A star (*) after a sentence means references and notes should be consulted for additional info on the subject. The blog covers following topics.
- Contractors for and Goals of the US and Pakistan Armies
- Co-dependencies of Pakistan and the US
- Women Scorned
- The US Special Ops and the Obama Plans
- Concluding Remarks
- References and notes
The blog focuses on special ops military strategies of two nations in last 50 years.
A primal instinct is to dominate and for ambitious rulers and nations to dominate the world. A goal of warfare is to achieve dominance over enemy at minimum possible costs. The US special ops forces in the Af-Pak war (2008 to present) use highly skilled soldiers to conduct low cost high tech warfare to hunt down and decapitate leadership of the al Qaeda and its co-linked Taliban that had declared jihad against America (2000) in specific and all non-Islamic West and India in general. TheUSspecial ops forces are equipped with high tech machines – computers, night goggles, remote sensing devices, helicopters, drones, and an easy access to laser guided air attack support systems, etc.
Pakistanhas plenty of semi- and illiterate tribal Pashtuns and Punjabis in a nation with an estimated 180 million people. Some think-tank pundits believe thatPakistan’s population is 20% under-reported.
The US helped create low tech manpower intensive proxy warriors from tribal Pashtuns and Punjabis. Taliban was successful in 1990s in establishing and ruling (1996 -2001) the Emirate of Afghanistan. Judging from the atrocities Taliban unleashed over five years of the Afghan rule the proxy warriors behaved like wild animals inAfghanistan.
Unlike the US special operators who are skilled technicians to carry out specific operations aimed at hunting down and decapitate leaderships of enemy, the tribal proxy warriors are disciplined to carry out hit and run operations to sap enemy’s strengths. Unlike the US special ops personnel who are not only professional and always under the US generals command the proxy warriors have an ugly side that was responsible for the brutalities seen in Afghanistan during 1996 – 2001. It is not yet determined if some Pakistani army generals are responsible for the ugly behavior of the proxy warriors.
Contractors for and Goals of the US and Pakistan Armies
TheUSalso employs highly skilled retired army personnel as contractors to do non combat missions as well as on the ground intelligence gathering to help the US special ops identify targets in order to hunt down the high value targets. The Raymond A. Davis affair is an example of how the US contractors work inPakistan.*
Pakistan retains services of local contacts imbedded in the community for intelligence gathering and selectively filters such information to the US for targeting high value foreigners that it considers are aiding the insurgents fighting in the tribal areas. It is politically convenient for the army to let the US eliminate such troublesome targets and let the tribal communities blame America for killing their guests.
In Islam jihad is mandatory to rectify perceived threats to Islam.Pakistan generals and politicians have perceived and maintained that it was wronged by the 1947 Partition of the British India that allowed certain Muslim majority areas given to India.
Pakistani interpretations of Islamic scriptures teach that celestial powers – Allah – will help righteous but militarily weak jihadis. Pakistan generals and politicians for several decades have motivated their proxy and regular armies by claiming that being Muslims they were celestially endowed with ten times the power of each Indian soldier*. A clarion call of ambitious military dictators, warlords and proselytizers is to invoke jihad by claiming Islam is in danger. In last fifty years jihad has been invoked by Dictator Zia ul Haq to counter Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979 – 89). In same spirit General Musharraf used duplicitous diplomacy to host as well as protect notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.*
Soured by the outcome of the Vietnam War using the conventional war strategy of American boots on ground the US decided that death of tens of thousands of American soldiers in foreign lands was unacceptable. For America defeating or stalemating Soviet communist global expansionism was war of necessities in 20th century. So it used rentier Pakistani army services specifically to attain its regional goals. However, the Pakistan army generals under an umbrella of sovereignty have used theUS aid to spread its tentacles in the region in pursuit of its regional foreign policy objectives without the US consent.
Co-dependencies of Pakistan and the US
In modern times the nature of warfare has changed to asymmetric wars*. Pakistan has relied on renting its army to ambitious US to maintain the regional hegemony. A low tech version of special ops forces is manpower intensive mujahedeen proxy warriors to fight the occupying Soviets inAfghanistan. The proxy warriors intensively used Kalashnikov guns and solder mounted the US stinger missiles to attack Soviet tanks and helicopters.
To meet the challenges of the asymmetric wars such as that posed by spread of Soviet communism in Afghanistan and the terrorist threats to the US security from al Qaeda and co-linked Taliban in the Af-Pak region the US has developed special ops forces. In case of the first Afghan War (1979 – 89) the US helped Pakistan develop jihadi mujahedeen proxy warriors from the ranks of Afghan refugees settled in the tribal Pakistan. In this case, President Reagan (1980 -88) was the midwife, Pakistan the mother and American politicians like Mr Charlie Wilson and the US CIA were other parents that for a decade helped nurtured 30,000 mujahedeen proxy warriors.
Although the American intent for special ops forces was guided by the specific threat perceptions,Pakistanhas used the US military and economic aid for spreading its tentacles in South and Central Asia to conduct its foreign policy, which identifies India as an enemy to resolve its territorial disputes. Its foreign policy for decades has been to dominate Afghanistan as a strategic depth against perceived invasion from the east.
Posing as an American Ally to enforce the US regional hegemony for decades Pakistan has claimed a frontline state status. It has for decades consistently tried to provoke Indiain to regional wars using asymmetric war tactics*. The proxy warriors are its frontline force to intrude into Indian territories. It has exploited the US policy of not to send American boots on the ground in the region to equip its proxy warriors with the Stinger missiles.
After the first Afghan War (1979 – 89) the US expected that the proxy warriors will attack only neighbors, not their sponsors. Recent development (2007 onwards) showed that some proxy warriors have started attacking their benefactors, the Pakistan army in addition to challenging the US and NATO. The unintended consequences of raising jihadi forces in the Af-Pak region were 2001 attacks onAmericaby al Qaeda operatives and destabilization of Pakistan by insurgencies staged by home grown terrorists (2007).
The US has reversed itself starting 2008 to allow the boots on the ground once it concluded that Pakistani army was incapable of controlling the proxy warriors and more importantly, Pakistan was double dealing to challenge the US and NATO presence in Afghanistan.
After implosion of the USSR in 1991 the US mission was accomplished. President George Walker Bush in 1992 walked away from the Af-Pak region. Mujahedeen in 1990s were like teenagers experiencing the adolescence phase deserted by the father figure.Pakistan like abandoned single mother felt betrayed as it was left stranded holding the mercenary force to take care of.
With the end of unholy alliance, mujahedeen forces were orphaned and Pakistani was turned into the “woman scorned.” Hell has no fury like women scorned. Following attacks on theUSa decade long war (2001 – present) has destabilized Iraq and the Af-Pak region.
The US Special Ops and the Obama Plans
Iraq war eventually was concluded after the US special ops forces destroyed the al Qaeda operatives in the region. Iraq became a relatively secure land for the US protected Iraqi government. In latest (2012) state of the union address President Obama declared that withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq was completed in 2011.
The Afghanistan War (2001 to present) turned ugly for the US as for eight years (2001 – 08) the Bush Administration relied on the double dealing President Musharraf to cleanup the Af-Pak region of the terrorist that Musharraf had nurtured from the days of first Afghan War. By the time the Obama administration took charge of the management of the Afghan war Dictator Musharraf had departed and he is living in self-imposed exile in London, UK (2008 to present)*.
To reduce combat fatalities of the US and NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan, the US shifted its war strategy to increasing use of the special ops forces. In addition to hunting down insurgent leaders the special ops forces train local troops. The hunting down of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbotabad, Pakistanis a vivid example of the kind of successes they have achieved as unsung heroes on the ground. For the killings of more than 22 of 30 identified leaders of Taliban co-linked al Qaeda the drone attacks were conducted by remote controlled special ops from the US and it has proven very effective low cost high tech air war options.
In the Obama plan the role of theUSconventional forces is to police the large part of theAfghanistanand increase number of the special operations forces to neutralize al Qaeda and Taliban. The special ops have increased training of the Afghan counter terrorism troops in the 350,000 Afghan army being trained by the US and NATO. The focus is on to use the most elite forces to counter any residual terrorist threats in the coming months.
With increasing success of the US special ops forces the US has effectively side-lined reliance on Pakistan to neutralize the terrorist.Pakistan generals, the “women scorned” have started recalibrating its jihad terrorist driven proxy war strategy after the death of OBL by the US special Ops forces and several more set backs.
The media reported public disconnect between Kabul, Islamabad, Washington and Taliban leadership should be viewed parallel to the economic starvation described in the blog on the asymmetric war. In my opinion it is prerequisite for desirable outcome of peace in the region with each power understanding limits of their reach without risking challenges to their sovereignty. The days of Pakistan violating sovereignty of neighbors to its east and west without being adequately challenged are coming to the end.
Taliban is propped up by the ISI and the DPC (Defence of Pakistan Coalition) brigade of Pakistan described by Mr Irfan Husain*.Pakistan’s defense budget has increased from $2.5 billion to $ 5 billion a year from 2001 to 2011. Once the US flow of military and economic aid toPakistandries up by 2014 and that same aid diverted to the Afghan army being set up by the US and NATO described in my blog, “Asymmetric War and Financial Bets”, Pakistan and Taliban may be unable to continue with its current level of defense costs.
Wars can not be sustained without financial resources. With drying up of foreign financial resources, both the army and Taliban have to exploit new means of financing the perpetual war. As rifts between the army and Taliban widen and Pakistan is starved of resources to finance Taliban, the Taliban has resorted to raising funds through kidnapping*. A campaign of high-profile kidnappings has provided the Taliban and its allies with new resources for arming insurgents with millions of dollars, threatening foreign aid programs and galvanizing a sophisticated network of jihadi and criminal gangs whose reach spans the country. The abduction of the Shahbaz Taseer is well documented. Shahbaz is the son of the assassinated formerPunjabgovernor Salmaan Taseer, a progressive Muslim, who championed a cause of women’s right and opposed Sharia Law.
Pakistan think-tank pundits need to restate and teach laws of prudent finance to its army generals and intransigent warlords. Reliance on foreign powers to finance a perpetual asymmetric war as well as for Taliban to kidnappings for insurgency is lunacy. Taliban are a proxy army looking for a state to govern. If potential for spread to east and west in the region is blocked then Taliban insurgency within tribal Pakistan and even in Baluchist anmay intensify, setting a stage for repeat of 1971. Pakistanis facing challenges to its perpetual war based foreign policy managed by the army. Army needs to retreat to its garrisons and to pacify the nation by handing over execution of foreign policy to the civilian politicians.
References and notes
- For the C.I.A. security contractors ofPakistansee:
- “American Held in Pakistan Worked With C.I.A., http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/asia/22pakistan.html?_r=1
- “Pakistan Demands Data on C.I.A. Contractors”, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/world/asia/26pakistan.html
- Maj (Retd) Agha Humayun Amin, “The Pakistan Army From 1965 to 1971,” http://www.defencejournal.com/2000/nov/pak-army.htm
- Selected Excerpts from “Pakistan Army Since 1965” re-drafted as an article exclusively for the “Defence Journal”.
- “The Pakistan Army Since 1965” is the second volume of the Two Volume history of Pakistan Army and covers Pakistan Army from 1965 till 2000.
- Pakistan Defence Journal, “Learn from History: Failures of Pakistan Army,” http://www.defence.pk/forums/military-history-strategy/28276-learn-history-failures-pakistan-army.html
- The source of this post is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which is considered to be a neutral source.
- “Ex-ISI chief claims Musharraf hosted Osama in Abbotabad”, http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=12461&Cat=13
- “Pakistanto ask Interpol to arrest Pervez Musharraf,” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-to-ask-Interpol-to-arrest-Pervez-Musharraf/articleshow/11979492.cms
- “Musharraf to be brought back with Interpol help,” http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/22/malik-jit-head-brief-sindh-assembly-on-benazir-assassination-probe-musharraf-to-be-brought-back-with-interpol-help.html
- Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Tuesday informed members of the Sindh Assembly that soon former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf would be brought back to the country to face trial in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, following issuance of red warrants by the trial court to Interpol.
- Kishan Bhatia, “Pennywise Pound Foolish: Afghan Imbroglio and Impact of Terrorism (3,280 words), http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2011/10/09/afghanistan-imbroglio-and-impacts-of-terrorism/”
- The US for last several decades has used innovative high tech gun-boat and air power superiority driven diplomacy and foreign policy in pursuit of a new model of imperialism mentioned in my blog.
- Kishan Bhatia, “Asymmetric War and Financial Bets” (2,766 word), http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2012/01/28/asymmetric-war-and-financial-bets-2/
- For an entertaining and satirical review based on facts see, Nadeem F. Paracham “Pak-US relations: A very analytical history,” http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/23/pak-us-relations-a-very-analytical-history.html
- Irfan Husain, “Save us from our defenders”, http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/18/save-us-from-our-defenders.html
- Mr Husain has provided details of the DPC (Defence of Pakistan Coalition) recent actions to warn readers of potential for harm to come toPakistan.
- In my opinion the DPC brigade should be called the Pain Caucus of Pakistan. It is representing old guard politicians and delusional intransigent warlords with ambitions that are mismatched with economic realities.
- To the estimated total of $40 trillion global economy the US contributes about 35%, the EEC about 40% and the balance is by rest of the world. The Pakistan economy is about $200 billion. Winning any perpetual war against the US and NATO powers is beyond the means of Pakistan. Winning a war againstIndia with its $1.7 trillion economy and growing military power is also unrealistic ambition.
- Although with a few exceptions, the army and political leaders in general and its policy elite in particular are rational actors, the DPC brigade with its vitriolic rhetoric substitutes moralizing for analysis and fantasies for the lessons of history.
- NYT Report, “Taliban Gaining More Resources From Kidnapping,” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/world/asia/pakistani-taliban-turn-to-kidnapping-to-finance-operations.html?_r=1&hp
- Wealthy industrialists, academics, Western aid workers and relatives of military officers have been targets in a spree that, since it started three years ago, has spread to every major city, reaching the wealthiest neighborhoods, Pakistani security officials say.
|URL for map is in next column||For many hostages, the experience means a harrowing journey into the heart of Waziristan, the fearsome Talibanredoubt along the Afghan border that has borne the brunt of a C.I.A. drone-strike campaign.http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/02/20/world/asia/20kidnap-map2/20kidnap-map2-
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