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The Diplomatic Imbroglio with Pakistan

By       Message Dave Lefcourt     Permalink
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U.S. drone, Wikipedia photo

When you're engaged in an absurd "war on terror" (or whatever it is now called by the Obama administration) you're going to get into the sort of "diplomatic imbroglios" that is currently happening with Pakistan and the U.S.

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Some background is in order.

Pakistan has been a reluctant "partner" in the war on terror ever since Bush invaded neighboring Afghanistan in 2001 in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks.

As a recipient of billions in U.S. military aid, Pakistan was obliged and became the main supply route for the necessary supplies required for the conduct its war in landlocked Afghanistan.

The border between the two countries, primarily the Pashtun areas, is hardly recognized by the indigenous population in either country, but is the area that spawned the Taliban which governed Afghanistan and was allied with Pakistan until it was overthrown by the U.S. invasion.

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With the overthrow, Taliban leader Mullah Omar escaped along with his other Taliban henchmen and dispersed into neighboring Pakistan, primarily into the Pashtun populated Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

It is through such Pakistani Pashtun populated areas that the majority of U.S. supplies must traverse into Afghanistan. From the beginning of the Afghan war, this route was notorious for corruption and the payments of bribes to the local warlords BEFORE the truckloads of supplies were allowed to pass and which the U.S. secretly paid, (much of which ended up in the hands of the Taliban, which not so ironically the U.S. was also fighting. But that's a whole other story.)

So this sordid business went on for years without much notoriety.

That is until the U.S. and the new Obama administration got enamored with and escalated drone strikes and missile attacks launched against purported "terrorists" hiding out in neighboring Pakistan, which (unintentionally, according to U.S. accounts) killed innocents which inflamed the Pakistani population.

Other incidents occurred within Pakistan such as CIA agent Raymond Davis, disguised as a diplomat, yet carrying a pistol, gunned down two Pakistani men on a motor scooter in La Hore, Pakistan for which he was initially held and charged for murder by Pakistani authorities, then subsequently released in lieu of paying restitution to the victims families, (which needless to say, didn't sit well with the Pakistani people and spawned widespread protests).

Then of course was the clandestine American commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden for which the Pakistani authorities weren't notified beforehand and which they and the Pakistani people considered a breach of their territorial sovereignty.

But the incident which is creating the current "diplomatic imbroglio" between the U.S. and Pakistan was the U.S. missile strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a military outpost in November. The U.S. called it an unfortunate accident, but he Pakistani's weren't buying it. They reacted immediately ordering the U.S. to cease such attacks and then ordered the closure of all the main U.S. supply routes leading into Afghanistan. In current diplomatic meetings with the U.S., Pakistan has demanded an apology by the Obama administration for the killing of the 24 soldiers before it will consider re-opening the supply routes. The Obama administration has refused to grant the apology, primarily citing the April 15 Haqqani Taliban attacks on the American military "reportedly" launched from areas within Pakistan as their primary objection and thus the current diplomatic standoff.

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Yet if one were to look dispassionately at this impasse, it becomes clear that the U.S. obsession in pursuing purported terrorists everywhere, but particularly in Pakistan, going about it with remote controlled drone strikes and missile attacks that kill innocents, with no regard for Pakistani territorial sovereignty, coupled with the seeming immunity from prosecution of those who have committed crimes against its people, has inflamed the indigenous population in Pakistan which refuses to accept silently what they consider obvious injustice and effrontery committed by the U.S. on Pakistan and its people.

Add to this volatile mix, Obama being in the midst of a re-election campaign, worried over being cast as soft on terrorism and not tough enough on Pakistan for providing sanctuary for "terrorists" that incessantly comes from the far right reactionaries in the Congress, he's caught in the paradox that even an apology to the Pakistani's would be seen as capitulation and weak kneed appeasement.

This is the type of absurdity this president finds himself in, being engaged in an unnecessary war and obsessed with terrorists and terrorism becomes a main pre-occupation that interferes with his other pre-occupation; getting re-elected.


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