Friday, January 09, 2009

Bump

Navigating through the labyrinth of Pakistani politics is much like groping through an unknown darkened room, objects are bumped into and thus identified, but there seems to be also someone moving them about, so one's bump information can be lost before the next one.

The news that PM Gilani has fired his National Security Advisor, Gen. Durrani, is like one of those bumps. It seems to mean something, but that just might be for now.

Durrani is and was very friendly to the US and its policies, and it's been reported in the Pakistani press that the US Ambassador has 'demanded' his reinstatement.

The Asia Times is reporting that he was fired, and a planned crackdown on LET was cancelled, because of pressure from the Pakistani military. Thus the US plans for the region may not be going as smoothly as hoped:
The new year began with a fresh initiative in the US-led "war on terror" in terms of which Boucher unfolded a two-prong approach: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was to seek reconciliation with India by complying with its demands following the Mumbai attack, and Zardari was to visit Kabul to establish better coordination with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The head of US Central Command, General David Petraeus, is soon to launch a surge in Afghanistan that will double the number of US troops from 30,000 to 60,000. At the same time, Pakistan's tribal areas, where militants have extensive bases, will become open hunting grounds for Afghan and Pakistan tribal militias backed by joint patrols of the national armies of the two countries, in addition to North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces.

The first segment of the American package concerning India has, however, now been shot down with Durrani's dismissal, throwing into doubt the remaining part. This leaves Zardari's civilian government awkwardly caught between the competing desires of the US and its own military establishment.
VP-elect Biden is due to go to the region soon, perhaps to try to rearrainge the furniture in the darkened room. Be ready for more bumps.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Rabia said...

"It seems to mean something, but that just might be for now."
Most Pakistanis consider this to have been really significant. It's a clear sign that Gillani is spitting mad at Zardari and that there's going to be a major struggle in the ranks of the PPP. I read a blog post by someone comparing Gillani to Junejo (the PM appointed by Zia in 1985) -- Zia thought he would just be a yes-man but he ended up leading to the end of Zia's power. I think that's a bit of a stretch, Gillani is not a very smart or principled guy. Unfortunately all elements of the government are falling apart simultaneously.

1/10/2009 8:30 AM  
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11/06/2009 5:36 PM  

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