they get turned in or not. Unfortunatley the time factor does not come into it at all. And if thats the case then am doubting the supposed rift between the US & Pakistan over this affair is enough to adversely affect a several decades long relationship.

Rebuttals ?


It's also safe to assume, any previous contacts or support, these officials could be residing here now. As they, in the time of there power would be active when they had extremely close relationship.
Yep

troung
06 May 11,, 02:57
Behind the scenes in Af-Pak-Ind, and places in-between
05 May 2011 - 11h29
Osama’s gone, Pakistan drones on and Afghanistan is the biggest loser
Osama (http://afpakind.blogs.france24.com/article/2011/05/05/osama-s-gone-pakistan-drones-and-afghanistan-biggest-loser-0)
The meeting was fixed last month and would have gone unnoticed outside Af-Pak wonk circles. But then Osama bin Laden was found right under the Pakistani military’s nose and suddenly reporters on the ground were dashing for the post-meeting presser while their bosses were interrupting regular programming to go live to Islamabad.

Last month, we were told that Marc Grossman - the man who replaced the late Richard Holbrooke as US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan – would be in Islamabad May 3 to attend “the first-ever trilateral meeting” between US, Afghan and Pakistani reps to try to seek a joint resolution to the Afghan conflict.

In other words: snore.

But then barely 24 hours before the three-party talks, bin Laden was gunned down in his luxury Abbottabad lair (or haveli as it’s called in these parts) around the corner from the Pakistan Military Academy, the country’s West Point-meets-Sandhurst.



Suddenly, nobody was in the mood for the old discourse on diplomatic resolutions anymore.

US-Pakistani relations had hit an all-time low. The questions were deadly serious.
Was the Pakistani security- intelligence apparatus incompetent or duplicitous?

We’ve heard the Pakistani security incompetence spiel before. It goes like this: We’re doing our best, thousands of brave Pakistani troops have fallen in the fight against our common enemies, we just don’t know where your most-wanted man-of-the-moment is currently hiding because… you know… we have these tribal border badlands we barely administer …

But as shocked neighbors around the Abbottabad haveli told news teams that their IDs were routinely checked before they could enter the well secured neighborhood, the incompetence argument was starting to look flimsy.



Collusion between Pakistan’s famously shadowy spy network and its famously well-endowed extremist networks seemed more likely.

Three questions only

And so, the world’s attention was on Grossman - along with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Javed Ludin – as they faced the news pack at the Pakistani Foreign Office Tuesday.



Given the time constraints, the three men will take only three questions please, announced the stern lady policing the conference.

First question to the Pakistani journalist at the back of the chandeliered room. It’s a “very specific question” on US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Grossman, the charm-challenged US envoy, replies with Washington’s customary, “I’m not going to discuss drone strikes” line.

Second question, a two-part query from another Pakistani journalist. First part: where’s the proof of bin Laden’s death? Second part: about US drone attacks violating Pakistani territorial integrity...

Drone on, drone strikes.

Grossman, the charm-challenged US envoy, replies with Washington’s customary, “I’m not going to discuss drone strikes” line.

Finally, the third question, by an Al Jazeera English correspondent, was about the trust deficit between the US and Pakistan. But then one opinionated hack somewhere in the room launched into a loud but indecipherable tirade, leaving an embarrassed Bashir to round up the presser with a quotable, but useless, “the issue of Osama bin Laden is history”.

How to win more US military aid by mobilizing the anti-drone campaign

I can’t calculate how many hours of my life have been spent listening to rants about US drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan.

Don’t get me wrong, nobody in their right mind wants the nasty package deal of drone strikes that includes a collateral damage of civilian casualties that undermine US legitimacy in the region.

So, when my friends in the human rights community groan about drone strikes, I hear them out because they have a point.

But for the Pakistani press posse to drone on about US drone strikes a day after their military and their government have been exposed for their incompetent, possibly duplicitous role in their anti-extremist fight is particularly rich.

For Pakistani establishment figures to play the old sovereignty and territorial integrity card in a country where prime terrorist territory is barely controlled is a farce.



The divide between the anti-terror experts and the human rights community is particularly wide on the business of US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Expert after expert has told me that the strikes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal frontier regions have been effective in crippling militant networks.

Some maintain that behind-the-scenes, the Pakistani authorities are cooperating with the US on drone strikes although they loudly and publicly declare their opposition to it.

I’m not so sure if the Pakistani military establishment is pro-drone strikes and is cooperating with the US on it. Certainly after the bin Laden killing, I find US intelligence more actionable than Pakistani intel.

If, however, the Pakistani military establishment is cooperating behind-the-scenes while publicly decrying drone strikes, that’s just another case of official Pakistani failure to come clean.

But the biggest opposition to US drone strikes in Pakistan comes from the right wing religious parties and these are the ones who invariably do the military’s bidding.

The Pakistani mobilization against drone strikes has all the hallmarks of an organized campaign: exaggerated but widely disseminated civilian death figures, extensive media outreach and wait, here comes the clincher: a sweet military aid deal for the generals.

It’s not something you’re likely to come across too often, so sit up and pay attention.

The Pakistani military establishment has been so effective in drumming up the anti-drone campaign – especially during visits by senior US officials – that the US is contemplating providing the Pakistani military 85 small "Raven" drone aircraft as a palliative for being left out of the aerial loop in the tribal areas.



Yep, it’s the time-tested bedrock of US-Pakistani relations over the past six decades: Pakistan wants, Pakistan whines, the US concedes, the US pays. It goes through fits and starts and often involves a complicated dance, but in the end, as Steve Coll put it, Washington decides that Pakistan is like AIG – too big to fail.
And so US officials cough up another tax dollar gift for an unreliable partner.

Hopelessly failing to buy the love

In recent times, Washington has tried a different tack on an old theme: providing aid – a whopping $7.5 billion over five years – to buttress Pakistan’s civilian government.

That’s around $1.5 billion for 2010 alone and already the news sites are awash with aid-failure stories.

I’ve been on this path so many times before. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, there was much talk of developing the Pakistani education system so that poor families don’t have to pack their boys off to the local madrassas.

I interviewed ADB (Asian Development Bank) officials, World Bank officials – they’ve all been there, done that - and nothing changes.

It’s the sweet optimism of Americans – a naiveté the Pakistani establishment understands all too well – that compels US pundits to say that if we did this better, if we did not repeat past mistakes, we can make a difference this time.

In other words, US experts join Pakistani experts and non-experts in the favorite game on the subcontinent: blaming the US.

So far, the $1.5 billion earmarked for last year – only $179.5 million of which was disbursed due to chronic corruption and bureaucracy – has not done a damn thing to change Pakistani perception of the US.

It’s a long story, I’ve covered it before, I won’t get into now. Except for the latest conspiracy twist in how the bin Laden demise is being viewed in Pakistan.

Apparently many Pakistanis these days believe the whole bin Laden incident was just a ruse to portray the country in a bad light - that the al Qaeda chief was never in that Abbottabad compound in the first place, the operation was dreamed up so “the whole world can now point fingers at Pakistan.”



Seven-and-a-half billion US dollars for this bullshit.

Afghanistan neglected, manipulated in the mix - again

The most telling omission in this tale is the complete sidelining of Afghanistan in the latest fracas.

Tuesday’s news conference was about seeking a trilateral solution to end the Afghan conflict that has been fueled, funded and supported by Pakistan.

But not one question was posed to poor Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ludin, who stood gamely on the sidelines, watching his country neglected and manipulated – once more – by Pakistani interests.

With bin Laden gone, there’s renewed talk of a US pullout from Afghanistan.
Among other talking points, the trilateral meeting nudged forward a harebrained solution to the Afghan conflict that’s being pushed by the erratic, unstable Afghan President Hamid Karzai, one that also happens to be particularly appealing to Pakistan: Negotiating with the Taliban.

Negotiating with whom? Mullah Omar? Does that mean the ISI will finally ‘fess up to where they’re shielding the Taliban chief?



Who else? Jalaluddin Haqqani, Islamabad’s favorite militant in Afghanistan? Or Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a man so untrustworthy he bumps off friends and foes as the mood takes him? Ol’ Gulbuddin is another Pakistan favorite. Islamabad after all handed him the chunk of the CIA Cold War budget to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Nothing like an old friend on the western front.

And so, while many experts are contemplating a game-changer in US-Pakistani relations after bin Laden’s death, I’m predicting nothing new.

Washington will continue to try to buy the love in a country that has turned US-bashing into a fine art. Pakistan will continue to try to undermine Afghan aspirations to secure a peaceful future for their war-torn country. The US will ultimately abandon Afghanistan because Washington has no will to question the very basis of US-Pakistani relations that were formulated during the Cold War. And everyone will blame the USA for the mess we’re in.