Agonist.org: Pakistani Military Allows Zardari Administration to Cooperate With Obama Strategy

Originally posted at www.agonist.org

Charles Lemos at MyDD parses the meaning of today’s LA Times report that the U.S. military will be increasing Predator drone attacks inside Pakistan while giving “Pakistani officers significant control over targets, flight routes and decisions to launch attacks under a new joint operation”:

The Pakistanization of the Afghan War seems all but complete. It seems we are now fighting Pakistan’s war or perhaps they are fighting ours. Either way, the end results are the same. There is a mission creep and what is eerie is how little this is noticed. Somehow we remain fixated on Afghanistan even as a wider war is quickly gathering steam. Take Senator James Risch, Republican of Idaho, who painted a grim picture today at a hearing with Ambassador Holbrooke, saying he was stunned by a lack of progress in Afghanistan, which he called a “black hole” with no bottom. If that’s Afghanistan, what’s Pakistan?

This piece from S.M. Naseem at Dawn.com points out who the last key stakeholder to get on board with the idea of Pakistan and the U.S. military cooperating more closely — it wasn’t the Obama Administration, it wasn’t Zardari, it was the Pakistani military:

President Zardari in Washington and Gen Kayani in Rawalpindi, with the blessings of the tripartite Af-Pak strategy meetings presided over by President Obama, prompted Prime Minister Gilani in Islamabad to tell the nation near midnight last week about the decision to call out the armed forces ‘to eliminate the militants and terrorists in order to restore the honour and dignity of our homeland, and to protect the people.’ That reassurance was needed since previous army operations were half-hearted and botched and the operation in Buner and Dir was hardly faring any better, notwithstanding the claims of the ISPR.

The broadcast recalled a similar dramatic moment two months ago when the prime minister in the early hours of the morning announced the reinstatement of the chief justice and the end of the siege of Islamabad by the security forces to prevent the lawyers’ long march. The armed forces — whose refusal to support the government action against the long march is believed to have played a role in reinstating the chief justice — overcame their reservations about a full-fledged military action against the Swat Taliban.

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