Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

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Posts Tagged ‘Buner’

Afternoon Tea: Holbrooke Goes Big; Thank Bush for Obama! (?); Fight Over America’s Future; Pakistan’s Still A Mess; Don’t Do This On The Queen’s Lawn and Other Exciting News

Posted by K.E. White on April 30, 2009

Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s Fat and Free-Wheeling Flotilla At State

Thank you President Bush! Obama’s First 100 Days

Lind vs. Bacevich on ‘The American Century’: Hello again United States of Ponzi? Or Good-Bye and Good Riddance?

While the Pakistani counter-extremist military operations appear successful, will their restraint just set in motion future déjà vu? The Economist probes Pakistani motivations, warning American officials not to harbor false hopes of a paradigm shift in Pakistan’s security outlook. (And yes, Obama meant it when he pledged assistance last night)

And in other news…

China and Japan wrap up their two-day meeting; China signals long road ahead on North Korea. And get to know the Chinese power couple ready to take the dollar down.

‘Ice, Ice Baby’: Russia puts talks of militarizing Antarctica on ice. But gets tough on pork and pirates!

US Attorney General Holder asks for European help to shut down Gitmo in Berlin.

The Dutch get tough on teens.

And what not to do on the Queen’s lawn.

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Obama On Pakistan: “[W]e need to help Pakistan help Pakistanis”

Posted by K.E. White on April 29, 2009

President Barack Obama just fielded Chuck Todd’s presidential press conference question on Pakistan, and whether or not America could secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if that government falls. Obama dimisses suggestions that the civilian government is teetering on collapse, and considers Pakistan reacting appropriately (however late) to the terrorist threat in Buner. He highlights America’s commitment to assist Pakistani civilian government to deliver basic services to Pakistanis, and the Pakistani army’s recognition that armed extremists–not India–represent the greatest danger to Pakistan. 

Obama’s full response–minus a small follow-up where he refuses to answer hypotheticals involving Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal:

I’m confident that we can make sure that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure. Primarily, initially because the Pakistani army, I think, recognizes the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands. We have strong military to military consultation and cooperation. I am gravely concerned of the situation in Pakistan not because I think they are going to be immediately overrun and the Taliban will take over in Pakistan. [But] more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile, and don’t seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services, school, health care, rule of law—a judicial system that works for the majority of people. So as a consequence, it is very hard for them to gain the support and the loyalty of their people.

So we need to help Pakistan help Pakistanis. And I think that there’s a recognition increasingly on both the part of the civilian government there and army that that is their biggest weakness. On the military side you’re starting to see some recognition just the last few days that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided, and that their biggest threat right now comes internally. And you’re starting to see the Pakistani military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists. We want to continue to encourage Pakistan to move in that direction. And we will provide them all the cooperation that we can. We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don’t end up having a nuclear-armed militant state.

I feel confident that that nuclear arsenal will remain out of militant hands.

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Pakistan Fights Back

Posted by K.E. White on April 29, 2009

From’s Morning Brief:

The Pakistani military is fighting to retake the Buner district, just a few dozen miles from Islamabad, from Taliban militants. Both air and ground forces were deployed in Tuesday’s assault. Military commanders now claim to have retaken control of the strategic down of Daggar and to have killed 50 Taliban in the fighting.

Pakistan’s redeployment of troops away from the border with India its troubled Northwest comes after heavy U.S. criticism that it was not doing enough to fight the Taliban on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and domestic outrage over the unchecked spread of the Taliban.

The Taliban’s advances into the Pakistani heartland will likely prompt a shift in emphasis in the U.S. Af-Pak strategy toward the “Pak.”

What’s left to add?

Dawn offers the best recap of military moves in Buner.

How did Buner fall to the Taliban? And what was the “sweet” logic of the Swat peace deal that set these events in motion?

And before writing off this crisis to a paroxysm of Pakistan’s internal, self-made (and perhaps terminal) flaws, let’s not forget other forces that brought this crisis to fruition.  

Finally, the Taliban are planning their own Afghanistan surge.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pakistan: Stephen Walt Offers Some Help, U.S. Taps New State Official for South Asian Affairs, TOI Comments on Buner Crisis, and Pakistan’s Limited Counterinsurgency Capabilities

Posted by K.E. White on April 25, 2009

Stephen Walt tackles an issue receiving woefully little attention in the US media–the crisis in Pakistan. I’d also recommend Hassan Abbas’ blog on news and commentary concerning Pakistan. The Times of India also offers up a (rather cynical) rationale the Pakistani military permitting the Buner crisis to grow: pushing America to keep Pakistan-aid no strings attached.

Also Robert Blake has been nominated for U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs.

When considering why the Pakistani military has been slow to react or decisively take down the extremist threat in their country many point to a lack of will, but Steve Coll brings attention to Pakistan’s limited counter-insurgency capabilities

“I would just say on the capacity side, even where the army has shown the will to go into very difficult territory like Bajaur, they lack the tools to conduct effective counter-insurgency. They knock down entire marketplaces and villages and towns and then do little to build in the aftermath and to hold that ground and to create a strategy of politics that’s integrated with military action. That’s the key to successful counterinsurgency—has been true throughout time and thousand different settings. It’s about the people. And the Pakistan army has been to built to fight wars that are not about the people—[instead] that are about the Indian military.”

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Dawn Editorial: “At the moment nothing is more urgent than mobilisation of the instruments of state power and people’s energies to thwart the northern hordes’ drive to turn Pakistan into a forbidding wasteland.”

Posted by K.E. White on April 22, 2009

Will Pakistan’s secular political parties come together and combat the growing extermist threat to their country?

From today’s Dawn editorial by I.A. Rehman:

Today the people of Pakistan need all efforts to be concentrated on the issue of security — security of the state, security of all Muslim sects, security of women and members of minority communities, and the security of the ordinary Pakistani who only wishes to earn a loaf of bread to feed his starving child. 

The whirlwind that has already ravaged the Fata and Malakand Division is unlikely to allow the politicians in Islamabad and Lahore time to quibble over comas and full stops in the constitutional text. Besides the state’s integrity and the democratic system, cultures of all the communities in Pakistan’s federating units, the gains achieved after decades of pursuit of modern knowledge, all of our arts and literature, indeed the entire future of our children are at stake. At the moment nothing is more urgent than mobilisation of the instruments of state power and people’s energies to thwart the northern hordes’ drive to turn Pakistan into a forbidding wasteland. 

However pivotal a role in this all-important fight for survival one may assign Mr Zardari, the responsibility of Mian Nawaz Sharif is not a whit smaller. He may continue firing at the federal authority but it is time he took the field against pseudo-religious militants. Failure to do so will lead to conclusions completely unsavoury for him.

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