President Bush’s senior national security advisers are debating whether to expand the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The debate is a response to intelligence reports that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are intensifying efforts there to destabilize the Pakistani government, several senior administration officials said.
Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a number of President Bush’s top national security advisers met Friday at the White House to discuss the proposal, which is part of a broad reassessment of American strategy after the assassination 10 days ago of the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. There was also talk of how to handle the period from now to the Feb. 18 elections, and the aftermath of those elections.
Several of the participants in the meeting argued that the threat to the government of President Pervez Musharraf was now so grave that both Mr. Musharraf and Pakistan’s new military leadership were likely to give the United States more latitude, officials said. But no decisions were made, said the officials, who declined to speak for attribution because of the highly delicate nature of the discussions. Many of the specific options under discussion are unclear and highly classified. Officials said that the options would probably involve the C.I.A. working with the military’s Special Operations forces.
The Bush administration has not formally presented any new proposals to Mr. Musharraf, who gave up his military role last month, or to his successor as the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who the White House thinks will be more sympathetic to the American position than Mr. Musharraf. Early in his career, General Kayani was an aide to Ms. Bhutto while she was prime minister and later led the Pakistani intelligence service.
But at the White House and the Pentagon, officials see an opportunity in the changing power structure for the Americans to advocate for the expanded authority in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country. “After years of focusing on Afghanistan, we think the extremists now see a chance for the big prize – creating chaos in Pakistan itself,” one senior official said. (ht2 Danny Schechter)
And in part it is nuclear armed because…they helped that happen, deliberately/mistakenly? Sibel Edmonds revelations certainly show some high level involvement and no one has been arrested for their part. Probably they’d rather Musharraf could have handled things for them but now top management has to step in and Pakistan goes from client to…police action? Negroponte was there in December which is never a good sign. And bingo up pops new puppet on the block Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani-
When Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte visited Pakistan last weekend, he met once with President Pervez Musharraf, for two hours. But before he left town, he held three meetings with a lesser-known figure: General Ashfaq Kiyani, the deputy army chief…Kiyani has working-class roots, having been raised in farming communities in the Punjab, sometimes called the country’s “martial belt” because many teenage boys from the province enter the military, lacking other economic opportunities. He was educated at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
What of the lawyers and activists Musharraf arrested, what of the civil society that wants democracy-
An in-depth survey of Pakistani public opinion reveals majority support for a moderate and democratic Islamic state, though a small but significant minority shows sympathy for Islamist militant groups.
Most Pakistanis want Islam to play a larger role in Pakistani society. However, a majority also favors a more democratic political system, rejects ‘Talibanization,” and supports recent government efforts to reform the madrassah system by focusing more on science and mathematics. Majorities have little sympathy for Islamist military groups and most would like to see the Federally Administered Tribal Areas integrated into Pakistan.
The survey also found that Pakistani attitudes toward the United States are negative and that there is a growing perception that the United States is hostile toward Islam. The survey was conducted from Sept. 12-18, just before President Pervez Musharraf declared a six-week state of emergency and before the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
It looks like they are about to be given the non-choice of support the dictator of America’s choice or be labelled a security risk and suffer the Negroponte-esque consequences, no room for an independent of America moderate Islamic democracy, especially with nukes. The words bubbling up out of Washington are the usual suspects of counter insurgency and military aid, which they may have little choice in implementing remembering the fuel needs of the operations in Afghanistan-
The U.S. military is now burning about 575,000 gallons of fuel per day in Afghanistan. And about 80 percent of that fuel is coming from refineries in Pakistan. Without the support of Musharraf and the Pakistani military, U.S. forces in Afghanistan would have only one fuel supply, and it would be coming via a precarious logistics line that extends more than 1,000 miles
Whoever ‘wins’ the election will be given little choice in signing up to the plans now being formulated, if this all looks like a huge mess that could have been avoided and with each new step to supposedly solve it it actually creates the need for more deployments…then you’d be right. There’s imperialism and there’s incompetence, and this is both.